However, the anchor event of the week was the federal budget on Wednesday, March 22nd. I had never been to a budget lockup before and the thought of surrendering my phone and all connection to the outside world for six hours was a bit daunting; but in the end, the six hours flew by. I learned budget reading tricks of the trade from Hendrik Brakel, Senior Director Economic, Finance & Tax Policy for the CCC and watched how he broke it down, got a feel for the overall direction and wrote the budget analysis for the CCC President & CEO Perrin Beatty and the Chamber Network. I was honoured to have written the rough draft of the skills section of the report and help find those nuggets that would interest the Chamber Network on our post-budget call later that evening. By the time it was approaching 4:00pm my copy of the budget had been thoroughly thumbed through, bent and highlighted, and we were ready to burst back into the world to get the details to the Canadian Chamber media team. But in true Ottawa fashion, politics waits for no budget and our exit from lockup was delayed by filibustering by the opposition. The masses of economists (there were two full rooms) were held off for an extra 30 minutes waiting, testing out talking points and itching to leap out the doors as soon as word came that the Finance Minister had tabled the budget in the House of Commons. I should add that an amazing amount of preparation goes into being ready for the budget by the policy team. The six other policy analysts feed Hendrik with what they anticipate seeing in the budget with regards to their area of specialty and then after the lockup it’s a highly coordinated effort to connect with the Network via conference call and the media through the President & CEO.
The week wrapped up with a debrief breakfast and the bubble of federal politics intact; though the filibustering, that continues even as I write this, added another layer of political intrigue to my experience.
The intern program was invaluable for me as the policy analyst of a local chamber of commerce. To have access to and build familiarity with the CCC policy staff only serves to help me help our members. To the policy team - thank you and don’t worry, I’ll be in touch. Thank you to Senior Vice President of Policy Warren Everson for being out of town and lending me your office for the week;) and to Brighid Meldrum and Jennifer Hagen, thank you for making the week easy to navigate.