Prime Minister Stephen Harper (right) and Conservative MP Shelly Glover (left) escort recently elected Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire into the House of Commons in Ottawa last month. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire’s first “householder” mailout asks residents in the riding whether he should support the Reform Act. It also asks whether Maguire is “on the right track” representing the riding. (SUBMITTED)
Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire is asking residents if he is "on the right track" or "on the wrong track" so far in representing the riding.
The new MP, officially sworn in late last month, recently sent out his first "householder" mailout, which includes a two-question survey.
"That’s part of listening to what citizens are saying. It’s a great way to get feedback from our constituents," Maguire said.
The other question is, "Should Larry support the Reform Act?" The private member’s bill was introduced by MP Michael Chong in December. The Reform Act would have three main focuses — restoring local control overparty nominations, strengthening caucuses as decision-making bodies and reinforcing the accountability of party leaders to their caucuses.
"There may be a lot of people that don’t even know (the Reform Act) has come forward yet, so this brings attention to it, perhaps gives them an insight into looking into it more themselves," Maguire said.
With private member’s bills, MPs are free to vote without being "whipped" by their party leadership, states the mailout.
"Larry would like to know your thoughts on this legislation. It is important that all constituents have a say and are given the opportunity to voice their concerns or ideas."
The householder was sent to every residence in the riding, one of four allowed per year. Citizens can either fill out the survey and mail it back to Ottawa, or take the survey online at larrymaguire.ca/reform-act.
Maguire said once the feedback is in, they plan to put the results out to the public.
"We’ll tabulate the results, put percentages out there probably of what we’ve got," he said. "We haven’t really finalized all that yet, I want to get the feedback and just see whether it’s worthwhile or not and how many people will take the time to do it."
He said he will consider the feedback he receives when making decisions.
"I look forward to as many of those being returned to me as I possibly can and take that into consideration when I’m speaking to this bill or making decisions on how to move forward with it," he said.
Maguire said he would from time to time, put out questionnaires in mailouts while he was MLA for Arthur-Virden.
"It allows you to get real feedback from people because … not everyone can phone you all at once," he said. "As an MP now you certainly can’t phone every constituent each time a question arises."
Maguire said it is important to connect with constituents and encourages people to sign up for his new electronic newsletter called The Maguire Report. It will provide a snapshot of what is being discussed in Parliament and highlight important issues pertinent to Brandon-Souris. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list.
"Of course our phones are always open and our emails are available," he said. "Hopefully people will be following us on Facebook and Twitter accounts, and that sort of thing as well, and we continue to monitor those and get as much feedback as we possibly can."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 15, 2014