Ottawa - Feb. 17, 2011 - A great editorial appeared in the Winchester Press about the necessity of informing elected officials of what you think they should accomplish as your representative. I wrote a thank you email to Amanda Smith Miller because I believe she was right in her observations. You, the constituents of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, dutifully go to the polls to elect your representative at all three levels of government at election time. I am proud of our voter turnout in SD&SG because it is slightly higher than the national average. You are conscientious citizens; to a point.
How many of you have contacted your elected representative since the last election? We work for you! Our job is to represent you, but too few of you tell us what you would like your governments to do. Occasionally I receive a phone call, an email or a letter about a particular issue. The majority of the time I have to reach out to attain your opinions. There are over 82,000 constituents in SD&SG. It is very difficult to visit each and every one of you individually.
My staff and I spend countless hours preparing various newsletters, emails, questionnaires and surveys to attain your opinions. I personally spend hours and hours driving thousands of kilometres to various functions to meet constituents that will share their thoughts with me. Often at these gatherings someone will bring up a concern and or a complaint. When I ask why they didn't call or write to me about it, they often say, I didn't want to bother you with it. That is the reason you elected me, to address your concerns or complaints! I welcome both negative and positive comments, especially negative ones. If I am not told I am not doing something properly, I assume I am and that you are satisfied with the service I am providing you.
My grade 5 teacher, a wonderful Nun named Sister Gregory, taught us that democracy was "for the people, by the people and responsible to the people". So far this is the best description I have ever heard of democracy. However, for democracy to function properly, constituents must tell their representatives how they feel. As your Member of Parliament I can serve you much better if you provide me with direction and feedback.
My staff and I have worked hard over the past six years to get your opinion on various issues. We have asked you thousands of times if we are on the right track. We have sent thousands upon thousands of questionnaires to your homes. We are trying to do our part. We need you to help us. When you receive one of our questionnaires or surveys, please fill it out and return it.
Your opinion is important to me for it helps me serve you better. Since being elected six years ago I have received feedback from 55,000 (approximately 65%) constituents on at least one issue. In the past twelve months 16,312 (approximately 19.6%) electors have given me their feedback on one or more topics. This has allowed me to represent you with credibility when I address my caucus colleagues on various issues we deal with. I feel we still have a long way to go. The next time you receive a flyer, please return it with your thoughts. The next time you see something in the news that bothers you, give me a call. Please remember I work for you. I need your advice and direction.
Member of Parliament