Canadian Parliamentary Internship Program

Dear Dr. Baker:

I will take many things away from this experience and one of the most important is a new-found confidence that I didn't have before.

Every day was an opportunity to meet important people and listen to what they do, but what led to my confidence was the fact that after they had introduced themselves and given a quick bio they turned and asked questions about me. The fact that these extremely busy individuals took the time to talk to me with undivided attention was a highlight from the trip.

Another thing I can take away from this trip is a clearer understanding of how the Canadian Parliament works. What I witnessed here is something you can't get from a class or a book. Seeing how Parliament works first hand gave me a deeper understanding of this country. I went into this program thinking that the U.S and Canada were basically the same, but I now have a better understanding and respect for what makes Canada different and unique.    

 Sincerely, Felicity Peabody

Dr. Baker;

Although I spent a lot of my time in Canada at work, I also got to meet many important people and see many historic sites. Meeting everyone participating in the program on the first day and walking around Parliament Hill the first day was a great way for me to get a feel for Ottawa and for the entire program. That day it was also nice to meet the Senate pages and ask them about their experiences. The visit to Rideau Hall, the next day, was one of my favorite places we visited during our trip. I loved the trees planted by the different dignitaries during their trips to Canada and I enjoyed seeing the beautiful Rideau Hall full of Canadian history. I thought it was also very nice that we got to visit the Museum of Civilization on the other side of the Ottawa River. During our visit to the museum, I learned a lot about Canadian aboriginals, which I feel was a great way to begin my trip to Canada.

After almost a full work week, we took a road trip to Quebec. I really enjoyed walking around Old Quebec, which is very beautiful but also very different from the rest of Canada. During this weekend, I also spent a few hours in Montreal. I liked walking around Montreal; however, I would have liked to have had a tour of the city. After our weekend trip to Quebec, it was back to work. I definitely learned a lot over the next few weeks as I researched issues of importance to Canadians.

During our third week in Ottawa, we had three more days of events. On Tuesday, we learned more about the Senate with two senators and we also heard from U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman. I definitely enjoyed and learned a lot from both events. The day after we heard from House Speaker Andrew Sheer who was a very cheerful man who was more than happy to explain to us his role in the House. The next day, the Deputy Clerk of the House informed us about her role and about House proceedings. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned during this meeting as well as during our visit to the U.S. Embassy.

            Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Canada and I will definitely recommend this experience to my friends who are interested in studying abroad or are interested in going into politics. I think that the supplemental events included in this program are very beneficial to the interns and an essential part of the experience.

 Sincerely, Victoria Stanisauskis

Dear Dr. Baker;

As an intern, I frequently responded to constituent mail, which required me to be in close contact with the various ministries. I also organized meetings with representatives from various Canadian organizations and other high-ranking government officials in collaboration with my Legislative Assistant. Additionally, while my presence heavily impacted the dynamic of my office, my office had a reciprocal effect on me. Initially uncertain of my specific policy areas of interest, I developed keen enthusiasm for the intersection between national defense and international law. This came as a direct result of my involvement with the National Defense Committee, for which I read, analyzed, and summarized confidential reports on the current status of the Canadian military and Canadian defense spending.

            I also developed very close relationships with my Member of Parliament, Corneliu Chisu, and his Legislative Assistant, Matthew. Both of them were extremely personable people, and took me in as if I were one of their own. This made adapting to the office and the Canadian lifestyle much easier. I plan to stay in close contact with both of them for a long time. I hope to be able to return to Canada one day, whereupon I would make every attempt to visit both of them.

            The special events were tremendously helpful in familiarizing myself with Canada, and more specifically Ottawa. I especially appreciated the fact that most of the events were planned for the earlier stages of the program. This made it much easier to develop close relationships with the other interns as quickly as possible, because it forced us to mingle. I also enjoyed meeting important people within the Canadian government, such as the Speakers of the House and the Senate, as well at the American Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman.

