An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE MARK, or one of them, of a good elected representative is how well he or she works at the constituency level. They tend to make headlines for major issues and controversies, but meanwhile are quietly working behind the scenes to help constituents with various concerns.
That requires dedication by the politician and local office staff, including responsiveness, discretion and persistence. They work on hundreds of files at a time, managing them through the system and doing their best to get answers and resolve problems.
Every once in a while, a local, personal issue turns into a federal case. Such it is with the sale of a majority share of Retirement Concepts to a subsidiary of Anbang Insurance Group of China. The sale has raised the hackles of many, including local seniors who have been besieging MP Cathy McLeod’s office, imploring her to find out what’s going on. They want to know who the new owners are and whether it will affect their lives.
McLeod has been taking their case right to the floor of the House of Commons since the sale was announced, badgering the Liberal government for answers. Other members of the Conservative caucus have been doing likewise, but McLeod has been particularly persistent, refusing to let Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, off the hook.
McLeod is a very good Parliamentary orator, well-backgrounded and articulate. She has asked Bains over and over again to explain the sale and its consequences.
Bains, for his part, has provided virtually no explanation other than to insist many times that the sale is good for seniors, good for the economy, and good for Canada, and followed all the rules.
As is often said, Question Period is called Question Period for a reason. If governments actually provided direct answers, it might be called Answer Period. McLeod and the Tories, therefore, have their work cut out getting factual details from Bains or the Liberals.
Nevertheless, they’re holding the government’s feet to the fire on an issue that’s very important to Kamloops seniors, to seniors across B.C., to the economy and to Canada — to borrow from Bains’ repetitive and evasive responses.