I have been lucky to spend my spring placement with Opposition member MPP Jamie West of Sudbury. MPP West is a Member of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills, and the labour critic for the NDP. Having never been to northern Ontario, this placement has been an invaluable opportunity to learn about the unique issues in MPP West’s riding of Sudbury, and the north more generally.
MPP West is very passionate about his critic portfolio, in-part because of his history of advocacy for workers’ rights and fairness, and his past roles as the President of the Sudbury & District Labour Council and Worker Safety Rep at the Copper Cliff Smelter. I have been able to learn a lot about worker safety and protections, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, where this has become front and centre. Through consultations and meetings, I have been able to learn about the concerns of workers in various industries, and the differing health and safety protection needs of workers in work environments that I have not worked in myself.
When the House is sitting, I help with speech writing, questions, and statements on issues impacting Sudburians, or workers in Ontario. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been able to take part in additional tasks such as working on newsletters to constituents, constituent correspondence, and tracking government programs and supports across jurisdictions. Because the House is sitting less frequently now, I have also gotten exposure to the work that happens in Sudbury at the constituency office. In addition to constituent correspondence, I was able to help transition the Sudbury Day of Mourning Ceremony from an in-person to a virtual event, and help plan consultations for the Sudbury community on the impacts of COVID-19.
Overall, I have been enjoying my time working with MPP West and his team, Alison Blagden, Nick Higgins, Nicole Ayotte, and Cindy Blais. Thank you for giving me so many opportunities to learn more about our province, diversify my skills, and for including me as part of the team. I look forward to my last month working with you all.