This was it. After almost three months into my placement, I was finally able to make my trip to MPP Bob Bailey’s riding of Sarnia-Lambton. Excited for the chance to finally ground myself in the riding, I happily hopped onto the five-hour train ride from Toronto to beautiful Sarnia one Sunday evening.
While only in Sarnia for about three days, I managed to make the most of my trip with a mix of experience in the constituency office, as well as sitting in and helping out with Bob’s participation in an interview with Blackburn Radio and a roundtable discussion.
My time in the constituency office allowed me to gauge a sense of the needs of the residents of Sarnia-Lambton firsthand as well as learn from the hardworking, committed women who work there – Michelle, Dela, and June!
MPP Toby Barrett (PC Critic for Community and Social Services) has been visiting communities across Ontario gathering responses to the 108 recommendations in Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance in Ontario by the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario. Both MPP Barrett and MPP Bailey were interviewed by Sue Storr of Blackburn Radio, the local radio station in Sarnia, regarding the report. It was eye-opening for me to prepare for and sit in on the interview – where there was no shortage of pressing questions regarding how Sarnia residents would be affected by the recommendations in the report – and how honestly and thoughtfully both MPP’s engaged with the Sarnia-Lambton community.
I witnessed the same sincerity as both MPP’s led a roundtable discussion at the community church. It was powerful to see residents, city workers, and non-profit organization workers representing the needs of the most poor and vulnerable of the riding – and how Bob and Toby sought out collaborative solutions to the complex issues that have arisen out of poverty and disability.
I am hoping to visit the riding once again soon!