As members of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, it is part of our job to hold the Government to account.
As many who follow my weekly MP reports will know, this is a common theme of mine but I also believe it is just as important to propose alternative solutions to problems and to formulate creative ideas which could address many issues.
Frequently, these suggestions, alternatives and ideas come from articulate and well-meaning citizens in our region.
I also believe there are times when Government deserves credit for actions and decisions, or in this case reconsideration of a previous decision.
In an MP Report roughly one month ago, I explained the controversy around what is regarded as the Atwal incident that occurred on the Prime Minister’s recent trip to India.
As a reminder of this incident, Mr. Trudeau’s National Security Advisor was put forward in a confidential news conference.
Quoting from a reporter at the news conference, this high ranking National Security Official was “peddling what must be one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories ever advanced by a Canadian government” suggesting “That the terrorist invited by the Liberals to Mumbai, may have been planted there by the Indian government or maybe by Indian security agencies or perhaps by factions in the Indian government.”
To add to the confusion the Liberals later suggested the Atwal invitation was authorized by a lone Liberal MP from British Columbia.
Due to the contradictions contained in these two explanations, the Opposition tabled a motion at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (known as SECU) to meet with Mr.Trudeau’s National Security Advisor and learn more about this alleged conspiracy theory.
Unfortunately, the Liberal members of this committee used their majority to block this motion.
Later a similar Opposition motion came before the House of Commons and when the Liberals used their majority to defeat that motion, an all-night filibuster was held in an effort to pressure the Liberals into allowing the National Security Adviser to appear before Parliament.
This week I can report some encouraging news.
The Liberal Government has reversed the decision and will now allow the National Security Advisor to appear before interested parliamentarians.
Why is this important?
Ultimately Members of Parliament are elected on behalf of citizens.
If Members of Parliament are blocked from holding public officials to account or if the Government can use non-partisan civil servants without accountability, our democracy is ultimately threatened.
This reversal is a positive step towards increasing both transparency and accountability in Ottawa and will optimistically be a trend that continues.
It is my hope that the Liberals will also reverse the decision to block faith organizations from the opportunity to participate in the summer jobs program without first accepting a values test that many feel is contrary to the Canadian Charter.
My question this week:
Are you concerned when Government imposes a values test in order to be eligible for a taxpayer funded program?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.