Southwest Booster, Cypress Hills Grasslands MP David Anderson is reflecting at end of 2011 on an important first parliamentary year where the Conservative Party got a chance to roll up their sleeves and get to work implementing their policy platforms.
In May, Anderson was elected to represent the riding with a fifth mandate, but it was the first time he was sent to Ottawa as part of a majority government.
Anderson admits that being sent to Ottawa this time has been more productive than his previous mandates.
“It was such a different thing to have a majority government. It was great to be able to go back there and then to start to move our legislation through,” Anderson said during a year end interview on Dec. 19.
“People can make their judgements after four years whether they like what we’ve done or not, but at least we’re able to move our agenda forward. In the past there’s been a real struggle because everything had to be negotiated and compromised before we could get it through with the minority government.”
He said the Stephen Harper government was able to move on a long list of items.
“It was a very busy session, especially this fall, and we actually got a lot done.”
He noted they used time allocations a few times in the House of Commons, but this was done in order to speed through necessary government business.
“We really felt it was necessary to get the things through that we promised for a number of years.”
During the fall sitting they began to move on the gun registry issue, an issue they have promised to deal with for a number of years. They also pushed through their crime bill, and moved on seat redistribution so that those changes will apply for the next election.
“One of last bills of course was the Canadian Wheat Board legislation, which we knew was important and needed to be done by January 1 in order to give farmers some stability and certainty for next year.”
“A number of the bills have been talked about and discussed lots, but the reality is our government is doing a good job of leading this country. If you take a look at what’s happening around the world, again we’ve been rated by both the IMF and the OACD say that our economy is going to be the strongest amongst the G7 in the coming year. So things like cutting taxes, bringing in the strong crime legislation, doing things that affect the Canadian economy in a positive way like the Canadian Wheat Board legislation are all things that are making our economy work for us and Canadians are benefiting from it.”
He believes these positives warranted Ottawa moving quickly in these areas, which add to an already positive outlook for both Canada and Saskatchewan.
“We had a fairly specific platform in the election campaign. Having a majority government allows you to implement that platform. Then it gives Canadians an opportunity at the next election to decide if they like that or not. And I guess as you’ve seen both federally and provincially, people seemed to have really appreciated what we’ve done federally over the last years. And you saw it provincially as well, people like the direction that the provincial government is taking – which again is lowering taxes, trying to allow people to keep their own money, strengthen the economy. And so we look forward to the next few years and being able to continue to put those things in place.”
“Deficit reduction, getting our spending under control, has been important. Those are the kinds of things that have let us lower taxes and then its resulted in those 600,000 plus new jobs that have been formed since July 2009. We’ve been very fortunate in this country, particularly in Western Canada, that we’ve been able to go through this economic downturn as, if you want to call it as easily, but as smoothly as we have to this point.”
He pointed to the relatively strong agriculture sector as a benefit to Western Canadians.
“One of the things that’s been good over the last couple of years is agriculture has been strong. The crop prices have been up, but Gerry Ritz I think has done a great job on opening up markets around the world. He’s spent quite a bit of time traveling to various countries in order to try to get these agreements. So the beef guys in particular have been benefiting from that. But in agriculture we see a lot of optimism and that’s a good thing for our part of the world here.”
The House will resume sitting in 2012 on January 30, and Anderson is looking forward to continuing what the Conservative government has began in Ottawa.
“Again I want to thank the people for letting me represent them, for having the privilege of representing Southwestern Saskatchewan. We look forward to 2012. One of the things that’s on the agenda right away when we get back in the spring will be the gun registry. That will finally be an irritant that’s being removed from Western Canada. So we’re looking forward to 2012, going ahead with a positive agenda, continuing to try and strengthen the economy, and work with the people. And I wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”