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Study Tour to The United Kingdom

We ended our year in OLIP with a study tour to Edinburgh and London!

After an overnight flight to Edinburgh and a little bit of time to explore the city, we started with a tour of the Scottish Parliament. One of the prominent themes of the study tour was devolution, so this was a perfect place to begin. We met MP Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and representative for Edinburgh Western. We also met with the International Trade and Investment Team at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and had a fascinating seminar with Dr. James Kennedy who studies nationalism and independence movements in Quebec and Scotland.

After this brief visit to Edinburgh, we flew to London for the rest of the study tour. We were lucky to visit the home of the Westminster model of parliamentary government, the Palace of Westminster. Our visit here included meeting with MP Andrew Percy who represents the constituency of Bring and Goole in England. Later in the week, we returned to Westminster to meet with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and watch Prime Minister's Questions. This is similar to Question Period in Canadian legislatures, and we made note of the differences in procedure and atmosphere between Westminster and Queen's Park.

Throughout the trip, we touched on many of the topics of previous meetings in our internship. For example, we learned about elections in the UK from the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Reform Society. We also touched on healthcare delivery with a visit to the Department of Health and Social Care to learn about the NHS. Since healthcare in Canada is within provincial jurisdiction, we were able to bring our knowledge on healthcare in Ontario into comparative perspective with this meeting.

The week was full of informative sessions. We visited the BBC for a seminar on misinformation and disinformation, visited Canada House to learn about Canada's diplomacy in the UK, heard from the Nudge Unit at Behavioural Insights Team to hear about policy evaluation and design, toured the UK Supreme Court, and met with the European Union Delegation in London. The study tour allowed us to learn more about some of our areas of interest, make connections between Ontario politics and the world, and consider new ideas and comparisons.

We'd like to extend our sincere thanks to the Churchill Society for supporting the study tour, Lucy Whichelo and the Toronto FCDO office for helping us organize these wonderful meetings, and to everyone who took the time to speak with us! What a fantastic way to finish our time as OLIP Interns!

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