Hi, I’m Emily Rose. I’m 13 years old and allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.
In November and December of 2011, I served as a Page at Queen’s Park, The Legislative Assembly for Ontario. My job was to be a mailman or delivery person for Members of Provincial Parliament. I had to know all the MPP’s by name, where they sat, and what Riding they were from. I studied for weeks to prepare! When I started on my first day, I was so scared.
Being a Page was scary enough, but my allergy gave me some extra anxiety. It was the first time that I was alone to deal with my allergies for myself. My parents were 2 hours away, and I had sole responsibility to check my food.
My teacher there was very helpful. She put up signs in every room of the Page Quarters and made sure that all of the Security Staff knew about my allergy. Plus, whenever special lunches were served, the Page Staff ensured that the meal was free of peanuts, before I even asked.
Even with all that help, things did not always go according to plan. There are two lobbies, one on each side of the Chamber where I worked. The MPP’s would meet there to discuss things. One day, someone delivered peanut butter cookies, and I could not go into either of the lobbies for the whole day. To make things more challenging, there was a point in the day when I was the only Page on duty in the Chamber. When a MPP asked me to get something from the lobby, it was very embarrassing to have to explain that I am allergic to peanuts and could not go into either of the lobbies. Everyone was very kind and understanding. My fellow Pages were helpful in getting things that I needed, and it all turned out okay.
While I was working as a Page, I got to meet The Honourable Dave Levac, the MPP who introduced Ontario’s Sabrina’s Law. I remembered who he was from a documentary about Sabrina’s Law. I wanted to say something to him, but I was not allowed – because I was not allowed to be Partisan, which means favouring one Party or MPP or another. So, I got my Mom to send him an e-mail, telling him that I was a Page and allergic to peanuts and very excited to be there.
By coincidence, I was one of two Page Captains that walked him into the Chamber on his inaugural entrance. The next day, I was cleaning up water glasses and was just about to leave when I heard someone calling my name. At first, I was a little freaked out – but then I remembered the e-mail and knew who it was. Dave Levac was the one calling my name, so I went around the corner and talked to him. He asked me about my allergies and if I carried my epinephrine auto-injector, which I always do.
I was so excited to meet Dave Levac, and I had such a great time at Queen’s Park. I wish I could have stayed there longer. To any new or prospective Pages, I wish you good luck and know that you will have the best time of your life!