Reader suggests Storseth most disengaged MP
To the Editor:
There is a reason that MP Brian Storseth maintains that he attempted to return the calls of local officials concerning the loss of Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) funding, as reported in the July 17 issue of the St. Paul Journal. He was stalling to come up with reasons for the cuts, as I am positive that the Honourable Member did not read the entire budget bill passed right before the summer recess. How could he, it was over 400 pages long. And there are reasons that I am sure of this.
This June, while the budget bill was being debated and voted on in the House during a marathon 24-hour session, I had the pleasure to be visiting our nationís capital. While there, I was privy to the deliberations of the Commons for three consecutive days, sitting in the galleries available to the public as well as the special group galleries opposite, arriving long before and leaving long after the 45 minute talking-point/soundbite filled question period took place. As a university student of both Canadian political science and Canadian history, I could not get enough of the parliamentary proceedings. It was here that I noticed, or more accurately, failed to notice, the presence of our ridingís Member of Parliament. While he was present during question period, I do not believe I witnessed a more disengaged member in the house. This award is won when all the members of all political stripes are included.
A riding with our voting record (literally described as the safest conservative seat in the country) cannot expect anything but a backbencher who toes the party line to represent us in Parliament. However, as any observer of politics knows, there is a difference between partisan voting and disengagement.
Our parliamentary system, developed over the course of around 800 years, relies on the notion of confidence, an aspect that separates us from the deadlock of the republican system seen south of the border. Having confidence for the government, or lack thereof, means a member must always be informed and engaged in the political process, whether that be in the House or in party caucus. Unfortunately, with our current member of Parliament, our riding has lost its ability to help guide the process of political discourse at the federal level.
Had the Honourable Member taken his political studies at the university level to heart, he would know that his statements about federal jurisdiction concerning emergency services is not as clear cut as he makes it seem in his statements to this publication. The outline of section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867, calls for the federal government to be responsible for the Peace, Order, and Good Government of the nation. It would not be a far stretch to include emergency services, especially those designed to maintain order during times of extreme emergency, in that statement alone, not to mention the possibility of including this aspect of emergency services in the security of the person section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Or, alternative to all the constitutional fine points, as emergency services are not specifically outlined in the Constitution Act specifically, there could always be the argument the federal government has at least partial jurisdiction, as residual powers are enumerated to them. In the end, it is funding and not legislation, meaning the federal government, if they followed this train of thought, would cut every tax break currently available if it encroached on local matters whatsoever.
The transgression over the cutting of this municipal funding perhaps should not be what the Honourable Member was concerned with when discussing the federal governmentís place in politics. Perhaps Mr. Storseth should look in the mirror when talking about the federal government being overly concerned with lower levels of government, when he and his fellow Conservative Members of Parliament were seen endorsing a large number of Wildrose Alliance candidates during the recent provincial election. Regardless of how you voted in that election, it is not, and was not, proper for members of the federal government to step into the realm of provincial politics. But then that would mean the current ruling party actually cared about decorum in politics, another observation easily made with a trip to question period.
Perhaps our current Member of Parliament takes his position for granted because of the inevitability of his election under the Conservative banner in our riding, but that is not an excuse for disengagement and blind obedience, waiting only for negative reaction to respond and inform his constituents.
And, as an addendum, I remind all citizens who attended the forum with Minister Jason Kenney that as long as you are following the law and not endangering anyone, it is illegal to be removed from a public forum.
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.