Quebec National Assembly Salon Bleu

What is life like as a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec?

Some insight from an MNA on what it feels like to walk into the National Assembly and take a seat in the Salon Bleu.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Greg Kelley, and I am the Member of the National Assembly (MNA for short) for the riding of Jacques-Cartier. My riding includes the municipalities of Pointe-Claire, Beaconsfield, Baie D’Urfe, Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue and Senneville. I was elected in 2018 under the Liberal banner. If you want to know a bit more about me, here is a link to my biography.

I reached out to Cult MTL to offer my services as an op-ed writer to try to bring you, the readers, a perspective from the inside of politics. What is life like as an MNA? What do MNAs do, day in and day out? I will try to answer these questions, and I would also like to hear from you if you have any questions or suggestions for topics you would like me to write about. My intention is to not be partisan and to try to reflect the human side of politics.

What is life like as a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec?

I sincerely believe the overwhelming majority of my colleagues from all political stripes first and foremost want to serve the community they come from and try to make government work for their citizens. We also often work more closely together than is generally reflected in the daily media.

For starters, I’m going to give you some insight on what it feels like to walk into the National Assembly and take a seat in the “Salon Bleu.”

The National Assembly sits on top of a hill and is absolutely stunning and imposing as a building. It is the heartbeat of Quebec City and is a classic European-style parliamentary building. The surrounding grounds have large long patches of grass that lead up to the visitor’s doors and the garden is flush with plants and flowers of all different kinds — the honey from the beehive on top of the Assembly is absolutely delicious as a result! There are statues of former premiers and pathways all around the rectangular building in the gardens. There are always people walking around taking in the sights and snapping selfies. Every morning when I walk to work, I always think of how beautiful the National Assembly is and how lucky I am to work here.

What is life like as a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec?

The National Assembly security team are the first faces I see to start my day and after a few years you get to know them, always smiling and friendly. After passing through security I arrive at the heavy wooden doors to “porte numero 6”, where most MNAs enter the building. I often bump into colleagues and staff who are in a rush to get to a morning meeting, or finish up a cigarette. Once I start walking in the hallways of Quebec’s democracy, I often start to think of how unique everything is. The hard concrete floors cause my dress shoes to make that classic echo sound as I walk towards my office. The hallways are long and leave me lots of time to think and get my thoughts organized before a long day. 

But the moment that gives me butterflies in my stomach each and every time is when I am walking to take my seat in the Salon Bleu to partake in question period. The room is both large and small at the same time. The Salon Bleu is vast with a large painting on the ceiling and a huge chandelier, there are two floors, the top for visitors and the bottom for elected officials. The walls are blue with white with trim on the windows and there are several cameras and televisions mounted on the walls. The 125 representatives’ desks are all crammed in next to one another.  This is the only time when all MNAs are together in one room. It feels very crowded and it gets very loud before question period as colleagues enter the room and start to chat across the floor. When the President enters the room, everyone takes their seat and we are asked by the President to take a moment to reflect in silence.

What is life like as a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec?

As I look around at all the symbols, architecture, artwork and my colleagues from all parties, I take a moment to say to myself what a privilege and honour it is to be an elected official and represent my community. There are not many people in history who have had the same opportunity as I do, and there is a duty that comes with the chair I sit in which does not belong to me but the people of my Jacques Cartier riding. It is important that I always remain humble and mindful of my role and serve my constituents to the best of my abilities. ■

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