Reform Act on the agenda

All major parties have now had their first full caucus meetings in Ottawa.

All major parties have now had their first full caucus meetings in Ottawa.

These first caucus meetings are important for a variety of reasons but one that will be material to this report is the provisions related to the Reform Act.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Reform Act, it was a private member’s bill sponsored by MP Michael Chong. It proposed a number of measures to increase the power of individual Members of Parliament within their party caucus and by extension to reduce the power of the party leader.

The Reform Act was widely supported by media, many pundits and locally by a large number of citizens who took the time to share their support with me.

Ultimately the Reform Act, after a number of amendments, was passed by both the House of Commons and the Senate and is now law.

As the 42nd Parliament is the first to convene since the Reform Act was passed, one of the legal requirements at the first caucus meeting of a party is to vote on what, if any, measures of the Reform Act would be adopted by the MPs of each party caucus.

The 99-member Conservative opposition caucus voted to adopt two of the four measures from the Reform Act and modified a third condition.

This contrasts with the Liberal government caucus who voted to reject any measure of the Reform Act with all 184 Liberal MPs unanimously agreeing to reject the Reform Act and maintain the status quo.

The third party NDP has also announced they will not be supporting any measures of the Reform Act.

It seems that the Conservative caucus is the only one to do so.

Considering that the Reform Act Passed with the overwhelming support of Liberal, Conservative and NDP MPs in the last Parliament, it is disappointing to see only the Conservative caucus honour that vote in this 42nd Parliament.

On that same theme I would like to take a moment to thank the many veterans and citizens who gathered at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month to remember the great sacrifices of those courageous Canadians who served so bravely. We should never forget these valiant Canadians were not drafted to serve.

Our fallen and veterans made a choice to stand against tyranny and oppression and fought for the values that we must ensure we never take for granted today.

For the duration of the next few weeks in Ottawa new and re-elected Members will be sworn into the 42nd Parliament with my own swearing in occurring on Nov. 17. The House of Commons will reconvene Dec. 3 with our first order of business being the election of our next speaker, which is widely expected to be a member from the governing Liberal Party.

On Friday, Dec. 4, our Governor General will present the Speech from the Throne, announcing the priorities of the new government in the upcoming sitting and likely the parliamentary calendar will be set at that point for the remainder of the current session.

Before I close this week, I would like to thank the many citizens who have taken the time to share comments, questions and concerns with me over the past week.

Your input is greatly valued.  I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the MP for Okanagan Coquihalla.