Greg Rickford up in House of Commons

Digital Economy
Greg Rickford
Greg Rickford MP

KENORA – Editorial – Greg Rickford, the quiet MP from Kenora riding was up in Question Period on Monday. The MP was responding to a question from NDP MP Pat Martin. The MP has been very quiet about concerns in the Kenora Riding including the Environmental Lakes closure. 

Over the past several months, Rickford has been increasingly busy in Ottawa, but sources across Northwestern Ontario are reporting increased frustration with the MP in the riding.

Growing numbers of people are expressing concern as he is not communicating with people in the riding or region. From Mayors to riding officials the two-term MP from Kenora has been frustrating many who the senior Conservative representative should be serving.

Emails to Rickford’s Ottawa office can take weeks for a response, while phone calls are often left unreturned. Others express that it is taking weeks for the MP to respond to their requests.

With the next federal election planned for October 19, 2015, Rickford will have served in the House of Commons long enough to collect his federal MP Pension. 

The MP could be signalling that he doesn’t have plans to run for re-election, or could be demonstrating that the MP has fallen under the spell of Ottawa and is caught up in the official duties of his responsibilities to the Prime Minister. 

Greg Rickford in House

Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): “Mr. Speaker, Louis Riel was a hero, not a traitor, a father of Confederation, the founder of Manitoba and, many people say, the best member of Parliament that Provencher ever had.

“In light of a recent Supreme Court ruling, will the Prime Minister or his designate assure this House and assure the descendants of the Métis of the Red River Settlement that the government will uphold the ruling of the court and respect the outstanding terms and conditions of the terms of union, and end and resolve once and for all 140 years of injustice to the Métis people of Manitoba?”

Mr. Greg Rickford (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC): “Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has received the decision and is reviewing it.

“Our government has demonstrated its commitment to resolving historical grievances. For instance, we have resolved more than 80 specific claims. We will continue to work with the Canadian Métis to create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians”.

The Conservatives have put relations with First Nations and Métis Canadians on a difficult path in pushing a jobs agenda as the solution, but not providing the needed funding for education or for addiction or law enforcement efforts.

It might be exciting for Members of Parliament to get all caught up in the official Ottawa goings on, it is also a way to completely alienate supporters back in the riding. For Rickford, there is still time to re-engage with local Kenora voters and supporters. 

However as the clock clicks gaining back lost supporters, while generating new voters across the North who are very unlikely to support the Conservatives, Rickford could be signalling a strong possibility he is headed off in new directions.

Either that, or the MP has taken the old fashioned approach of being an Ottawa MP rather than a riding MP.

James Murray

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