2014-2015 fellows meet with the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa
Since 1973, the Canada-U.S. Exchange Program has allowed APSA Congressional Fellows and their counterparts from the Canadian Parliamentary Internship Programme to compare the U.S. and Canadian political systems through one-week study tours in Ottawa and Washington, DC.
The exchange begins each spring when participants in the Canadian Parliamentary Internship Programme visit Washington, DC, for a week of meetings and briefings designed to introduce them to the U.S. political system. The events for the week are arranged by the APSA Congressional Fellows. The agenda typically has included meetings with scholars, journalists, Members of Congress, government staffers, foreign affairs experts, and other specialists who provide first-hand insights into U.S. politics. The group from Canada also observes congressional hearings and visits Washington, DC, monuments.
The exchange program continues later in the year when a select group of APSA Congressional Fellows visits Ottawa for a week of meetings arranged by their counterparts from the Parliamentary Internship Programme. Events during the week may include discussions with Members of Parliament, meetings with members of the media and non-government organizations, a visit to the Supreme Court, a tour of Parliament, and attendance at Question Period in the House of Commons, where fellows have the opportunity to observe Parliament in action and, in some cases, see the Prime Minister. Participation in the Ottawa trip is based on fellows’ active participation in hosting the Parliamentary Interns in Washington, DC.
Fellows uniformly describe this exchange program as a highlight of the fellowship year. The exchange enriches fellows’ understanding of Canadian government, provides an important comparative lens through which to understand U.S. politics, and fosters ties of friendship that endure well beyond the fellowship year.