- Religious Freedom
David Anderson has been the Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills-Grasslands since 2000.
Local issues have always been a priority for David. Whether it is agriculture, immigration, energy, supporting local events or highlighting your issues in Ottawa, speaking effectively for southwest Saskatchewan is David’s main goal.
As Question Period Co-Ordinator, David is part of a team that organizes the 24 questions allotted each day to the Conservatives. Beginning with an early morning meeting, the leadership team pours over media and strategizes on how to best hold the Government to account. Over the course of the morning, MPs are assigned questions. They write them, edit them, practice them and then ask them during Question Period.
As Critic for International Human Rights and Religious Freedom, David works with Deputy Critic Garnett Genuis to tackle issues of injustice and intolerance in Canada and around the world. David and fellow Conservative MP David Sweet sit on the Sub-Committee on International Human Rights. The committee meets twice each week and hears from witnesses who experience persecution and oppression.
He is also a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFORB). Established in 2014, it is an informal network of parliamentarians from around the world who are committed to combatting religious persecution and advancing freedom of religion or belief.
David has hosted five annual Parliamentary Forums on Religious Freedom in Ottawa. Religious persecution, sharia law, the legal and political history of religious freedom in Canada, and most recently, ‘living with our deepest differences,’ have all been explored.
It is through these opportunities and working with a great group of colleagues that David has been able to impact Canadians’ lives in a positive way.
David lives in an apartment within a 10 minute walk from Parliament Hill. He’s up before the sun, and on his way to the office.
His first order of business when he arrives is to go through the newspapers and media clippings. It is through this scan that David gets a good sense of the issues of the day. Before long, it will be time to make the trek to Centre Block for the first of his morning meetings.
David’s office is in the Justice Building. It is the third Parliamentary precinct building to the west of Centre Block and is also the furthest away. Members of Parliament and their staff have the option of walking to meetings or taking one of the many white shuttle buses. The buses run regularly throughout the day.
The bus arrives at the Centre Block, which has a number of entrances. David uses the Members’ only entrance on the west side of the building. There is also a visitors’ entrance, an entrance for staff and, to the east, an entrance for Senators. The construction you see in the background is the work that continues on the West Block building, which has been closed since 2011 and is being renovated to prepare for the closure of the Centre Block in 2018.
David’s first meetings of the day are held in preparation for Question Period. As the co-ordinator, David is part of a team that organizes the 24 questions allotted each day to the Conservatives. Beginning with an early morning meeting, the leadership team pours over media and strategizes on how to best hold the Government to account. Over the course of the morning, MPs are assigned questions. They write them, edit them, practice them and then ask them during Question Period later on in the day.
As part of his position as Official Opposition Critic for International Human Rights and Religious Freedom, David hosts events for MPs and Senators. On this day, Dr. Os Guiness is in town for a luncheon, speaking to MPs about religious freedom. As the moderator, David has time for everything but eating!
David is always happy to give tours of Centre Block to visitors. Here, Dr. Os Guinness and his team from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries visit the stunning Library of Parliament – the only part of the original parliament building to survive the fire of 1916.
The next item on David’s agenda is the Sub-Committee on International Human Rights. The seven-person committee meets twice a week in Centre Block. Its membership includes just two MPs from the Conservative Party. The two Davids (David Sweet, Vice-Chairman) question witnesses and discuss other committee business with their colleagues. It is here he finally has time to eat his usual lunch – a tasty apple.
After hearing from witnesses and completing committee business, it’s time to attend Question Period:
The hard work of David and his team throughout the morning pays off during Question Period, which occurs each sitting day in the House of Commons. According to the record of debates, the first question in Canadian Parliament was posed to the Chairman of the Printing Committee on November 29, 1867. There were no formal rules governing Question Period until April of 1964.
David and his colleagues put pressure on the Government in an attempt to ensure that it is responding to what Canadians need in every aspect of their daily lives.
David didn’t have far to go to greet these visitors from Cypress Hills-Grasslands in the Centre Block. Here, Ryan and Janet Tynning (of Swift Current) get a rare look into the historic office of former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.
By this time, you would think David’s day is winding down. In reality, he hasn’t been to his office since before it opened. His staff is eagerly awaiting his arrival so that he can take care of the most important duties of his position as Member of Parliament. Taking care of constituent concerns and issues involves meeting with his staff, reviewing and signing letters and certificates, returning phone calls and going over his very busy schedule for the rest of the week. All of his correspondence, invitations and emails are placed in scrapbook-like ‘green books,’ which can be numerous and often pile up in his inbox.
The after-hours business on an MP’s schedule can be filled with as many evening receptions as he or she has time for. They are a tradition in politics and an opportunity for outside organizations to speak to decision-makers about their issues. On this day, David hosted his 5th Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom. More than 180 people attended the event which featured keynote speaker and scholar Dr. Os Guinness, Abdu Murray, Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham and Dr. Mario Silva. The topic focused on whether increasingly secular societies can, or will continue to support the freedom of religion or belief. Speeches were followed by a question and answer period. The evening wrapped up at 9 p.m.
Exhausted, David returns home for a well-deserved rest, ready to do it all over again the next day. Good night to all.