I am excited to be able to share with you my first news column as your Member of Parliament. On November 25, I was officially Sworn-In as the Member of Parliament for Battle River – Crowfoot in the 43rd Canadian Parliament. It is the greatest honour of my life, along with my wife Danielle and my family, to be able to serve this constituency. I am energized and eager to represent all of you, to advocate and fight for East Central Alberta, and to take action on the issues you shared with me throughout the campaign.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to the people of Battle River-Crowfoot who cast their ballots, participated in our democratic process and put their confidence in me. Thank you to all those who made it possible: My campaign team who spent countless hours volunteering their time; the hundreds and hundreds of people that encouraged me to run after Kevin Sorenson announced he would be retiring; everyone who encouraged me in my passion for politics, even from a young age. And also, thank you to those who demonstrated leadership in my family, this constituency, my community, and in our country including those who have gone before.
Since the election, I have been busy traveling to events and meetings across the constituency. I have opened a main office in Camrose where my staff are ready to listen to your concerns, help you with federal government programs, and ensure that I am able to represent you to the best of my ability. I have been back and forth to Ottawa a number of times and have set up my Parliamentary office and hired staff who understand our constituency and the challenges we face.
In this first column, however, I want to talk a little bit about our democracy and the freedoms we have as Canadians. This past week I was able to see the reality of how powerful elections are and that our system empowers Canadians to be able to choose their representatives. I join 337 other MPs from across Canada, also elected by their continents, to serve Canadians. Even though MPs will disagree, I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage in the process of governing our great country.
My Swearing-In became especially poignant when Danielle and I, along with a few of family members learned that my Great, Great Uncle’s name was going to be displayed in the World War II Book of Remembrance the following day. For those who have not had the opportunity to visit Parliament let me explain; there is a small chapel on Parliament Hill that houses a series of books that records the name of every Canadian Serviceman and Woman who has been lost in service to our Country. Each day the pages of these books are turned, to ensure that once a year, every person who died in service has their name displayed in the heart of Canada’s democratic system.
Danielle, myself, my children and a few family members arrived at the “Room of Remembrance” shortly before the ceremony was scheduled to begin. We witnessed a simple, but powerful ceremony when the pages are turned. The Parliamentary Protective Services Officer who led the ceremony, a veteran himself, ensured that every detail was in order and the books were treated with the respect and dignity that these men and women deserve. After the ceremony I was able to view and even feel the page where Flight Officer John Earl Stillings of the RCAF is memorialized.
I share this story with you because our democracy and the freedoms that we have as Canadians are not something that we can forget. We should not dismiss nor can we ever neglect to protect this. Although we face serious challenges as a province and region, we live in an amazing country.
You can expect me to work each day for your interests, and in future columns I will address concerns, current events, initiatives, and many other subjects. But let us never forget to be thankful for Canada.
Thank you again for granting me the honour of serving and thank you for remembering those who fought and died so we can be free.