Remember on Nov. 11

I am back in Ottawa for the first time since the recent election.

It is a bittersweet occasion having to say good bye to some colleagues  I have worked with for years who were not re-elected.

It is also an exciting time for those who are newly elected stepping into the House of Commons for the very first time.

Being in the House of Commons as an elected representative on behalf of the citizens we represent is an immense honour.

That we have, both departing and newly arriving members of Parliament, is all part of a healthy democracy.

This is why honouring Veteran’s Week is critically important and on that point, I encourage you to take part in your local Remembrance Day ceremony.

When I reflect on the great importance of Remembrance Day, I am reminded of a visit by former British Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011.

During his visit, Mr. Cameron reminded the House of Commons that: “in the world’s toughest times and darkest hours, Canada has always defended democratic freedom and fought against tyranny.”

As Canadians, we have been defined by the sacrifices of the brave men and women who serve in honour of our nation.

On this week, in what is the 11th month, on the 11th day and at the 11th hour, Canadians will give pause to honour and reflect on the sacrifice of those brave soldiers who have served.

Let us give thanks to our veterans for all that we have, and may we never forget.

My question this week:

  • Will you be attending a Remembrance Day service?


Libs still hold advantage

In last week's MP report, I discussed the voting outcome of the 43rd Canadian federal election that resulted in a minority government.

What exactly does a minority government mean and how might that work to serve Canadians?

The Liberals hold 157 seats, the Conservatives, 121, the Bloc with 32, and the NDP, 24. There is one independent MP and the Green Party now has three.

The reason the seat count is critical is due to the fact that it illustrates that the Liberal government requires only the support of one major party to pass a budget, or have legislation approved.

While the government has three parties they have the option of working with on a bill or budget, the same is not true for the opposition.

For the opposition to defeat a Liberal government bill, no two parties combined carry enough votes to effectively block the legislation.

The only way the opposition could prevent a government bill from going forward would be if all three parties agree to block it.

For these reasons, the Liberal government will have the advantage and a fair bit of flexibility in advancing legislation, provided they work with at least one of the three major parties.

From my perspective, we do have some challenges with each party having more representation in certain regions of Canada than others.

Last week, I asked about your concerns regarding Canadian unity and received possibly the most responses to any question I have asked in my weekly reports.

There is no question many Canadians are deeply concerned including many within our region.

What happens next?

The Prime Minister has indicated he will name his new cabinet on Nov. 20.

I expect shortly after that, the Leader of the Official Opposition will present his shadow cabinet of critics to speak on particular files and hold the government to account.

Parliament is likely to resume sitting in December with an expected Throne Speech that will outline the priorities of the minority Liberal government.

This leads to my question for this week:

  • What are the priorities you would like to see addressed by this 43rd Canadian Parliament?

Dan is back

It is a great honour to be in a position to resume writing my weekly MP reports to you after our recent federal election. 

I would like to sincerely thank the over 63,000 citizens who came out to polls and advance polls to make their vote count. 

I would also like to thank the many volunteers who worked tirelessly on the many different campaigns.

These volunteers play a key role in furthering the interests of our Canadian democracy.

And, finally, I would like to recognize and thank the other candidates who put their names forward to serve.

These individuals put their lives on hold for many months covering the vast expanse of our Central Okanagan- Similkameen-Nicola riding.

All the candidates of this recent election care about their communities and our great country.

As you have likely heard, a minority Liberal government will be returning to Ottawa.

I have been asked what that might look like. 

Our House of Commons has 338 seats, however, one member of Parliament will be elected to serve as the Speaker, effectively leaving 337 seats, although the Speaker does have a vote in the event of a tie.

The Liberals lost 20 seats in this recent election reducing their total seat count to 157, which is short of a majority in the House of Commons.

The NDP also lost seats, going to 24 from 44.

However, because the Liberal and NDP seats combined add up to 181, the Liberals could stay in power if the two parties were to agree to support a budget or government bill.

Another scenario discussed is if the Liberals invited other parties to join them in their cabinet, which is referred to as a coalition government.

Either way, the two or more parties could carry a majority vote.

The Prime Minister has stated that he will not pursue such a coalition, but govern from a minority position. 

Although the Conservative Party did gain 28 seats, and won the popular vote, it remains as the Official Opposition.

The Bloc party in Quebec increased their seat count, winning 32 seats in Quebec and the Green Party added one more seat and now has three, with two in B.C. and one in Atlantic Canada.

There have only been three times in Canadian history where an elected government did not also win the popular vote.

  • 1979
  • 1967
  • 1926.

Although only once before has a first-term majority government been defeated and only three times has a first time majority government been held to minority status upon re-election.

Because of the loss of the popular vote, minority government status, and the fact that the Liberal Party was completely shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan while there was a significant re-emergence of the Bloc in Quebec, many have stated concerns that Canada is facing a potential unity crises.

That leads to my question for this week.

  • Are you concerned about Canadian unity as a result of the election?


Dan's final column, for now

Since the federal election has officially started, this will be my final MP report of the 42nd Parliament.

I am running for re-election and I am hopeful to resume my weekly MP reports once the 43rd Parliament is elected.

That is, however, a decision for the people of Central-Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

I would like to thank you for reading my weekly reports and responding frequently with your comments, questions and concerns.

Your feedback has been invaluable to me in the work that I do as a member of Parliament.

I would like to share an example of that.

Over this past weekend, at an all candidates forum, I was asked my personal view on the medical assistance in dying legislation that was passed early in the 42nd Parliament. 

My answer was a simple one for me.

From my perspective, being a member of Parliament is not about imposing my own view, but expressing the will of my constituents who I represent.

When the topic of medical assistance in dying came before the House of Commons, I wrote several MP reports on that topic and provided information about the proposed legislation and how it would work.

Although many considered it to be a controversial issue, the feedback I heard locally from a diverse range of citizens was overwhelmingly in support of medical assistance in dying.

People shared many personal and heartfelt stories as to why and also some concerns.  

I voted in support of medical assistance in dying knowing that the most citizens I heard from were also in support of the proposed legislation.

I also heard from those who were opposed in principle or that felt the government’s legislation was too constraining in who could access it and under what terms.

More recently, I have heard concerns from citizens relating to some flaws with how the legislation was drafted and the challenges that has been created for those facing life’s most challenging situations.

As all of us will eventually face these situations, this new legislation is important and I am hopeful to have the opportunity to address these and other challenges when the legislation is reviewed in the 43rd Parliament, if I am re-elected. 

I would like to thank all local citizens for the great honour of being their member of Parliament for the past four years. 

I would also like to thank the various media organizations that  run my weekly reports that help citizens to engage with and hold me accountable.

I have one question as I close this week’s report.

  • Will you be voting in the upcoming October federal general election?

For more questions on the upcoming federal election, Elections Canada can be reached at 1-800-463-6868 or by visiting elections.ca.

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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