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

Hello Dr. Baker,
I hope you are doing well.
I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to intern at the parliament this Summer (2015). It was a remarkable experience. I learned a lot about the Canadian parliamentary system through attending the Human Rights Committee, and the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities committee. The events on the hill were wonderful. I had the chance to speak to many people some from NGOs, parliamentarians, and other interns. Thank you for organizing the meetings with US ambassadors, and the visit to the US embassy. One of my highlights of this internship was the trip to Quebec City. I enjoyed touring the historical buildings and learning about the history. Thank you also for inviting us to the special lunch at the Ethiopian restaurant.
As I go back to British Colombia, I carry with me memories that will last for a  long time. I have become friends with interns from the US, and I will miss them very much. I had the opportunity to sit in for a case at the Supreme Court. It was a wonderful experience to see the court proceedings live. Perhaps you may want to suggest that for the future interns.
Dr. Baker,  I cannot overstate my gratitude for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
Kind regards, Tobe Kile

Professor Baker:

I don´t think I´ve thanked you enough for everything you´ve done for us, this Internship was the most amazing experience, I learned so many things and had so many opportunities I never even dreamt of having, like meeting the Prime Minister and the opposition leader, so many interesting events and committees, this was really a once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope that we are only the first of many Mexicans that have the honor of experiencing it.

Canada is an amazing country with the most beautiful cities, and living there for 5 weeks was incredible, getting to now the culture and the diversity of its people made me admire the country and made me aspire to hopefully contribute in making Mexico a bit similar in that way.  The interns in our program were extremely nice to us and hopefully we made some long lasting friendships, I met people that I will remember for the rest of my life, really special students that have a lot of great ideas on how to make this world a better place.

The people at my office where awfully nice and I learned so much from them, as a final assignment I got to write an article about my experience as an intern in Mr. Goldring´s office which will be published in the local newspaper of Edmonton East (Mr. Goldring´s riding), I also got to attend the Foreign Affairs committee which was very interesting for me since I´m majoring in International Studies and I could really comprehend the role of Canada in the international arena. Writing back to constituents which was one of my daily tasks made me learn so much from the actual concerns of Canadian citizens and the way the government is dealing with them. I guess just being backstage from everything that Canadian politics represent made me learn so much not only about Canada but about my country too, I hope that with this knowledge I can make a difference in my country for the better.

Hopefully, this is not the last you hear from me, thank you for trusting us and giving us this amazing opportunity.

Marisol Ruiz, Mexico

Doctor Baker:

In terms of work accomplished in the office, it has truly been an honor to work for Romeo Saganash. Working on such an important topic as indigenous rights with a man who is truly a superstar in the field has been quite the experience. From my first week in the office, I was creating a report on research I conducted to contribute to the NDP’s Northern platform for the upcoming federal election, as well as amendments to the Conservatives’ lackluster Nutrition North program. In doing this, I did extensive research into infrastructure, cutting edge solar, wind, and tidal energy technologies that could serve remote communities cut off from the North American power grid, and methods to efficiently and effectively build new housing to combat overpopulation in Northern communities. However, the most significant thing I did for this project was talk to various Chiefs and leaders from First Nations to better understand what they want the federal government to do for their communities. To my great satisfaction, my compiled work and statistics have been used at numerous press conferences, press releases, and used by several MPs on the floor of the House of Commons during QP and debate. Utilizing the above research, I assisted in crafting a speech for Romeo to be used on Opposition Day regarding Nutrition North and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

            Speaking of which, attending the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report with Romeo, Tom Mulcair, Niki Ashton, Jonathan Genest-Jourdain, Charlie Angus, and others was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Hearing the stories told about the residential schools was absolutely life changing. I would have to say that it certainly put in the back of my mind the idea of perhaps getting involved in Human Rights Law at some point. Another related experience, which may just have been the highlight of my trip, included many of the same individuals in Tom Mulcair’s office, sitting around the long table in the War Room in his office. Claudette Commanda, a very important and dynamic figure in First Nations communities, wanted to meet with Tom personally after the TRC to see if she wanted to switch her allegiance and influence from the Liberals to the NDP. So the meeting was arranged by Tom’s office, as well as my own. At the table sat Tom, Claudette, MPs Romeo, Niki, Matieu Ravignat, Christine Moore, Ana (Romeo’s LA), and then me—a lone intern among these powerful, and influential people in an office originally created for the Prime Minister—and currently held by the possible next Prime Minister who was sitting but five feet from me. I was expecting a very formal meeting—envisioning a scene from House of Cards or West Wing. But what I saw were people who all genuinely care about what happens to the indigenous peoples of Canada. Even though the meeting was in perhaps the most extravagant, beautiful office in Centre Block and consisted of people who in four months could the Prime Minister and ministers of essential departments, they were quite casual and frank with their guest. Politics were not being played in that room. Take away the suits and fancy War Room and it easily could have been a group of friends discussing politics in a coffee house. The difference of course being the sheer brilliance of people like Tom—whose demeanor, intelligence, and eloquence astounded me.

            I also appreciated the opportunities to have such fantastic speakers as Bruce Heyman, Andrew Sheer, and Leo Housakos. The fact that I can say I’ve met the leaders of three of the four largest parties (the exception being Prime Minster Harper, of course), the speakers of the House and Senate, multiple ambassadors, and more MPs than I can remember is a testament to the openness of Canada’s government. If I was involved in a comparable program in DC, I know that I wouldn’t have access even close to what I’ve become accustomed to in Ottawa. That was the reason I decided that I wanted to come to Ottawa and not DC in the first place—and it has been a fantastic decision. Thank you so much for making this all possible, Dr. Baker. The last five weeks have been one of the best times in my life and have certainly confirmed for me that a life in politics is something I would be very interested in. I just wish it could have been a longer program. I really don’t want to leave. My time in Ottawa has encouraged me to apply to add McGill and UToronto to the law schools I will be applying to in autumn, and will be taking French this upcoming year as well. I would be very happy to move up here and spend a bit more time on the Hill in the future.

