We love it when our friends come to town. This was the second NU Energy on the Hill Day, which is proving to be a great opportunity for members of Canada’s nuclear industry to get together, learn from each other’s experiences in the different areas of the industry, and more than that, a great chance for us to tell our experiences to Parliamentarians on the Hill.
The two-day event began on Sunday evening, September 30, at the Sheraton Hotel here in Ottawa. Thirty-six participants who are members of Women in Nuclear (WiN) Canada and North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) from CNA member companies arrived for a welcome reception where we got to mingle and pick up our kits containing some educational swag, industry key messages, and our group assignments for the next day’s meetings.
Monday morning offered some professional development sessions, including a great presentation about “How Ottawa Works” from public affairs gurus Anne McGrath and Will Stewart from Ensight Canada. Next up was Member of Parliament for Simcoe-Grey, Dr. Kellie Leitch, who also spoke to participants about the role of an MP.
Throughout the day, the eight groups of WiNners and Young Genners attended meetings and told their stories. All together we met with about 24 Parliamentarians and Staff. I personally had three meetings, let me tell you about them.
My first was with Chris Alexander, MP for Ajax-Pickering. He was very supportive of nuclear in Canada and appreciates the contributions of nuclear technology to Canadian society – our energy system, the health of Canadians and the environment. The biggest takeaway from that meeting was that we, as an industry, need to do more public outreach and education about nuclear. The CNA couldn’t agree more (check out our education site at TeachNUclear.ca and follow us on social media!).
A highlight of the day was being invited to sit in the Speaker’s Gallery to watch Question Period. After QP, we were invited to the Speaker of the House’s office for a quick chat. Speaker Andrew Sheer is the MP for Regina—Qu’Appelle, so it worked out nicely that the group for this meeting was made up of people from Cameco and SaskPower. We caught up about mining and power issues in the province and, of course, chatted about the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
After our meeting with Speaker Sheer, we had a quick pow-wow with Bob Rae, the MP for Toronto Centre and interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He too was supportive of nuclear, having been premiere of Ontario during the construction of the Darlington nuclear station – which provides about 20 percent of Ontario’s electricity needs, enough to serve a city of two million people.
What a great day! On behalf of everyone here at the CNA, a big thank you goes out to all of our participants, speakers and Parliamentarians who made the second annual NU Energy on the Hill Day a big success. See you again next year!
Read the WiN Canada blog about NU Hill Day here: http://www.wincanada.org/news/nu-hill-day