In the year following the last federal election MP Dan Albas has seen his role change significantly as a result of changes in the House of Commons.
“I’ve never been so busy,” Albas said, reflecting on his work over the past year.
The federal election, on Oct. 19, 2015, saw a change in government, with Justin Trudeau’s Liberals forming a majority government.
The Liberals won 184 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, while the Conservatives received 99 seats.
This is a change from the last federal election, on May 2, 2011, when the Conservatives received 166 of 308 seats to form a majority government.
Albas was first elected in the 2011 election with support from 54.59 per cent of those who voted in the Okanagan — Coquihalla riding.
Last year, in the newly formed Central Okanagan — Similkameen — Nicola riding, Albas had a much closer race, receiving 39.56 per cent of voter support and defeating his nearest rival by just 1,458 votes.
For Albas, the change from a Conservative majority to a Liberal majority has meant a change in his role in Ottawa.
In 2013, he was named Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, a role he no longer holds.
In addition, his role as an opposition member is different from his role as a member of a majority party. He said an opposition party should work to ensure good policies remain in place, to speak out against what he considers bad decisions and to offer alternatives.
“It’s important for us not just to oppose but also to propose,” he said.
He added that the change in government a year ago has also resulted in noticeable changes within the House of Commons. Of the 338 Members of Parliament, nearly 200 had not been elected before.
In addition to changes in Ottawa, Albas is dealing with changes within the riding.
The boundaries were redrawn for the last federal election.
“You really need to have a good understanding of your riding,” he said.
He has held town hall meeting and has used other methods to seek input from his constituents.
In Summerland, he and MLA Dan Ashton have a shared office space, which allows the two politicians and their staff to work together when constituents come in needing help.