Meeting Justin Trudeau a 'surreal experience' for Metis law student

Breanne Lavallée-Heckert spent a day with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of #GirlsBelongHere, an initiative that encourages young women to take on leadership roles.

#GirlsBelongHere initiative is part of International Day of the Girl, Oct 11

Breanne Lavallée-Heckert spent Oct 5, on Parliament Hill shadowing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. ( CNW Group/Plan International Canada)

In honour of International Day of the Girl, Wednesday Oct. 11, leaders from different sectors are being urged to allow young women like Breanne Lavallée-Heckert to experience their jobs for a day.

Lavallée-Heckert got the chance to try out her dream job on Oct. 5 when she spent the day with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill — as part of Plan International Canada's second annual #GirlsBelongHere initiative. 

"It was just this very surreal experience to shadow the prime minister for the day," the 23-year-old told CBC Radio's Metro Morning host Matt Galloway.

She was given a personal tour of Parliament, attended Question Period and discussed important topics with Trudeau including the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous girls and women. 

"I'm Métis and so it was important for me," said Lavallée-Heckert. "Having this platform I felt that it was an important topic to bring up with the prime minister."   

She said becoming prime minister was a childhood dream but as she got older she had doubts.

"Could I be a mother and also be prime minister? Could I, you know, have a personal life and be a mother? All of these things came up and — that dream disappeared a little bit." 


The 23-year-old law student was part of a panel Wednesday at the Toronto Stock Exchange discussing the purpose of #GirlsBelongHere and why initiatives like it are needed.

"I think the biggest issues facing gender equality in Canada is that we don't talk about the social norms that still affect boys and girls differently when they're growing up," said Lavallée-Heckert.

Canada is one of 60 countries participating in #GirlsBelongHere.

In a news release Caroline Riseboro, the president and CEO of Plan International Canada said: "It's imperative that we come together to become advocates with and for girls, and to ensure discrimination, stereotypes, and inequalities don't prevent them from achieving their dreams."

During her day on Parliament Hill, Lavallée-Heckert said the thing she took away from the experience was that the prime minister's job is a team effort. 

"He has lots of people working for him, lots of great women and I was really surprised to see how many young women there were in the [prime minister's office]. It was really great to see," she said.

Lavallée-Heckert said it also made her realize that pursuing her dream of leading the country was still important to her.

But first, the McGill University student wants to finish law school.