Understanding the supremacy of Parliament

The opportunity to meet with citizens, organizations and employers firsthand is valuable and helpful in the work I do.

To date I have been greatly enjoying my summer listening tour.

The opportunity to meet with citizens, organizations and employers firsthand is very valuable and helpful in the work that I do as a Member of Parliament.

I also find that consistently the issues raised by citizens in Okanagan-Coquihalla are very different than many of the topics raised by the media in Ottawa.

In Ottawa I find increasingly that the views and opinions of experts are often pushed to the forefront, while the views and opinions of every day citizens fall to the wayside.

During the debate on the Fair Elections Act, one of the key areas of disagreement was over the reasonableness of requiring ID to vote in a federal election no differently from what is used in local elections where a mayor or council, rural director or school trustee are elected.

The reality is the requirement on how reasonable it is to produce ID to vote is a matter of opinion, one that all Canadians can and should feel entitled to have or share. Yet in Ottawa the opposition and some in the media suggest that these are matters for expert opinion and that everyday Canadians voices are somehow lesser or don’t count. By not being inclusive in our institutions and processes we risk ignoring, perhaps even alienating individual Canadians.

This leads to another subject I believe is worthy of consideration — the supremacy of Parliament.

A fundamental principle of democracy is that ultimately citizens, through the democratic process, can elect a government they believe is best suited to make the decisions, policy and draft laws, that in our case will help build a stronger Canada.

In 2009 a Liberal MP introduced Bill C-428 that proposed newly immigrated citizens could begin collecting OAS retirement benefits within three years of arriving in Canada (assuming they were 65 or older) rather than wait the 10-year residency requirement.

The outrage was significant. In fact I still receive frequent opposition from citizens to this bill.

What happened to Bill C-428? Ultimately an election occurred and the Liberal MP who authored Bill C-428 was not re-elected.

Courts can provide valuable guidance in complex cases as not everything can be anticipated when drafting law; however to see policies rewritten that download cost to taxpayers without representation is a concern we should be mindful of.

In 2012 our Government made changes to health care coverage for refugee claimants attempting to seek permanent entry into Canada.

At the time it was noted that the refugee health care plan was more generous than the health care plans available to and paid by taxpayers. It was also observed that some of the refugee claimants accessing our taxpayer financed medical plan were coming from free, democratic countries such as the United States. As a result, changes were made to the refugee health program.

Recently a federal court judge has ruled that the changes contradict the charter and has ruled against them. Our government is appealing this ruling. This is a decision that some citizens are supportive of and others strongly oppose.

I welcome your views on this or any subject before the House of Commons. 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.

 

Just Posted

From fire to awards: wild week for Similkameen winery

Roller coaster of a week for the owners at Forbidden Fruit Winery in Cawston

Summerland team wins Women’s A title at Greenwood Cup

Carol Rosenthall and Dawn Richards were winners at the 48th annual tournament

Unexpected snow on Okanagan Connector, Pennask Summit

As of 6:50 a.m. DriveBC cameras displayed surprise snowfall on highway

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: chance of rain

Environment Canada is calling for a risk of thunderstorms tonight

MPs hear retired Penticton nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

VIDEO: Weekday weather update for the Okanagan Valley

Snow is expected on the Okanagan connector and thunderstorms across the Valley

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP defends dedication to constituents

LETTER: Mel Arnold says he is open and accessible

Okanagan smash-and-grab nets electric bike

Rock thrown through front door of Southward Medical Supplies, bike grabbed from near door

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Funds needed for special diving team to find missing Okanagan kayaker

Zygmunt Janiewicz was last seen on Okanagan Lake May 17

In 2019, 21 fires in Vernon to Penticton zone have been human caused, some linked to cigarette butts

Lake Country councillors want stricter regulations, more signage on public smoking

Okanagan school digs up $2,500 recycling prize

Kalamalka Secondary students recognized for establishing a new culture of recycling

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Most Read