As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, I just wanted to provide a quick update on what’s been happening in federal politics, and how my Opposition colleagues and I are working to get better results for you.
The House of Commons is still meeting on a weekly basis, albeit with reduced numbers in order to follow safety guidelines. My first opportunity to return to Ottawa was the first week of May, and I was happy to have the chance to question the government on some of the concerns constituents have brought to my attention. I believe that support for our ag sector has been completely inadequate, and that individuals and businesses continue to fall through the cracks during this lockdown. If we are going to get people back to work after the pandemic without lasting economic damage, we need to make sure we get these programs right. That’s what my Opposition colleagues and I are fighting for everyday.
Many of you have contacted my office inquiring about when the lockdown will begin to lift. Plans to reopen the economy generally fall under provincial jurisdiction, and the Government of Alberta has already started gradually easing restrictions. However, I believe that the federal government needs to develop a clear plan to safely get our country back to work, in collaboration with the provinces. My colleagues and I will continue to press the government on developing a concrete action plan.
We don’t call the shots in Opposition, and the government has been operating more or less as a majority, with strong support from the NDP and Bloc Quebecois. However, we are in constant negotiations with the government and other parties over how the COVID-19 response should be handled. Sharing your questions and comments with me allows me to bring real-world examples to these negotiations, and helps determine what questions we ask of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. If you have something to share, don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com.
The other major issue in Parliament has been the Liberal gun ban. As you may have heard, the federal government used an Order in Council to reclassify approximately 1500 firearms as “prohibited.” For those who may not have heard of an Order in Council before, it’s when the Prime Minister and his Cabinet make a change through regulations rather than legislation. Legislation must be introduced into parliament where MPs can vote on it, whereas Orders in Council can be done without input from MPs.
This government has made it clear throughout this crisis that they do not respect the democratic role of Parliament. By making these changes through Order in Council, the government prevented Opposition members from voting against them. If the Liberals truly believe these changes are justified, they should wait until this pandemic is behind us so Members of Parliament can debate and vote on this matter in the House of Commons.
Personally, I do not believe that confiscating the property of law-abiding firearms owners does anything to reduce gun crime. Conservatives have proposed many common-sense firearms policies that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, such as establishing a CBSA Firearms Smuggling Task Force. The vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegal firearms, especially illegal handguns, and these are commonly smuggled from the United States. Liberals have ignored these proposals and instead opted to target law-abiding firearms owners by confiscating their property. My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to stand up for the rights of law-abiding firearms owners.
My Ottawa office can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. My Brooks office can be reached at 403-793-6775 or email@example.com, and my Strathmore office at 403-361-2980 or martin.shields.c1B@parl.gc.ca. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.