Training day is over. The Revising Agent training took place in the basement of Elections Canada’s Trinity Bellewoods Office. Their temporary office, actually. Before it was a portrait studio, that’s had a ‘closed for vacation’ sign on the window for more than a couple years (Natalie told me).
Joy, our Training Officer, gave us the facts: “Trinity Bellewoods District has the highest number of revisions in the country – it includes University of Toronto along with most of the new condo buildings in the downtown. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse districts in the country.”
We were given yellow cards that explained, in English and French, “I don’t speak your language”. There was a phone number in large print on the card. Joy said, “Point to it, make a phone call signal, and hand them the card. Either that or ask their six year old to translate – they’re usually happy to have the job. Some people will be happy to see you, but some people will be furious, deciding that at that moment you represent the federal government and its full history...”
...Rather than Elections Canada for the three weeks they’re pretty much willing to give anyone a job (my application listed my name and SIN number – nothing more).
“Some people will want to talk politics, but for the next three weeks you are not allowed to have any political opinion.” (For some a discipline, but for me a privilege to step outside a world I never felt comfortable in anyway).
The point Joy reiterated the most: “there’s one lesson this job is going to teach you, there are all kinds of people in this city.”