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The Canada Philippine Parliamentary Intern Program

by Jaemari Colado

    Kevin L Jaemari Colado interns parliament
Kevin Lamoureux, MP Winnipeg North with intern, JaeMari Colado
The interns on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

The Canada Philippine Parliamentary Intern Program (CPIP) began just in time to celebrate the first Philippine Heritage Month in June 2019. The five-week program, which started on May 14, consisted of twelve young Filipino Canadians. Our first week was spent in constituency offices, while the rest was on the Parliament Hill.

This program has opened doors for us to work alongside like-minded individuals, as well as our respective Members of Parliament – MP Kevin Lamoureux for Winnipeg North in my case, whose hard work I got to witness first-hand. We were given various tasks inside our offices while, at the same time, still being able to participate in activities like committee meetings and question period, wherein MPs discussed and debated current societal issues in Canada. My fellow interns and I had the privilege to watch the Prime Minister answering questions from the opposition parties in the House of Commons.

While on Parliament Hill, I was most grateful for being able to know more about the issues in our country that do not make it to the headlines. Everyday was a learning experience; from meeting various Members of Parliament and hearing them discuss their experiences, to meeting young individuals who were equally passionate in creating positive change in the community.

Aside from meeting like-minded youths, I got the chance to meet the endearing Filipino community in Ottawa who welcomed my fellow CPIP interns and me with so much warmth and hospitality. Our weekends were spent with fellow Filipinos in Ottawa, wherein we attended mass, danced tinikling, attended festivities, which the Philippine Independence Community of the Ottawa Valley hosted.

MP Kevin Lamoureux of Winnipeg North hosted this year’s momentous Philippine Independence Day celebration and flag raising on the Parliament Hill, in honour of the first Philippine Heritage month that is recognized all over Canada.

These events and festivities were made even better with all the great food. After all, we Filipinos never fail to come together especially when it includes our unique dishes.

The CPIP would not have been as great an experience without the 11 siblings I gained through the program. I was lucky enough to live with three other members who dragged me out of bed on mornings where I’d rather sleep in due to being out late the previous night, screaming to our hearts’ content, cheering for the Raptors. As for the rest, I could not have asked for a better group whom I could go on an impulse trip to Montreal with, or chasing buses, and going out for Karaoke nights. But I will mostly remember the small joys of having ates and kuyas who looked out for one another in a city where not even one of us lived.

To be able to work alongside individuals who are as passionate in making a difference as I am, in a place where the policies shaping the lives of Canadians are made, is a privilege that the CPIP has given me and the rest of those in the program. With all the learning that we gained in the country’s capital, we only hope to give back to Canada, and to strengthen the representation of the Filipino people.

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