By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 0 Comments
The Conservative MP for Tobique—Mactaquac won’t be sending mailouts to his constituents that mock Justin Trudeau.
“I’ve looked at some of the ads going back as far as 1993, some of the ads that have been used by all the parties during the last number of elections that I’ve run in and I find some of them, actually, odd, and a little bit childish,” Allen said. “But at the end of the day, I guess parties are using them because they’ve proven themselves to be effective and it’s a way to use their money to get their message out unfiltered.”
Allen notes negative ads have been effective against former Liberal leaders Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion, but he said it’s not his style. Allen said he will not send out any of the anti-Trudeau flyers to his constituents. “If I’m going to use something in my riding, I’m going to do a compare and contrast to the policy positions of the parties and the policy positions of the leader. I think in my riding I think people would say, ‘OK that is fair ball,’” he said.
Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber has also declined to send such mailouts, as he explained to reporters after QP last Thursday.
I won’t be participating in that program … generally speaking, my constituents are not all that thrilled by negative attacks … I don’t believe that my constituents are particularly thrilled by receiving that. They rather want to hear about issues. They’re not really interested in those types of ads, although other people have different opinions.
Update 1:25pm. Dan Albas won’t be sending around the mailouts either.
As a rule I typically avoid personal attacks or strongly themed politically partisan messaging. One observation that I have come to appreciate from our now retired MLA and former Speaker of the House Bill Barisoff, is that most citizens prefer aggressive partisan attacks are left out of the debate and discussion. Although I will not be using these particular ten percenters that have raised the ire of some, I do support the right of Members of Parliament from all sides of the House to communicate on issues they believe are important without restrictions on the content.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 3:20 PM - 0 Comments
Obviously I cannot speak for other Members of Parliament however from my own experience I have been able to deliver many Member’s Statements in the House of Commons without incident. Examples of some of my statements include last year’s record breaking season of the Penticton Vees, the good work that Canadian Shriners do on behalf of sick children across Canada and more recently recognizing the importance of responsible resource development to our rural communities such as Logan Lake and Merritt. I have received positive comments on these statements from colleagues on both sides of the House and from many local citizens. Often I find there is great interest in these types of statements as they help to reflect the diversity of our great country…
I make a point of authoring my own Member’s statements largely based on events and achievements occurring within our riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla. My Member’s Statements are not directed by any outside influences and it has never been suggested to me what I should or should not say as a Member of Parliament. From my own experiences in representing the citizens of Okanagan-Coquihalla I have found Members Statements to be a brief but very important way that we as MP’s can share events that occur in our ridings with other Canadians, and I have never encountered any difficulty whatsoever in doing so.
It would seem that Mr. Albas has never spoken the phrase “carbon tax” in the House.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 15, 2012 at 5:25 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Conservative MP Dan Albas, still new to this place and apparently not yet exhausted of all ideals, lamented last week that the 35 seconds allotted for each response in Question Period were not nearly sufficient to explain the obviously complicated matters of national governance. “While it is possible to ask a meaningful question in 35 seconds,” he explained, “I am certain most would agree that when it comes to governance, very few answers can be given in such a short timeframe.”
Perhaps this explains why the Harper government has spent tens of millions in public funds on television advertisements to explain itself to the public. Perhaps that’s why Diane Finley, questioned repeatedly in the House about a flaw in her reforms to employment insurance, decided to announce a change in her plans via news release on the Friday afternoon before the House went on break for a week.
For sure, difficult questions are not easily answered. Witness Gerry Ritz, who, for another day, was asked not only to explain why the nation’s food safety system hadn’t prevented 15 people from getting sick, but also if he would just go ahead and resign. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 4:08 PM - 0 Comments
Conservative MP Dan Albas suggests the government side needs more time in QP to respond.
The biggest challenge to question period that many in the public are unaware of is that questions and answers are time limited, currently the amount of time a Member of Parliament is allowed to ask a question is 35 seconds. Likewise for a member on the Government side of the house, 35 seconds is also the time limit for a response. Members can at times ask a supplemental however it is again subject to the same 35 seconds as is the response from Government.
While it is possible to ask a meaningful question in 35 seconds, I am certain most would agree that when it comes to governance, very few answers can be given in such a short timeframe. As a result often questions become comments or statements and the responses follow a similar pattern, all of course with a very political theme. Typically the thirty five seconds in many cases ends up being utilized as an effort to score political points often with quickly delivered commentary that often is more frequently evaluated by the performance of the orator then the actual content.
Of course, no matter how much time is available, the quality of the response still depends primarily on the responder’s willingness to engage the question asked, but let’s go along with both Kady’s proposal and Mr. Albas’ complaint.
At present, the House is getting through 39 questions and responses in about 45 minutes each day. If members’ statements were moved and those 15 minutes between 2pm and 2:15pm given to Question Period, each of the 39 questions and 39 responses could be given about 45 seconds. Still not enough time? If the House went with 35 questions per day, each question and each response would get 50 seconds. Cut it back to 30 questions per day and each side gets a full minute for every question and every response.
Personally, I’d be happy to cover an hour-long QP that covered 30 questions and responses.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Postmedia says Conservative MPs Nina Grewal, Colin Mayes and Mark Strahl will vote in favour of Motion 312, while Dan Albas will vote against.
Cathy McLeod, MP for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo since 2008, said this week she’ll stick to her election campaign vow to oppose reopening the abortion debate. That position was echoed Tuesday by rookie MP Dan Albas (Okanagan-Coquihalla), who said he shared Harper’s position when abortion was raised at all-candidates debates in the 2011 campaign.
“I have my own personal convictions but I think when an elected official makes a commitment as part of an overall series of commitments during an election I think the public expects people to keep their word, and that’s what I intend to do,” Albas said in explaining why he’ll vote against Woodworth’s motion.
