Parliamentarians of the Year 2012 — Niki Ashton, best represents constituents

"Visiting the constituency is really where I gather my energy,” Churchill MP says

It’s not every day parliamentarians drive down ice roads to far-flung towns.

But that’s how Churchill MP Niki Ashton makes her way to some of the most remote parts of northern Manitoba when they’re at their coldest. Several communities aren’t large enough to support a hotel of any sort. Not to worry, says Ashton, who jumps into a camper and, as she says, “brings accom- modations” with her. So goes the road- weary life of the MP for Canada’s fourth-largest riding.

Ashton refuses to admit to any semblance of fatigue as she criss-crosses the north.

“Being on the road can be gruelling, but visiting the constituency is really where I gather my energy,” she says. “The kinds of challenges that people in my constituency face are so immense—the headaches of travelling just don’t compare.”

The 30-year-old MP points out that her youth helps her connect with constituents. When she was elected four years ago, she was 26—the median age of a riding where two in five residents are younger than 20 years old.