I remember walking into Dr. Helena Jaczek’s almost two month ago in the beginning of my placement. Brand new spacious office in the Ministry of Environment seemed to be deserted and never occupied. I sensed it right. Helena is one of those dedicated MPPs who are spending as much time as possible in the House. She is always up to date about what is happening and what bill is being debated. And I am very proud to be preparing bill briefing as one of my regular tasks in her office. Name it: Bill 204, 210, 185, 218 and I can tell you all about it!
I was the only occupant of Helena’s gigantic office for the first two weeks before having been assigned to my own workstation in the bureaucratic part of the ministry. Despite feeling somewhat isolated from the rest of the political staff, I always feel up to date thanks to Valerie (Helena’s executive assistant) who makes sure to invite to me to any briefing or meeting. I thank Helena and everyone in her office for creating a truly learning atmosphere, where I could try tackling any task that is of an interest to me. So far, I have experimented with writing support letters for pharmaceutical companies and various associations; an editorial for the business magazine; researching constituent inquiries, etc.
What I enjoy doing especially is visiting committee meetings along with Helena. I was so proud to be allowed to sit on the closed report writing sessions for the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions. All present MPPs welcomed my idea about writing the academic paper on comparing various Legislative Committees, their roles and atmosphere. I am always more than happy to assist Helena with any research work needed for the Mental Health Committee. I was also fortunate to witness some historic happenings in the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, which debated 2009 Budget that included a controversial HST. What’s historic about it? Well, how about over 500,000 (yes, I didn’t confuse the number) amendments suggested by the PC caucus that could have kept the Committee running for another week non-stop if it wasn’t dismissed due to lack of quorum. I guess, I am already getting tons of material for my paper and I am sure there is so much more to come!