Essex MP Describes A Year Of Broken Liberal Promises

Essex MP, Tracey Ramsey August 25, 2015. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

“There were a lot of hopes,” says Essex MP Tracey Ramsey describing how the beginning of 2016 in the House of Commons has contrasted with the end of the year.

“As the year went on, we started to see this flood of broken promises.”

Chief among the list of failures, according to Ramsey, is the breakdown in talks with the provinces and territories on health care funding.

The Liberal government proposed a 3.5% increase in health care transfers, along with $11-billion over ten years for mental health and home care, but the provinces insist the increase isn’t enough to maintain services. Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa says to keep up, the province will need at least a 5% increase.

“People care about health care,” says Ramsey. “People, every day are in our office in Essex telling us how they’re struggling under the high cost of health care and how they’re not able to afford their prescription medication. It’s a very serious issue.”

Ramsey, as an opposition member, takes pride in holding the government’s feet to the fire, but says without electoral reform, it is not easy. Not far down the list, is a failure to move to a system of proportional representation.

“This is the reason why we continue to have majority governments elected without the majority of the vote,” she says. “They don’t follow through with their promises, and because they are now sitting in power, it’s very difficult to put that pressure on them to follow through with those promises.”

At times, debate inside the House of Commons was raucous. In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized to the House after he was accused of “manhandling” two members of the opposition. Ramsey says although there should always be a level of decorum maintained in the House; she admits that can be a challenge.

“People that are elected care deeply about the people they represent,” says Ramsey. “For myself this year, when we stood and voted to send our military to go on a train and assist mission; it’s very serious. There is an emotional tone to the work that we do.”