I am impressed by the quality of the candidates for the NDP nomination in Victoria. Charlie Beresford, Ben Isitt, Elizabeth Cull and Murray Rankin should all be commended for their desire to serve in elected office at the federal level.
Here are a couple of quick thoughts about Murray Rankin and how he would fit into the NDP caucus.
Murray speaks French, he supported Mulcair during the federal leadership campaign and he’s worked in Ottawa before. He is a recognized legal expert in privacy, information and environmental law. He is the kind of person who could chair or vice-chair any number of committees in the House of Commons, including committees like Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, or Justice and Human Rights.
The latter is particularly important, in my view. Many people have different views about crime and punishment. These are subjects of great public importance and they will always be debated in our society. There are many opportunities for justice reform.
The Enbridge pipeline is the issue of the day. Murray has considerable experience in environmental law and he currently leads Adrian Dix’s legal team. But it’s important to look into the future, past Enbridge. One has to consider the strengths a person would bring to the federal NDP caucus and also how they would work to improve the nation.
I look at Murray Rankin and I see someone who could make a real, enduring contribution to Canada as a Member of Parliament.
Does age matter?
The average age of a Member of Parliament is 51 years old. In British Columbia, our oldest MP is Hedy Fry who is 71 years old. Our youngest is Mark Strahl at 34. He basically inherited the seat from his father, so if you look at the next youngest it would be Dan Albas at 35.
There is no need to choose a young MP for the sake of choosing a young MP. The NDP is flush with young MP’s as a result of the orange crush in Quebec. The party has fifteen MP’s under the age of thirty. By comparison the Liberals and the Conservatives have no one under thirty.
People live and work longer these days, and Victoria is a mature political riding. It lies in the heart of our provincial capital. Its residents should send someone to Ottawa who is full of wisdom, the kind that comes with five or six decades of a full life. This is what I liked so much about Denise Savoie and it’s what I like about Murray Rankin.
Consider the words of Colin Gabelmann, former Attorney General of British Columbia. On June 18th, 1992, he introduced the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for its second reading:
“As a result of the tremendous amount of input we received, I asked Professor Murray Rankin to examine all of the material and make recommendations to me as to how we could improve the legislation. Professor Rankin, as members know, is one of Canada’s leading experts on this kind of legislation and has the added advantage of being neither a politician, a bureaucrat nor part of any special interest group. Accordingly, I knew that he could assess the various proposals from an independent perspective. Yesterday I received Professor Rankin’s report, in which he took the many suggestions received and fashioned them into 50 recommended amendments to the legislation. I have accepted all of Professor Rankin’s recommendations and in committee stage will introduce the 50 proposed amendments. The amendments will not change the intent or direction of the bill, which I will speak to today. They will, I believe, clarify and thus strengthen the rights set out in the bill and will fine-tune the balance between privacy and freedom of information.”
Gabelmann added this:
“I want to say thanks to a number of people, particularly public servants in the Ministry of Government Services, who were, in effect, seconded to me to help develop this legislation. They have done outstanding work. The member for Burnaby North has identified them, and I want to add my words of thanks as well; in addition, of course, to Dr. Murray Rankin, who as always has been energetic, forceful, inspired and, in fact, brilliant. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him in this process to date, a process which is not yet complete.”
I’ve been meaning to write about Murray Rankin for some time. He is a candidate for the NDP nomination in Victoria, along with Ben Isitt, Charlie Beresford and Elizabeth Cull. I feel tepid commenting, because I don’t live in the riding, yet I’m so impressed with his candidacy.
His work on privacy and freedom of information legislation has changed this country for the better. These topics have always been important to me. FOI is one few tools Joe and Jane Citizen can use to encourage all levels of government to become more transparent and accountable. I look around and I see so many public interest stories in the media as a result of FOI access requests.
There is not a lot of money in this kind of work so it’s clear that Murray did it for the right reasons. His heart is in the right place.