Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on October 7th, 2011.
There is a perception in some circles of what life is like as a Conservative backbench MP. Words such as “controlling” or “tightly scripted” are often implied as being terms that we, as Conservative MP’s, are required to accept as our role in government. I have to admit shortly after being elected as an MP I also wondered what things would be really like as a member of the Government caucus. I have to say that the reality is very far from what has and often is characterized in the media and elsewhere.
To date I have never been told what I can or cannot say. My weekly MP reports are at my complete discretion and are not edited or officially approved in any capacity (though this is potentially to the dismay of my Grade 12 English teacher). The speech that I wrote recently in support of Bill C-13 was entirely my own, and again was not vetted or politically approved prior to delivery. The only copy of the speech that left my office in advance was to translation services to help assist the challenging work of our Parliamentary translators that you hear on CPAC.
As one of my staff often like to point out, as an MP we are given plenty of rope… easily enough of it to tie our own noose knot! I mostly raise these points and created this post as I sometimes get the odd email that usually starts out suggesting that I am unable to comment on an issue solely because I am a Conservative MP. For the record I do also read my own emails and try to respond to every one of them, time permitting. Generally I prefer to phone back my constituents in person as this is something that I can do more easily when I am within the Parliamentary precinct and not near a computer.
I posted a picture of a recent dinner at 24 Sussex that a small group of us had with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, in spite of having an extremely busy schedule, does take the time to meet with us in person in order to hear events and concerns from our ridings. It is a deeply humbling experience to have dinner with the Prime Minister at 24 Sussex, however it is also immensely rewarding to have a Prime Minister that takes the time and cares to hear what is going on in our ridings back home.
Speaking of home, I am hours away from heading out en route back to the riding of Okanagan- Coquihalla and am very much looking forward to thanksgiving dinner with my family. I miss my wife and my three daughters. This has been a very productive session of Parliament and I am happy to be working on a team of good people. As Canadians we have much to be thankful for this thanksgiving long weekend and I cannot say enough what an honour it is to serve as your Member of Parliament in Ottawa. Please have an enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend and thanks to so many of you for the encouraging words and support you have shared with me.
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.