Placement Post: Iqra with MPP France Gelinas
For my first placement, I had the honour of working in office of Opposition Critic for Health and Member for Nickel Belt, MPP France Gélinas. This placement was an incredible learning journey. I had the opportunity to work on a wide range of legislative and constituency tasks and get a deep understanding of the health landscape in Ontario.
Nickel Belt is a northern, largely francophone riding, with very different issues from those I am used to growing up in the downtown core of Toronto. Road maintenance, fluctuating gas prices, mining practices, French language services, access to health services, and fostering good relationships with First Nations groups were issues I understood abstractly, but did not explore in-depth until my placement in the office. Not only did I quickly become familiar with how these issues were experienced by constituents, but I also learned how to fully utilize the opportunities available to opposition members in the Legislature to make a change in the lives of these individuals.
MPP Gélinas holds the portfolio of Opposition Health Critic. Having studied health in my undergraduate degree, this was of special interest to me. Specifically, I wanted a behind-the-scenes look at who shapes the definitions of health issues and how these are acted upon within the Ontario legislature. I was not disappointed. I had the opportunity to sit in on meetings with various stakeholder groups, analyze potential policy lessons from health systems around the world, and put forward a Private Members Motion on First Nation’s health. The scope of Ontario health care system has never seemed so large to me, and I am excited to learn more.
I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to MPP Gélinas and her team—Monique, Adele, Jasmine, and Damien—for providing such a welcoming and supportive learning environment. I have come out of my placement in this office a more adaptable thinker, more action-oriented in my research, and with a broader understanding of what it means to be a Northern Ontarian. I am so grateful for this experience.