We are less than two weeks away from the federal election. Some of us are getting ready to head out to advanced polls.
Last week, I named a few issues that I thought was important for this election, but now, I want to take the time to talk about the most important question that we should be asking or MP candidates: What is your job anyway?
Think about it, do you ever hear about an MP who openly disagrees with their party leader? No. Even more rare is news of an MP who voted against the party line.
Instead of voting for the person most qualified for the job, our candidates all come conveniently colour coded. I feel that for most voters, the content of a candidate’s character is far less important than the colour of the pin they were. Some voters likely don’t even know the name of the candidate they intend to vote for before they get into the voting booth.
I think this is no way to encourage local representation at the federal level and hardly the best way to run a democracy.
I understand that parties help create consensus when it comes time for MPs to vote on certain issues, and consensus helps to make our government run more quickly and smoothly, but I feel it has relegated the job of most MPs to that of followers rather than leaders that are truly representative of their communities.
For all of its faults, I do think that at least in theory, the United States does local representation better than we do.
A Congressional Representative in the United States does still often vote along the party line; however, it is common and even expected that if an issue will affect their constituency, that they will vote according to the interest of the voters who elected them.
I want to know that my representative in the House of Commons can think for themselves. The party that they run for should tell me something about their political views, but ultimately, I want to vote for the type of person they are. I want the candidate that I vote for to put the interests of their constituents first.
At the first candidates debate held in Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry, the record of incumbent MP Guy Lauzon came up. Guy’s Conservative Party successor, Eric Duncan, was not at the debate to defend his mentor’s record, but I can say that I know that as our MP, Guy has done a lot to secure funding for the riding and provide services to constituents.
Guy has ensured that there was federal funding for projects like the Winchester Pool, the Brookdale extension project, the Char-Lan Rec. Centre, the Lost Villages, the new Seaway International Bridge and the Service Canada Centre in Cornwall, which brought over 200 jobs into the community. In all, it is estimated that the amount of federal funds that Guy had brought into his riding was in the hundreds of millions.
On top of that, he helps many constituents every year with their taxes and passport applications.
Is Guy all that an MP can be? No, but I think that’s a fairly good start.
Before you vote for a candidate, you should ask them what they think their job is on Parliament Hill as an MP. Ask them how they will represent their local constituency, and ask them what they will do if they disagree with the position of their party leader on a piece of legislation.
What do you think readers? What do you expect from your MP? Email me a Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org