For over 40 years Carleton undergraduate students have served as Pages in both the Senate and House of Commons Page Programs.

Each year, as many as 13 Carleton students—a good deal of them students from within the Faculty of Public Affairs—work part-time as Pages, assisting members of parliament and senators, and performing tasks directly related to the sittings of the House.

In addition to earning a salary, Pages gain special access to key events and learn firsthand about Canada’s parliamentary system.

The House of Commons Page Program

Students interested in the House of Commons program apply in their graduating year of high school or CEGEP. If accepted to the Program, Pages work part-time in the House of Commons while attending first-year university courses.

Pages get to be a part of history in the making and the experience can be illuminating.

Sam Taylor

Sam Taylor, a BPAPM student at Carleton, grew up in an Ottawa neighbourhood in view of the Peace Tower but it was only after serving as a Page in the House of Commons program that he truly understood what it means to be in Parliament while in session.

Taylor describes the work as having been routine at times but adds it could also be given to moments of excitement or the occasional brush with celebrity. Like the time Taylor says he came face to face with the Prime Minister coming down the stairs after a late-night voting session!

Taylor’s interests today lay in public service and he envisions possibly working as a lobbyist in the government. Looking back on his Page experience, Taylor says he feels it was both “an honour and a privilege to be working in [Canada’s Parliament] the most significant place in this country at such a young age.”

Political Science student, Braeden Cain also served as a House of Commons Page in his first year of studies. As it can be with any job, Cain admits the work some days could be frustrating and exhausting but he adds that, “he wouldn’t trade [the experience] for the world.”

It was thanks after all to his time on the Hill that he was able to bear witness to several key historic moments, including an all-night vote marathon and a 4-day filibuster by Pierre Poilievre during the budget debate over the SNC-Lavalin affair.

After his experience serving as a Page, Caine has decided against working in a nonpartisan capacity and instead anticipates working for an official party in the future.

The Senate Page Program

The Senate Page Program unlike its counterpart in the House of Commons, allows students to apply not only in their last year of high school but also during their first three years of undergraduate study. Senate Pages work on a one year contract with the possibility of renewal.

Keean Nembhard

Keean Nembhard, a recent BGInS graduate served as a Senate Page for three years and went on to earn the privilege of serving as Deputy Chief Page. In this role, he helped coordinate the schedule for Pages, trained them and relayed messages between the Usher of the Black Rod (head of Senate procedure) and the Page Program.

Now that he has graduated, Nembhard plans to continue his studies of international affairs.

The Leaders of Tomorrow

Supporting the Pages at Carleton is the job of Stanley Philippe, Recruitment Officer and Page Liaison. In addition to providing assistance, Philippe also helps to organize social events for them.

Stanley Philippe speaks in the House of Commons during the House of Commons Page Program 40th anniversary celebration (2018).

Getting to interact with the Pages is a part of the job that Philippe really enjoys. “They are our future leaders and many alumni are in leadership positions in our society” he explains. “These things we do as a team let the Pages know how valued they are and that we appreciate the role they play on the Hill as representatives of our university.”

To learn more about Parliamentary Work Opportunities, visit the Undergraduate Admissions website.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 in ,
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