Parliament is Essential, so is the Opposition

Eric Duncan, MP
Parliament is Essential, so is the Opposition

To say the least, it has been a unique time to serve as a Member of Parliament in Canada, especially being on the job for less than 8 months.

Like all jobs, there are new ways of interacting and doing business. Endless online video meetings are the new normal, and I’ve connected with hundreds of you- by phone or Zoom video- to hear your feedback and advocate for your business.

Like my predecessor Guy Lauzon, I value the importance of customer service and connecting at a grassroots level.

However, a key part of our job as Member of Parliament has always been our work on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Rightfully so, Parliament was suspended in early March as we shut down to flatten the curve. However, I have been disappointed that we have not reopened Parliament as normal- with a small ratio of MPs in the Chamber at a time for obvious safety and physical distancing reasons.

With the unprecedented levels of new spending, quickly set-up government assistance programs, health recommendations changing often, and the increasing public desire to reopen our economy safely, the voice of Canadians if even more important these days.

Whether it is asking tough but constructive questions, participating in debate or bringing forward solutions and amendments, Parliament needs to fully operational and functioning to make democracy work. Better oversight and ideas are produced, and Canadians can have more confidence in the varied voices and perspectives being shared.
I hope my limited interventions in the House of Commons in recent months can show my constituents that, even as an Opposition MP, every MP has the ability to raise issues and get results.

My two 5-minute Question Period proposals on extending benefit dates for Canadians was well received. The following week, the Prime Minister agreed with my proposal. The following month, the government took my proposals again regarding the Canada-US border closure to safely reunite spouses and children who had been separated for months.

With summer upon us, Parliament is recessed. While I will continue my work on the ground locally, I truly wish I could be in Parliament to ‘’make up for lost time’’ and keep our government working and accountable during these unprecedented times.

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