Live From Queen’s Park: Andrea Attends TFO Debate

It’s been a good run so far here in Gilles’ office. The last thing I wrote about was the night of the prorogation and so much has happened since then!

I am actually really lucky to be in Gilles’ office. Both him and his Executive Assistant Kevin are extremely knowledgeable about procedure and practice in the legislature. As the House Leader for the NDP, Gilles’ requires a staff that is keyed into all the important issues and is knowledgeable on procedure. Here I thought I fully understood procedure from studying it, but it is one thing to study it and a completely different thing to actually live it out in practice. Kevin knows so much about what happens here at Queen’s Park and, luckily for me, we often get to have lengthy conversations and debates about politics whilst sitting across from each other at our respective desks. I come with a bit of an outsiders perspective, and he has more of an insiders perspective so it makes for great conversation.

Some of the most incredible things I have gotten to do are attend different events and meetings with Gilles (which there are still quite a lot of, even during this prorogation). One that sticks out in my mind is Gilles’ attendance on TFO. Gilles is completely fluent in both French and English, so he is often invited to speak on various francophone stations. In this particular case, he was a part of a panel and I got to see all the background activity that goes into making a live show. One thing that he is really great at is public speaking, and it is really neat to see how he preps for speaking engagements beforehand. From what I understand, all the MPPs can be quite different; some like to only read from notes, some hate using notes, and some like a hybrid of the two. There are even members who may not totally love public speaking itself, something that is surprising given how much they have to do it (which makes a lot of us interns feel better about our own anxieties in this regard).

Of course there is also the actual “intern” work we have to do which I have enjoyed. I’ve gotten to write press releases, briefs and letters which has been a very beneficial experience. I’ve also tried to get in some constituency work as well; although Timmins is quite far away, helping with some of the constit work really has given me a stronger grasp on the issues that are affecting Northern Ontarians.

So far, so good. I should be doing a trip up to Timmins at some point in the near future which will be an absolutely unreal experience. I am hoping to have a good look at Attawapiskat and James Bay for starters. And of course, you will all be the first to read about it once I am back. Ciao!


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