Liberal actions misguided

One aspect of majority governments that is not often discussed is its ability to control timing.

Announcements that may not be received positively are often released late on a Friday, as was the case when the Liberals released alarming updated debt projections on Friday, Dec. 23.

Another example: during the same time frame, the budget is introduced knowing it will overshadow other events and thus receive less scrutiny. This occurred recently when the government released a document they call the “Modernizing Parliament” document.

I am increasingly skeptical when the Liberals introduce new documents using buzz words. Such was the case with the “Democratic reform” that the Liberals reneged on only when their preferred version of democratic reform, the use of a ranked ballot, was not well supported by experts and Canadians who supported other proposals, such as proportional representation.

In this case of “Modernizing Parliament,” it is clear that the Liberals see less accountability and a shorter Parliamentary work week – both measures that benefit the majority governing Liberals — as the more modern new way of doing business. 

Some measures being proposed include shortening the parliamentary work week by eliminating Friday sittings, eliminating Opposition procedural tactics and what I find most troublesome allowing the Prime Minister to only show up one day a week in Question Period.

Why does this last measure trouble me? Think back to what was viewed as the Senator Duffy scandal. Without the ability to question the prime minister daily in the House of Commons, it is doubtful this issue would have received the scrutiny it deserved.

Conversely, without the ability to question the prime minister daily, would the talents of NDP leader Thomas Mulcair in Question Period have been as well recognized by Canadians?

Having been a member of the former 41st Parliament, I believe our democratic interest was well served with the daily accountability from Question Period with an expectation the Prime Minister attends more than once a week.

At the same time the Liberals are proposing to spend less time in Ottawa, they have also increased parliamentary precinct spending by 18 per cent since being elected. The House of Commons and Senate budget jointly is almost $700 million annually, an increase of roughly $100 million since the Liberals were elected. 

It's misguided to increase spending while proposing to spend less time in Ottawa.

Members of Parliament do not work for the Liberal government; we work for Canadians.

You are our employers and it is up to Canadians to decide if they see higher spending on Parliament and getting a shorter work week in return is something you support.

The Conservative and NDP Opposition caucuses fully oppose these measures. We were elected to a House of Commons that sits five days a week when the House is in session. It is our duty as MPs to honour that work week commitment no differently than most Canadians do.

My question this week is:

do you support a shorter Parliamentary work week when the House of Commons is sitting?

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


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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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