The federal election is now one-month in the rear-view mirror of local history and Marie-France Lalonde (belated congratulations to her) will represent all citizens and residents who live in the electoral district of Orléans as our MP.
Given her experience as a former provincial MPP and Cabinet Minister, the learning curve to adjust to federal parliamentary procedure should be an easy climb for Madame Lalonde.
However, the bigger challenge for her and her constituency team will be the change of tone and quasi-invisibility that is required from any federal MP to navigate the complexities of immigration, employment insurance, passports, OAP-GIS-CPP payments, veterans� pensions, the Phoenix pay system debacle and other federal service areas as opposed to higher profile provincial issues such as healthcare and education that often play out on the nightly newscasts and front pages of print and digital media sites.
Stepping back to view the national landscape and given much of the national media commentary, you would think that the re-elected minority Liberal government situation will result in chaos and acrimony. This scribe begs to differ and the lessons of more than 60 years of modern history and that fact that we are home to a non-partisan (for the most part) and professional public service and excellent non-partisan advisors in the House of Commons and Senate gives me hope that all will be fine.
Since the election of John G. Diefenbaker back in 1957 we have gone through 22 elections and they have been split right-down the middle with 11 majorities and 11 minorities. And only Brian Mulroney (1984 and 1988) and Jean Chretien (1993, 1997 and 2000) can claim repeat majority governments.
For the rest of the time transitions from majority to minority governments and vice versa have been the rule, not the exception, and the country has gotten along just fine.
This reality is a testament to the stability of our parliamentary system that has functioned with a three- and four-party reality on and off for almost a century since 1921 and dare I say it, thrived in its more modern five-party incarnation for almost 27 years since 1993.
Yes, the media will play up various confidence votes and this or that opposition leader will posture and huff and puff, but my early guess is that Prime Minister Trudeau and his team have a runway of 18- to 24-months. Then, when we do go back to the polls in 2021 or 2022, it will be the Liberals own doing as opposed to losing a confidence vote in the House. We will go through eight- to 12-week sitting cycles of political brinkmanship but then all will be calm during each break and it will be rinse-lather-repeat for a few years to come.
The bigger political files for us here in Orléans will be local, like LRT or #HelLRT, #railfail and #OCcasional-Transpo as I have seen frustrated riders call it as they take to social media to air their complaints.
And at the provincial level, the work-to-rule campaigns by elementary and secondary teachers in the public board along with very ambitious health care restructuring plans that the Ford government has undertaken will cause angst for parents and voters alike.
Meanwhile, Ms. Lalonde will hopefully be focused on Phoenix pay system fixes, local employment diversification (not just telecommuting centres for federal public servants) and working with her city colleagues on the Brian Coburn extension and other congestion hot spots as our community continues to experience solid growth and exponential development south of Innes Road from Navan Road all the way east to Trim Road.
Amidst all this political hustle and bustle we are also entering the Christmas Holiday season and as I have done in other years, I urge you to find time to volunteer and/or donate to a local organization.
We are fortunate to live in a safe and prosperous community yet some of our neighbours do not share in this prosperity and a small gift of time, money or a food, clothing, equipment or toy donation will make a world of difference to someone.
If you're not sure where to start, point your browser to www.orleansonline.ca
then scroll down to the Community links section, click and you will find a list of local community service and organizations that will gladly and thankfully welcome your support, or visit the
Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre website at www.crcoc.ca and sign up for one of their Christmas programs.