#YOUthInOffice: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada in Parliament!

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Participation Tuesday, May 31, 2016 View Count = 4703

#YOUthInOffice: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada in Parliament!

On May 31st, 2016, Democracy Talks partners the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, in association with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, host the third annual #YOUthInOffice day on Parliament Hill. Throughout the day, MPs from all parties, including party leaders, will be shadowed by young people from across the country—allowing them unprecedented access to the inner workings of Parliament, and inspiring the next generation of leaders in the process.

To celebrate the occasion, we're delighted to once again share a blog by Rachel Barry about her #YOUthInOffice experience in 2014.


I was selected for the 2nd annual Youth in Office held on Parliament Hill on November 3-4th 2014. This event is put on by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. It matches 100 youth from across Canada with Members of Parliament and their staff for a day. This blog entry is about my experience.

I arrived in Ottawa at almost 1 am and as my cab drove into the city, I was reminded again of how beautiful our capital truly is, with its historic buildings and the gorgeous river and canal. The next day started early. I went through security and received a Parliamentary day-pass allowing me access to restricted areas (pretty amazing!). I walked to a breakfast reception in the Speaker’s Lounge and chatted with various MPs and staffers until I found the MP I would be shadowing for the day, Mr. Wayne Easter, MP for Malpeque (PEI). The day kicked off with a Liberal tactic meeting. It was amazing to see ideas turn into questions for the Government. We then went to the War Memorial for a wreath laying ceremony. This was an especially poignant moment after the events that took place just a week before at the same site. Back at Mr. Easter’s office, I sat in on an interesting interview by Josh Wingrove of the Globe and Mail, who wanted to know about Bill C-44 (Protection of Canada from terrorists) and next year’s election.

I made the short trip to Centre Block via the small green buses to hear Mr. Easter speak in the House. I sat in the Opposition Lobby—a furnished room off of the House of Commons that has food and drink available for members. This was a rare opportunity to see a part of politics that most people never have access to, and for me to meet many Liberal caucus members. So much gets done in the lobby, between the meals, beverages, and jokes. MPs discuss ideas and meet with other parties. These discussions continue on the 6th floor in the parliamentary restaurant, where I saw Mr. Mulcair and the Speaker of the House.  

I also had a chance to watch Question Period from the public viewing area. This is the time that most people think of when they think of government; both sides sparing back and forth and never really answering anything. It was different watching that day, having seen the preparation Liberal MPs had undertaken and how questions discussed earlier that morning were posed and answered.  

That marked the end of a day that has left a lasting impression on me. From seeing parts of Centre Block that most Canadians will never see, to meeting so many MPs that I lost count, the day was full of insight into how our country is run and why as an everyday Canadian and youth I should care about and be active in politics.

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