For the last three months, I have been working with MPP Bhutila Karpoche, who represents the riding of Parkdale-- High Park in Toronto. MPP Karpoche worked as a Queen’s Park staffer prior to being elected and has been a longtime community organizer in Parkdale. She is also the first person of Tibetan heritage to be elected to public office in North America. Working with her and her team, I have come to admire her compassion, her calm approach to leadership, and her dedication to her community.
Having begun this placement just before the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic has made for an unusual experience. The other OLIP interns and I began to work from home for our MPPs only two weeks into our new office placements. I feel very lucky to be able to continue the internship from a distance, but have struggled at times to adjust to the new work-from-home reality. With our OLIP papers and committee responsibilities continuing from a distance as well, it has sometimes felt difficult to step away from work and find the time to relax. I do find that a few months in, I am now striking more of a balance -- good news given that my paper is about the 'work-life balance' of MPPs!
Bhutila and her staff have made me feel like a part of their team from afar, and have involved me in their efforts to respond to and act on a wide variety of constituent concerns. I have also had the chance to work on outreach and to help prepare Bhutila for her legislative sittings with the recent return of the House. I have learned a lot from this work so far and am grateful to Bhutila and her team for their guidance despite the challenging times. Thank you to MPP Karpoche and her staff for having me and for all the opportunities.