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Our Meeting with Dr. Graham White

We were fortunate to meet with Dr. Graham White, who started his career as an intern in OLIP’s first cohort and has since become an expert in the study of Queen’s Park and provincial legislatures.

As he recalled his experience as an intern in the 1976-1977 cohort, he reflected on the inception of OLIP. He explained that the Programme arose during a time of great change for the legislative bureaucracy. Whereas we are grateful for the full-service research unit at the Legislative Library today, these services did not exist in the 1970s. Dr. White explained that all the legislative personnel could fit into just one room back then, so we are even more thankful to have all the legislative services available to help support our work in our placements.

During OLIP’s early years, interns had to maintain strong non-partisanship to keep the faith of MPPs and to make the programme successful. We were reminded of the significance of non-partisanship to our work as interns and of maintaining trust from all sides of the Chamber.

In addition to being among the first interns, Dr. White has remained committed to the programme. He acted as OLIP’s Academic Director from 1987-1994 and has rarely missed an OLIP Reception. He reflected on how the programme has changed over the years, yet still speaks very highly of OLIP as an opportunity for recent graduates.

Soon after OLIP, Dr. White worked in the Clerk’s Office at the Ontario Legislature from 1978-1984. Given that he has been around the Legislative Assembly for many decades, he was able to summarize the ways in which the Legislature has changed. For example, some of the changes we were particularly interested in included the evolution of security at the Legislature, the advancements in gender representation among MPPs, the development of press and media coverage at Queen’s Park, and the major changes made to the rules of procedure in the Chamber. We were fascinated to hear how Queen’s Park has changed since Dr. White began his career to function as we know it today.

Thank you, Dr. White, for sitting down with us for an honest conversation and for your ongoing support of OLIP!

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