Continuing our roundup of queer MPs at the end of the sitting, I spoke to new NDP MP Philip Toone yesterday after question period.
Q: How were your first three weeks as an MP?
A: There’s an incredible amount of procedure. This place is steeped in old history and all this stuff really has got to go, but I understand that people like their little outfits and all of the big battering rams and what have you – isn’t it nice? But I think as a caucus we’ve been solid. We’ve shown that our ideas are good ones and that we’re fighting really hard for our ideas and to defend people’s rights, and I think that the way Parliament works right now is something that people are going to look back on and say it’s about time that we got into this House and we brought a bit of decorum into this place.
Q: What are you doing for committees?
A: I am on procedures [and house affairs], private members’ bills [subcommittee] – that should be interesting. I’m seconding [associate member on] fisheries and oceans, and I’m seconding the justice committee.
Q: Keeping you busy, then?
A: It’s been fun.
Q: Any particular projects you’re looking to do on any of those committees – studies or anything like that?
A: The trans bill is one of my number-one priorities. For me, there’s two priorities: the trans bill and I’m on private members', so that’s kind of nice – and Old Harry, which is an issue back in my riding, which is all about drilling for oil and international affairs and what have you, so it’s an interesting issue. But the trans bill is most important by far. We did really well with it in the last Parliament, and we’re going to work really hard to try to make it work this time around, too.
Q: Assuming we get out of here this week, what are your plans for the summer?
A: I’m going to go back to my riding and spend a couple of days with my spouse, who hasn’t seen me for a while, and I think he’s getting a little anxious. But we’ve got a long summer ahead of us, and there’s a lot of work to be done. I can’t wait; one of the groups that I actually started forming back in my home riding is an LGBT group that’s out to defend their rights in my riding. They’ve invited me to two meetings now, and they’ve both been while Parliament is sitting, and I’m hoping we can actually have a meeting where I can get to meet these people, because we haven’t had that where I live in a very long time. And I think having me there is going to help, and we’re going to work really hard and really well together, so I’m looking forward to it.