The Hill Times on the internship after the 2003 session of Parliament:
'Internship programs are a win-win': Maloney
By Sima Kotecha
PARLIAMENT HILL--Every summer, Parliament Hill welcomes more than 50 interns from across the globe. From the United States to the Ukraine, interns
come to Ottawa to gain valuable work experience, enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Parliament Hill and capture its unique feel by enrolling in a summer
internship program. For five to 10 weeks, the MPs' offices are flooded by young people who are eager to experience life in politics and gain a sense of
Interns apply to work on Parliament Hill through various university or college programs. On an annual basis students are given the opportunity to work for a
Canadian MP or Senator. Before coming to Ottawa, students are questioned about their political views and then are placed in an office according to their
interests. It is not only the interns who benefit from this whole process suggests Liberal MP John Maloney, who represents Erie-Lincoln, Ont., and is an avid
supporter of interns. "There are no losers. Internship programs are always a win-win situation. Not only do we challenge the interns, but they also challenge
us by asking intelligent questions and presenting us with political cultural differences."
"Part of the application process involved questions regarding political interest and affiliation. I will be applying to the joint J.D. program at University of
Ottawa, so Mr. Maloney's placement on the Justice Committee was of particular interest to me," Kim Nelson, a U.S. intern, told The Hill Times. But working
on the Hill is not always easy. Interns are intellectually challenged as they are assigned a range of complex tasks such as dealing with everyday
correspondences, composing promotional literature, carrying out regular administrative duties and trying to help manage angry constituents. For those
students who are looking for hands-on office experience, this opportunity provides valuable skills that will help with future employment opportunities.
Throughout the summer period, the Parliamentary calendar is packed with social events ranging from the Prime Minister's Garden Party to the Brewer's BBQ
in the West Block courtyard held last month in Ottawa. "The social events on the Hill are amazing. Not only do we have a good time but we also get to meet
the Prime Minister of Canada!" said Nikki Haney, an American intern working for Liberal MP Dennis Mills, who represents Toronto-Danforth, Ont. The Prime
Minister's Garden Party was definitely the highlight of the summer. Every June, the PM invites Hill staff to his home and hosts a garden gathering with a buffet
and drinks. This year, all Liberal interns attended the function and got the chance to meet and greet the man himself. The interns are made very welcome
and are given the opportunity to meet official staff and mingle with those who share a passion for politics.
James T. Baker, a history professor...organizes the U.S. internship program on Parliament Hill and has been doing so for the last four years. "Each year I
am overwhelmed by the way people in Ottawa and at Parliament welcome our interns, work so hard to make their experience beneficial, and encourage us to
come back. To me that is the Canadian Spirit, and I hope it lives forever".
Sima Kotecha, who is on an internship from Britain, has been a communications intern with Liberal MP Dennis Mills' office on Parliament Hill.
© July 28, 2003 The Hill Times
U.S. INTERNS TO THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENT SEE HISTORY AS IT IS MADE
On a warm night in May, 2005, twenty-nine U.S. Interns to Parliament watched as the Liberal minority government of Prime Minister Paul Martin came within
an eyelash of falling in a vote of confidence.
Most of Dr. James Baker’s interns gained access to the House of Commons gallery with passes issued by the offices in which they worked for five weeks in
May and June. Others watched the dramatic events on television from their offices, and a few stood in lobbies outside the Commons listening to the
alternating cheers and groans from Members within, as the vote wavered from side to side.
The vote ended in a tie, with Speaker Peter Milliken casting the decisive vote to keep the government in place. All of the interns reported to Dr. Baker their
emotions at seeing history being made. They all reflected the attitudes of the parties with whom they were working during their internships. Students
working with Liberal M.P.s were as happy as if their universities had won an important sports match. Those with New Democrats were happy but considered
their party’s support of confidence part of a marriage of convenience, since it enabled the government to get on with the job of passing a far more socially-
oriented budget than the Liberals would have enacted alone.
Those with Conservative offices were disappointed but philosophical, vowing to wait for another chance to end the minority government. And those with the
Bloc Quebecois simply shrugged and said the whole scene was folly. The event demonstrated once more the value of having U.S. students work with the
offices of Members of the Canadian Parliament.
Their experiences in May 2005 have given them understanding of the Canadian system of government and prepared them to be players in what Dr. Baker
hopes will be greater U.S.- Canada cooperation and mutual achievement in the future.