Last week, we had the opportunity to meet Jacques Fauteux, Lt.-Cmdr. (retd), the Director of Government and Community Relations for VIA Rail Canada. During our time with Mr. Fauteux, he impressed upon us the lessons he learned as a member of the Canadian Navy as well as his years as a staffer on Parliament Hill. Breaking rank from our traditional blog posts, we’d like to share with you Mr. Fauteux’s “Guide to Succeeding in Politics (and Life).”*
Step 1. Making it hard for yourself is how you learn.
Step 2. Be loyal and be willing to give fearless advice. Can you say what your boss needs to hear?
Step 3. Become an active listener; “if you’re talking too much, you have nothing to say.”
Step 4. The recipe for success involves imagination, guts, and a willingness to make mistakes (and learn from them, of course).
As Director of Government and Community Relations at VIA Rail, Mr. Fauteux has taken these lessons and applied them to their growing Crown Corporation. In the coming years, VIA Rail is seeking to build an integrated network of transportation. Through their high-frequency, dedicated tracks plan, they intend to make train travel quicker and easier in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec City transit corridor (this would mean that a (nearly) four-hour trip between Ottawa-Toronto would be shortened to two-and-a-half hours! The transportation geeks among us view, VIA’s innovative future plans as exciting and a welcome change in Canada.
Our meeting with Mr. Fauteux also provided us with the opportunity to thank VIA Rail for coming on as one of OLIP’s newest sponsors. Their in-kind sponsorship helped to cover our travel costs during our fall 2016 study tour to Quebec City and Ottawa. Travelling by train made our trip hassle-free and saved us the stress of driving, which was appreciated during our busy week of meetings with MNAs, MPs, journalists, clerks, and Senators. Thank you VIA Rail, for your support of youth participation in Canada’s democratic institutions!
*This guide was compiled from Mr. Fauteux’s fantastic sound bites.