Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com website on June 9th, 2011.
Things work differently in Ottawa. As taxpayers you should know that you provide a tremendous amount of resources to support the work that we do as Members of Parliament. I have to admit it is somewhat overwhelming just trying to familiarize myself with the many resources and services that are available. I am also discovering that the amount of interest groups and organizations across Canada that bombard MP`s with promotional material is almost staggering. I have started a pile in my office and it is already several inches high. It is almost to the point where you need to hire additional staff just to keep up with Ottawa.
I have to admit that I am reluctant to do so. Maybe it is case of being stubborn, but as a small business owner I didn`t hire someone else to retrieve and open my mail or to direct my emails and get a coffee for me. In other words, if I was not willing to spend my own money on such tasks before being elected I am not certain that I can justify it now. Don`t get me wrong, you do need excellent staff as a member of Parliament, but the question remains as to how many?
At the moment I have three staff, all based out of the constituency office as was the case in the past with my predecessor Stockwell Day...collectively my staff assist me in answering the phones, following up on case work, administering the business functions of the office, setting up meetings and assisting with correspondence. I am fortunate that both Barb and Janine have excellent constituency skills and experience to serve the people of Okanagan-Coquihalla on a daily basis. I currently have no formal staff in Ottawa although my executive assistant is here with me helping to get our Ottawa office up and running. From a taxpayer`s point of view it should also be noted that there is no overtime for the staff of MP`s and I greatly appreciate the 12-14 hour days Rudy has been putting in while here in Ottawa working with me.
From a communications standpoint I carry both my own personal iPad and my MP Blackberry with me at all times. This way I can always read your emails, receive your comments from this blog, and respond to you from either source as time permits. I am, at least at this point, going to try to continue running with three staff. I have always been very hands on in my approach and I find that more I can do on my own allows me to be better informed and also to meet more people as I travel around the Parliamentary precinct . There are a few in Ottawa who are questioning my approach on this but I believe that it is important we not lose sight of the principles that first motivated us to run for public office.
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
For more information about Dan Albas, click here.