For the past five months, I’ve had the tremendous privilege of interning in an MP’s office. Notwithstanding the difficulties of working remotely due to the pandemic, this was an opportunity like no other. As clichéd as this may sound, it’s shocking how quickly things are coming to a close, but my final weeks allow me to reflect.
In February, I began working for the office of Daniel Blaikie, who represents Winnipeg’s riding of Elmwood-Transcona. Because of the five critic profiles he holds in the House (in addition to his constituency work), I had no shortage of tasks. Whether it’s writing letters and summarizing committee reports, helping with constituency correspondence and outreach, or taking on and completing other projects that were placed on the backburner – all were windows into the daily responsibilities of our elected officials and their staff.
By obtaining this practical knowledge and lived experience, I found a greater appreciation of politics and Canadian governance.
My time as an intern allowed me to apply politics as a service and governance endeavour rather than a strictly academic pursuit. This was a much different environment from my days of election volunteering, discussing political concepts and theories in the classroom, and writing research papers, though these experiences proved useful in my work. Here, I could witness politics in its natural setting and how an MP’s work translated into actual policies and decision-making on a routine basis.
Working both as a team and independently proved incredibly important. Very frequently, I was expected to contribute ideas and thoughts on certain projects. Other times, I could take the initiative. This allowed me to discover more about myself and become more confident and comfortable applying my skills to real scenarios.
Having been provided all these opportunities, I can attest to the advantages of the UCC Parliamentary Internship program. On a personal level, it offers and tests new skills that are flexible to any career. On a broader scale, I would acknowledge this: Understanding governance and representation leads us to recognize where and how we can serve one another better. And to serve one another means we contribute to a greater mission of a fairer country for all, particularly as the need for Reconciliation becomes increasingly urgent. Canada’s founding principle of “Peace, Order, and Good Governance” reflects this broader lesson quite well.
Equally significant for Ukrainian Canadians is political representation. As we bear witness to reforms undertaken in Ukraine and the continued threats to its sovereignty, our community continues to express an interest in Canada’s foreign affairs and trade relations. Moreover, our community’s role in strengthening multiculturalism and Canada’s diversity highlights the need for such engagement.
I end this internship months before I will finally, and safely, head to Ottawa. There, I will begin a Master’s in International Affairs at Carleton University. This internship serves as a welcomed introduction to what I can expect from the coming years of studying and working in our nation’s capital. My future success will be an attribute to Daniel Blaikie and his staff’s guidance and kindness, as well as to the UCC’s gracious opportunity and my family’s unending love and support.
Through the UCC Parliamentary Internship Program, we want to ensure that the Ukrainian Canadian community continues to play a significant role in shaping Canada’s political landscape and policies for decades to come. Find out more – About the UCC Parliamentary Internship Program