WCSS’ Augé a Parliamentary Page

DUNROBIN – Carp’s Elodie Augé accepted a pretty demanding part-time job for her first year of university – she’s going to be a House of Commons Page.

Augé, who graduates from West Carleton Secondary School (WCSS) later this spring, was one of 40 selected to the position from thousands of applicants from across the country to serve as a Parliamentary Page.

“I’m so excited,” Augé told West Carleton Online from the high school last Tuesday (April 16). “I found out last Thursday (April 11). Friday was a PA day. I couldn’t wat to come to school. I have told so many teachers. I wanted to tell everyone.”

Pages work in the House of Commons providing various services to Members of Parliament, the Speaker and Chair Occupants, and Table Officers. For example, pages collect and distribute official documents, deliver messages to Members, serve as a link between Members and their Hill offices, answer telephone calls. On occasion, pages also meet with youth groups to speak about their duties and their experience on Parliament Hill.

Augé says she will start her training in late August where she will meet her 39 peers and learn about the work environment, responsibilities and duties.

“They really stress you have to be impartial,” Augé said. “You serve all the MPs equally. You can’t share your political opinion.”

Pages sign a one-year contract with the House of Commons and are required to work a minimum of 15 hours a week.

“I hear every page experience is different,” Augé said. “We’ll get to me part of an election. So that’s going to be really exciting.”

This year’s crop will be working out of the West Block as Centre Block recently closed to go under a 10-year rehabilitation project.

Augé, 17, was born in England but came to Carp when she was starting Grade 6. She graduated from Huntley Public School before going to WCSS.

As well as being a top student, Augé is also a member of the Air Cadets where she serves as Warrant Officer 1st Class for the 706 Ottawa Snowy Owl Squadron.

She is the top cadet at the squadron and therefore spends four days a week with duties related to that service.

“They really teach you the importance of staying informed,” Augé said of her time with the cadets.

She said here teachers also played a big role in her appreciation of current events.

“Here at West, Mr. Bailey taught politics to me and that really got me interested,” Augé said. “He’s so enthusiastic. He doesn’t just teach you; he shows you why it’s important.”

Augé will be studying commerce at the University of Ottawa next fall.

Augé said she decided to apply for the Page Program after hearing family friends discuss the program.

“My mom has a colleague who still raves about the program even though he went through it 20 years ago,” she said. “He said it’s helped him through his life and was even pointed out to him on his resume when he applied to be a teacher.”

It’s a challenging job to get accepted. Augé had to submit a 500-word essay on how she can benefit the program and vice versa; she had to send in her resume, transcript and references; she had to pass a language test in French and English; and then she had to do an in-person interview.

“I had to do a lot of prep,” Augé said.

The interview had three components: political questions, personal questions and situational questions.

And after all that, she had to wait.

“Every single day I checked my email even though I knew there would be nothing in it,” Augé said. “I was very anxious to find out.”