Olivia on the Hill: Shipley, Eyking and Garrison

July 8th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

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. 

Today’s blog recaps Olivia’s meetings with MPs Bev Shipley, Mark Eyking and Randall Garrison.


Meet Mr. Shipley; Conservative MP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, which is larger than PEI, and contains six reserves. His own civic education took place not in school, but hands-on in the community; his first role as a ‘deputy’ was as an arbitrator, settling disputes along property lines.

Bev Shipley

He was thrilled to hear about the Student Budget Consultation, exclaiming that “this is really, really important, this thing you’re doing! We don’t get that kind of training in school”. Mr. Shipley sees visits to school as part of his role as a federal representative because “the administration of schools is provincial, but bringing knowledge of the political field is everyone’s responsibility.” Teachers, he says, make all the difference in class visits, and suggests that if a class isn’t well prepared, then that present a barrier between him and the students.

You can also visit Bev Shipley’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Meet Mr. Eyking; Liberal MP for Sydney-Victoria. From the get-go, he made it clear that students should know that their elected representatives are concerned about their thoughts. He was interested in the Rep Day program, because he believes that it is important to “create a forum in which students can ask the hard questions.” Mr. Eyking suggested that while it’s important for teachers and students to be prepared, that Members of Parliament should be prepared for these visits to classes too!

Mark Eyking

Being the representative of a very rural riding, he has many schools to tend to, and long distances to travel between; for example, his riding boasts no less than eight high schools and three First Nations schools. He calls on students to get involved with a party – “doesn’t matter which!” – and acknowledges that it’s “very important to have role models when you’re starting out.”

You can also visit Mark Eyking’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.


Meet Mr. Garrison; NDP MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. As one of the few openly gay parliamentarians, he shared some of the impacts that has had on his interactions with students and schools is his riding. He often has the chance to visit social issues classes to discuss his job and the LGBT community. Before becoming an MP, he was a college educator for twenty years, specializing the areas of criminal justice and politics.

Randall Garrison

Many MPs are confronted with difficulties in involving themselves into the schools in their communities, though many send out annual letters introducing themselves and offering their time. Mr. Garrison was no exception, but when he didn’t receive much response from the administration, he built a network of individual teachers who now frequently invite him to discuss with their students.

You can also visit Randall Garrison’s website and Member of Parliament Profile.

Stay tuned for more of Olivia’s meetings!

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