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Liberal MPs Return to their ridings to rally their constituents

13 Nov 17
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As Liberal MPs spend this week in their ridings, they’re tasked with reminding Canadians what they’ve done since the last election because they begin boosting their efforts to convince voters that they deserve to remain.

The co-ordinated blitz will involve visits to local companies and schools, pitches at the doorstep, MPs serving customers at the local cafe and, obviously, a centrally accepted social media hashtag.

Up to now, 130 of the 181 Liberal MPs have agreed to share in what they’re calling a national week of action, being described as the biggest mobilization of caucus because the 2015 national election.

“It is focused on ensuring we go home with a single message,” said Liberal MP Ruby Sahota, the Ontario caucus chair.

The projected parade of the biggest hits, where you can expect to hear a whole lot about the Canada Child Benefit, is supposed to mark the midway point of this four-year mandate.

“I feel a midway point is always a great time to step back and reflect,” said Sahota, who represents the Greater Toronto Area riding of Brampton North. “What guarantees have we managed to keep? Which ones do we still need to work at?”

The campaign is going to have a high participation rate, but many MPs noted that spending some time with components is only part of what they would do on any other week back in the riding.

“People do not have to tell me I want to breathe in and breathe out,” said Montreal MP Nicola Di Iorio (Saint-Leonard — Saint-Michel).

Toronto MP Rob Oliphant said he’s the feeling that the party leadership is paying a bit more attention to what’s happening this week than normal.

“They’re certainly, for some reason, appearing this week to feel stressed,” said Oliphant (Don Valley West), including that some staffers believe MPs will need to be encouraged to perform their jobs.

“I just say I’m doing my constituency work how I do it.”

As opposed to selling the Liberal history, Oliphant said he would like to learn what people in his riding think of it in the first location.

“I speak in Ottawa and I listen at home,” he said.

As standard as knocking on doors and hearing from voters at town hall-style events could be, the Liberal party keeps close tabs on what its MPs are up to back in their ridings — such as on social networking.

And that could wind up playing a part in determining whether they get to keep doing this.

Throughout the Liberal leadership race, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to maintain open nominations for local candidates in federal ridings, meaning incumbents would need to fight for the right to maintain their name on the ballot in 2019.

However there were questions about how dedicated Trudeau was to this pledge, as some prospective contenders have accused the Liberal direction of playing favourites or have been barred from running.

Since the 2015 success began fading into memory, incumbent Liberal MPs started grumbling about the prospect of facing an internal struggle in their own ridings, so the party started a consultation process with caucus and former applicants to discover a compromise.

1 MP who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that based on the consultations up to now, the party will probably measure if an incumbent deserves to be protected from having their nomination contested through a mixture of social networking existence, the amount of doors they knocked on and fundraising.

The recommendations are anticipated before the Liberal party convention next April.

Liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz, who symbolizes the Toronto riding of Davenport, said she would prefer needing to reach a goal than start all over again.

“I will be angry if there needs to be another full-blown nomination,” said Dzerowicz, that had been selected to carry the Liberal banner in the 2015 election after running against others.

“It was an incredibly intensive procedure,” she said. “We’d have to ask the question: how would I represent the downtown riding nicely if I needed to do a full size nomination race? However, if that’s what I need to do, that is what I need to do.”

Toronto MP Adam Vaughan, who had been chosen in a 2014 by-election which was plagued with controversy until he threw his hat into the ring, ” said incumbents should need to battle.

“You are not entitled to anything,” said Vaughan (Spadina — Fort York).

“It is healthy to earn your place in the party,” he said. “It is healthy to make your position in Parliament and none of this is given to you because of privilege.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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