Sunday, October 13, 2013

Four years on - An update

So wow, there's only four years and two months since my last post; no big deal.

I was poking around my online files and realized that this little blog has gotten a surprising amount of hits - and continues to get them, even today. So I'll write a little update about my "Harvard Square to Parliament Hill" life for anyone who's interested.

After I finished my summer working with Martha Hall Findlay in 2009, I went back to Boston, and Martha continued doing great work representing Willowdale. We kept in touch, and I was able to bring Martha to Harvard as an official guest to meet with Canadian students, speak to the a group of women interested in running for politics, and she even met with Harvard's Marshall to sign the official guest book (you can imagine the names that grace that impressive ledger).

In 2011, Martha lost her seat when the Conservatives swept the House, but I, along with many others, knew that Canada has not seen the last of her. Sure enough, Martha threw her hat, once again, into the Liberal Leadership ring when, in 2012-13, it was time replace Ignatieff/Rae.

I knew I wanted to join Martha's team, and so I left my position at Harvard and worked as Martha's Communications Director. It was an exciting campaign and we did a great job. Alas, no one could complete with Justin Trudeau, who cleaned up across the country and will hopefully prove to galvanize Liberals and some soon-to-be-Liberals to rebuild the party to good standing in parliament.

Perhaps the best part of the whole experience was the post-election trip to Mexico that our team took with Martha. Above is a pic of some of the group goofing around there. There was no way a little Leadership loss was going to keep us down!

I had a wonderful time reacquainting myself with Canadian politics and despite the less-than-desired results for the team, I loved it all. I'm now working at a Harvard/MIT Institute called the Broad and loving life in Boston. But as usual, I am keeping my eye on opportunities to return to the old homeland - or specifically, from Harvard Square to Parliament Hill.

Stay tuned for more!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Martha!

Today Martha celebrated her 5oth Birthday and she was so excited to tell everyone about it! What a great attitude.

Happy Birthday Martha!

Time with Martha

This week was SO enjoyable. Martha was in Ottawa for the week and we got to spend some quality time together. One of the highlights of the week happened after-hours. Martha, Anne-Sophie, and I headed to Hyes Steakhouse, which is 'the' Ottawa political institution for politicians to shoot the breeze after Wednesday's Question Period. We sat on the patio and had dinner and ended up closing the place down after midnight. But more importantly, we solved the problems of the world - or at least we got to the meat of the underrepresentation of women in politics in Canada (well - we had a colourful conversation trying to get to the meat of it!!). By the end of the evening, we both felt like we have come such a far way in the development of the women and politics book. It's really coming together and we both feel great about the work we've done this summer. It will be such an amazing feeling when the book is finally done.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interviews interviews interviews

I have been having such a fun time with these book interviews. I am talking to politicians and journalists....all really interesting Canadians. A highlight was talking to "Right Honorable" Paul Martin yesterday. He has such a laid back and fun demeanor. Very easy to talk to, and he had a lot of interesting thoughts about women and politics. This afternoon I talked with Minister Peter MacKay (Canada's Minister of Defense) - who was surprisingly soft spoken and very thoughtful about the topic. The interviews are focusing on the personal - stories and anecdotes from their years in office or on a beat - and its proving to be really fun to hear.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Let the interviews begin

The work on the women and politics book is getting really interesting. This week, both Martha and I travelled to the wild west to Alberta (my homeland - yes, I admit it!). Martha first journeyed to Edmonton to meet and speak with Liberals there (see, not all Albertans lean to the right), and then she was off to a ranch in the foothills for a few days of riding. In between, Martha and I met for a marathon working lunch (just about 4 hours worth) to talk about the progress of the book. Martha has created a list of ~20+ politicians and members of the media, both men and women, for me to interview over the next few weeks regarding their views on women and politics - why do they think we are under-represented, and what can we do as a nation to change that? We want to get to the bottom of the assumptions about women and politics, and then posit some ideas about the realities of these assumptions, as well as the barriers to women's greater political involvement. On the list are former Prime Ministers, current cabinet members, and some really well-respected journalists....Martha has been exceptionally cool about giving me free reign to just call up these people and arrange meetings or phone chats. My favorite quote of the week:

Me: "But Martha, can I really just call up Paul Martin for a chat??"
Martha: "Of course you can....this is Canada - we're like that here - oh, and he'll just call you back if he's busy."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Iggy and others

I keep meaning to post some pics from the last few weeks so stay tuned for that. This morning I took in the changing of the guards ceremony on Parliament Hill before work, but the weather was really gloomy, so I am going to return on a sunny day to snap some pics.

So, last week I went to a Liberal staff meeting in West Block along with Elizabeth (a long-term intern in the office studying at U of O) and Anne-Sophie (the wondrous woman who knows it all and is helping me with my French). Apparently the party has these meetings every month or so for Liberal Hill staff to come together as a party and exchange ideas. This meeting, unlike most, had the added bonus of Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the Liberals. Iggy, as he is affectionately referred to in Canada, was a professor at Harvard Kennedy School for years, and I actually sat in on his class in Human Rights while I was a student at Harvard Divinity School. Anyway, Dean McCarthy from the Kennedy School told me to find Iggy and pass on a message for him - and I was hoping to run into him at some point this summer.

My office and I arrived to the Liberal meeting just before the doors closed, and standing right there was Ignatieff. So, naturally I had to carpe diem, and I walked up to him and introduced myself and we had a little chat for a couple of minutes. Fewph, now I can cross that off my if I could just get started on this book for Martha!!

Speaking of the book, I am working on gathering research and putting together a template for a book that Martha is planning on writing on women and politics in Canada. It`s so perfectly suited to the Oval Office program that it`s a really exciting undertaking. Basically, Martha wants to draw attention to the lack of women in Parliament, as well as deconstruct many of the widely held assumptions on why there are`t enough women in Canadian politics. I think what will make this book different and interesting is the personal perspective that Martha brings, along with the anecdotes and tales of her experience running and winning and working as a Member of Parliament. Better get back to that!