Vanessa Hits a Homerun! – Covering all of the BASes of Learning with MPP Bas Balkissoon

It is remarkable how time flies when you are having fun! Working with MPP Bas Balkissoon for the past 5 weeks has been nothing short of an amazing experience thus far. He has given me the opportunity to work on tasks that I enjoy, which include writing, research, and communication. Writing speeches and briefings for events was a daunting task at the beginning of my placement, but I have transitioned into understanding Bas’ speaking style and timing to a point where I feel very comfortable knowing that it will be a good fit for him.

I have also performed extensive research for Bas’ Private Member’s Bill, which went through second reading on October 31st. Bill 116 is an act that proposes increased penalties for the use of hand-held devices while driving, including increased fines and the assessment of three demerit points. The Bill received unanimous support from all parties, and has been referred to committee. Working on a Private Member’s Bill is exciting because I have had the opportunity to write Bas’ speech, get in touch with potential supporters of the Bill, attend meetings, write a petition, and meet the family of the woman who the Bill is named after. Overall, the whole process has been an excellent learning experience. 

Last week was constituency week, so I was working in the constituency office in Bas’ riding, Scarborough-Rouge River. The work and daily experiences in the constituency office are vastly different from working in the Queen’s Park office. The staff in the constituency office are mainly focused on case work, planning and scheduling, and preparing material for Bas’ attendance at local events and celebrations. It was good to work in the constituency office again after having more experience at Queen’s Park – it was a great change in perspective, and a reminder of the vast spectrum of duties that are required of MPPs.
I would like to thank Anna for providing me with the opportunity to work on meaningful and interesting tasks that have positively contributed to this learning experience. She has been extremely helpful in guiding and supporting me throughout my successes, and my difficulties. Finally, working with Bas has been amazing. He has such a wealth of experience, is not hesitant to share both work and life lessons with me, and he really takes the time to ensure that I am doing okay. I would also like to thank him for attending our OLIP reception on Monday! I look forward to what the next two and a half months have to offer!

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