In her first year, Conservative Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu has crossed party lines to improve the long-form census, develop the women’s parliamentary caucus and worked with the Trudeau Liberals to unmuzzle government scientists.
Her goal, it seems, is to get Ottawa to play nice.
“I think that if people listen to each other – even if you have divergent opinions – you can come to a better solution,” she said.
“But when people are heckling and when people are toxic in their comments, it’s not very helpful.”
Gladu’s pragmatism has been noticed. She was named Canada’s Most Collegial MP in MacLean’s Magazine’s Parliamentarians of the Year awards last week, an honour determined by a secret ballot taken among all elected MPs in the House of Commons.
The seven winners included the likes of Rona Ambrose, Tom Mulcair and Ed Broadbent, who won a lifetime achievement award.
Gladu said she is honoured her colleagues believe she brings professionalism and congeniality to the job.
“You have to have support on all sides of the house to win. And for a rookie to win, I really was pleased,” she said.
Gladu was an engineer and problem solver for nearly 35 years before winning the Sarnia-Lambton seat in 2015 by defeating the NDP’s Jason McMichael, Liberal Dave McPhail and the Green Party’s Peter Smith.
A month later she was appointed science critic in the shadow cabinet of Conservative Leader Ambrose.
“There’s two-thirds of the MPs that are new, and many of them have come from similar backgrounds in business where I think the respect for people and diversity pendulum has really swung,“ she said.
In addition to working with the opposition Gladu has dedicated significant time to her private member’s bill, which looks to establish a nationwide palliative care system.
It’s important for MPs to maintain a polite and positive attitude, she said.
“I work within my own caucus to continually remind them about their behaviour.”