Former Lindsay Thurber High School student Alexander Wozny has had quite the political journey, from talking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sitting beside Governor General David Johnstone.
And those were just some of his many opportunities.
After hearing about the possibility of working on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill from his family, and being encouraged to apply by his Grade 12 social studies teacher, Wozny was happy to hear he got the position of one of 40 pages, which were positions given to first year university students across Canada and that involved many important political tasks.
“I had no idea I’d be moving to Ottawa until a few weeks before graduation,” said Wozny.
He is now going into his third year of political science and communications at the University of Ottawa, and worked as a House of Commons Page from September of 2015 to August of 2016 in a one-year contract position.
He described his position as making sure that everyone else could do their job efficiently, and said that oftentimes he and the others were scattered throughout the Chamber making sure everything was proceeding as planned.
“We’re those bodies on the floor, so we’re handing out papers, or we would often be asked by individual MPs to do tasks, so I remember delivering very secretive notes where someone hands it to you and they go, ‘Don’t open this, give it to this person,’ and you go okay and you ‘hurry’ away very nervously.”
He said they also did the not-so-glamorous tasks, like making sure they got the MPs’ water as needed.
Once his one-year contract was completed, Wozny was then offered another position which started up in 2016, as a Proceeding and Verifications Officer, which he will continue when he goes back to school this fall.
“So they have all of their specialized committees, such as industry or agriculture, and now I work on that to make sure that everything is working in a decent order.”
He said his job involves going into committees where he has two computers and a microphone, and he helps to create a template for the transeditors to work from while also turning on and off members’ microphones on the fly as they speak during the meeting.
The audio from the meeting and his own personal audio is sent to the transeditors, who take up the task from there.
He’s also in charge of turning on everybody’s microphones at a meeting
“It’s a very high pressure job, but it’s also very rewarding because we get to see all sorts of interesting people because with committees there’s a lot of witness testimony.”
He also gets to work on in-camera meetings.
After coming out of high school and going straight into his paid political position, Wozny said it wasn’t too hard to manage both his university school work and his job position, as he said, the Page Program did a good job at making sure individuals were ready for the tasks.
Wozny also said there were many things he enjoyed about his experience, one of the primary ones being the people he got to work with.
“The Prime Minister, in our year, came by and spoke with us for an hour and just fielded questions,” he said.
He said it was also the many different members he met who were very inspiring as well.
“But my favourite aspect of the job was all of my fellow co-workers that I got to meet, because I met people from all across the country.”