Liberal MP Ted Hsu says he’ll vote against. Conservative MP Patricia Davidson is “probably” going to vote yes. If so, Ms. Davidson would join, at the very least, Conservative MPs Dean Del Mastro, Leon Benoit, Maurice Vellacott, Brent Rathgeber, Harold Albrecht, Jason Kenney, David Anderson, Stella Ambler, Mark Warawa and LaVar Payne in supporting Stephen Woodworth’s motion. Liberal MP John McKay is the only known opposition vote at this point. (For reference, see here, here, here, here and here.)
Here, again, is Mr. Woodworth’s announcement upon introducing his motion. Here is my interview with Brad Trost. Here is Gordon O’Connor’s speech outlining his opposition to the motion. Here is the first hour of debate on the motion and here is the second hour.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Cory’s website was an incredible resource and a wonderful model of what the Internet could mean for the House of Commons. (And Cory also patiently put up with my periodic requests for help.) Hopefully what he created is just the start.
Conservative MP Dan Albas pays tribute.
If you never had a chance to visit this website, it was one of the first that provided a summary of data on politicians including voting records, absences in the house, dissentions, and even commonly used words. All of this information was provided in a transparent and easy to understand manner for members of the public. This type of overview not only provided a convenience for citizens, the information could also be used to help hold Members of Parliament to account. While much of this information can be located on Government websites, it is often much more difficult to locate and at times is presented in a less user-friendly manner.
Fortunately websites like OpenParliament.ca are still in existence that are carrying out this important work however as the shutdown of How’d They Vote has not gotten much media attention I feel it is important to note this unfortunate new development.
By From the editors - Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 11:00 PM - 0 Comments
Bill C-311 will allow individuals to order and carry wine for personal use across provincial borders for the first time since 1928
There can probably be no better way of hammering the benefits of free trade into the skulls of the few remaining skeptics than to point to Canada’s wine industry. In particular, the fact we’ve got one even half-worthy of the name. During the original 1987-88 battle over Canada-U.S. free trade, our vintners fought hard politically to protect the pathetic plonk of the time. Canadian wine was a line of business that had defied quality improvements and innovation since the French first started canoeing up the St. Lawrence, but when it became clear that Canada’s economy was going to open wide, winemakers adapted with remarkable speed.
Nothing focuses the mind like the threat of competitive extinction. The national Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) was formed, and research into customized Canadian growing techniques exploded. (British Columbia, which had just 15 wineries, now has 200.) And a handful of producers who had been fooling around with the very old German idea of “Eiswein” got serious and began winning gold medals in international tasting competitions. Wine producers know that the timing is no coincidence.
To anyone who has lived to see the whole thing, it has been like magic. What was once thought literally impossible because of climate—that oenophiles would go out of their way to come to Canada for domestically produced wine—is now taken for granted. Canadian ice wine, in particular, is essentially an all-new addition to the global palate. It is almost as if chocolate or tomatoes had remained a New World secret until now, and had been suddenly revealed to the Old, meeting a tide of rapturous reviews.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM - 0 Comments
More news of weekend protests in Truro, Oakville, St. John’s, Nanaimo, Owen Sound, Swift Current, Kenora, Ladner, Coquitlam and Cobourg. The United Steelworkers, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and the legal director of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Clinic register their concerns. And Conservative MP Dan Albas tries to explain C-38 to his constituents.
Meanwhile, the Liberals say they have now tabled 503 clause deletions in the House.
The Liberal Party was the first to submit its amendments to Bill C-38 this morning, tabling the required documentation to delete 503 clauses. This means Liberal amendments will be considered first in the House of Commons, and supersede similar amendments from other parties.
“This government’s ‘kitchen sink’ budget bill goes too far on everything from changes to EI and OAS and makes sweeping, transformative changes to environmental regulations in this country,” said Liberal House Leader Marc Garneau. “As Parliamentarians we cannot sit idly by while the Conservatives try to run roughshod over due process. Unless the government has a change of heart and agrees to make changes, including removing environmental measures from the budget bill, these deletion amendments, combined with amendments from independent members and other parties, have the potential to delay the House of Commons for a very long time, perhaps days. The ball is in the government’s court. If they want to avoid a standoff, they must put water in their wine.”
Mr. Garneau also saluted the dedication of Liberal interns who showed True Grit in ensuring our amendments were tabled before those of other parties.
Those 503 clause deletions do not necessarily require 503 votes. The Speaker could bundle some of them together.
For all of our continuing coverage of C-38, click here.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Last night, the House defeated an opposition motion that called on the government to reverse cuts to science and research and an opposition motion that called on the government to reverse cuts to search-and-rescue.
After dealing with eight votes on the estimates, the House then passed Conservative MP Brian Storseth’s private members’ bill to delete certain sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act by a vote of 153-136.
And, finally, a Bloc motion that sought to have the governor general pay income tax was defeated by a vote of 147-141.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM - 0 Comments
For as much as there is often talk in Ottawa about instilling a more civil and less political atmosphere particularly in committee work, the reality is that partisan politics continue to be alive and well in our Country’s capital. This morning York West MP Judy Sgro sent a letter in to a local newspaper editor criticizing my position in voting against a motion introduced by MP Sgro at the Status of Women Committee. I don’t have any issue with MP Sgro for taking me to task in voting against her motion. Likewise to raise the question on the issue and my position on it is also fair game. Where I do take issue is the inference from MP Sgro that I do not share her concerns simply because I disagreed with her proposal on how best to resolve them…
We certainly exercise our duties in different ways as is expected but it never occurred to me to suggest that someone does not care about an issue simply because they disagree with the best means to resolve a challenge.