As I continue my roundup of queer MPs this week, I caught up with NDP MP Libby Davies after question period today.
Q: How was your break?
A: It was very busy, but I was able to get a bit of rest. First of all, it’s good to be home. It makes a huge difference – especially for those of us from the West Coast. Just the break from the back and forth to Ottawa is wonderful, I have to say. I love being in the riding. I love being out and about and being busy; we organized forums and I went to all kinds of events. For me, it gives me energy to come back here. When I’m able to be grounded in my community and talk to people who are dealing with real issues, difficulties and suffering on a daily basis, it really grounds you. It really enforces for me who I am, what I’m doing and why I’m here. This world can swallow you up, so to be grounded in your community is very important.
Q: What’s the status of your housing bill?
A: It’s still at the committee. The first time it was on the agenda they never got to it because they dealt with another matter. It went to the committee yesterday for an hour – we never got through it. There was discussion about this one amendment. Of course, the Conservatives were wanting to have a lengthy debate on the matter, so after the hour, they switched back to their other agenda. I guess now it’ll be at the meeting next week. The fact is that the members from the opposition parties are all in agreement with this amendment and with this bill. It is the Conservatives that, it appears to me, want to stop it from getting through committee and getting back into the House, which is very unfortunate. It got into one of those procedural wrangles again, and I kept on saying to them, " You know what? This is about housing. This is about people wanting us to do more on housing. Why would we frustrate that?"
Q: What else have you got lined up for the spring session that you’re looking forward to?
A: My focus is on the housing bill and getting it through. I’ve also been doing more work with advocates across the country on the Ontario court ruling on sex workers. An issue like that explodes across the headlines, and it’s like a bunch of flurries for a couple of days and then it’s gone away. It actually is a very serious issue – the health and safety of sex workers and ensuring that their rights are protected. So I am doing work with various advocates to consider how we continue to work on that issue. How do we get this issue before Parliament? How do we make some movement on that debate instead of saying, “Oh, it’s a court thing, leave it to the courts”? We’re responsible for this issue as well, so that’s one thing I’m working on in terms of my file. The other thing I’m working on is Bill S-10, the drug bill. It's coming back and I will be the person responsible for that for the NDP; I’ll be working with a lot of groups in terms of what happens with that bill. We’ll be opposing the bill. I’ve just been informed that the Liberals are now saying they’re not going to support it, so that’ll be very interesting. If I remember correctly, the Bloc didn’t support it [the last time], which means the government may not bring it forward like the [human] smuggling bill. We’ll see what happens, but I’ll be paying close attention to that.