Watson gains new role on Parliament Hill



By Ron Giofu


WatsonEssex MP Jeff Watson has a new role on Parliament Hill.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last Thursday the appointment of 12 new parliamentary secretaries to assist ministers with their parliamentary duties, a move that will “continue with our government’s efforts to create jobs and promote economic growth.”

Watson has been appointed parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Transport. The current Minister of Transport is Lisa Raitt.

“I’m honoured because it is the Prime Minister who makes the appointments,” said Watson. “It will mean increased responsibilities for sure.”

The new role will include ensuring bills and legislation get through the transport committee, filling in for Raitt during question period when she is unavailable,  addressing questions during the adjournment proceedings (or “late show”) following question period, chairing the caucus advisory meetings that Conservative MP’s and senators sit on, and possibly heading up roundtable discussions across the country as well.

Watson calls it “an exciting, challenging and sobering” position with a ministry working on many important files and one that will require some late nights.

Files in that portfolio include air and rail safety and ports across the country, including the new Windsor-Detroit bridge and Ojibway Shores.

“You name it, we cover a broad range of files under transport. It’s very important,” he said. “These are weighty files.”

As ranking member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Watson said he has gained knowledge of many of the files and he hopes that will aid him in his new role as parliamentary secretary.

“I know the files in pretty good detail from my years of experience,” said Watson.

Watson said session resumes Oct. 16 but he plans to be in Ottawa in early October to get accustomed to his new role. He said he is greatly looking forward to working with Raitt, whom he calls “a hard working, ordinary person.”

“I’m going to get to work with a great minister,” said Watson. “Lisa Raitt has brains and heart. I’m really looking forward to working with her as a minister.”

“These new parliamentary secretaries will play an important role in helping our government deliver on its commitments to Canadian taxpayers” said Harper in a press release. “Our strengthened team is broad and experienced, and will provide strong, stable government in a time of continuing economic uncertainty.”

Harper also announced that 11 parliamentary secretaries have received new assignments.

“I look forward to working with the new and returning parliamentary secretaries as our government continues to focus on the economy, keeping our streets and communities safe, celebrating our history, and promoting Canada’s interests on the world stage,” added Harper.

Watson was first elected to Parliament in 2004. He was re-elected in 2006, 2008, and 2011. He, wife Sarah and their six children reside in Amherstburg.

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