Wednesday, June 23, 2004

June 23, 2004: Grewal write the The Now about his MP mailings

Newsletter wouldn't be an issue if federal election dates were fixed

The Editor,

Re: "MP newsletter isn't a campaign tool," the Now letters, June 16.

Mr. Robert Slaven's opinion letter is not factual and misinforms your readers.

All 301 MPs are expected to communicate with their constituents. As a member of Parliament, I have been communicating with my constituents on a regular basis. There are many constituents who express their appreciation for my newsletter, Dialogue.

The parliamentary rules governing MP's mailings are very strict. If an MP's newsletter in both timing and content does not comply with these rules, the House of Commons would refuse to print or circulate it. This newsletter was scheduled, prepared and printed by the House of Commons prior to the call of the election. I am surprised the delivery took so long, particularly that it arrived in the middle of an election campaign, but I certainly have no control over the timing of its delivery.

The root cause of the problem and confusion is the absence of a fixed election date. I have no crystal ball as to when an election will be called by the prime minister. It becomes a real guessing game. This situation is one more example of why there is a need for fixed election dates.

Mr. Slaven states, "Mr. Grewal is no longer my MP, or anyone's MP." This is incorrect. All members of Parliament remain the MP for their respective ridings through election day. Thus, I am the MP for Surrey Central, but I am also the Conservative candidate for the new riding of Newton-North Delta. Further, as an Official Opposition MP, it is also my responsibility to point out the weaknesses in proposed legislation and hold the government's "feet to the fire" when it comes to lack of accountability.

Gurmant Grewal
MP, Surrey Central