Whether you just moved to Ottawa for first year or you’ve been here for a few years now, you are well aware that you are living in the capital; Canada’s epicentre for all things political. The University of Ottawa and Ottawa region itself are full of endless possibilities to express your political rights and opinions, network with likeminded students and organizations, and work on the Hill. However, the big question is the following: how does one gain access to all these amazing opportunities? To answer this HC U Ottawa has complied your Guide on Getting Political in Canada’s Capital.
Oh partisan politics, vicious at times in the House of Commons, but tons of fun at the University of Ottawa (not to mention all the great events associated with partisan politics on campus). The University of Ottawa has a long history of active partisan clubs all offering great opportunities to become more involved in a party. If you are unsure about what party you might be interested in and would like to meet members from all of them, the All Party Wine and Cheese on September 20th at 7pm, at the Black Tomato located
in the Byward Market, is the place to be !
The uOttawa Campus Conservatives are comprised of students and faculty members who in their words “seek to promote universal and Canadian values like freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, and […] question the size and role of government in the lives of Canadians”. They arrange regular social events and speaking engagements that are open to both members and the public. For more information on events, networking and educational opportunities with the Campus Conservatives contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or tweet at @uoconservatives.
The uOttawa Young Liberals organize various MP speaker events, philanthropic endeavours as well associal get-togethers. They offer opportunities interning on Parliament Hill as well as in the Liberal HQ. The current President, Emmaline English, says that she “highly values this club because it serves as a great gateway for young Liberals to get further involved”. They are always open to new members and invite interested students to email email@example.com and joining the facebook group. The first General Meeting is on September 17th
at 7pm in MRT 219.
The uOttawa NDP works to support both the provincial and federal NDP parties on campus through organizing fundraisers, progressive speaker events and working with the party during elections. They also advocate for a “progressive and social justice driven political discourse on campus”.
Anyone interested can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
or check out their twitter at twitter.com/UONDP.
The uOttawa Young Greens and uOttawa Marxists did not respond for comments.
There are many great non-partisan groups on campus that one can also become politically involved with. OPRIG-Ottawa for example has the mission to “bring together and build upon a broad-based community dedicated to social, economic and environmental justice”. The have many resources such as a library, research program, action groups, public forums, and other events. You can find them at 631 King Edward and check out their website is www.opirg-gripo.ca/.
Equal Voice is another political club that is dedicated to “providing opportunities for young women to gain political experience” and has its roots in creating an environment where more women are elected in politics and part of the political process. Their email is email@example.com.
Great Events and Other Ways to Get Political
The University is full of ways to expand your knowledge and experience on the political issues of today. The student association representing students in politics, PIDSSA, runs events open to all students such as the Washington Trip on October 26th-28th and Model Parliament on January 17th-20th. Model Parliament is taking place in the House of Commons for the first time ever due to growing interests from students from all faculties. The PIDSSA Vice-President of Political Science, Rachael Yaworski, stated that she is working to inform students of academic enriching opportunities at uOttawa such as Internal Internships and volunteering in Parliament. For more information see www.pidssa.ca.
Another great political event happening in the Ottawa region is les Jeux de politique on January 11-13th. JDP is a bilingual event bringing together Universities from across Quebec and Ontario to compete in both academic and sport activities. For more information go to the information session on September 25th at 8pm in the UCU Couch Lounge or email PJ Crosby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another great way to get involved is by joining your student association. Check out your faculty websites to see how you can run for a position within your student association or become a volunteer for them.
Take advantage of your time here in Canada’s capital; attend a meeting, go to a rally, run in an election, write to a Member of Parliament, and more. Politics is so often portrayed as being a nasty and volatile game of power, when in reality it is much more than that. Politics is fun, exciting and a great way to make new friends as well as to meet influential and interesting people.