Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney



 

 

 

   
(Updated 7:30 a.m., Nov. 24)
Local MP Andrew Leslie marks second year in office

By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star

The last two years have been a whirlwind for Orléans MP Andrew Leslie who had no political experience before getting elected to the House of Commons on Oct. 19, 2015.

He was barely sworn in before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed him Chief Government Whip. A year later he was named parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, responsible for U.S.-Canada relations including the NAFTA agreement.

Andrew Leslie and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shake hands during the announcement of federal funding for Phase 2 of the LRT project. File photo

Since then it’s been an extremely steep learning curve... and he’s had to learn on the job with the various challenges that presents.

“Learning the very detailed technical ropes of parliamentary procedure was the biggest initial challenge,” Leslie said in a recent interview.

“Suddenly there I was on day one and everyone is looking to me for answers because there were 150 new MPs in the Liberal Party. So it was every night for hours going through Robert’s Rules for Order, which is the bible for parliamentary procedure, or turning to the whip staff who have years and years of experience.”

Leslie did the job well enough to receive his subsequent appointment as parliamentary secretary, which came as another surprise.

“When the Prime Minister asked me to give a hand with the Canada-U.S. and NAFTA file, it was another challenge because I’m a soldier and my knowledge of international trade at the time wasn’t very high,” said Leslie. “But none of the people who are there were appointed because of our expertise in trade. We were appointed because of our contacts within the current administration.”

As for the challenge of having to balance his role as a parliamentary secretary with that of being a local MP and all the expectations that come with it, Leslie said he’s been able to do both effectively thanks to his staff both on the Hill and in his constituency office.

“Serving in a local riding I’m able to attend most of the functions I’ve been invited to, especially on the weekends, so it’s worked out well,” said Leslie.

“I was trained by my riding association and they said job one is taking care of the riding, but you also have to bring things into the riding to improve their quality of life.”

The biggest highlight of Leslie’s first two years in office was being able to secure the federal portion of the funding for the city’s light rail project, including the extension from Place d’Orléans to Trim Road.

“I was able to work with both our provincial member of parliament, Marie- France Lalonde, and our city councillors to get everything in place, which is very exciting for the community,” said Leslie.

Looking ahead, Leslie is looking forward to the completion of Phase 1 of the LRT project and the beginning of Phase 2. He is also looking forward to successfully completing the talks on NAFTA.

“There’s a lot that still needs to be done on a number of fronts, and I plan to address them over the next two years,” said Leslie

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

   
   

 


Posted Jan. 12



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