  Zac Barnett

Dr. Baker,

I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to be one of your interns in the House of Commons this summer.  It was truly an experience I will never forget!  I also wanted to highly recommend placing someone in my office when you are looking for offices for interns next summer.  I was in the Office of David Anderson (Anna Marie Young as the LA). 

Mr. Anderson coordinated question period for the Conservative Party and let me sit in on meetings where they decided what topics would be asked, who would ask them, and then I helped to edit questions as MPs sent them in.  I also sat in on an opposition leaders meeting and therefore met various opposition party leaders.

Aside from QP,  I did background research and wrote talking points for Mr. Anderson’s speech for the Conservative Party’s motion to consider ISIS a genocide, I came up with questions that Mr. Anderson would use for subcommittee hearings, wrote Mr. Anderson’s Canada message, met many notable MPs including Andrew Sheer (Opposition House Leader), Rona Ambrose (Interim Leader of the Official Opposition), and Stephen Harper (former Prime Minister of Canada), and met two Ambassadors to Canada (Ambassador of Zambia and Ambassador of Venezuela).

I never would have imagined, before the trip, that the work I would be doing would be as important as mine was or that I would get to meet as many influential people as I did.  The experience truly exceeded my expectations, which is why I wanted to recommend my office for next summer.

Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to intern in Canada.  I have attached some of my photos to this email from my time in Canada.

Thank you,
Lauren Harris

Intern Letters to Dr. Baker

Dr. Baker:

My entire (2015) experience here has been wonderful; I have been able to do things like attend interesting receptions or see things from the insider’s point of view. But of my time spent in Canada, being in the constituency was my favorite part. This was the only time I had the chance to get to know Carol outside of our day to day work routine. While we were waiting between flights, Carol asked me if I had any questions. The first thing I asked was, “What do you like most about this job?” and she said, “All the different people I get to meet.” I didn’t think much of that response at the time, but now I understand – the best part of this entire experience is the people I have met, especially in the riding.

The people of Elliot Lake and Manitoulin Island – the places I spent the most time while in Northern Ontario – are unlike people anywhere else. This could especially be seen in places like the Aundeck Omni Kaning Pow Wow we attended or the D-Day and Decoration Day ceremonies we celebrated. Hearing about their experiences and concerns provided a different perspective than in Ottawa.

Watching Carol and her staff work every day over five weeks has taught me a lot about just that, enacting change. There is much more to changing things for the better than just wishing for it. Every small detail that is contributing to a goal is important. Putting the effort into smaller details is just as important as the energy throw into bigger items and grander details. Carol and her office have shown me first hand that when these details come together they become something – they become change. As a young adult who aspires to change things, the opportunity to see this process unfold every day in the office was exciting and something I can take with me in my future endeavors.

 Sincerely, Taylor Phillips

Dear Dr. Baker:

[In 2015] I worked in the office of Peter Julian.

Mr. Julian is an extremely busy and involved Member of Parliament, so while he was often gone in meetings or debates there was plenty of work to be done. My main role in the office was to work on projects that could be completed quickly – within a day or two – that had long-term applications. This includes drafting and finalizing constituent petitions, drafting a letter to a cabinet minister, editing opinion editorials, writing my own opinion editorial, drafting letters of recognition to constituents and newly elected officials, and doing research on and compiling polling statistics for presentation.

In addition, I contributed research to and edited internal documents dealing with the NDP’s role as interveners in the Trans Mountain Pipeline project. I also attended Natural Resource Committee meetings, important presentations about future energy policy strategies for Canada, legislative meetings, Question Period, and meetings with foreign lobbyists, again dealing with national energy policy. I summarized these meetings and provided brief memos to my Member of Parliament to give him the salient points of each meeting.

Things in my office went smoothly, and I got along great with the legislative assistant, Henri Sader.

 Adam Stout

Good Afternoon Dr. Baker,

I wanted to deeply thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime. I have truly learned so much more than I even dreamed of doing. I also gained such invaluable office experience along with making many connections I believe will last a lifetime. I truly felt as though I had an impact in Canadian politics, and it further encourages my goals of being a future politician. I absolutely loved every last second of working with Romeo Saganash and in his office and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Many Deep Thanks/Merci beaucoup,

Isaac Ortiz

Thank you so much for this program Dr. Baker!

This is my first study abroad and it has been an incredible experience. I have always found the Westminster style of governing very interesting since it seems to be the most exportable form of democracy. Plus the efficiency of this model is outstanding, however I now have further insight to why it wouldn't work in America.

I also wanted to say thanks for arranging my internship with Dr. Bennett. She is an incredible Member of Parliament who is very dedicated to what she does. It was nice to hear her stories as Minister and her travels around the world. She is a great influence, to not only me, but for all politicians. I got the privilege of going with her to meet Members of Parliament from Commonwealths under the Queen. Not only was it awesome for me to meet these people, but you could see their admiration for Carolyn. Her staff was also wonderful. Her Legislative Assistant began his career in politics under the two previous Liberal governments. He served as Chief of Staff for two Ministers. He shared experiences that he has had such as dinners with President Bush and stories with Vice President Biden (the Minister and he were drinking buddies!)

Thanks again Dr. Baker. I hope to stay in touch in upcoming years. If you need anyone to speak with incoming interns about the
trip, don't hesitate to contact me.