Re-elected Devolin eyes speaker's chair 0
He's got none of the aggression of MPs John Baird or David McGuinty and local MP Barry Devolin hopes that pays off later this month.
The recently re-elected Conservative politician is eyeing the position of speaker of the House of Commons - a respected role that requires patience and decorum.
And while much is made of politicians who make public partisan outbursts, when it comes to choosing the referee for the often-raucous 315 in Ottawa, it is the quieter few who are top of the list.
"You have to be non-partisan. You have to be objective. You really can't have any temper because things are heated in the House on a pretty regular basis," Devolin said in an interview less than a week after winning the riding with 60 per cent of the vote. "For people that know me, I'm not really the partisan, attack dog. It's not my nature."
"There are lots of MPs who would never want this job," he said, noting one of them likened the speaker role to making it to the NHL and then agreeing to be the referee.
But Devolin doesn't see it that way.
The procedure and responsibility that comes with the job are intriguing to him and he knows a bit about the role from being assistant deputy-speaker in the last Parliament.
He got his first taste for facilitating, rather than debating, when he was asked to run the aboriginal affairs committee.
"I found really quickly how much I liked it. . I approached that in the same way. I said my job is to make sure that the process runs and that all members of the committee from all parties feel that they are treated fairly and have an opportunity to participate," he said.
Despite a feisty election campaign, complete with personal attacks and heavy partisan rhetoric from all directions, Devolin had no problem winning Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock May 2.
Up against the NDP's Lyn Edwards, Liberal Laura Redman and Green Susanne Lauten, the incumbent had a lot of criticism to answer to - something he was expecting and doesn't begrudge. "When you're the incumbent . people are running to replace you. Obviously the other candidates feel they could do the job better," he said.
"If you are a government party member - in my case . being both an incumbent locally and being part of the governing party - you become the lightning rod for criticism," he said.
One thing he had to answer to often was his decision with wife, Ursula, to move their two kids, Molly and George, to Ottawa last September. He was condemned by some for no longer representing the riding, since he didn't live here.
The kids miss Haliburton, Devolin said, but the decision allows the family to be together more often. The time he spent away from his children really hit him a while back when he was asked by someone what size of ski boots George wore.
He didn't know.
"It was one of those moments where you think, I'm supposed to know this. I'm his dad. I should know this," he said.
The Devolins bought a smaller place on Jim Beef Lake, where they stay during the summer and on holidays.
As for making laws, Devolin isn't sure exactly what it will be like in a majority government, since he has never been part of one. When he was first elected in 2004, Paul Martin's Liberals had a minority government. Since then, it has been a string of minority Conservative wins.
Likely on the table early on will be the elimination of the long-gun registry, something many hunters revile.
Devolin cautions that removing the registry doesn't mean removing gun control laws and all of the safety and precautionary procedures in place will still exist.
Last Monday's win for the MP also means he and his staff of five will get to continue constituency work - something that takes up more than half of their workload.
From the Lindsay office, four of Devolin's workers answer resident inquiries about government procedure, kind of like ombudsmen. There is also an outreach component, where the staff runs passport clinics and seniors seminars in the geographically far-flung communities.
They also liaise with municipal governments on mutual interests and Devolin runs the Capital Experience program, which takes high school students to Ottawa to learn more about government.
All of that will continue for the next four years - a relief to the staff and Devolin, who can now plan rather than speculate about the future.
Although there may still be some speculation when it comes to the first order of the new Parliament: choosing a speaker.