The interior of BC now has four new and two returning Members of Parliament, one with the incoming government, three with the official opposition and the two remaining with the third party (as it is frequently referred to within the House of Commons). In some situations the electoral boundaries between these different Members of Parliament may be geographically well defined but may not be convenient for citizens due to different MP office locations or how the electoral boundaries commission arbitrarily applied riding borders that may have separated closely linked communities. These situations often create a challenge for citizens to decide which Member of Parliament they should contact for assistance in the event the Member of Parliament who is closest and most convenient, may in fact be representing a different electoral region.
Wherever possible citizens should contact the Member of Parliament who represents the electoral region they reside in. The reason for this is that Members of Parliament have unique legislated rights and protections under various acts of Parliament to represent citizens specifically located within their electoral region. In addition, Members of Parliament are provided with generous resources to assist citizens, even those in remote areas of a riding. On the same theme citizens also have a right to contact Members of Parliament from other electoral regions for assistance that may or may not be provided depending upon the circumstances and the discretion of the MP in question. From my own experience it is common for MPs from other parties and or regions to refer citizens to their own MP as this respects the intent of Canada’s single-member, simple-plurality voting system.
From my perspective as the Member of Parliament for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, my office will continue to assist citizens to the best of our ability and will also look forward to working with other MPs in our region regardless of party affiliation. Ultimately assisting citizens remains my top priority and I expect our newly elected Members of Parliament will also share this sentiment as they work towards opening up new constituency offices as soon as is reasonably possible.
Unfortunately there is little news to share from Ottawa at the moment as the transition period will be under way for many weeks and it is still unclear when the House of Commons will be recalled by the new Government, once in place. Next week will likely be more active as it is expected a new cabinet will be announced and potentially a date will also be revealed on when the House of Commons will resume. Normally in a non-election year the House would have sat for five weeks at this point with another five weeks schedule prior to the end of the year.
On a closing note I would like to thank the many citizens who have taken the time to share your thoughts and comments with me over the past ten days. The volume of feedback has been significant and is greatly appreciated. I welcome your input and can be reached via email at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament elect for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.