I believe that the best way to stay in touch with voters is direct and face to face. Every year, twice a year, I am available at town hall meetings in every part of the riding. I love these chances to meet with you and hear your concerns. Thank you to all of you who have taken your valuable time to come to a town hall. We will have another round of nine meetings coming up in January 2014 – watch for details in your mail box.
When the Prime Minister prorogued the House in September, I decided the newly opened days in my calendar gave me a rare opportunity. I decided to take the town halls nationwide. During the time of the fall prorogation, I crisscrossed the country, holding town hall meetings in seven provinces and the Yukon. I titled the tour “Save Democracy from Politics!”
By “politics” I do not mean the small “p” political engagement of active citizens, working to improve our society. The essence of effective citizenship is such activity. But I am increasingly convinced that the biggest threat to the health of our democracy is the power of large political parties. Whether in an election campaign or in Parliament, the number one preoccupation of the big three parties is trying to score points off each other. MPs are held to strict party discipline – told how to vote on every vote. I believe we, as elected MPs, should be working together for the public good, for shared objectives to deliver results for the people who sent us to Ottawa in the first place.
The challenge of rescuing democracy from politics requires that we focus on a number of problem areas. The good news is that, with sufficient public engagement, we can improve the health of Canadian democracy. This quarterly report is dedicated to that goal.
“The stations of uncensored expression are closing down; the lights are going out; but there is still time for those to whom freedom and parliamentary government mean something, to consult together. Let me, then, speak in truth and earnestness while time remains.”
– Winston Churchill, The Defence of Freedom Speech, October 16, 1938