CREA proudly supports political engagement through internship program

For over 25 years, The Canadian Real Estate Association has proudly sponsored the Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP). Each year, PIP allows 10 bright young professionals from across Canada to come to Ottawa and experience Parliament Hill from a non-partisan viewpoint, as both opposition and government staffers. This year, on June 12th, CREA CEO Gary Simonsen gave the following remarks at the interns’ valedictory luncheon, held in the Speaker’s Lounge on Parliament Hill. 

It is a privilege and an honour to provide a few comments at this annual valedictory luncheon.  It is also humbling to speak to a group such as this – those that have given more speeches than they care to remember, and all of us who have likely heard far more speeches than we care to remember. I will try to be cognizant of the latter.

On behalf of The Canadian Real Estate Association, and its over 105,000 members, it is with great pride that we support the Parliamentary Internship Programme. It is support we have provided for 25 years, and, I hope for the next 25 as well.

From reading the Parliamentary Intern Blog, and hearing about your travels to Shawinigan and sharing a beer with Prime Minister Chrétien, to your travels out of country it is apparent you have had an incredible and unique insight into Canada’s political process.

While your political journey – or at least this phase of it – is nearing an end, I think it is important to reflect on the broader importance of the Parliamentary Internship Programme in Canadian politics.

First I’d like to compliment your bosses – your MPs – for choosing to be part of the program, and for committing their time, effort and mentorship. I am sure they became infected – in a good way – with your enthusiasm and aspirations. I know in the couple of chances I had this past year in meeting and chatting with a number of you I was consistently impressed with your commitment, energy and diversity of interest and experience.

As I, and The Canadian Real Estate Association believe, organizations, associations and companies have a corporate responsibility to promote awareness, engagement, and contribution to the political process. We must do so with credible research and positions, and ultimate public good as benchmarks. So too you have some responsibilities, as ambassadors not only of the Parliamentary Internship Programme, but more importantly of the relevance and importance of our political process. You are 10 new beacons diminishing the fog of political apathy and indifference that has crept into Canadian politics.

On behalf of CREA and its members I wish you well on your next steps and graduation to Internship alumni. I can advise that our association’s contribution has extended well beyond just the Internship program. We have been direct beneficiaries of your Alumni. A year ago we hired Anna Laurence, a graduate from 2011-12. She has made an invaluable contribution to our team, and gives significant credit to her experience as one of you.

Whether the next chapter leads to continued political involvement, academia or working for an association I wish you all a stimulating and challenging experience that will add to your leadership skills and your role as ambassadors of political engagement.

Good luck, and thank you.

As former Chief Executive Officer of CREA, Gary Simonsen worked closely with our Board of Directors to oversee the management of the Association. Gary took the helm as CEO in 2011, after serving as CREA’s Chief Operating Officer since 2008 and being involved with organized real estate since 1984. When he can, Gary gets some rest and relaxation at his country home on the lake.


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