By our final day of our trip, it’s safe to say all the interns were tired. But there was no way we were going to take our final day in Ottawa for granted.
We made our way in the morning to the lovely Centre Block where we met with Senator Grant Mitchell, who sits as an Independent Liberal representing Alberta. Not only has the senator worked in provincial and federal politics, he began his career in the Parliamentary Internship Program in one of its earliest years; it was extra special to speak with an alumnus. Given that we have no provincial senate in Ontario, we were fascinated to hear more about work in the Red Chamber and the distinctions from the House.
Later in the day we got to chat with some people who really understand our bicameral Westminster parliament. We paid a visit to the nearby UK High Commission and were greeted by several members of the team, with whom we had a great and very open discussion about Canada – UK relations.
The crowning glory of our week came with a whole lot of pomp and circumstance on Friday afternoon. The scene at Parliament was not quite the norm: the flag on the Peace Tower was changed, the royal guard was brought out to the Hill, and ceremonial cannons were fired. We were lucky enough to be in town for the Speech from the Throne, a vestige of our Britishness that marks the opening of a new government. Alongside our PIP colleagues, we watched Governor General David Johnston pronounce the Liberals’ plan for governing. It was certainly an exciting moment to witness, and a royally good time was had by all.