NDP House Leader Libby Davies has had her counterparts shuffled in the past few weeks. I spoke to her after Question Period to day what's on her plate for the fall sitting.
Q: So how was your summer?
A: Very nice.
Q: What did you end up doing?
A: Not a lot. I stayed mostly in the riding, working, and I took a couple of long weekends. I went to Penticton, and visited the only aboriginal winery in Canada, which was amazing. I can’t pronounce the name for you. You also know I went to Vienna [for the International AIDS Conference]. The thing that was significant in the riding that happened was the BC government finally agreed to call a public inquiry, and I’ve said today in the House – I made a statement on it – but what I want to see is a community process as well. A public inquiry is very formal, and there’ll be police officers and prosecutors, but the community needs to heal. It’s been that traumatic, so I’m hoping that we can work toward some kind of community process. I’m sure there will be recommendations that will come out of that too, but I think that has to happen as well.
Q: Moving into the fall, you’ve got two new House Leaders opposite you. How is that working out so far?
A: I’ve dealt with lots of House Leaders. I’m the longest-serving current House Leader – since 2003, I think, so I’ve gotten used to changing players. I’ve already talked to Mr. Baird and Mr. McGuinty, and both say that they want to be constructive and improve decorum – mind you everybody always says that.
Q: Isn’t that like famous last words?
A: Yeah – I’ve been saying the proof is in the pudding. Talk is cheap – what are we actually going to do. We’ll see what happens – it’ll be interesting. Certainly John Baird is quite a character. He can play it either way, and I’ve been saying it’s his choice how he wants to play it. We want to be constructive – we want to see things happen in the House in terms of what we think are the priorities for Canadians. If they choose to be unilateral and high-handed and arrogant, as they have so often in the past, then that will be unfortunate, but we can deal with that too. We’re used to it.
Q: Your bill is coming up for Report Stage shortly?
A: I think it’s October 20th, which is actually a week where there’s a lot of housing activity, and there will actually be people on Parliament Hill, at least from Vancouver and I think from across the country. I’m doing everything I can to get that bill though. The list of growing supporters is unbelievable. I’m just astounded and very hopeful when I see that very non-partisan, across the spectrum list of people supporting the bill. I just want the message to get through to the Conservatives.
Q: How has the response been over the summer with your work on that?
A: I know people have been contacting them, and their line seems to be that we don’t need it because we’re already doing it, which is not true, unfortunately. So we have to go back to people and explain that this bill is needed because there isn’t a national strategy, there isn’t that kind of setting of targets and deadlines, and providing the money. So if they think they’re doing that, they’re not.