Coming into my internship with the Burnaby North-Seymour MP, Terry Beech, I had no idea what to expect. I was going to be working with a man who had the power to influence a nation. Not only that, my employer boasted an impressive resume, having received more than a full ride’s worth of scholarships to Simon Fraser University, attended Oxford University for his MBA and was elected to city council at 18 years old – just one year older than I am now. What could I, a mere high schooler, possibly do to contribute to his storied success, let alone the operations of the federal government?
When I met Terry for the first time, I was shocked by how laid back and ordinary he was. If I met him on the street, I would not have expected him to hold such a prestigious office. But as I got to know him, I realized that he was extremely well-knowledged in politics, and truly cared for the needs of each and every one of his constituents – a difficult task in a riding with two primary land masses joined solely by a bridge. However, as he is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, he is always very busy, and is unable to dedicate as much time he would like to being out in his community and understanding his constituents’ concerns.
As a Community Outreach Assistant, in addition to administrative tasks, I – along with four other SHAD interns – am responsible for going out into the community, typically door to door, seeking feedback from the office’s local constituents in order to allow Terry Beech to better represent the needs and desires of his constituents federally. Responses can vary greatly from one house to the next – one may be largely in favour of the current government and all that it does, while the next may loathe all that the Federal Government stands for. Despite being but a partisan of the Federal Government acting in direct interest of all Canadian citizens, I am often met with hostile refusals and apathetic responses, that do in fact make me question the value of my time being dedicated to such a task; however, it is the few appreciative responses – with either positive or negative feedback – that truly motivate me to canvass one more house, because in the end, I know that I am making a difference in the lives of these people, and Canada as a whole, one house at a time.