For the second year in a row, Jer’s Vision, in conjunction with staff from Parliament Hill, organized Rainbow Day On The Hill where 7 youth shadowed 4 Members of Parliament to understand how the federal government works as well as witnessing how queer and questioning folks like themselves are part of all sections of society, including Parliament. The 4 Members of Parliament were Dany Morin, Scott Brison, Randall Garrison, and Craig Scott.
Zachary Johnstone, one of the participants and the Chair of Jer’s Vision’s Youth Advisory Committee, had this to say:
“On April 16th, I was lucky enough to attend the Jer’s Vision Rainbow Day on the Hill. This is an event organized by both Jer’s Vision and the Parliamentary LGBTQ Caucus. As an aspiring queer politician, this was an amazing opportunity.
I was paired with Craig Scott, the NDP Critic of Democratic Reform. I spent the day shadowing him, going to a lobbyist meeting and a committee meeting as well. I was then allowed to look around Parliament, went up to the Peace Tower and got dinner in the cafeteria, a portion of the building usually reserved for staff and MPs! After lunch, we went to Question Period and got to see Craig Scott question the Government on the status of their bill on democratic reform. To end the day, we took pictures in front of the flame and Craig Scott took Natasha, another youth attending Rainbow Day on the Hill, and I, into the Oppositions lobby in which we got to see MPs hard at work with their parliamentary aides.”
“I decided to participate in the Rainbow Day on the Hill event because I strongly believed in its purpose, which is to show how LGBTQ people can, and do, work hard in the Canadian government and that we can be a part in shaping our country,” said Natasha Koller, another participant.
Amanda Giraldeau believes “that Rainbow Day on the Hill is a great experience for any LGBTQ student that’s interested in politics or even those who are just interested about what it’s like inside of Parliament (you know, experiencing all the
security checks in every building and all). It’s very insightful on what daily life is like for an MP.”
We hope to expand next year’s event, and the years to come, with the hope that we can have out trans-identified Members of Parliament to be role models for out trans-identified youth, as well as expand it to Senators and parliamentarian staff so as to be able to have more of a diversity in role models for youth to shadow.
Natasha concludes with how “it’s amazing how far we have come along in LGBTQ rights, and while we still have some ways to go, it’s because of organizations and the people of Jer’s Vision and Rainbow Day on the Hill that that day will come. Thank you Jer’s Vision and Rainbow Day on the Hill for making the world a wiser and safer place for me and the other LGBTQ people out there.”