On October 19th, over 17 million Canadians voted in Canada’s 42nd general election. They elected 338 individuals to represent them in the House of Commons. Based on the results of the election and the fact that he could no longer command the confidence (i.e. majority support) of the House of Commons, Mr. Harper resigned as Prime Minister and the Governor General appointed Mr. Trudeau in his stead.

The role of an MP is not simply to serve in government (in the House of Commons the government is defined as the Prime Minister and cabinet). The role of an MP also consists in holding the government to account each and every day in between elections on behalf of their constituents.

While elections provide a chance for Canadians to hold MPs, and by extension the government, to account, this opportunity for accountability only comes along when an election is held, normally every four years. In between elections, the government is held accountable by MPs in the House of Commons. The accountability of the government to MPs is a vital part of ensuring the day-to-day accountability of government in between elections.

Conservative MPs are now Her Majesty’s Official Opposition in the House of Commons. My newly elected Conservative colleagues and I now have the responsibility to hold the newly appointed government accountable between now and the next general election.

The other role of an MP also includes holding the party leader accountable in caucus. A caucus is a group of twelve of more MPs from one party in the House of Commons. As you know, the Reform Act became law on June 23th, 2015. The Act mandates that MPs vote at the first meeting of caucus on four rules, determining which powers MPs will have and which powers party leaders will have.

The four rules that MPs will vote on concern:

  • The expulsion and re-admission of an MP from caucus,
  • the election and removal of the caucus chair,
  • the review and removal of the party leader, and
  • the election of the interim leader

As caucuses meet for the first time in the coming weeks, MPs will have an opportunity to vote for the new rules and empower themselves and their constituents. My hope is that Canada’s 338 newly elected MPs seize this opportunity to strengthen their role in the elected House of Commons.

If you have questions or issues please contact me at the constituency office (866) 878-5556 michael.chong@parl.gc.ca

UPDATE Nov 5, 2015

Newly elected Conservative MPs empower themselves and adopt the Reform Act rules #1, #2 and modified #4