Global College alum shares Prime Minister’s office for a day

Breanne Lavallee-Heckert (right) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Supplied.

Last week, UWinnipeg Global College graduate, Breanne Lavallee-Heckert, got a chance to test drive her dream job: Prime Minister of Canada. The 23-year-old spent Thursday, October 5, following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau through an average workday on Parliament Hill. 

“It was absolutely amazing,” Lavallee-Heckert said. “I got to spend 45 minutes getting to know the Prime Minister and he gave me a tour of Parliament and the House of Commons. He also showed me the Library of Parliament and told me it was his favourite place.”

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity became a reality when Prime Minister Trudeau accepted a Twitter challenge posed by Lavallee-Heckert.

Lavallee-Heckert is a longtime volunteer with Plan International Canada and the tweet she sent was part of the organization’s #GirlsBelongHere initiative ahead of International Day of the Girl on October 11. The campaign saw young women from across the country ask leaders from a variety of fields to share their office for a day.

“I was very excited. I got the response at one in the afternoon and I had class that evening so I wasn’t very productive,” the second year McGill University law student said, laughing.

She says her goal to be Prime Minister one day stems from her love of politics and affinity for taking on leadership roles.

During her day on the Hill, Lavallee-Heckert accompanied the Prime Minister to an event for athletes with disabilities, sat through Question Period, and had lunch with Justin Trudeau and his Chief of Staff, Katie Telford. She also got the chance to ask the PM about topics she’s interested in, like the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, diplomatic relationships with the United Stated, and the Prime Minister’s Youth Council.

Her favourite part of the experience, however, was meeting the female staffers who help run the Prime Minister’s Office.

“In my personal life, women supporting me has been key to where I am today…It was pretty neat to come to the realization that I don’t think he could do his job without women,” Lavallee-Heckert said, adding that it was inspiring to meet women who said they weren’t sacrificing their personal or family life to work in politics.

While Lavallee-Heckert was at Global College completing a BA in human rights and political science, Senator Marilou McPhedran became one of those supporters.

“Without Marilou McPhedran I wouldn’t be in law school right now. She’s an incredible human being and I feel so greatful to have her as a mentor,” she said. “The University of Winnipeg was my home for four years and the program gave me the foundation for my passion for human rights and gave me the tools to be proactive about the issues I care about.”

This summer, Lavallee-Heckert worked for the Department of Justice’s Official Languages Directorate where she conducted research on legislation that would protect Indigenous languages — something that is of particular interest to her as she identifies as Métis and speaks French.

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