With the end of the summer upon us, we are looking forward to a truly wild fall season in federal politics, with a lot of big changes to come. The last few months have given us much to think about and has presented several opportunities for growth and thinking outside the box that will help us serve Canadians even better. We are in the middle of a so-called “reset” that Conservatives are using to the best of our abilities in order to regroup and come back stronger than ever.
First, I want to congratulate our new Conservative Party leader, Erin O’Toole, upon the announcement of his election victory. This leadership election was a complicated process, made worse by the pandemic, and it is a credit to the Conservative party and its members that it was executed during this time of unprecedented difficulty. Erin will be a formidable leader, and I am excited to get to work under his leadership. The party will benefit greatly from his guidance, and we will use our momentum going forward to benefit Canadians as an even sharper opposition with renewed focus and concentration. His experience in the Canadian Armed Forces and our Parliament will provide invaluable insight for our party going forward. An injection of new ideas and new leadership will only serve to make our party even stronger.
The unexpected prorogation of Parliament on Aug. 18, 2020 presented some serious concerns with the Trudeau Liberals. It can be argued quite convincingly that the Prime Minister asked for the prorogation not for a “reset,” but instead to put an effective end to the work of the Ethics Committee investigating his participation in the WE scandal, as well of the work of the Canada-China relations committee, which was looking into the depth of his relationship with China. This comes after Trudeau himself had argued against using prorogation to such ends at several points throughout his political career. The important work of these committees was the sole engine of opposition we had available to us during the first suspended, and then, infrequent sittings of the House of Commons during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work of these committees, and the Bills before the House at the time of the prorogation can be resurrected, but to stop it during such a crucial moment, and to effectively ‘bench’ Parliament for more than a month was a cowardly act, particularly during this unprecedented crisis. The new Parliamentary session will begin with a Speech from the Throne on Sept. 23, 2020, with a vote to be held afterward that will present the opportunity for a vote of non-confidence.
We will also resume a Parliament with a different cabinet, following the resignation of former finance minister Bill Morneau, with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland stepping into the role. She will take on the position as the first-ever female Canadian finance minister, a historic appointment during a historic time. We will continue to impress upon her the importance of fiscal responsibility as we begin to climb out of the massive financial deficit left by the pandemic program spending.
However, these resumed proceedings will not be without safety considerations, due to the still-ongoing pandemic. While we have made incredible progress, and I am so grateful to the people of Sarnia-Lambton for being so cooperative, we are not entirely out of the woods yet, so to speak. Please continue to social and physical distance, abide by the applicable municipal mask bylaws when in public places, and wash your hands frequently. Especially with the return of students to classes, we will have to be more vigilant than ever to prevent the return of serious spikes in COVID-19, so we do not overwhelm our healthcare services.
One of the ways we will continue to stay on high alert is with the continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border. While the border remains closed to keep Canadians safe, I am disappointed in the lack of cooperation on behalf of the Liberals with regard to creating new exemptions for long-term and engaged couples, adult children, and other family members. We have been in, and remain in, constant communication with the Ministry of Public Safety on these matters, but we continue to face pushback on our efforts to accommodate cross-border families who are suffering under this extended border closure. Nevertheless, we will continue our work on this issue, as it is extremely important that families be able to see their loved ones— while the physical health of Canadians is of paramount importance, the mental health of these families should not be left to suffer. After more than five months of closed borders, change needs to happen. The prorogation of Parliament may mean more stalling on this issue, which serves no one well.
Our constituency office remains open for phone calls, and now by appointment. Please call ahead at 519-383-6600, as we are not taking walk-ins. You can also reach us at [email protected].
I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.
MP Marilyn Gladu
Member of Parliament: Sarnia-Lambton