Olivia on the Hill: Part Two
CIVIX team member Olivia Dorey is meeting with Members of Parliament to learn about the presence of politicians in schools and how we can build and improve our programs. Olivia has already met with MPs Scott Andrews, Manon Perreault and Mike Lake.
Olivia travelled home to Halifax for the holidays and also met with a few of her hometown MPs.
Megan Leslie is the NDP deputy leader, environment critic, and the MP for Halifax, Nova Scotia. She studied law at Dalhousie, and was elected to the House of Commons in 2011. Her “community office” is also used as an art gallery and has local events posted in the windows. She has most recently engaged local students through “Create Your Canada,” a contest developed by fellow NDP MP Nathan Cullen to encourage Grade 5 to 12 students to submit proposals for federal legislation. Leslie can also be found wandering the college and university campuses in her riding, holding talks and giving presentations.
Ms. Leslie’s riding includes two public high schools and over five private schools. When asked, she is only too happy to attend, and visits are booked through teachers who understand that she is accessible. During school visits, her talks often come back to the fact that she “is just someone from the community; I am just you. I do my best to make people understand that we rely on communities to become experts; I acknowledge our dependence as MPs on those members. I try to demystify who we are.”
Geoff Regan is the Liberal MP for Halifax West, and currently serving his sixth term, having only had one break in service since 1993. Mr. Regan, like Ms. Leslie, practiced law before running for office. He is married to Kelly Regan, the Liberal MLA for the provincial riding of Bedford. Geoff recently hosted his 114th “Let’s Talk” roundtable, an event open to community members and organizations.
Mr. Regan enjoys educational visits, particularly the question and answer portion. He says that he is most often invited to, and able to attend, ceremonial and fundraising events because of the way time in constituencies is allocated: MP “break weeks” often fall around ceremonies such as Remembrance Day, holiday concerts, and graduations. They also tend to make time for key fundraising events during the fall for organizations, and during the spring for schools. He interacts with youth often through the clubs with which his kids are involved, particularly Scouts. His goal in any interaction with students is to empower them to look at issues they care about and to ask themselves how to fix it.
Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!
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