Albas: Conservative MP takes wait-and-see approach

While it is somewhat customary for opposition members to criticize a newly appointed cabinet, I will largely refrain from that right now.

Ottawa is once again a hub of activity as Members of Parliament have arrived in our capital joining many former MPs as the post-election changeover occurs.

The 42nd Parliament is so far a very demanding one on administration as there are more than 200 newly elected rookie MPs who will require offices, staff, orientation and training, all which can lead to delays in getting things up and running.

Also occurring last  week was the official swearing in ceremony for our incoming prime minister at Rideau Hall along with the new cabinet.

The new Liberal cabinet, at 31 members, is smaller than the 39-member cabinet that was announced after the 2011 election by Conservative leader Stephen Harper.

The new cabinet also follows a gender parity policy mandated by the Liberals, so there are 15 women and 15 men appointed to ministry posts.

If you are wondering why the math does not add up to 31 members, it is due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau naming himself as a minister for intergovernmental affairs and youth.

For me, while it is somewhat customary for opposition members to criticize a newly appointed cabinet, I will largely refrain from that right now.

For any newly elected premier or prime minister, it is always a challenging task to select a cabinet when there are so many different variables that must be taken into consideration and compromises are not always popular.

On a local level, I have heard some complaints that British Columbia has just three cabinet seats compared to Ontario and Quebec which have 18 seats combined.

However, I would caution that the appointment of parliamentary secretaries have yet to be announced by Trudeau and I believe there is a good chance one or more will end up from B.C., and among them may be our new Liberal MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, Steven Fuhr.

I would also like to congratulate our new cabinet ministers who are from our province—Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough, all from the Lower Mainland.

A criticism I do have of the new cabinet is that one of the portfolios eliminated to achieve a smaller cabinet means there is no longer a minister of state for seniors, a concern I will share in Ottawa in the days ahead.

Finally this week, the Official Opposition met last week and named a new party interim leader, Alberta MP Rona Ambrose.

Her appointment will lead next to an announcement of a shadow cabinet of official critics.

The NDP is also expected to announce its own cabinet shadow critic lineup shortly.

My expectation is that the Throne Speech will occur in early December, however that date has yet to be confirmed.

I would also like to thank the many citizens who have shared comments and questions with me over the past few weeks.

This input is very valuable. I invite all citizens to take a moment to share your concerns.

I can be reached via email Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

My Westbank MP office is located at 10-2483 Main St.

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