Cornwall resident enjoying ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ as House of Commons page

Nicholas Guindon (inset photo) and the House of Commons.

Natascha Wood
Nation Valley News

CORNWALL —  Every year, hundreds of young hopefuls from across Canada apply to the House of Commons Page program looking to start their careers off on a highpoint. It’s a competitive program, reserved for students starting their first year at one of the capital’s four Universities, but only forty applicants are selected.

According to a spokesperson for the House of Commons, a Page must be tactful, discreet, considerate, and impartial as they rub shoulders with MP’s on all sides of the aisle. Like the pages before them, they’ll be expected to serve as a link between Members and their Hill offices, and sometimes speak to youth groups about their duties and their experiences. Notable alumni of the program include Katie Telford, PM Justin Trudeau’s Chief of Staff, and Eve Adams, the former MP for Mississauga-Brampton South.

In 2020, 19-year-old Nicholas Guindon, a graduate from École secondaire catholique La Citadelle in Cornwall, was among the forty applicants chosen for the 2020-2021 cohort. Nation Valley News spoke to him as he begins his seventh month serving as Page in the House of Commons.

According to Guindon, he found the Page program through an older friend who applied to the program, and — for a student of politics classes in Highschool and a participator in model parliaments — it seemed like the way forward. Now, Guindon balances his time between his work on Parliament Hill and attending school at the University of Ottawa, where he is pursuing a six-year dual degree studying Political Science and a Doctor of Jurisprudence. He says the job has been incredibly helpful in providing real-life context to his learning.

“This job has enhanced my studies so far. The job puts me at a bit of an advantage in my Canadian politics classes; you get to walk over to work after a lecture and see live examples of what the Professor was teaching,” Guindon said.

He’s also learned the importance of time management, having to juggle studying, 15 hours of class, and 15 hours of work in the Chamber. However, it’s all worth the challenge, as Guindon says he feels very grateful for the “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

“All the other Pages make this an incredible experience. I’ve met so many great people from all corners of the country. When you get accepted to the program, it comes with 39 great friends that I am so grateful for. Stepping onto the Chamber floor is an honour and being able to serve all elected Members of Parliament is something I will never forget.”

Nicholas Guindon will continue to serve as a Page in the House of Commons until August 2021, when he will hand over his duties to his successor. He encourages anyone thinking of studying in Ottawa to apply to the House of Commons Page or the Senate Page program. Additionally, Guindon adds that the Ontario legislature has a Page program available for students Grade7-8.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I hope more people from Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry get to experience.”

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