One of the highlights of new Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Dan Ruimy’s first week in Ottawa was signing the Test Roll on Wednesday.
Since confederation in 1867, MPs have been obligated to take an oath of allegiance to the sovereign, and sign the Test Roll – a book with pages headed by the text of the oath.
It is a pledge to conduct himself or herself in the best interests of Canada.
“It was surreal – you’re in the House of Commons and you’ve got the pen and the book, and all the history behind it,” said Ruimy. “You think about all the people who were there before you.”
His week in Ottawa included being in Parliament as the new cabinet selected by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sworn in.
The gender balance, with 15 men and 15 women, was a first in Canadian history.
It made headlines around the world, and Ruimy said it is simply “the right thing to do.”
The cabinet is also ethnically diverse, and features three British Columbians in Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South), Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould (Vancouver Granville) and Sports Minister Carla Qualtrough (Delta).
“How can you not be proud of that cabinet – it’s a Canadian cabinet,” he said. “Everybody on cabinet deserves to be there, and I think it was well thought out.”
Each member of the government will also receive a committee appointment as part of their role as a parliamentarian, but Ruimy has yet to receive his.
The Liberal caucus got together for the first time, and heard congratulations from Trudeau.
“There’s 184 of us all in a small room, and we’re meeting people from the party from all over Canada,” said Ruimy. “It was the first time Trudeau addressed his cabinet.
“It was an electric moment.”
Ruimy said the PM talked about the initiatives that will be coming up, and about the MPs’ responsibilities to their constituencies.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Thursday brought an orientation for new MPs with some veteran party members, with advice about how to manager their affairs.
“It’s a whole different lifestyle,” said Ruimy.
He will split his time between office in Ottawa and one in the constituency, which he has yet to set up.
Parliament will be recalled on Dec. 3.
“We’re all eager to get started.”