With a large caucus alongside her, NDP MP Libby Davies says she is excited to be returning to the Hill.
“I’m looking forward to our first caucus meeting, to meet many of the new MPs, but particularly the young folks,” she says. “I’m so excited about the role they’re going to play, and energize the place, and maybe turn Parliament on its head, which would be a good thing. I think it’s going to be pretty fantastic.”
Getting ready for the remainder of the session before the summer break has proven to be a great deal of work – especially getting so many new MPs and staff in place and figuring out the NDP’s new role as official Opposition.
“If anything, it’s been busier since the election,” Davies says. “There’s been no moment of rest since the election, that’s for sure.”
Davies says the campaign in Vancouver East was her best to date. She says she is especially taken by the role social media – Facebook and especially Twitter – played in her campaign.
“I was just blown away by the interaction that went on,” she says. “I’ve never tweeted so much in my life, and I had great fun doing it.
“It gave a whole new dimension to the campaign,” she adds. “In some ways it made it much more interactive, because it was so instant to hear from people about what you were doing and where they were seeing you and their response to what you were saying. Or maybe they saw you on a media panel – it was quite phenomenal.”
But for all the positives, Davies says she was struck by the lack of public debates that happened in her riding.
“We had a couple in seniors’ homes, which were more like closed meetings, but we didn’t really have public all-candidates’ meetings,” she says, adding that she never did see the Conservative candidate. “We know she was around the riding, but she didn’t engage in any way. That was in some ways a disappointment, because for the voters, they want to see the candidates.”
Davies is not yet sure if she will remain NDP House Leader in the next Parliament; she’ll find out when Leader Jack Layton announces his shadow cabinet. But Davies is her party’s senior queer MP and one of four out gays and lesbians in caucus.
“That’s four of us, so hey, we’ve got a team!” she says enthusiastically. “I’m very excited to meet them, and the fact that they got elected is great, and we should be very proud of the history of our party…. I’m still going to miss Bill Siksay a lot.”
And her advice for her new gay colleagues?
“Be out, be proud, be strong, take on the issues, be vigilant about human rights and what the Conservatives are doing,” Davies says. “Our party has an incredible record of standing up for LGBTQ rights, and we’ll continue to do that.”