Brock University Women in House: experiential learning on Parliament Hill

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Brock University Women in House (BUWH) is accepting applications to shadow an MP in Ottawa this February and the deadline is fast approaching for this experiential learning opportunity.

BUWH was started in 2014 by a political science student in order to bring more women to Parliament with the hopes of helping to correct the gender gap seen in Ottawa amongst elected MPs.

The group’s shadowing program provides an opportunity to learn what it is like to be a women in Parliament.

“People who go on this trip will be able to meet other political staffers to learn about roles that operate out of Ottawa. You never know what kind of conversations you will have with MP’s about their former careers before going into office,” said Hope Tuff-Berg, public relations officer for BUWH.

This opportunity is meant to show students the importance of involving women in politics.

“I think women are excellent decision makers. They offer a very different approach to leading  conversations and making decisions and can have different results in actions made at the political level. Having more women at the table will lead to decisions that are more inclusive and representative of women and people across Canada,” said Tuff-Berg.

This opportunity is open to all students regardless of their gender or university program. They have sent males to shadow MP’s in the past, but Tuff-Berg stresses they need to understand the initiative is meant to further gender equality for women in politics, since women make up only 29 per cent of the current elected members of parliament.

Tuff-Berg was able to take part in this experience last year. She shadowed Liberal MP for the riding of Kanata-Carleton Karen McCrimmon. According to Tuff-Berg, she was able to have coffee with McCrimmon, sat in on her meetings and she was able to watch the question period as well.

As a female role model, McCrimmon shows her strength while working in parliament. She is currently the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Before she went into politics, McCrimmon was a peacekeeper and according to Tuff-Berg was the first woman to lead an air force squadron in Canada.

“Even though parliament is big, intimidating and glamorous having the opportunity to meet [the MPs] shows they are just like everyone else,” said Tuff-Berg.

“[The experience] really energized me and sparked initiative. That said I really want to work in Ottawa at some point in my life, hopefully through an internship or somewhere else down the road,” said Tuff-Berg.

Anyone that wants to learn more about politics are encouraged to apply for this experience. Applications are due November 29 and can be found through ExperienceBU under Brock University Women in House.

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