Monday, July 13, 2009

Toronto, amazing Toronto

I spent the last week working in Martha`s constituency office in Willowdale, north of Toronto. What a totally different vibe compared to her Ottawa office - the office was abuzz dealing with constituent calls or drop-in visitors; trying to help people navigate the challenges of Canadian immigration; planning for upcoming fundraising events...the work seemingly never stops! And I was fortunate enough to be at the center of it all, working from Martha`s desk, generally trying to help out and not be in anyone`s way. There were also a crew of volunteers at the office, most of whom were University students out for the summer looking to get involved with Martha`s work.

A big shout out to Michele, Carole, and Lily - the heart of the office - who were all so helpful in answering my endless questions and in keeping me laughing the entire time. And of course to Martha herself for allowing me to get in the middle of it all.

My favorite part of the week was planning for a large fundraising event, planned for August, which will spotlight Michael Ignatieff. As my friends know, I love event planning, and I soon realized that fundraisers are basically big parties - right up my alley. Carole, Puneet, and I toured a number of venues around Toronto looking for the perfect vibe...we think we settled on one, but a few details still need to be ironed out. Then the biggest trick is marketing and attracting the target audience to come and shell out the big bucks! Hopefully with both Martha and Iggy in the room, the event will attract Liberal supporters quite easily. I wish I had more connections in Toronto - I realized that I really don`t know too many people there...but anyone out there reading this that is interested in getting some face time with Iggy and Martha, let me know!

I also think I would love to work on a campaign. I saw pics of the Willowdale crew campaigning and partying (ummm, working diligently I mean) at the Liberal convention in Vancouver and it looked amazing. Carole was telling me about campaigning and her eyes would light up...sounds like completely hectic work, but utterly satisfying too.

Overall, the week at the constituency office provided me am neat glimpse into another side of political life in Canada. Now I`m back in Ottawa working on some Treasury Board related work for Martha, which is pretty well aligned with my finance background. Have also started on researching for a book Martha would like to write about women in Canadian politics. WHoo hoo!

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