Our MPs and the coming election
As we inch toward a federal election this year, it is worth taking a good look at the sitting MPs we have, and their record over the past term, as well as looking at their challengers. We have never had a perfect MP, so we will have to give each their due, considering the limitations they face in our system where one party takes all the rewards – all the decision making power, the chairmanships of committees, and so on.
The most obvious conclusion from any review will have to be that Canada needs a reform of its election procedures. Our “first past the post” system gives the winner everything, even if they barely squeaked a win, and means we jump from one side to the next, as we tire of one “winner” taking all power and decisions. Other countries function quite well with coalitions, and we should consider a coalition government (even if the parties in the race claim they aren’t considering a coalition!) Many countries function well with proportionate voting systems, too. When politicians (and media) tell us proportionate systems are “complicated” or even confusing, they are describing their own disabilities, and are not necessarily insulting Canadians, as it sounds.
The three sitting MPs from central Outaouais will present powerful opponents for their challengers. Put aside the party labels for a moment and look at the individuals in office and we have to admit we’ve been very well served, despite our purposefully-distorted parliamentary system.
Ms Turmel was an unexpected star performer on the national stage when she temporarily led her party when Jack Layton was ill. As a first-time MP, she managed the Official Opposition with fairness, firmness and intelligence. Her many years in the world of trade unions, and President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada for six years, no doubt gave her a strong foundation in public service and in dealing with the civil service and government in general.
Gatineau riding’s Françoise Boivin is one of the strongest voices in the house (and has been touted as future “prime ministerial material”). Her experience in the legal system and the media have prepared her well. She has charisma as well as a fearless rapier-sharp intellect.
And Pontiac’s Mathieu Ravignat has built a solid base in his riding through his excellent constituency work and the even-handedness with which he treats all those who seek his assistance. Should their party, the NDP, form the government, there is no question that all three would have cabinet positions. Imagine the effect that would have on our region’s progress and development!
Their challengers, so far, are impressive also, with strong backgrounds. Will they be able to dislodge the sitting members? Apparently only the Liberal Party has a chance to unseat any of these three -- in our ridings -- and a wave of Trudeaumania might prove unstoppable. But, understandably, the bets all seem to be on the front-runners so far.