With the House due to rise at the end of the week, it's time to catch up with our MPs on how they felt the spring session went. I caught up with NDP MP Bill Siksay after Question Period.
Q: What were your high points of the last session?
A: The high point was getting the trans bill through Second Reading and sent to the justice committee. We waited a long time for that one, and it was great to finally see it happen.
Q: Low point?
A: There’s so many to choose from. I think the low point is the lack of government accountability, and secrecy. As a member of the committee on Access to Information and Privacy and Ethics, I’m very acutely aware of the lack of commitment of the government to open government, and the attempts to block the work of the committee, to block the committee from hearing the witnesses it needs to hear from to do its work, and I think that’s a very serious affront to our parliamentary democracy, and for me is a real low point.
Q: What are your plans for the summer.
A: May god bless and keep Ottawa far away from me. I plan to be back in the riding, as much as I can, and take a bit of time off as well.
Q: Any particular projects that you’re going to be working on?
A: Well there’s always stuff in the riding. I plan on having as many public meetings and accountability sessions, and other events that I can in the riding, because I don’t get to do that as often as I’d like, so I’ll take advantage of the summer to do that.
Q: Regarding your question today in QP on the hate crime statistics, being as there’s been a big push in a lot of communities to report these incidents, do you think that’s the reason for the spike in the numbers, as opposed to real numbers going up, or is it a combination of both?
A: I think it’s a combination of both. I think more could be done in terms of encouraging people to report, but also we need to encourage people to have confidence in the system, and that’s a big barrier right now. We need to do more to let people know what exists to protect them when they’ve been victims of a hate crime. We need to make sure that police have the resources to deal with victims of hate crimes appropriately. Generally we need to increase people’s confidence in our criminal justice system when it comes specifically to hate crimes.