Member of Parliament for Portage Lisgar Branden Leslie was sworn-in at the House of Commons Monday morning and entered into his first day on the job on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. He says he was surrounded by many family members and friends who helped in his campaign.
"Obviously, an overwhelming and fairly emotional experience to have the weight of understanding the responsibilities that I've taken on, becoming a Member of Parliament and to be surrounded by so many family members and friends that helped in the campaign," says Leslie. "It was really quite the experience and it was a great first start to the first day of Parliament here in Ottawa; to be sworn in at 9:00 a.m. and be able to take my place in the House of Commons just a few hours later. So, it's a burden of responsibility, and one I am excited to take on and grab the bull by the horns and go to fight for Portage-Lisgar."
He explains he was fortunate to be given a question to present in the question period on his first day.
"So, obviously, there were a few nerves standing up in the House of Commons for the first time, and asking a question regarding carbon taxes to the Liberal government," continues Leslie. "Of course, I didn't get the answer that I would hope for. That's the one I, perhaps, expected."
Before that, I was actually walked in with Pierre Poilievre, our Conservative leader, and our Manitoba caucus chair, Larry McGuire, the MP for Brandon-Souris, a man I've known for a number of years."
Member of Parliament for Portage-Lisgar, Branden Leslie is welcomed to the House of Commons! pic.twitter.com/AyGGTKX3rK— PortageOnline (@PortageOnline_) September 19, 2023
He explains it's unique to win a by-election. Leslie says there were five Members of Parliament from across the country that were walked in by either the Prime Minister, or Pierre Poilievre for the Conservative Members.
"It was a very interesting experience to see a lot of people standing and clapping for you and then to get right down to work soon after that. So, it was a heck of a first hour in the House of Commons."
Leslie notes he made an effort to ask as many decision-makers as he could to see if there was an opportunity to speak on that first day, having so many friends and family there with him.
"I was fortunate," notes Leslie. "In the case of by-elections, it tends to be more likely that the three Conservative MPs that were all new, were given the opportunity to ask a question. So, it's to get the monkey off the back a little bit; get a little bit of confidence and comfort level within the House of Commons on that first day. I actually had my first Committee on Tuesday. I've become a Member of the Environment Committee. So, I think, hopefully, I'm going to bring an agricultural lens, a rural lens, and a common sense lens to what is often an environmental policy that is feel-good, and is not really in the best interest of Canadians, and is more focused on taxation than actually improving environmental indicators."
Leslie adds it was a fairly enjoyable first meeting to step right into the task at hand and discuss an upcoming study that the committee will be undertaking. He says he also gave an SO31 -- a Member Statement -- before the question period in the House of Commons.
"I took the opportunity to thank the residents of Portage-Lisgar for placing their trust in me. And, of course, try to request that the government cancel their carbon tax plan so that we could have lower home heating and food prices for Canadians, but I'm not going to hold my breath until we can take power and end the carbon tax once and for all."
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