Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
When in Rome
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's trip to Italy on Friday included a meet and greet with 80 Canadian high school students studying in Italy this summer.
The kids are there with the Centro Scuola e Cultura Italians, which allows Canadian kids of Italian descent the chance to study in Italy each summer.
I'm sure there were many political reasons for his doing so -- reaching out to Italian Canadian voters back home by meeting with their kids in Italy being just one.
And I'm sure for Harper the visit was a welcome relief from the intensity of the G8 meetings and the number of small but water-cooler-talk-generating issues he's hit this week.
The students were unlikely to ask him if he ate the communion wafer or why he was late for the group G8 photo.
But I couldn't help but think how rare it is for Canadians to get a chance to meet a prime minister in Canada itself. That is not a knock on Harper -- it's just the reality of the job of prime minister that while you get to meet a lot of people, most people in Canada will never get near you.
His meeting with Canadian students in Italy reminded me of when I was in high school, and one of my classmates was on a study-abroad year. She hailed from England. Mid-way through the school year Prince Edward showed up to hand out some awards and for some reason my high school was involved in the visit. We were in a performance group that was part of the entertainment at a gala dinner and the next morning we were invited to attend a brunch with the prince.
I will never forget my friend laughing about the fact that she'd lived in England all her life, and yet had to come to Canada to meet a member of the royal family.
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About Mia Rabson
Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.
Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.
She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.
Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.
Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.
In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.
She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.
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