Where is our new MP?

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Added: Tue, 11/02/2021 - 6:32pm
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Fred Ryan
Éditorialiste Invité
Guest Editorialist

A month ago, the voters in this Pontiac riding elected a new federal member of parliament, Sophie Chatel, nominee of the Liberal Party. That election was nothing short of an act of faith - Ms Chatel was
completely unknown across this riding, her nomination uncontested - a genuine parachute candidate. She barely campaigned in person - a radio interview or two, a few formal, uninformative interviews, one or two barely-advertised public meetings, and, bingo, we gave Ms Chatel a seat in the federal government.
Fair enough, with COVID in its fourth wave, none of the candidates did the old fashioned door-to-door campaigning we had anticipated, which was our only opportunity to meet the candidates and ask her (or him) specific questions. Few of the candidates sent out information flyers or advertised their platforms in any of the local papers.
However, a few weeks later, the municipal election campaign has meant a stream of candidates knocking on our door and willing to answer questions and explain positions. They sent out info-flyers; they purchased info-ads in the local papers.  The federal candidates were unable to match the personal courage and commitment to the democratic process evinced by the folks running for municipal councils. Why?  
Fast-forward to today, many voters expected to see a sort of "victory tour" or local visits by the victor to not only thank, but reassure voters we've made a good choice.  As COVID declines, more public events open up, each one an opportunity for the candidate to meet her supporters and make real contact, something more than election posters with zero information.  
One major event was the Aylmer Legion's recent celebration of its 90th anniversary. The Adelyu Centre was full, attended by several municipal candidates, plus at least one MP, newly re-elected. But no Sophie Chatel. The Legion's organizer assured me Ms Chatel had been invited - but hadn’t even replied. Yet here were representatives of a big sector of the Pontiac's voting population: veterans and senior citizens.
None of this bodes well. We out in the real world remain as much in the dark as we were before the election in terms of who we just put in office to represent us. Ms Chatel's website has zero information. Surely, Ms Chatel - who has done interesting work with the OECD on multinational efforts to tax multination corporations - feels some loyalty to her riding and constituents who’ve given her this near-magical support, and surely she doesn’t feel loyalty only to the party brass who parachuted her into this nomination? Surely we are owed at least an opportunity to meet our new MP, and she herself needs to get to know the population she is to represent. She is representing us, the Pontiac, rather than the Liberal party brass, isn't she?
Let's see that in action.