Sunday, July 23, 2006

Overheard in an NDP constituency Office

I had to wait until my event was over before posting this. This event occurred on Tuesday July 18th:

But first a little background information. The Summer Work Student Exchange is a federal program and was started by an MP. In the Spring I recruited students to be a part of the program and selected the best six to become participants. At the same time in francophone regions in Canada, coordinators selected students to come to an anglophone part of Canada to have the opportunity to use their second language in a work environment. In July these students trade homes with a student from a francophone region. They work with local NPOs and participate in cultural activities on the weekend.

On one of the weekends, we have a day set aside called 'Volunteer Day' where students give back to the community that has opened its doors and hearts to them during this exchange. The charity chosen by the SWSE executives was Breakfast For Learning ( As a coordinator I had to plan and implement an activity that would raise money for volunteer day. I also had strict guidelines imposed by the organization: It had to be cheap, it had to be fun, and it had to have the ability to work rain or shine. I chose to do a pancake breakfast.

It was really hard to find a community space in which to hold this breakfast. So I called my local MP. We had previously met when I introduced myself to her as the coordinator for her riding and I told her about the program and why as an MP it's important for her to know about it. She was also my English teacher in high school (the worse English teacher I had actually). When we were desperate, and considering having a car wash or BBQ instead I called my MP (and assistants) to ask their advice about community space and they offered their office.

Fast forward to last Tuesday:

Today I was doing a recce of the venue where I will be holding a pancake breakfast for my Volunteer Day with my exchange students. My local MP has opened their constituency office to us to hold our pancake breakfast. As I was taking note of the number of chairs and tables and looking at their kitchen facilities I overheard a phone conversation by one of the constituency assistants. Now, this conversation isn't verbatim because I didn't write it down until about 3 minutes after it was said, when I got the idea to write about it here. The constituency assistant here is in his late 20s early 30s

Constituency Assistant: "Nah, forget the cottage, there are things there that have to be done."

Other person on the phone: [...]

Constituency Assistant: "We live in exciting time, man."

Other Person: [...]

Constituency Assistant: "No, we'll bring the government down this fall. No question about it!"

I Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting have to give the guy credit. He is very dedicated in what he does. But when I heard him say that, my jaw dropped and I turned around staring and then rolled my eyes. They have no clue sometimes. Why bring the government down just for the sake of it? Harper is doing a damn fine job. Look at all he did in the first few months of office and how the Liberals so little in their 12 years in office. Why bring the government down? Like Canadians really want another election. No clue......

The other funny thing was, during the breakfast I was speaking to Irene (yes I'm on a first name basis with her). And I was telling her my future education plans (finish my undergrad and do MA in Sociology) and she told me that next time I'm in London to call her office and we'll have lunch. Me. I have been invited to go out for lunch with an MP. Pretty cool, except I didn't vote for her, and don't agree with any of the. But it's always good to keep bridges, because you'll never know when you need them.

Another MP story. I came to my new house in Peterborough to drop off my first and last cheques and my roommate's dad was there. Right off the bat he asked me, I forget how he worded it, but basically asked me who I voted for (but in a polite way). I sheepishly said, 'Conservative'. "ok, you're alright then" he said with a laugh. He was the MP for Norfolk-Haldimand in the 1980s.

I'm very much interested in politics, and in high school people said I would be good for it because of my social skills and being on the debate team. Maybe one of these days I will bite the bullet and run.

Would you vote for me?


Blogger BBS said...

"I sheepishly said, 'Conservative'. "ok, you're alright then" he said with a laugh."

Nice to see you passed the test!

Sun Jul 23, 06:51:00 PM EDT  

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