Carmichael adapting to Ottawa

New Don Valley West MP says he's spending his first few weeks getting used to the capital

It was a busy few weeks in May for newly elected Don Valley West MP John Carmichael.

After beating incumbent Liberal MP Rob Oliphant by just 639 votes on May 2, Carmichael says he’s been working hard to make the adjustment to Ottawa life since winning a very close battle.

“I’ve been in Ottawa every week since (the election) for at least a couple of days for orientation sessions, getting sorted out on staffing requirements both there and here,” he said over the phone during a meeting on May 24.

Though Carmichael is busy bouncing back and forth, the realization he is a new MP hasn’t completely sunken in yet. “It takes a little time, but it’s starting to (sink in),” he said. “Ottawa certainly makes sure that you settle in quickly because there’s lots of information coming our way quickly.”

With such a steep learning curve Carmichael said he wasn’t disappointed about not being appointed to Harper’s cabinet.

“I think as a new member there’s certainly a learning curve that’s pretty steep for those of us just being elected,” Carmichael said. “So I’d been told early on that it takes a little time to get your feet on the ground and get adjusted to life in Ottawa and the job at hand, so I very clearly had my focus on doing just that.”

He did say that the one Toronto MP named to cabinet, Eglinton-Lawrence rep and Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, could count on him for support any time he needed it.

“I couldn’t be happier for him,” Carmichael said. “I’m there to help him and support him, and as another member of Toronto he’s going to have a solid voice as well.”

As for the next four years, Carmichael said he knew before election day what his plan was if he were elected as the representative for Don Valley West.

“I want to make a contribution,” he said. “I’m looking forward to participating at the committee level to bring some of my experience there, and I hope that I’ll be able to contribute in a meaningful way in whatever area the government needs the assistance.”

Extending his gratitude to those who supported him, Carmichael said he also has a message for the entire riding — supporters or not.

“I represent all of the people of Don Valley West,” he said. “I look forward to being a representative that any of the constituents of this riding feel very comfortable in calling on whenever the need occurs.”

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Jun 3 2011 1:22 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto