Back to school for Nick Whalen and other new MPs

They've already got a job, but newly elected Members of Parliament have a lot of learning to do, so they're heading to Ottawa for training.
Newly elected Liberal Nick Whalen will put up a new sign when he moves into his consituency office in November. (CBC)

They've already got a job, but newly elected MPs have a lot of learning to do, so they're heading to parliamentary pre-school. 

"I was up for some training last Friday, this Monday and Tuesday, and I'll be going back next week to learn more about the constituency role of a member of Parliament," said the Liberal MP for St. John's East, Nick Whalen, on Thursday.

Many of the lessons are practical.

"Intake processes for Parliament, security and IT protocols at Parliament and House of Commons, how to hire staff, what skill sets the staff need, things like that," said Whalen.

The House of Commons will look very different when it re-opens, likely in December. New MPs are learning the ropes. (AFP/Getty Images)

As for tips on the nitty gritty of parliamentary procedure, that's still to come.

"My training on that will happen a couple of days prior to the House first sitting. We're not hearing anything official but it might be sometime in early December," said Whalen.

"I'm going to rely a lot on my colleagues in caucus who are very experienced, people like Judy Foote, Yovonne Jones and Scott Simms."

So far, they've been giving advice on where to live in Ottawa, something Whalen is still trying to arrange.

Whalen calls Parliament Hill an impressive place.

"I'm really looking forward to taking my kids there next week when I'm sworn in, because it really is a beautiful, magical place and it's very inspiring."

Winning the St. john's East seat was only the start. Nick Whalen says his family needs a vacation before Parliament opens. (Geoff Bartlett/CBC)

In the meantime, he will set up his constituency office in St. John's East — in the building occupied by his predecessor, New Democrat Jack Harris.

He and his family will also take a "much needed vacation" after the long campaign.

"We're working hard to transition, but also my family and I need some time together and then probably the third week in November start in on the business of Parliament."


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