May 15th, 2014

Federal Constituency offices – another NDP innovation that came over the objection of the old-line Ottawa political parties

At Committee today, Tom Mulcair spoke about the proud history of the NDP setting up Canada’s first Constituency office. Ed Broadbent created the first one in Oshawa to serve his constituents in 1968.

“It’s a rare event that an extension to parliament is invented without any design or debate, yet essentially, the introduction of constituency offices to Canada was a spontaneous act that didn’t occur until an enterprising MP decided to create one. Credit at the federal level is shared between Ed Broadbent, who opened an office funded in part by the Canadian Autoworkers Union in 1968 and Flora Macdonald, who opened her Kingston office with the aid of a part-time university student in 1973.”The low road to democratic reform: Constituency offices, public service provision and citizen engagement, Report for the Democratic Reform Secretariat, Privy Council Office

Back then, Liberals turned their nose up at this innovation. Now, we have a Liberal like Ted Hsu heralding Mr. Broadbent’s innovation on his website.

Canadians deserve to have their elected parliamentarians focused on them, not just on meeting Ottawa lobbyists – or on Kangaroo court attacks.