Last week, my son Silas spent a day shadowing me.
He was available because the schools in our district are shuttered due to a labour dispute. Tuesday evening I made the executive decision that if he was not going to learn at school then I would broaden his experience by letting him see first hand what I do on a daily basis.
We got an early start.
Shortly after 7am, we were visiting support staff and teachers on the picket line at Deep Cove Elementary. Before heading into town we made stops at Parklands Secondary and North Saanich Middle School. He heard first hand the experiences that support staff, teachers and administrators have managing staffing shortages that are the result of a historic wage disparity between the Saanich district and neighbouring districts in Victoria and Sooke.
When we got to the legislature, he got a front row seat at a BC Green Caucus meeting. Andrew Weaver offered Silas his iPad to play video games. Frankly, watching paint dry is more exciting for a nearly 12-year-old kid than a caucus meeting ever could be.
Question period is after lunch on Wednesdays. Silas found himself sitting in a nearly empty gallery directly behind the press. Testing the flexibility of the hawkish eye of security, he claims even crossing his legs is out-of-order up there. None-the-less, we made eye contact several times and his soft smile brought delight to many in the Chamber. He is a pretty cute kid for sure!
Following question period, I brought Silas into the Speaker’s office where he snagged a few goodies and treats. It’s not his first visit with Mr. Speaker and he was thankful to have Cheezies and ketchup chips to power him through the afternoon. He decided to stay in my office where he could eat snacks, play video games and “sorta” watch my second reading speech on Bill 41, The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (2019). When he gets older, I’m sure he will tell people that he was there on that important day in the history of British Columbia.
We had dinner together in the Legislature’s Dining Room which nearly got us to the 7pm adjournment of the debates in the House.
It’s a long day. That’s just about my every day. On the way home, he was very much alive to the fullness of my duties as a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
“Kids ask me if I am going to be a politician when I grow up,” he said from the back seat. “I was like, hmmmmmm, I don’t know. Now I’m like, definitely not!“
It’s unfortunate that he was out of school but I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend the day with him. More than that, I’m grateful to all my colleagues on all sides of the Chamber for making Silas feel comfortable and welcome in the legislature.
Today I’m honoured to welcome my son, Silas Olsen, into the House with us today. He’s out of school due to a little strike issue in school district 63, so I decided to bring him to work.
This morning started very early for Silas, and it’s going to go very long for Silas. He sat through caucus meeting, so anybody, if they’re interested in finding out what goes on, might want to have a conversation with Silas. He’s learning about governance. He’s learning about politics, for sure. Could everyone here please make him feel very welcome.