Olivia on the Road: Winnipeg

April 17th, 2014 by Olivia Dorey

‘Olivia on the Hill‘ hit the road last Thursday when I flew out to Winnipeg, Manitoba to accompany Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House of Commons, at his first parliamentary outreach event. I arrived about 8 hours early for the event, so if you ever have a day to spend in the city, I can advise wandering The Forks with confidence! We finally met at the Fort Garry Hotel, along with Sonia L’Heureux, the Parliamentary Librarian, and John Beebe of Samara to start the event.

As people filed in, I chatted with teachers, community leaders and Nathan Unrau, an extremely cool 14-year-old who launched a program called Lunches With Love. The attendees were the guests of the Winnipeg-area MPs, four of whom were able to attend: Joyce Bateman, Joy Smith, Lawrence Toet and Rod Bruinooge. We caught up with them again the next day for, as Mr. Scheer called it, a ‘blitz’ of school visits!

I was offered the stage to open the ceremonies, and took the opportunity to do a ‘SparkNotes’ review of our programs, to thank the Speaker and his staff for the invitation, and most importantly to thank our teachers. It would be impossible for us to run the programs that we do without their enthusiasm, dedication, and inspiration.

Friday was a whirlwind tour of the Winnipeg downtown as I was lucky enough to accompany Mr. Scheer on his visits to five schools. As he exclaimed a handful of times, there were a lot of great questions asked by students. Here are a few examples:

  • How do you run as a candidate?
  • What kinds of skills do you need to be an MP?
  • What personal sacrifices are required to be an MP?
  • What is the most rewarding part of the job?
  • What was the most difficult ruling Scheer has made as Speaker?
  • Does the Speaker get to vote in the House of Commons?
  • Are MPs allowed to abstain from voting?
  • Are MPs allowed to change parties?
  • What do the people at the big table in front of the Speaker’s chair do?

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

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