The trip to Ottawa and Quebec was much different from what I expected. Initially, I thought it would be an average trip to two cities I had visited many times before. It was anything but.
The Parliamentary Interns in Ottawa lined up an incredible schedule for us. Our meeting with John Baird actually surprised me – he sat with us for quite some time and was very candid in his responses. He was wiling to answer our tough questions despite their intensity. I was also excited to meet Bob Rae, not only because of his background in provincial politics, but he is also currently my MP! We met with a rookie young NDP member from Halifax whose candidness was refreshing. Our discussion with Megan Leslie was one of my favourites during the trip, as she seemed to genuinely care about our backgrounds and interests. A unique meeting took place between the interns and Dimitri Soudas, essentially the Prime Minister’s Chief Communicator. He prepared a slide show for the interns showing a day in his life. I really enjoyed how he seemed to have a picture of every aspect of his daily schedule.
Although Quebec City was much colder than any of us expected, I know we all had an amazing experience there. The five interns at the National Assembly ensured our schedule was jam-packed with notable MNAs and a great journalist from the Globe. The amount of soverigntists in that province is pretty shocking, considering people say seperatist sentiments are at an all-time low. Nevertheless, we met with MNAs from all stripes and even took in a session of Question Period en francais. Our experience at the sugar shack, however, was one to remember. Despite its touristy nature, we took in a truly Quebecois experience tasting that real maple syrup. I know we are all super excited to host the Quebec interns because they showed us such a great time in their city. We have already begun to plan their visit and hope we are able to make as a great an itinerary as they did for us.