It was my intention this week to provide a further update on Canada’s current non-combat deployment in Iraq, a subject last referenced in my September 10th report. However at the time of my writing this report there is not yet a significant update to provide. What I can pass on is that should there be a decision to engage in any type of combat– including aerial assault that any combat role involving Canadian forces will be brought before Parliament for a debate and ultimately a vote.
As some will know this was not past practice when the former Government made the decision to engage in Afghanistan, nor is it a requirement or obligation for Government to provide Parliament with an opportunity to vote. Ultimately the commitment to potentially bring this matter before Parliament should a combat aspect be contemplated is a decision by Government to involve our democratically elected members of Parliament to have a voice in what remains a very serious subject. This remains a matter that I believe is of concern to all Canadians and I welcome comments and question in this or any area. While Canada has a long and proud history of standing up for innocent victims against tyranny and oppression, these kind of decisions should never be taken lightly nor for granted.
Another subject that has come up recently is question period in large part because of a questionable exchange last week between a Parliamentary Secretary and the Leader of the Official Opposition. The episode in question led to a subsequent apology from the Parliamentary Secretary in question and a motion this week to potentially change part of how question period works with respect to the ability of the Speaker to engage in interventions during question period. This is a subject that could easily fill many reports however to focus on the positive aftermath there has been a noticeable change in tone on both sides of the House as questions and answers have become far more focussed towards what most would agree is the original purpose of question period. It is also fair to say that this episode has served as a reminder that elected officials are ultimately held to account by the citizens who elect us. If Members of the House engage in the use of profanity or otherwise make comments that demean the House in turn we demean those whom we represent. I believe that all elected officials should be mindful of the need to take responsibility for our own behaviour and conduct ourselves in a manner that honours the good people we represent.
While on the subject of elected officials as the nomination period for candidates in local elections is soon to close I would like to sincerely thank mayors, councillors, regional district directors and school district trustees who are not seeking re-election for their past service. Local Government, as it is often called, is a huge commitment and often a thankless one – overall we enjoy a high quality of life in our region and this is in large part for the ongoing efforts of local government to provide amenities and services that we depend upon. I would also like to welcome those citizens who are putting their name forward to run in the upcoming election to serve. Win or lose having the courage to make a difference is ultimately how we all succeed. Thank you. I can be reached 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.