Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on June 30, 2011.
It was one week ago today that our record-breaking “filibuster” debate began in the House of Commons over back to work legislation for Canada Post. Throughout that debate there was an unprecedented use of electronic devices in both the House and the Precinct. Blackberries, iPad’s and tablets among other devices have all increasingly found their way into the House and all around Parliament Hill.
Historically the House was never intended to have such devices and many Provincial Parliaments, including our own in British Columbia, still prohibit them. There are legitimate criticisms to these devices as they can become a distraction if not used in a responsible way and certainly enforcement considerations must also be measured. However there are also advantages that I believe should also be taken into consideration. For perhaps the first time, a constituent can now share their concerns directly with their Member of Parliament on an almost real-time basis. I know from the recent filibuster hearing from the people of Okanagan-Coquihalla on an ongoing basis really helped me better understand that challenges citizens were facing with the continued disruption of our postal service. There was also a certain irony that with postal services being suspended the normal means of sending a letter to convey your concerns to Ottawa were unavailable. Because of a device like the iPad, I was able to take the serious challenges facing a daycare provider and directly read those into the house with a question to the members opposite. These were important concerns and deserved to be heard and there is no question that technology allowed that to happen in an expedited manner.
I have also noted that technology allows many citizens to stay more informed and directly follow the work that we do on your behalf in Ottawa. As you can see I appreciate the benefits of utilizing the internet, social media and the iPad among other devices to help me communicate with you as your Members of Parliament. Having said that, I would also like to hear your thoughts on my use of technology as your MP. It should be noted that some of my colleagues have questioned me on the use of these devices. What is most important to me is to hear from you and what your thoughts are for the use of technology in the House. I welcome your comments on this topic.
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.
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