Sponsor Spotlight: Bombardier!

1 - Bombardier - Group

Today we are shining the spotlight on OLIP’s long time sponsor and Canadian manufacturing company, Bombardier. On December 14th 2018, we had the opportunity to visit their aerospace manufacturing facility in north Toronto. From check-in by Helen Medeiros, Event & Site Tour Coordinator, to our departure, we were greatly taken care of. Our tour guide, Pasha Pirouzi, Global Business Aircraft AMO & Deliveries lead, provided us with a historical overview of the progression of each aircraft model along with a tour of Bombardier’s central hanger to watch mechanics and engineers assemble planes from start to finish. We even got to meet the luxurious Global 7500, the newest model in the company’s fleet holding the title as the world’s largest business range jet owned by celebrities and high ranking public officials.

Following our tour we had the chance to sit down with the government relations team including; Sandra Buckler, Senior Director External Affairs and Public Relations and Yana Lukasheh, Manager of Government Affairs to discuss their relationship with government and their experiences working for such a massive, Canada-centric organization. Although all industries traditionally have a government relations team who is the representative of the organization to elected officials, it is always interesting to hear about how each team develops their own communication style based on their organization’s mandate. Bombardier’s GR team was extremely generous with their time and provided high level insights into Bombardiers Inc.’s full scope of work including transportation, aviation and financial services.

It is always so special for us to be hosted by fantastic sponsors, like Bombardier. It is absolutely one of the highlights of being an OLIP intern to learn on site about the diverse industries around Ontario. A special thank you goes out to Alice Trudelle, Manager of Government and Parliamentary Affairs for making our visit possible.

Thank you, Bombardier for being a loyal OLIP sponsor and for taking time out of your day to educate us about your work!


Key Sponsors:

  • Alice Trudelle  – Manager, Government and Parliamentary Affairs
  • Helen Medeiros – Event Coordinator & Site Tour Coordinator, Global Business Aircraft
  • Sandra Buckler – Senior Director External Affairs and Public Relations
  • Yana Lukasheh – Manager, Government Affairs
  • Pasha Pirouzi – Global Business Aircraft AMO & Deliveries

Recap: Yellowknife!


Just like that, our Yellowknife study tour has come and gone, and the House has been sitting for almost two weeks now. But ask any one of us, and we will tell you that our lives have been changed for the better after visiting the Northwest Territories.

One week in Yellowknife was enough to make us fall in love with the city. We were welcomed to the NWT Legislature with warmth and generosity. We had a number of meetings, activities, and life changing experiences there to keep us smiling for the rest of the year.

When it comes to the meetings, we met with a wide array of people from government as well as local and territorial stakeholders. Among them, we were fortunate to meet:

  • Jackson Lafferty, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
  • Tim Mercer, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
  • Lee Selleck, Director of Research, Library and Information
  • Her Worship Rebecca Alty, Mayor of Yellowknife
  • Honourable Louis Sebert, Minister Responsible for Public Engagement and Transparency
  • Julie Green, MLA and Chair of the Special Committee to Increase the Representation of Women
  • John Vandenberg, Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs and Services, Department of Infrastructure at the Government of Northwest Territories
  • Kathryn Barry Paddock, Executive Director of the NWT Literacy Council
  • Nicole Latour, Chief Electoral Officer
  • Craig Yeo and Bob Bromley, Alternatives North
  • Paul Gruner, President and CEO of Det’on Cho Corporation

Meeting with such a diverse group of people in various roles really gave us an in-depth understanding of how government runs in the Northwest Territories. It is impossible to go to Yellowknife without hearing of their consensus form of government.In this style of government, Members are elected as independents and attempt to come to decisions that all members are comfortable with. One attribute of consensus governments is that they are  free of partisan politics. Being from Ontario, it was incredible to learn the ins and outs of consensus government. We quickly learned that just because there are no formal political parties, the NWT is not free from politicking — they have a different set of unique issues that arise in their government. Experiencing consensus government in action is truly a privilege and felt like we were watching a legislature at the peak of of its democracy.

