This past September, GreenPAC launched its Parliamentary Internship for the Environment, sending three highly talented young interns - Mavis Chan, Nancy Xue, and Ella Harvey - into the Hill offices of Liberal, NDP, and Green Party Members of Parliament. Our fourth intern - Jesse Hitchcock - started January 2019 with Conservative MP Michael Chong. Let’s take a look back to see what they’ve been up to.
The First Fourth Months
We kicked off the internship with a three-day orientation and team-building camping trip in Gatineau park. There, interns met guest speakers Tim Powers from Summa Strategies, Julie Gelfand, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, and Kyle Harrietha, Director of Parliamentary Affairs to Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Orientation finished up on the Hill with tours and training, and then just like that, the interns were hard at work with their host MPs: Will Amos (MP for Pontiac, Liberal), Nathan Cullen (MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, NDP), and Elizabeth May (MP Saanich-Gulf Islands, Green). A typical week for our interns includes Parliamentary Committee work, research and constituency outreach, events on the Hill, and work on Private Members’ Bills.
Since the internship is a leadership development program, we’ve done our best to provide access to workshops, networking events, skills training, and fireside chats with leaders from industry, government, and the non-profit sector. This includes a day-long “Sustainable Fundraising” workshop, a three-day industry conference on Canada’s bioeconomy, and an online “Indigenous Canada” certification course.
After a hard day at work, our interns get busy with extracurricular activities. In November they laid the groundwork for a podcast aimed at bringing diverse perspectives on Canadian environmental topics to a young, tech-savvy audience. The group has also started writing a research paper on environmental messaging during election periods.
There are five months left, and we have some exciting programming in store for our young interns. We are looking forward to a wind farm tour, fireside chats with industry leaders, ENGO executives, and Senator Donna Dasko, sessions on reconciliation with Canadian Indigenous peoples, and a day-long personal development workshop. To support the interns' success long-term, we will be leading workshops on women and diversity in leadership (all our interns are female, with half identifying as visible minorities), as well as self-awareness, individual resilience, and personal leadership styles.
After the internship, we will create an alumni program to provide mentorship opportunities between past and current interns, and to establish a strong network of future leaders in the sector. We also plan to involve our interns in nation-wide, nonpartisan public engagement efforts to position the environment as an important political issue.
No undertaking gets off the ground without the support of wonderful people, and the Parliamentary Internship for the Environment is no exception. A special thank you to the Echo Foundation, Ivey Foundation, McLean Foundation, Metcalf Foundation, Rudy and Caroline North, and Andrew Stewart in helping us shape the young environmental leaders of tomorrow.