Each week I am thankful to receive a significant amount of feedback on my weekly MP reports that often also contains suggestions on topics for future reports (for the record I welcome suggestions for future reports). One subject that has arisen a few times is questions on the differences between being a Government MP compared to an opposition MP. It is a good question. In many ways there are very few differences, particularly here in the riding where helping citizens with Federal Government issues remains a priority. Where the differences are more evident is in Ottawa.
From an Ottawa perspective obviously sitting on the opposition side of the House of Commons is a significant change as is the fact that in a majority Government most votes will be won by that Government and not the opposition. However one of the other major change is the fact that opposition has a job to criticize and oppose the Government as well as from time to time propose alternative policies and ideas.
Criticizing in opposition is obviously a new role for me however one aspect of being a critic that is also relevant is the fact that as opposition often you will share information that may not be popular with citizens. As an example in last week’s report many citizens did not enjoy learning that of the $5.3 Billion in spending commitments made by the new Liberal Government, $4.3 Billion will be spent entirely outside of Canada. While some no doubt may have celebrated this news the vast majority of citizens I heard from were, to put it mildly, angry. From my perspective I try to compose reports in a non-partisan manner that does not provoke an angry reaction from citizens.
The reason why I raise this issue is to seek input on what format you would like to see in future MP reports. As an example more time could be spent explaining, or attempting to explain Government policy as opposed to relaying the facts of it for readers to decide upon. Conversely some have stated a preference for reports more critical of Government in areas that are often overlooked by the media. As always there is the option to continue my current approach that tends to vary based upon what events are occurring in Ottawa along with some reports based upon questions and or requests from citizens. Your input on this subject or any other before the House of Commons is greatly appreciated.
On an entirely different theme this week in Ottawa the Liberal Government has presented a fiscal update that indicates the Federal Government will soon be running a much larger deficit then what was promised during the last election. Part of this increased deficit is due to a slowing economy and the deterioration of oil prices and the remainder of the increased deficit will be related to increased Governmental spending. Until the Federal Budget is presented on March 22nd the exact increase of the rising deficit will be unknown. The Federal budget is a topic I will provide more information on as it becomes available.
I would also like to take a moment to congratulate Kelowna Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr on being named as the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on National Defence. One of the priorities of this committee will be the replacement of Canada’s CF-18 fighters, a subject that I believe Mr. Fuhr’s experience in this field can be of benefit to all Canadians. As always 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 for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.