In addition to meetings with officials, we were beyond excited to explore the various activities that Yellowknife has to offer. Among the Yellowknife experiences, our highlights consist of watching the Northern Lights together as a group, continuing the tradition of eating at Bullock’s Fish and Chips with the Clerk of the House, and dog sledding!

I don’t think we expected to fall in love with Yellowknife and its residents quite like we did. This experience made us see the true beauty of winter, very different from our slushy experience in downtown Toronto! We saw the diversity of landscape, people, and opportunities that the Great North has, and this made us all the more grateful to be Canadian. Apparently, every year there are a few interns so enamored with the NWT that they pledge to move there. So far this hasn’t happened yet, but there are a couple in this cohort who seem keen on the idea. Let’s hope that this dream can become a reality – it would truly be such an adventure to live and work there.

Again, we’re so grateful to be in OLIP and to have had the opportunity to see and experience a new part of Canada that we had only dreamt about.  Special shout out to Cynthia and Haley at the legislature who scheduled our entire trip and welcome us so kindly to Yellowknife — we couldn’t have done this trip without you!



To those applying, we wish you well!


The day has finally come! Applications for the 2019/2020 OLIP year will close at midnight tonight. We want to wish everyone applying good luck. We realize that this time of year is hectic and stressful, to say the least. It’s a time of uncertainty and waiting patiently for results from grad schools, internship, and job applications. We feel you! However, it’s also a time to reflect on all you’ve achieved thus far, and the possibilities for your life this upcoming year.

As for us, we are currently finishing up our first placement — we have one week left until it’s over! We will then set out on our study tour to Yellowknife for a week before starting our next placement. Life is busy and still pretty stressful for us, but it’s definitely a different kind of stress. We’re still amazed and grateful to be able to participate in this program.

Once again, good luck to everyone applying. We commend you on your hard work in all your endeavours thus far. Take a moment to breathe in this precious moment of life if you can!



For Those Considering OLIP

This is the time! You can can do it. Only 21 days left until applications for OLIP are due!



The holidays are over, work is back in full swing, and the house does not sit again until February 19. There are officially only four weeks left until our first placement is over, and we are left wondering where the time has gone.

Since the house has risen, things are comparatively much quieter. This is a time where all political staffers (as well as us, the interns) get the opportunity to catch up on all the work we haven’t had time for when the house was sitting. It is a time of reflection, rest, and planning so that when the house does sit again, we will all be ready!

January is also the time when OLIP does its last push for recruitment. There are plenty of Facebook Live sessions with the interns as well as in-person info sessions at universities accessible by train or car!

For those of you reading this blog, we hope you apply to OLIP or encourage someone you know to apply. To review, this is a 10-month program where interns spend four months staffing a member of government, then another four with a member of opposition. We are with our members from Monday to Thursday, and Friday we save for meetings. We have meetings with numerous officials and sponsors. If you follow along with us on Twitter, you’ll see that we are usually busy on Fridays; we’ve met with the current and some previous premiers, academics, journalists, and many more. In addition, we participate in study tours! We’ve already visited Ottawa as a group and we are looking forward to our next trip to Yellowknife in February. We will also visit Vancouver and London, England in the coming months.

Being an OLIP intern means so many different things to all of us. It’s more than study tours and being around Ontario’s politicians. It’s an experience that includes new friendships, the promise of career opportunities and endless, endless learning (about all aspects of Ontario, our government, and the people who live in this province). This internship is definitely difficult to describe in just a few paragraphs. It’s not always perfect, and each of us deal with hardships in different ways. But this is similar to any job that one finds themselves in. It’s challenging as well as rewarding, and I know that we all feel lucky to be here.

If you are someone who is interested in applying to OLIP, if you haven’t done so already, I suggest attending an info session on Facebook Live, or even reaching out to one of us personally! This is a time for recent graduates that all OLIPers have gone through before, a time of uncertainty for the future and waiting for application results. We’ve been there and we empathize! Speak to an OLIP intern if you have any questions, and we will be ready to give you honest answers.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Reflections on our Ottawa Study Tour

Hello! Bonjour! Hi! Salut! It is 2019 and we’re doing a bit of reflecting on our first study tour. 

