2 min

Libby Davies talks about her winter sitting

As I continue with my roundup of queer
MPs, I caught up with NDP MP Libby Davies after question period yesterday.

Q: What did you get up to over
the break?

A: I worked in the riding. We did a very successful roundtable
discussion in Victoria the day ahead of the premiers’ conference, and monitored
what was going on at the premiers’ conference, and then came back to Ottawa and
held a special meeting of the health committee based on the response the
premiers gave. We’re in the process of formulating a bigger plan or campaign
around the future of medicare in Canada and what’s been going on federally.

Q: What do you have to look
forward to over the winter sitting?

A: Healthcare is my file right now, so that’s taking up a lot of my
time, and it’s a very big file, and we have great NDP members on the committee,
so we’re dividing it up and each specializing on certain things, so I’m very
happy about that. We’re working as a team. We are going to be generating a
bigger campaign around the future of medicare. Besides that, issues that come
out of my riding that in some ways are very much related to healthcare, such as
affordable housing and homelessness, the rights of sex workers, the impacts on
drug users from the “war on drugs” – these are issues that are ongoing, whether
it’s Insite or what’s happening to sex workers in the court challenges that
are happening right now. These are things that I’m paying attention to because
they don’t get a lot of attention in Parliament, and I feel like l have to be a
strong advocate for those issues, and I want to be a strong advocate. Those
things are also very much a part of the work that I do.

Q: In terms of what you’ve got
coming up in committee?

A: All of the committees are quite problematic because the
Conservatives are foiling any attempt to deal with any substantive issues. At
health committee, we’re certainly looking at very interesting issues like
chronic diseases and aging, and so on, but these are all things that have been
studied, and we’ve been pressing very hard at the health committee that the
critical issue that underlies everything is the federal government’s lack of
leadership and their unilateral decision with the funding formula with the provinces.
We’ve been trying to get that addressed at the committee so that we can have
some debate. We just can’t have the federal government making decisions where
no one gets to say anything, so we’ve been pressing that very hard, and we’ll
continue to do so.

Q: Do you feel like they’re
trying to give you make-work projects than something significant?

A: I think that’s happening on a lot of committees. We’re studying
things that are well known, like on chronic diseases or aging. They’re important
issues, but the amount of evidence and knowledge about what the reality is and
what needs to be done is overwhelming. We could paper all of the walls here in
the foyer, there’s been so much study. There’s no question the Conservatives’
game plan is to silence committees, is to stop them from doing any substantive
work, particularly any work that challenges the Conservative government, so
that’s a challenge for us. They have a majority and we have to be very creative
and do everything we can to get these issues before the committee for debate.

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