I am working with MPP Jamie West for my first placement. MPP West is the NDP Member for the riding of Sudbury, and serves as the Critic for Northern Infrastructure, Transportation, and Roads. Sometimes referred to as “the Big Nickel” given its mining history, Sudbury is now the economic hub of northeastern Ontario. Given that I was born and raised in Toronto, it has been enlightening to learn about the issues affecting the North and to be able to help constituents with those issues.
One issue that comes up frequently is transportation. Public transportation is taken for granted in a place like Toronto; we expect to be able to get from one place to another by some combination of buses, trains and streetcars. This is far from the case for those living in Sudbury, and so pandemic-related disruptions to transportation have hit the region especially hard. I was able to help write communications for MPP West that brought attention to one constituent’s difficulties related to the COVID-19-induced backlog of driving examinations, which was a rewarding experience.
I have not had a dull day while in MPP West’s office. Working out of his Queen’s Park office, I am exposed to the fast-paced schedule of legislative affairs. However, I have also had the chance to help with constituency office work. A highlight of this work has been helping deal with the office’s voicemails. I return the calls of constituents, learn how the office can help them, and in general, have a conversation with a wide range of Sudburians. This work has developed my listening skills, encouraging me to pay close attention to the arguments and concerns of others.
Thank you to MPP West, Jenny, Nicole, and Jessie for the warm welcome and patience throughout my placement!