One Oak Bay student intends to have a front-row seat to the history being made in Canada’s halls of power.
Jeromy Kixmoller has been accepted into the parliamentary page program, beginning his one-year stint working in the House of Commons this September.
“I’m excited about the upcoming election. I think that some of the debates that will happen in the House will just be extraordinary to listen to and be a part of,” said Kixmoller, who is preparing to graduate from Oak Bay High.
“I’m excited to meet all the MPs and hear what they have to say and learn from the clerks and everyone working with the page program,” he said.
“I love learning and I think this experience is a great opportunity to do so.”
Kixmoller will be studying public affairs and policy management at Carleton University in the fall, with his goal being a career as a diplomat.
“My uncle was one and he has told me stories about his career and it just intrigued me,” he said, adding that when someone introduced him to the page program for Carleton students he knew that would be the perfect stepping stone to becoming a diplomat.
“Just knowing a little bit more about politics, because that isn’t my strong suit but it’s something that interests me. I want to learn more about Canada’s Parliament and really get a base on the politics and that can further my education on diplomacy.”
Getting accepted into the page program was no easy task, as only 40 of the more than 400 students who apply each year are accepted.
Kixmoller began the application process back in December, putting in countless hours studying for the program. He credits Scott Alexander, his history teacher at Oak Bay High, with helping clear the hurdles encountered through the application process.
“I really couldn’t have gone anywhere without him, cause he was along there every step of the way mentoring me.”
Alexander said the pair spent a lot of time going over things they felt could be on the interview, and he credits Kixmoller with reaching out to others in the community who might be able to help him. Following the initial tests, Kixmoller had to take part in a bilingual interview, with the conversation drifting back and forth between English and French.
“I’m from Quebec so that one was fairly easy for me,” said Kixmoller, before adding with a laugh, “My mom would have killed me if I hadn’t gotten that one.”
Alexander said pages serve the members of Parliament while the House is in session, bringing everything from water to budget documents to the members.
“The exciting part for Jeromy is he gets to be the ears in the room of historical debate, which he is very excited about,” he said.
Alexander said he can’t recall another student being accepted to the parliamentary page program in the 14 years he has been at Oak Bay High, and said several teachers worked with Jeromy and guided him along the way. “And kudos to the language teachers that kept his language abilities engaged, because he wouldn’t have got this far without them.”
Kixmoller heads to Ottawa in August to begin his training, starting with memorizing each of the 308 MPs.
“And then in October, after the election happens, they will change and I’ll have to do it all again.”
But Kixmoller isn’t deterred by the daunting task ahead and is grateful for the opportunity. He said he’s looking forward to “meeting some of the most powerful people in Canada and shake their hands and hopefully put a lasting image in their heads. I’m just excited to be there.”