In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Here is a week in the life of a Senator, me

Posted 4/24/2009 by Senator Grant Mitchell

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Monday, got on the plane at 8:00 AM in Edmonton and arrived in Ottawa in at 2:00 PM.

Was going to have a French lesson but it had to be cancelled because a special meeting on defence policy had been called for 2:30.

Attended the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence from 4:00 until 7:00. This meeting discussed the work plan for the next several months for the committee's activities. It was supported by everyone. We will be studying border issues, the state of the RCMP, and several military bases. This is a great committee to work on.

It is perhaps the most active with a very focused, aggressive and capable chair, Senator Colin Kenny. It is also a committee that does not get much legislation to review and so it can undertake more studies which have been widely recognized for their quality and impact.

After having decided upon the plan, the meeting got stymied over the budget. The Conservatives argued that the meeting had to end at 7:00 while we Liberals wanted to stay and work. They left and, within the rules, we could have passed the budget in the Conservatives' absence. But we felt that would be inappropriate. The problem is that we cannot get to work on issues and studies until we get a budget.

After the committee meeting I went back to my office to do some more work.

Got home at 10:30.

Tuesday:

Started at 8:00 with a breakfast meeting with the representatives of an energy association.

Finance committee started at 9:30. We are reviewing certain parts of what was the budget bill - C10. We had witnesses from the Export Development Canada, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association, and the Department of Finance. They present and we ask questions.

Then onto the Liberal Senate caucus meeting. I had to leave early to prepare a question for Question Period. I asked about how much the government has spent on US media consultants for Mr. Harper.

During the Senate sitting, I asked the question I prepared earlier and continued to monitor the debate. I also bring some work with me to the Chamber so I can get as much done as possible.

 5:00 - Standing Committee on Environment and Energy meeting. We reviewed and edited a twenty-five page report on our Northern trip. I was in charge of getting it written and was very happy that it met with committee approval.

7:00 - Liberal Senate Caucus Christmas party. Yes, Christmas! We have all had so much to do that it has taken us this long to work out a time that worked.

10:00 - Conference call back to Alberta.

10:30 - Home.

Wednesday:

8:00 - 12:00 - Alberta caucus meeting, then Northern and Western caucus, then National caucus. Michael Ignatieff was outstanding.

12:00 - Back to the office (in East Block) to prepare a question. For Earth Day, I asked about what the Government is doing to prepare Canada to participate in a US led cap and trade system.

1:30 – Senate sitting.

More calls.

3:30 - Budget meeting with Internal Economy Steering Committee.

4:00 - Impromptu meeting with a member of the Defence committee, Conservative side. Worked some things out. Good meeting. Because of this I missed a Liberal caucus environmental committee meeting.

6:00 - Finance Committee again. Forestry Association of Canada. Really effective presenters.

8:00 - Walked to one of my favorite restaurants - East Indian - ate alone with the Globe and Mail. Home at 10:00. Watched the news.

Thursday:

7:00 - Breakfast at La Presse cafe - great coffee and food - had my favourite muffin.

8:00 - Environment Committee. Heard from Department of Transportation officials on the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

10:00 - Met with one of the Senate Pages about his term paper on political engagement.

11:00 - Worked on some of my Senate work, including developing an inquiry about bottled water.

1:30 - Senate sitting. Tried to blog, listened to debates and made calls outside Chamber.

5:00 - Back to the office. Clean desk.

Walk home to get my bag and get to the airport. Fly to Edmonton at 8:00, arriving at 10:00 Edmonton time.

Today, Friday: All day with Justin Trudeau, MP, meeting groups, students, senior business people, and a big gathering of Liberals.

Good week.

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