In early November of this year, I had the absolute pleasure and privilege to begin a co-op internship with our Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Federal MP Francis Drouin. I’ve known Mr. Drouin since I was 14 when he came to speak at my civics class. After discovering my passion for politics, he invited me to spend the day with him at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
I’ve loved politics for a longtime, and so last year when I was choosing my grade 12 classes at École Secondaire Catholique Régional de Hawkesbury (ESCRH), I contacted Mr. Drouin and asked if he would be willing to take me on as an intern and he said yes without hesitation. So after his re-election, I started on a new journey.
I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but I quickly learned that the job is not 9 to 5. The hours depend on what you’re doing and where you have to go. It can range from 11 to 2, to 6 am to 7 pm. On quieter days, we are at his office in Hawkesbury where I help out with things like filing and other simple tasks. But most days are more exciting than that. I was living in Ottawa for the 2 weeks that parliament was in session in December. I attended debates, question period and votes. But my favourite part was the election of the speaker. It was so much fun to watch Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer drag the new speaker to his chair. I also got to meet all three major political leaders.
Sometimes we go to his office in Ottawa, where he gives me tasks like finding information for constituents, or booking appointments with mayors.
But my favorite part, is doing business in the riding. We met several mayors to discuss their priorities. We have attended events like a young entrepreneurs breakfast, and meetings with people ranging from everyday constituents to Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa. Mr. Drouin is also constantly on the phone. And they’re not always happy calls. During the CN strike, he was constantly getting calls from farmers and suppliers, growing more and more worried and impatient with the freeze in propane supply in the middle of harvesting season no less.
Overall, it was an amazing experience! And by the time you read this, my first semester will likely be over, marking the end of my internship. Meaning back to normal classes. The transition will be difficult after all this excitement. But the purpose of a co-op, is to give a student the chance to try out a job to see if it meets his interests. Well, I can say with certainty that I want to pursue a career in politics. I have more to learn and look forward to the journey ahead.
Francis, I cannot thank you enough for your generosity and giving me this incredibly unique experience! And thanks to Louise Sproule, the first half of my semester as a student journalist was enlightening. I loved working at The Review where I learned so much in such a short time. Thank you both.