With the House back, I'm making the rounds with our gay and lesbian MPs once again. First up is NDP MP Randall Garrison.
Xtra: How did you spend your summer?
Randall Garrison: I spent my summer in the riding, meeting
especially with mayors of municipalities – I have more than a dozen
municipalities – talking about the concerns that they’d like to come to the
House of Commons. Of course, finishing up getting my constituency office up and
running, and working on getting our casework files in order. That’s mostly what
I did during the summer. I did take a week at the end of the summer with my
partner, and we drove across the country. That was a lot of fun.
Xtra: What are you looking forward to with the
RG: Tomorrow I’ll be reintroducing the
gender identity and gender expression bill, and we’ll be starting work with all
our allies across the country and starting work across the aisle to get this
bill through the House of Commons. As you know, my position is fairly high on
the Order Paper, and we’re looking to perhaps move it up a bit more. Certainly
within the next six months it’ll be before the House of Commons again, and I’m
confident that we’ll get it through.
Xtra: What about committee stuff coming up?
RG: I’m the vice-chair of the public safety committee, and we just learned today that the human smuggling bill will
probably be referred to our committee. And we’ve taken a strong stance against
the bill because it seeks to punish the refugees instead of targeting the
actual human smugglers, despite the title of the bill, so I’m looking forward to
talking with the Conservatives again about how wrong-headed their approach is.
Xtra: Anything else you’re looking forward to
this fall, in terms of being here in Ottawa now that we’ll have a full sitting?
RG: Obviously the Tories have a big agenda
that they’re pressing forward, and we’re trying to find ways to insert our
proposition into things and talk about a different way of doing things. I’m
looking forward to see how well we can do with that. I’m also the Asia-Pacific
critic, and this weekend I’ll be at a conference in Vancouver dealing with the
Asia-Pacific. And I’m hoping the government will have good representation
there and will show that they can do more than just pour concrete when it
comes to the Asia-Pacific. So I’m looking forward to talking about that, too.