Monday, 24 August 2015

Summer Institute for Future Legislators 2015

Program Overview
"There is no greater privilege than to be chosen by your fellow citizens to be their representative in a democratic society"

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Summer Institute for Future Legislators (SIFL). This program is organized through UBC’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions and its goal is to provide hands-on mentoring and training for individuals who aspire to make a difference at the municipal, provincial, and/or federal level. SIFL covers a variety of topics including: Legislative Training, Parliamentary Relationships, Ethics, Working in the House, Constituency Work, Parliamentary Reform, Representation, and Communications. For more information please visit: UBC SIFL

When we first began the course each participant was assigned to one of three parties: the government, official opposition or third party. Before traveling to Victoria we spent two weekends at UBC listening to guest speakers, drafting and amending legislation in caucus, meeting in committees, and practicing interviews with the media. One of the reasons I really enjoyed the program was because the content was delivered in so many different and captivating ways.

We heard from a wide variety of accomplished politicians and public servants including Margaret MacDiarmid, Preston Manning, George Abbott, Bob de Faye, Mike McDonald, Joy MacPhail, Mike Harcourt, Chuck Strahl, Alison Broddle, Kathryn Gretsinger, Richard Zussman, and Anne McLellan.

Key Takeaways
-Running for public office is one of the hardest yet most rewarding ways to make a difference
-Essential skills: strong communication, teamwork, organization, flexibility, willingness to learn, resiliency, and passion for policy
-Very important to establish and maintain strong cross-partisan relationships
-Most successful politicians do not go into politics for money or recognition
-Listen to what your opponents/critics are asking you but ignore their tone if it is negative
-Ask yourself what kind of politician you want to be BEFORE you get into politics. Decide what you will do when your personal views, party’s views and constituents views are all different.
-Remember that you represent ALL constituents in your area, not just the ones who voted for you
-What you achieve as a politician will be defined by whether you're able to create powerful, respectful, and collaborative relationships with your teams. Bad attitudes, bullying, egos etc will not get you far

-Meeting and networking with likeminded individuals who are interested in domestic policy and potentially running for office
-Hearing real stories and learning about what it’s really like to be in politics from experienced practitioners 
-Learning more about the role of the Deputy Minister and the field of Public Administration

1 comment:

  1. An insightful summary into the motivation for working in the public administration system. I look forward to reading more about your evolving interest in politics.