Yaelle Gang is a Legislative Assistant for a Member of Parliament. She recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University.
When I signed up for the CJPAC fellowship program, I honestly did not know what to expect. I was a newly elected student council representative for the Journalism Department at Carleton University and I did not have any political experience.
Little did I know, CJPAC would give me the tools to succeed in the political world and change the direction of my future.
Perhaps the most useful tool that CJPAC gave me was the knowledge of how to properly run a political campaign. The year I was a fellow, I spearheaded a successful campaign to defeat a Students Against Israeli Apartheid referendum question, I managed the campaign for the winning Undergraduate Board of Governors representative and I was very active in the campaign of the winning Carleton University Student Association executive slate. I could not have done this without the skills I learned at CJPAC.
CJPAC also taught me the importance of volunteer work. Since the CJPAC fellowship, I have never passed up an opportunity to volunteer on a provincial or federal campaign. I understand that volunteering is one of the most important things you can do if you ever want to work in politics. It helps you make connections and learn about different strategies and tools that are very useful for any political job.
Furthermore, the CJPAC fellowship gave me the skills I needed to succeed while working in a political office. This was done through the numerous speakers from different parties and businesses that spoke at the conference and on group phone calls. These conversations were a once in a lifetime opportunity to chat with party leaders, government relations staff, political staff, pollsters and more. This gave me the insight needed to have a well-rounded understanding of Canadian politics.
Two years have passed since I was a CJPAC fellow. I’ve said goodbye to university and to journalism and I am currently a political staffer for a Member of Parliament. Now that I am working, I realize that the most valuable benefit of the CJPAC program is the strong network of staff and fellows it connected me with.
Whenever I have a question or need support, I can count on someone from my CJPAC network to be there. I am surrounded by CJPAC fellows who work in political offices across party lines. I also know that the CJPAC staff are always just a phone call away. It is these relationships that make the CJPAC fellowship program really unique and worthwhile.
Whenever I speak to younger students who are interested in politics I tell them that the CJPAC fellowship is the best program to participate in. It is truly one of a kind and has made a very positive impact on the Canadian political scene.