Conservative Larry Maguire smiles for the camera and his supporters at the Victoria Inn after winning the Brandon-Souris federal byelection on Nov. 25. Maguire will be sworn in as a member of Parliament today.
Brandon-Souris MP Larry Maguire said he’s not yet sure if citizenship ceremonies will return to the city after the area’s former member confidently said its removal last year was just a temporary measure.
"I’m not 100 per cent sure of that," Maguire said. "Hopefully that will happen.
"There’s definitely a need for it in our region and we’re going to try and make sure we get that service back into Brandon as well, but I can’t confirm that 100 per cent at this point."
In May, then-MP Merv Tweed said he was "99 per cent certain that Brandon will host future citizenship ceremonies," despite Brandon falling within Winnipeg’s 300-kilometre territory set out by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
After the area’s seat in Parliament has remained empty since the end of August, Maguire will be sworn in as MP this morning as the 2014 winter session begins.
Included in this sitting’s debates will be sweeping changes to Canada’s citizenship rules, a comprehensive reform of Canada’s Citizenship Act.
Maguire said he’s expected to lobby his first query during question period today as well, though he didn’t say what topic he will highlight.
"There’s a number of issues, we haven’t chosen them yet," he said. "There’s a whole host of areas we could go with," with infrastructure getting top billing on his list.
"There’s a lot of roads in southwestern Manitoba that have been in need for some time and of course we have a number of water and sewer projects that are on the go as well."
Among some friends, family and campaign supporters, Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell is expected to be present at Maguire’s swearing in.
In February, the federal government is also expected to table the 2014 budget, expected to include more cuts in an effort to eliminate Canada’s $17-billion deficit, though Maguire said he has no insight into what to expect.
"I’m waiting to see what’s in the budget just as everyone else is at this point," he said.
Meanwhile, the federal government’s decision last year to close various Veterans Affairs offices across the country, including one in Brandon, has garnered significant blowback from the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
Maguire said the government’s decision to keep a Service Canada agent at the office is expected to start in February, though PSAC has said that olive branch isn’t enough.
"They will be there to deal directly with veterans affairs," Maguire said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 27, 2014