This week the focus across Canada will be on British Columbia as the Provincial
general election will have occurred by the time you read my weekly report. At
the time of my writing, the election outcome is unknown, however one thing I can
guarantee is that there will be no shortage of pundits, media and interest
groups speculating on what the election results mean for British Columbians. As
it happens, this is also a constituency week for the House of Commons as the
House resumes session next Tuesday, May 21st.
In spite of this being a constituency week, an interesting report was released by a
non-partisan organization that studies political participation in Canada. This
particular report looked at the House of Commons and studied 54 days of
discussion within the House in an effort to analyze which MP’s speak the most.
From a demographic standpoint the results were interesting. MP’s under 35 years
of age represent 9% of the House composition but spoke for 11% of total time
during the 54 days studied, while 89% of the discussion was dominated by the
remaining 91% of MP’s who are over 35. From a gender perspective female MP’s
currently make up 25% of the House and spoke just in excess of 30% of the time
period under study. From a Political perspective the parties speaking times were
listed as NDP 44%, Conservative 36%, Liberal 16%, Green 2% and Bloc Quebecois
During this same period of time my own content in this study was listed at just over 6,000 words spoken in the House of Commons. This put me ahead of Justin Trudeau at 5,400 words but well behind Tom Mulcair who as opposition leader spoke some 44,000 words in this time frame. The focus of this study is solely on words spoken and does not take into account Parliamentary Committee work nor does it take into consideration those who have introduced Private Members Bills or Motions in the context of words spoken, however the results do indicate those who have a preference for talking. From my own perspective my focus is more on listening- it is why I do my annual summer listening tour and why I make a point of retuning phone calls and attending meetings. In my view, people deserve to be heard and as elected representatives listening to others is how we better understand the concerns of Canadians.
Whatever the outcome of the BC general election is this week I believe it is
important to recognize that through democracy, the people have spoken. Although
it is inevitable that some will be disappointed by the election outcome, we must not overlook the importance of respecting our democratic process and thanking those citizens among us who had the courage to put their name forward to serve the public interest. Let us never forget the freedom we enjoy as Canadians in electing our representatives.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.