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  • Writer's pictureOLIP Interns

2nd MPP Placement: Kaitlin x MPP Guy Bourgouin

For my second placement, I had the honour of working with MPP Guy Bourgouin of Mushkegowuk-James Bay, the Official Opposition Critic for Francophone Affairs, Mining, and Natural Resources and Forestry. Mushkegowuk-James Bay is the most northeastern riding in Ontario, which includes many remote Francophone and First Nations communities. While it is physically one of the largest ridings, it is one of the least populated, with approximately 25,000 constituents, half of whom speak French. A key takeaway from this placement was the unique challenges faced in the north, particularly road safety, access to health care, and the effects of climate change on the James Bay coast. 

In MPP Bourgouin’s office, I enjoyed drafting letters of support, managing the correspondence for municipal council resolutions, and researching information for several Private Members Bills. I found the PMB research particularly enlightening as they were on policy areas I knew very little about: the transfer of assets on hunting traplines, hunting regulations regarding baiting near dwellings, truck driver training on winter road conditions, and free, prior, and informed consent in the mining industry. I also enjoyed creating social media content, updating his speaking notes, and drafting several questions for Question Period. I was able to also join MPP Bourgouin in many meetings and functions related to the Franco-Ontarian community and the natural resources sector, which was particularly interesting to learn about. 

I also had the privilege of visiting MPP Bourgouin’s riding of Mushkegowuk-James Bay. This visit was the most north I’ve ever travelled in Ontario, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! I was able to visit Kapuskasing, Hearst, and even had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly over the James Bay coast and visit Fort Albany First Nation. A particular highlight for me was in Fort Albany, specifically the community walk-in clinic MPP Bourgouin hosted and taking a helicopter ride with the Deputy Chief, who pointed out where the wildfires occurred in the region. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of the area, such as the Reesor Siding strike of 1963 and how Kapuskasing was the site of one of the largest internment camps in Canada during World War I. 

Thank you to MPP Bourgouin, legislative assistant Adriana, and constituency staff Mélanie, Jessica, Stephanie and Shirley, for their guidance and support, and for providing such a pleasant and unique experience in the opposition! 

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