As is tradition, the interns travelled to Ottawa to visit Parliament Hill. Centre Block, including the House of Commons and Senate Chambers, are being closed down in early 2019 to do renovations for a decade. So our cohort of OLIP interns were one of the last tours to see the Chamber in it’s original glory. Before we go through a summary of our trip to Ottawa, we have to give an enormous thank you to our sister programme – the Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP) who showed true Canadian hospitality during our visit.



We started our day with several cups of coffee and a 6:40am train ticket to Ottawa. Thank you so much to our sponsor VIA Rail for getting us to and from Ottawa safely and reliably during our visit.

Our first stop was a quick tour of Centre Block with PIPs Andrew and Sarah. We then headed into the Speaker’s gallery to watch our first federal Question Period! Identical to the Westminster tradition, on Wednesdays, the Prime Minister answers all of the questions in the Chamber that afternoon. There are some notable differences between Queen’s Park and Parliament’s Question Period (aside from the fact that Parliament has approximately three times as many elected members). For example, the current government has decided that they will not collectively produce standing ovations for members, and that there is more French spoken and highlighted in the House. Afterwards, we met Liberal MP, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith the representative of Beaches-East York. He had some fantastic insights about how rewarding and challenging politics can be.

To finish our evening, the PIPs hosted a welcome pub night and then we watched the inaugural light show at Parliament Hill.



Our day started early as we braved the chilly Ottawa temperatures for our PIP welcome breakfast. We had a full day of meetings including:

Ms Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Seanich – Gulf Islands. In response to how she stays hopeful on climate change initiatives, her answer was simple, “the opposite of hope is despair and I am not prepared to tell my grandchildren that they don’t have a future.”

Luckily, we had the opportunity to sit down with two current members of cabinet. The Honourable Bill Blair provided sage advice from his successful career as Toronto’s Chief of Police to now Minister of Border Security and Crime Prevention. He discussed how his previous experiences in policing and community engagement had prepared him for success in his current role.

Honourable Bardish Chagger is currently the first female ever to be appointed Government House Leader. Throughout our visit, she was bubbling with pride and excitement about her role as an MP.

Progressive Conservative MP, Erin O’Toole, Liberal MP, Adam Vaughn and New Democrat, MP, Scott Duvall shared how they leverage their past experiences, policy passions, and tools as a backbench MP to push forward on issues that manage to them and their communities.

MP for Spadina-Fort York, Adam Vaughn shared his passion and motivation to build better cities for communities. Every MP has a different style when they approach politics, Mr. Vaughn’s is unrelentingly driven in his philosophy that cities are at the heart of every healthy nation.

Taking a break from our elected official visits, we had the opportunity to meet with long – serving public servant, Daniel Watson. He recently moved from his role as CEO of Parks Canada to become the Deputy Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs. He enthusiastically told stories about his career working in various provinces and federally. One of the highlights was explanation of the key role that the federal government plays in the day-to-day lives of Canadians.

Our last formal meeting of the day, was meeting the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Geoff Regan. Having watched Question Period on Wednesday, we know that it can be a difficult job to maintain order during proceedings, but his calm and fair demeanour makes him a great candidate for the job.

We finished our day with “Blood and Guts” tour of Parliament Hill. From exploring the basement of Centre Block where there is an old-fashioned Coca-Cola machine to hearing the histories of some scandalous royals – we saw Parliament Hill in a whole new light! Afterwards, we hosted our Alumni meet up and spent the evening getting to know some of our amazing OLIP veterans!



Our last day in Ottawa was bitter sweet with some fantastic meeting to wrap up. We started our day with the British High Commission before heading to meet Senator Kim Pate. The rest of our morning was divided between Danielle White, the Director General of Sectoral Policy at Indigenous Services Canada, provided some fantastic insight about the tools that all Canadians can use when having conversations around Truth and Reconciliation.

