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Writer-s-Bloc

Life as an MP

Every week Parliament is in session our local MP is 3,274 kilometres away in Ottawa working. 

Have you ever wondered what exactly they do in Ottawa? How they fill their time? What they have influence on?

Last week, I had the unique opportunity to go to the Federation of Canadian Municipaities, our national conference for mayors and councillors, in Ottawa. While there, I spent some time with local MP Stephen Fuhr, who was kind enough to give me a tour of what his life looked like on June 1.

This will be the first of at least two videos that I will post showcasing life on Parliament Hill as an MP. 

What stood out to me in this first video is the significant role that he gets to play as the chair of the Standing Committee of National Defence. The official link for the committee can be found here

Looking at the site, you quickly get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of reports and meetings. So perhaps to make this story digestible check out this link.

In it, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan outlines the background for the upcoming request for an additional $29 million for the military in 2017. 

In our current news environment, I don't think this would ever hit the media, but let's at least tie it to something that has hit the news. 

You may have heard about U.S. President Donald Trump's request for NATO countries to increase their spending on military to two per cent of GDP. 

OK, so now look at the bottom of the minutes where Randall Garrison, MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, brings up that perspective. 

In the above video, our local MP notes that coming up next is a study of NATO. A timely review of NATO before making a decision on what our Canadian perspective on NATO's role, and the budget we give it, is a wise first step as the public debate turns to NATO's funding levels. 

It also then makes sense why the committee may be planning a trip to Europe to get a first-hand point of view of the lay of the land over there. 

So perhaps let me leave this column with a simple nugget of information. Politicians deal with a tremendous amount of information day in and day out. What gets reported in the media only a small fraction of what happens.

One take away that I walked away with is that the hours of chairing the defence committee means that our local MP will be an expert in this field. 

As a former pilot and instructor in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he will have a detailed and in-depth, big picture understanding of our military, their assessment of areas that need more attention/budget, and he holds a significant lead policy role in the future decisions of the Canadian military.

What a tremendous honour. 

I would like to thank Fuhr for hosting me and taking the time to help all of us understand a little more about what our MP's lives look like on Parliament Hill. 

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About the Author

Welcome to Writer’s Bloc, an opinion column for guest writers to share their experiences and viewpoints with our readers.

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