It’s been a busy and emotional series of firsts for Marilyn Gladu.
Sarnia-Lambton’s new Member of Parliament walked into the House of Commons for the first time, was part of her first vote in the House and asked her first question recently.
Gladu joined the other new MPs for training in the House of Commons first. “I was fine at that point in time,” she says.
But then, she walked into the House of Commons for the first session – electing a new speaker – and found herself becoming emotional. “All the pomp and ceremony – you get a real sense that you are part of history. It is very emotional.”
Later, Gladu joined the members of the House and Senate for the Liberal government’s first speech from the throne, which she says was “tremendous.” She, along with the rest of the 337 MPs crammed into a foyer and watched the Governor General’s speech from a monitor, since the Senate Chamber can’t hold all the members. “It’s all new to me, so it is exciting and it’s all part of history.”
After the pomp and ceremony, the MPs got down to business and Gladu had a chance to introduce herself as the first female MP who is an engineer. The moment was particularly poignant since the House began sitting just one day after the 26th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre where 14 female engineering students – people Gladu calls her “sister engineers” were gunned down because they were women.
Gladu was also one of the first MPs to ask the new government a question during Question Period. Gladu – who is the Science Critic for the Conservatives, questioned the Liberals commitment to agriculture, mining and forestry and the science around it, considering there was very little information about it in the throne speech.
And while the tone of the new government may be different, Gladu says some things haven’t changed much in the House.
“Question period has not yet become question and answer period,” she says.
And amid all the firsts, Gladu says she’s had some time to do a little arm twisting for her riding, speaking to ministers about everything from money for the oversized load corridor project to Syrian refugees.
“It’s been very exciting and new and interesting.”