I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to see my two daughters while working at Queen’s Park.
My youngest Ella was a page during the last few months of 2021.
Ever since I was elected in 2018 it became her goal to join the page program. When the program re-opened last summer, she applied and was accepted. I was so proud of the way she handled it: writing the application essay, doing the schoolwork needed to keep her grades up.
It was fun to have her around the House. One cabinet minister joked I needed to raise her allowance because of all the work she was doing.
There was another MPP who had a grandson in the page program, too. Everyone from both sides of the house enjoyed having the kids in the legislature again. It increases the level of camaraderie.
It is, though, a lot of hard work. Ella, who is 13, had to be in the House by 8 a.m. and often didn’t finish until 6 p.m. On top of that, she had to stay in touch with her teachers and keep up her schoolwork.
But it had its exciting moments, as well. One day she was the page captain, so she helped walk the Mace into the House.
Ella said afterwards that “the page program was something I had wanted to do for a few years, ever since I heard about it. It was a really fun and interesting opportunity. I loved spending extra time with my dad and learning more about how our government works.
“They kept us hopping all day long; the job was really busy! We delivered papers all over the legislature and got to see politics in action. Premier Ford met with us and gave us a tour of his office which was really nice of him,” she added.
Fortunately, my eldest daughter Lena also works at Queen’s Park, so she was around the help take care of Ella in the evenings.
Lena, who is a graphic artist, got her own job doing social media work in the Ministry of Finance. If you see a video from the ministry, that’s her work.
She got the job before I was named Parliamentary Assistant to the minister. We had to check everything with the ethics commissioner to make sure it was okay. So, we don’t talk about ministry business; when we do run into each other there’s time for a quick “Weather’s nice” before we both move on.
I like to say that both kids get their work ethic from their mother; if it weren’t for that, they probably wouldn’t be there.
But for me, it adds something special to the day-to-day routine which can sometimes be quite difficult.