NDP deputy leader wants to hire unpaid interns but says he wouldn’t have to if the Liberals banned them
The NDP’s newly-named deputy leader, Alexandre Boulerice, is looking to hire unpaid interns at his Montreal constituency office, but says he wouldn’t have to if the Liberal government heeded his party’s long-standing call to ban such positions.
The MP for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie has distributed at least three job advertisements seeking university students for unpaid trainee positions by the end of the month.
The advertisements were shared by the Concordia University political science department on Facebook on March 6, 7 and 11. One calls for applications to work in Boulerice’s office as a public relations assistant. The others are for unpaid jobs as a community relations assistant and a trainee to work with Boulerice’s parliamentary assistant.
In a written statement to the Star, Boulerice said the NDP believes interns should be paid, and that his budget would allow him to pay them if the Liberal government banned unpaid positions.
The NDP pledged to “end the exploitation” of unpaid internships during the 2015 federal election campaign, while party leader Jagmeet Singh has criticized the Liberals for delaying restrictions to such positions in the federally-regulated workplaces. The party’s 2018 policy handbook also states, under the section titled “Our rights as workers,” that the NDP believes in “abolishing unpaid internships.”
“The NDP supports paid internships and we believe the laws should be changed so that work done is paid,” Boulerice told the Star. “That’s why we’ve been calling on the Liberal government to change legislation to force internships to be paid. If the law was passed, budgets would allow for paid internships.”
Boulerice has an annual office budget of $382,150, according to the House of Commons Members’ Allowances and Services Manual.
In response to questions from the Star, NDP spokesperson Guillaume Francoeur said the NDP will review its caucus employment practices, but that the party itself does not employ unpaid interns.