Larysa-Lubka Lewyckyj reports on her first 2 weeks at the MP’s office:
It’s been two weeks on the Hill so far, and I’ve begun to settle into my MP’s office. I’m working for Michael Levitt, a Liberal Member of Parliament in the York Centre riding in Toronto. I have an interest in foreign affairs, and this week he was just promoted to the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, so it has been a busy first two weeks at the office! The highlight of my time so far has been getting to know how everything in Parliament works, meet new people and being able to sit in on committee meetings, which are always very interesting. I’m looking forward to checking back in another few weeks, so stay tuned!
I’m originally from Toronto, but I’ve been living in Ottawa for a year now. I graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours B.A. in History and Political Science, with a concentration in Canadian history and international relations. I recently completed my M.A. of History at Carleton University, where I focused on Canadian foreign relations, specifically Canada-U.S. relations. I’ve also always been actively involved in the Ukrainian-Canadian community – I spent four summers working at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Ontario Branch, I’m the Vice President of the Carleton Ukrainian Students Club, and I’ve been a lifelong member of Plast! I found out about the program through the Carleton Ukrainian Student Club – they shared a link for opportunities for students who would be graduating soon, which included this internship!
I think the most important thing that I’ve learned so far is to be ready for anything. The work that I start off doing in the morning is not necessarily the work that I’ll end up doing at the end of the day, and there are constantly new opportunities to learn new skills coming up, and new experiences, which makes for a very interesting, fast-paced work environment. It’s been a great experience so far!
I’ve done such a wide range of work already – I’ve answered correspondence from constituents, I’ve been able to sit in on meetings of the Foreign Affairs committee and the Human Rights committee, I’ve done research on policy and bills, I’ve worked on creating social media content for my MP, and I’ve done some outreach work with the riding. I think throughout this internship, I will really develop a varied skill set, which is important!
I’ve met so many new people since I started this internship, all of whom have been interesting and knowledgeable in what they do. I’ve met other MP’s and their staff, ambassadors, other interns (including the interns from the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program), and a wide range of others. Meeting people is definitely a perk of this job!
Volodymyr Palagniuk reports on his first 2 weeks on the Parliament Hill:
My name is Volodymyr Palagniuk, I am Parliamentary Intern of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, working at the Office of The Hon. Peter Kent, MP for Thornhill, ON.
My involvement with the Ukrainian-Canadian community started after my first week of arrival to Canada 4 years ago. During those days, I participated in the events of Euromaidan Toronto and volunteered for a couple of local organizations. After a year, my family and I decided to organize a centralized celebration of Vyshyvanka Day in Toronto. That was the beginning of Vyshyvanka Association. Now cooperating with 7 provinces in the coordination of this modern celebration in Canada, it also offers a Canada-wide program of presenting the first embroidered shirt to every newborn Ukrainian Canadian, delivers educational, informational and entertainment projects.
My volunteer experience and work at Meest Corporation Inc. gave me an opportunity to be constantly engaged in hromada, and that’s how I found about the Parliamentary Internship Program.
I decided to apply because Politics has been of interest to me for a long time. In Ukraine, I received a Master`s Degree in Political Science from Chernivtsi National University. Also, for years I have worked with different political parties, politicians, not-for-profit organizations; participated in and organized student movements.
On Parliament Hill, I am working at the office of the Hon. Petern Kent, Conservative Member of Parliament for Thornhill. During the first two weeks, I was introduced to the materials of the “Breach of Personal Information Involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook” case that is investigated by the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. I have reviewed the results of previous meetings, researched for deeper details, and prepared a list of thoughts about the further process. After that, I had a chance to participate in the Committee meetings and recommended some questions to be asked to witnesses.
I think I’m lucky to work with the Hon. Peter Kent, Michael Schurter and Devon Gale, because every day of my Parliamentary Internship teaches me something new: from tips of working on the Hill to practising speechwriting, to understanding fundamental differences between Ukrainian and Canadian politics.
And at the end of the first month in Ottawa, I want to say Thank You to all team members of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Ihor Michalchyshyn, Connor Moen, Mariana Savka, Cassian Soltykevych for constant support, interesting meetings with great Ukrainian-Canadians who are on the top of Canadian politics, and for involvement in other projects within our community.
More to come!