We met with accomplished journalist and reporter, Amanda Connolly who currently works at Global News as a National Online Journalist. She honestly answered our questions about the quick changes happening in journalist writing and where she thinks it will take us in the future. We also met Senator Peter Beahm, who shared anecdotes of his illustrious career in the foreign and public service. We agreed that if we had the chance, we could have spoken with Mr. Beahm for hours, digging deeper and deeper into his accomplishments and experiences.

The rest of our day was spent at the Supreme Court of Canada. We met Justice Andromache Karakatsanis who explained the importance of the judicial system in Canada and the highlights of being a Judge in the highest court in Canada. Afterwards we got a “behind the scenes” tour of the Judges’ area, library and Supreme Court building before heading to our final event – a meet and greet with our generous sponsor the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) and the PIPs.

Overall, we had such a fantastic time in Ottawa! Thank you so much for the Parliamentary Internship Programme for generously hosting us, our fellow intern Jad El Tal for arranging our schedule, and our OLIP Administrative team who give us the resources to plan these events. You can check out all of our photos from Ottawa on our Facebook Page “OLIP Interns” and social media @olipinterns

We also want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday seasons and a safe beginning to 2019. 


Our Internship Thus Far



It’s official! We have been in our members’ offices for 5 weeks, and OLIP is in full swing. By now, the interns have learned how their office functions and how to best support their member. We have written member statements, questions, briefings, twenty minute hits in the house, and almost anything else you can think a staffer might write. We have sit in on a range of stakeholder meetings and are learning just how important individuals’ and groups’ voices are in advocating for change. Despite our busy schedules, we make sure to attend the majority of receptions — you will always be able to find at least two OLIP interns at any given reception.

We are cognizant of the fact that time is moving all too quickly. Already one month is gone, and we only have three left until our next placement. Our first study tour to Ottawa is approaching in two weeks. Also, our Fall Reception is one week from today!

This week, we also have the pleasure of hosting the interns from our sister program, the Parliamentary Internship Program (PIP). This is the first time the PIP interns have visited in five years, and it is wonderful to get to know them. We will be seeing them soon when we visit Ottawa.

We are learning a lot and enjoy ourselves during the process. We adore the job, and certainly do not take this opportunity for granted. If anyone is interested in who we are placed with, it is as follows:

  • Braelyn is placed with MPP Norm Miller, Parry Sound-Muskoka
  • Clara is placed with MPP Doug Downey, Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte
  • Hudson is placed with MPP Goldi Gamari, Carleton
  • Jad is placed with MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria, Brampton West
  • Janessa is placed with MPP Ross Romano, Sault Ste. Marie,
  • Linda is placed with MPP Laura Mae Lindo, Kitchener Centre
  • Munisha is placed with MPP Michael Mantha, Algoma-Manitoulin
  • Nikki is placed with MPP Marit Stiles, Davenport
  • Nish is placed with MPP Bhutila Karpoche, Parkdale-High Park
  • Peter is placed with MPP Kathleen Wynne, Don Valley West



OLIP Meets with CIBC

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Last Friday, on a cold and rainy afternoon, we were warmly greeted by Elisabeth Laratta and Meredith Taylor at the CIBC building in downtown Toronto. Elisabeth and Meredith are both Senior Managers of Government Relations at CIBC, a bank that OLIP is grateful to be sponsored by. During our meeting, Elisabeth and Meredith shared much about the work that they do and what it is like to be in government relations (GR) for one of five big banks in Canada. Both were kind enough to share their unique career paths, and how they ended up working for CIBC. The interns were quite impressed with the amount of experience they both have and what they have accomplished thus far — at such a young age! We learned a lot from both Elisabeth and Meredith, and appreciate the words of advice they gave to us as we start our careers.


Thank to Elisabeth and Meredith for taking time out of your busy days to meet with us, and thank you to CIBC for believing in and supporting OLIP.