Since November I have had the pleasure of working in the office of Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford. Despite the time that has passed, I still remember fondly my first day on the job. Upon arriving at the office, I was told by Ernie’s executive assistant Tara to leave my coat on. She informed me that we had a busy day ahead, one that included a press conference, constituency outreach, a luncheon with stakeholders, and the preparation of a Members’ Statement.
This day encapsulates my experience in Ernie’s office. Each week was busier than the last, and both Ernie and Tara made every effort to include me in all aspects of the office. From conducting policy research on issues related to municipal affairs and housing to drafting Ernie’s business survey, newsletter, and other media releases, there was never a dull moment. We even embarked on several important excursions to different ridings across the province, primarily to promote carbon monoxide awareness.
I must also mention that I thoroughly enjoyed attending various stakeholder events with Ernie, and looked forward to his weekly meetings with the interest groups that visit Queen’s Park. Ernie is an experienced legislator, one that has devoted his life to public service. It was quite rewarding to observe his thoughtful interactions with representatives from the different sectors across Ontario, and to see first-hand how these meetings inform Ernie’s role as an MPP.
In closing, I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to both Ernie and Tara. These kind individuals facilitated an OLIP placement experience that has positively impacted me both personally and professionally. They gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, foster incredible connections, and see parts of Ontario that I otherwise may not have been exposed to.
While I will miss working for the Member from Oxford, I am excited to begin my second OLIP placement with Mike Colle, MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence. Switching from a rural to urban riding will introduce me to the challenges that urban Ontarians are facing, and I look forward to working with Mike and his staff to address these issues.