It’s incredible to think that I have been in my first placement for six weeks already. My brief time with MPP John Fraser has been fulfilling to say the least. John and his Legislative Assistant Elise have welcomed me into their office and ensured that I am always working on something interesting. As a member of two standing committees and the Parliamentary Assistant to both the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of Natural Resources, John has a lot going on at Queen’s Park.
However, two weeks ago I was able to spend a week in the constituent office in Ottawa-South and witness the non-political side of being an elected representative. While the work at Queen’s Park often focuses on political and portfolio work, the job of the constituency office is to address the concerns of local community members on a wide range of issues.
I was fortunate to have my first full day in Ottawa fall on Remembrance Day. First up was the Ron Philips memorial breakfast hosted by the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association. Along with numerous firefighters from throughout the City of Ottawa, the event was attended by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, MPPs Yasir Naqvi, Madeleine Meilleur, Bob Chiarelli, John Fraser, Lisa Macleod, and MP Pierre Poilievre.
Next up we headed to the Perley and Rideau Veteran’s and Health Centre for a Remembrance Day ceremony. Both John and MP David McGuinty participated in a heartwarming ceremony featuring numerous veterans.
Following the event at the Perley, John spent the rest of the afternoon at the local legion, sharing stories and taking questions from local constituents.
On the Wednesday of my constituent week, I was fortunate to be able to attend a press conference where the Minister of Energy, the Honourable Bob Chiarelli announced a public consultation process for the Energy East Pipeline and that the Government of Ontario would apply for intervener status for the National Energy Board Hearings.
Both John and Minister Chiarelli took questions and did individual interviews after the event.
In addition to accompanying John to numerous events in his riding, I was able to witness first hand the important work done in the community. Fadi and Jeff, John’s Constituency Assistant and Executive Assistant respectively, work hard to ensure that the needs of local residents are cared for. This includes everything from helping obtain birth certificates to finding emergency shelter space in case of emergency. As most MPPs will attest, and John will confirm, it is the work done out of the constituency office which is most rewarding for elected officials.
(Aaron with John, Jeff, and Fadi)
I would like to thank John, Jeff, Fadi, and Elise for welcoming me to their office and letting me experience the work in a constituent office.
(Team Toronto: Aaron, Elise, and John)