By Halyna Paliychuk, UCC Parliamentary Intern
10 months of my fantastic internship in Chrystia Freeland’s MP office on Parliament Hill have flown by so fast! This was a fabulous time full of learning, new friends and exciting experience. I would like to thank the whole Freeland team for their incredible support; the UCC team for all their assistance and guidance.
Thank you especially to all the generous sponsors of the UCC Parliamentary Internship Program, especially UNF Canada, without whose support this terrific opportunity would not have been possible!
And finally, of course, thank you to Chrystia Freeland –Diplomat not just of the year 2018, but one of the World’s #1 diplomats, and a role model for many. I felt privileged and honoured to be the part of her amazing team! Thank You!
I believe that UCC Internship is a dream opportunity for many young leaders like myself. It was a true privilege to be the first intern after a long break in the program, and it is very important for this program to continue.
For the incoming 2018-2019 interns, congratulations and I hope your experience will be as rewarding as mine! I will be around to mentor you and help in any way I can.
Some closing remarks and impressions
What I really liked on the Hill is that all Members of Parliament, including the Ministers, are very open and easy-going. Conversations in the elevator or at Hill receptions are common. This is how real democracy should work – to remain humble when you get power, and to remember that people have given you a credit of trust.
It’s not a secret that you build connections first, and then connections build you. Frequent events on the Hill helped me to understand the Hill culture, and to meet a lot of wonderful people of different backgrounds. Speaking of simplicity and networking, I would mention the Garden Party. There is a good tradition – every year before Parliament rises for the summer, the Prime Minister invites staffers to his residence on Sussex Drive for a reception. This is the way to say “thank you” for their dedicated work, and I think, this tradition should be implemented by the leaders of every country in the world.
One of the most valuable parts of my work on the Hill was to see the Canadian approach to team work, which can be compared to a Swiss clock (each part interacts with the other parts, creating a mechanism which works perfectly).
I spent hours talking to constituents and citizens of Canada and reading their feedback and recommendations. This helped to understand the expectations of people and pass that information to Members of Parliament. This is very important – to listen to and to hear others to be able to improve policies and govern the country better. And I am happy that Canadian government is good at it.
Attending Parliamentary committee meetings, as well as Question Period, helped me to learn in depth and first-hand about Parliamentary procedure and rules.
I think I was very lucky to witness important events, like the adoption of the Magnitsky Act. I was also present in the last House of Commons sitting in Centre Block, which will be closed for reconstruction for the next 10 years.
Plans for future
I am looking for opportunities to stay on the Hill and contribute, because I saw that it is possible to make a change for society when you are close to decision makers, and have appropriate knowledge, expertise and desire to make a difference.
Wish me good luck and have a wonderful summer!