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-Marc Laferriere in front of Parliament on the last day of prorogation.

In some ways this week was the week that was not just the week that could have been.

It was a good week for a new kind of politics in Brant Riding!

Even though Parliament was prorogued we haven’t been.

This week some of the Brant NDP team went to Parliament during the last few days of prorogation to see what work could have been done in Ottawa even thought the House was prorogued. 

We had a hunch there was a lot we could do.

We were right! 

It has been a great experience working to bring the concerns of Brant Riding to Ottawa.  We have been saying from the beginning of prorogation is that the work done in Parliament can be incredibly important work.

During prorogation we have done a lot of work in Parliament and out of it.  We are doing what we can to be the effective opposition in Brant Riding and to shed light on some of the Prime Minister’s poor decisions.

We spent this time working for Brant riding in Ottawa because we believe in Brant riding.  While there we were able to meet and work with many great people on issues important to Brant Riding.  So let’s take a quick look at some of the people Brant New Democrats were able to work with and what was accomplished in Ottawa this week for our riding:

Charlie Angus (Timmins) – Looked at issues of stimulus spending, infrastructure, the environment and heritage in Brant Riding.  Working with Mr. Angus and his team we were able to help with drafting a letter to the Environment Minister challenging him to implement tax incentives like those that exist in the United States to assist in urban renewal through heritage development and environmental preservation.  These efforts culminated in a National Press Release to help bring national awareness to related events occurring in our riding.  That press release was featured on the front page of and full text can be found by clicking here.

John Rafferty (Thunder Bay–Rainy River) – Discussed follow up from Mr. Rafferty’s recent successful visit to our riding where we consulted with the community on the hated HST.  Mr. Rafferty has also been working hard to help increase pension protection for hard working Canadians.  We will be supporting this every step of the way as we believe that Canadian workers should receive the retirement benefits they have earned even if their employers go out of business.  With all of the manufacturing closures in Brant Riding over the last several years this is an issue that is incredibly important locally.  Expect more to come on this issue soon. 

Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) – We spent a lot of time with Mr. Dewar both at Parliament and in the community meeting with engaged young people.  We looked at the impact of the recession in Brant, strategized ways to push the current government to better support military families, and ways to advocate for foreign trained Canadians to utilize their skills in Canada for the betterment of all.  We have highly skilled new Canadians who due to a lack of access to necessary upgrading programs and the unreasonable requirements of professional regulators are unable to work in fields.  We need more doctors and other professionals yet we have systems that discourage new Canadians from stepping into these roles in a timely manner.  Our meeting was mentioned in that day’s Ottawa Citizen.

I could not imagine why someone would not want to advocate for our riding at Parliament.  We heard that the reasons were to recalibrate the economy yet we have a stay-the-course budget presented by the Conservatives.  We heard it was to better enjoy the Olympics, yet I believe all Canadians could enjoy the the accomplishments of our athletes while still living up to their daily responsibilities.  It is likely that issues like those concerning Afghan detainees were just too much for this government to handle at this time.

Consider this snippet from the January 8th edition of the Brant News:

“McColeman says the reason for the prorogation is to allow time for MPs to get into their constituencies and get input on the Conservative Party’s economic plan. ‘We will be making sure the voices of Canadians are heard,’  McColeman said.”

Was this not the same reason our MP sent us over 1 million questionnaires and flyers last year?  Is “staying the course” on the next budget truly representative of the voice of this riding where unemployment has been well above the national average for so long

There is the risk of apathy, a dangerous lingering feeling that “there is nothing we can do” when our government tries to pull a fast one on us.

That is simply not true.  We brought a voice to Ottawa this week to represent Brant Riding.

There is always something we can do.

This is some of what we were able to do as a candidate and a team this week.

Imagine what we could do officially and continually if elected.

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