Placement Posts- Elizabeth with the Canadian Parliamentary Review
For my Legislative Assembly placement, I worked with the Canadian Parliamentary Review. They are a quarterly publication, which features the goings-on of the federal parliament and the provincial and territorial legislatures and explores topics relevant to Canadian politics. I have had the opportunity to research and write a couple different articles for them, including a short historical piece and a book review.
My history piece is part of a series called “Sketches of Parliament,” which highlights people, events and practices of parliaments past. As a giant Canadian history nerd, I was very excited to contribute to this series! My article explores how the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918-19 affected parliamentary business. For this piece, I used material from the archives of the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star newspapers from the time. I also reviewed the Hansard archives of all the provincial and territorial legislatures to see what parliamentarians were discussing concerning the pandemic. It was fascinating to see the similarities in the media coverage of the Spanish flu and the current COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100 years apart: back then, there were also mask mandates, hand washing campaigns and regional quarantines. Since the federal Department of Health would not be established until 1919, provincial authorities were the primary responders to the health crisis. For example, Queen’s Park became a basecamp for doctors, nurses and volunteer medical responders as they treated flu patients in Toronto.
I am very grateful to the team at the Canadian Parliamentary Review for hosting me on their team this month. My two pieces allowed me the chance to learn more about the history and traditions of parliamentary affairs in Canada. I developed a deeper appreciation for the work of the legislature, which I will carry with me into my MPP placements and my career beyond OLIP. You can check out my article in the next issue of the Review! In the meantime, past issues of the Canadian Parliamentary Review are available for everyone to access online here: http://www.revparlcan.ca/en/past-issues/.