There was a moment a local teen shared with the Governor General that will stick with the first year university student.
Alexander Wozny, a University of Ottawa student and Page at the House of Commons, was chatting with Governor General David Johnston while taking a group photo with the pages.
“We were seated next to each other and he asks me where I’m from,” said Wozny. “I told him Red Deer. And he responded ‘oh Red Deer, that’s that big metropolis between Calgary and Edmonton right.’
“It was this really special moment for me. I’ve had so many people ask me where’s Red Deer, but here’s our Governor General who knows all about it. Asking about how much snow we had and whether we had Chinooks like Calgary.”
Since the start of the school year, Wozny has been pulling double duty as a student and working at Parliament as a page. Pages serve the Speaker, Members of Parliament and other officials and assist them in their duties.
Wozny applied the day before the deadline, after a lot of encouragement from his mom and knowing another local person who had also applied.
“My mom brought it up in Grade 11,” said Wozny, who attended high school at Lindsay Thurber. “We had a former page come back and talk to us sometimes.”
When Grade 12 started, Wozny’s mother became a little more forceful with her encouragement.
After a little research, Wzony questioned what the program was all about.
“You go to Ottawa and help Members of Parliament?” Wozny said with a perplexed inflection.
“Then I watched CPAC and you could see all the pages running around delivering documents.”
Then it dawned on him what the job would really be. Starting his time at the University of Ottawa working with federal politicians who are having an impact on the country, as his first university job and his time in a new city.
But the program isn’t the only venture keeping Wozny busy. He is majoring in political science and communications.
Among his page colleagues, Wozny said there is a broad range of interests ranging from music, health science and law to politics. An interest in politics is a common thread among to 40 pages.
“It’s been really interesting, and enjoyable,” said Wozny, who was stuck doing office work until Parliament reconvened after the fall election.
“The pages are excited to get started, but that’s also true of the new MPs. It was so special to see them enter and it was like the first day of school.”
Wozny is also using this time to look closely at how or what is covered by media outlets during Parliament sittings.
He reads news stories and compares them with what he saw or thought would be notable.
To prepare for their role, pages are required to try and memorize names and faces based off of pictures. Early on they rely on seating charts, but Wozny is trying to memorize the seating arrangement so he doesn’t have to rely on the chart.
“We’re the furniture of the house,” said Wozny. “It’s our job to make sure everything is running smoothly and we’re supposed to blend into the background.”