            In conclusion, participating in the Canadian Parliamentary Internship Program was extremely beneficial, and I will make a strong effort to suggest to younger students at Ohio State majoring in Political Science to participate in the program as well. Finally, I appreciate the effort that Dr. Ripley and [you] put into the program to ensure that the students had the greatest possible experience.

 Cheers, Vincent Salem

Dr. B:  

I could not be more grateful to have been placed with such wonderful, caring, and intelligent people. It is a group which is, at least at this point, all women. I got to sit in on committee meetings as well as other important meetings with women's groups from across Canada in Irene's office. I was also able to write articles for the newspaper concerning Irene's stance on important issues at hand. I created an equality report concerning women's issues: the progress that has been made and what still needs to be done. This equality report is set to be sent out to everyone in Irene's riding.

Other than that I was able to write around 70 constituency letters which went straight to Irene and then back to me where I sent them out directly. Of these letters some were made into form letters which the office uses to answer email topics of which large volumes are received. As far as events are
concerned I was always made aware of the events happening on the hill and was able to go to any committee meeting or question period whenever I pleased. My office was even nice enough to invite me to a baby shower for one of the women who was on maternity leave from the office.

Allison Miller, Kentucky

Dr. Baker;

I would just like to thank you for the chance to have the amazing experience that was our time on Parliament Hill. I know I speak for the vast majority of the interns when I say that it was one of the best times of my life - far exceeding any incoming expectations I had and giving me some lifelong friends that I know I will keep in contact with for a long time.

Two weekends ago I actually went to Ohio State where I met up with some of the interns for the weekend. I also visited Marisol and Priscilla in Cancun in July. Whenever we discuss our time in Canada, phrases such as "best time of my life" and "unforgettable" always come up. I know my time in Canada has helped shape me into a more knowledgeable and employable person, as well as given me memories for a lifetime.

Chris Moroz, Illinois

Dr. Baker,

I wanted to share these pictures with you from my time in Ottawa. Thanks to my Member of Parliament, David Tilson, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people on the Hill. Of course, the most exciting person I was able to meet was the Prime Minister at his garden party! I also met Mrs. Harper and Minister Moore at the party. It was definitely a night I will never forget.

I wanted to thank you for coordinating this program and also accepting me to participate! Being in  Ottawa I learned a lot not just about Canada but also about the way our political system here works in comparison. The five weeks flew by but I will be talking about those weeks for the rest of my life I am sure.

I hope you are enjoying the rest of your summer.
Thanks again, Nicole Spaetzel

Intern Letters to Dr. Baker - Pre-2015

Copyright © Canadian Parliamentary Internship Program run by Dr. James T. Baker. All rights reserved.

Dr. Baker,

On May 9th 2015, I embarked on a groundbreaking experience. I came to Canada to study their parliamentary system and at the same time intern for a senator through the Canadian Parliamentary Internship program. The time I spent in Canada although short was well spent.

On my first day as intern I was given a warm welcome, introduced to a couple of senators and shown around the office by my senator, Senator Mobina Jaffer. I had meeting with Senator Jaffer and talked to me about the projects she would want to work on with me.

I was entrusted with a research project on Boko Haram starting from their history, to what they are doing currently and looming threats of the insurgency and possible ways to curb the insurgency. I also together with the senator came up with ideas on embarking on a new campaign to rescue the abducted Chibok girls in Nigeria. I wrote blogs about the history of Boko Haram which was uploaded on the senator’s blog. Working on Boko Haram opened my eyes to the atrocities this particular terrorist group is committing. Before, although I had read in the news one of their infamous kidnapping, I had not imagined the great burden this terrorist group poses to society.

I wrote statements which the senator read in the senate on Bill S-227, a bill about respecting national sickle cell awareness day. As part of the program on May 15th, we had a trip to Quebec, a province in Canada. We were given a tour to the Quebec National Assembly and a tour of the old city of Quebec. Old Quebec still has fortification and a citadel which was the city’s two main defensive works. It was an educative exposing me to French Canada. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of old Quebec and how distinct a city Quebec is even with their legislative assembly.

 Cheers, Louisa Edzie