Today marks 10 years that Ted Falk has served as the Member of Parliament for Provencher.
Falk was first elected on November 25, 2013, in a by-election, following the resignation of Vic Toews. He was re-elected in 2015, 2019 and 2021.
Falk says he is proud to represent a constituency that is known for being the most generous in all of Canada. He is referring to the data that comes out annually from Statistics Canada, showing the amount of money that is donated to charity each year by communities across the country.
"That makes me very proud to represent a region like that of hard-working, common sense, good, decent people," he adds.
Falk says highlights from the last decade would certainly be the time spent in the riding, participating in the various community events.
"We've just got a real diverse group of communities throughout the riding," says Falk. "To experience all their different cultural events and community festivals probably has been one of the highlights that I've really enjoyed the last 10 years."
He notes another highlight is being able to help people. Falk explains that they offer services through the constituency office for individuals struggling with federal government issues related to Canada Revenue Agency, Employment Insurance or citizenship.
"When you actually help somebody to achieve success in one of those areas or resolve an issue, certainly that's very satisfying," says Falk. "Both for the individual who has had the issue satisfied but for myself and my staff as well, it's rewarding.
Falk says it was an incredible experience for him to be appointed to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians; a committee he sat on for nearly two years. Falk says of all his responsibilities in Ottawa, that was one of the highlights, being exposed to the intelligence and security community in Canada.
"To be given such a really coveted position, it comes with very high-security clearance," he explains. "I really enjoyed my time there and saw firsthand the good work that our security and defence agencies do."
Falk says a number of bills stand out from the last decade. One of the bills is Bill C-308, which he jointly sponsored. He notes this bill was intended to combat human trafficking but did not pass through all the stages.
There was also the Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID) legislation that was introduced back in 2015. Falk says he served on the Justice Committee at the time, which put in over 110 amendments. Falk says to this day he still does not support MAID at any stage.
"I am very pro-life," he says. "In the case of MAID, I opposed that bill and over the years I have had several opportunities to try and make it better and to provide the protection that this current government has not provided for individuals."
Falk says he looks forward to the time when the Conservatives are in government when they can address the issue "from a much more common-sense perspective."
Falk says one of the biggest disappointments from the last decade was how the COVID-19 pandemic divided this country.
Falk admits that the role of a Member of Parliament is somewhat different from what he had expected 10 years ago. In fact, he says if 2023 Ted Falk could offer any advice to 2013 Ted Falk, it would be to be prepared for the time commitment and to be prepared that an MP can never make everybody happy 100 per cent of the time. Falk says he was not fully prepared for how polarizing the various opinions would be on different issues.
"You are going to have to have very strong conviction on issues and you are going to have to research them well because not everybody is going to agree with you all the time," adds Falk. "And be ready to take some criticism."
Falk says as an MP you need a thick skin, yet at the same time it is important not to lose your sense of sensitivity. He notes it is helpful if he tries to put himself into the shoes of his constituents, by trying to understand their situation and why it is that they are expressing themselves so aggressively.
With regard to the time commitment, Falk says being an MP is an all-consuming job. Falk says he leaves for Ottawa early Sunday afternoon and returns to Steinbach either late Thursday night or Friday.
"That doesn't leave a lot for family time," he says. "I wouldn't say it's a lowlight but it is certainly something that needs to be considered."
Meanwhile, Falk says he looks forward to when the Conservatives will be in power again. Of his 10 years as an MP, Falk has been in power for only two of those. He notes being in government requires a lot more discipline than being in opposition and Falk says he looks forward to the day when the Conservatives can correct a lot of things that have been damaged or broken by the current government.
Falk says he believes the role of an MP in opposition is to oppose bad government legislation.
"You have to kind of take a negative perspective on this stuff and you have to look for the deficiencies and the faults in the legislation," he adds.
Falk notes it is a lot more enjoyable to promote things and be optimistic, and he says he looks forward to being part of positive change in this country.
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