With the House of Commons in Ottawa now in our spring session until the end of June, it was wonderful to spend as much time as possible during the recent constituency weeks at home, meeting with many residents one-on-one, attending activities and events and being out volunteering.
I wanted use this column to give a rundown of some of my activities in the community where I connect with people, which helps me advocate in Ottawa and to know what is important to constituents.
April marks some important religious dates celebrated in our community, including Easter, Passover, Vaisakhi and Ramadan, with many residents opening their hearts, wallets. It is also a time to help the less fortunate.
I was proud to lend a helping hand serving meals alongside many hard-working volunteers at the Kelowna Gospel Mission's Easter dinner and at the Mission Hall Easter pancake breakfast event. I was also happy to rally volunteers and help again at the annual Rutland community clean-up to keep neighbourhoods and parks clean.
Local not-for-profits serve on the front lines helping people and it’s important to me to connect with them. Organizations like Jewels of Hope are vital in helping vulnerable women. Groups like the Food for Thought Program, Central Okanagan Food Bank and Lake Country Food Bank feed an ever-increasing number of struggling families.
The KGH Foundation and the newly opened Vision Loss Rehabilitation Centre are working hard to ensure that those needing specialized medical care or services can receive them here at home.
With local businesses continuing to struggle with inflation and interest rate hikes. Connecting with entrepreneurs at events put on by the Uptown Rutland Business Association and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce are vital for me to hear what issues are important to their members. I also sat down with the owners of a local brew pub and a local craft distillery to hear how the government's newest excise tax hikes will affect them, as well as other business challenges they have.
Similarly, it was great to see so many of our talented local artisans, growers and small business owners at the Kelowna Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market season opening, as well as at The Woman's Fair.
It was a privilege to be a guest speaker at the Lake Country Rotary Club and at a UBCO political science (event) as these are always great chances for me to give an update on my work and answer questions.
I also had the opportunity to connect with many childcare providers to discuss the effects of federal childcare legislation.
It was also wonderful to connect with some of our many cultural communities. There was a Ukrainian Easter Bazaar, Hindu events, the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club’s 57th anniversary and several Sikh community activities, including celebrating Vaisakhi. I also attended a lecture with Mehrsa Maali to hear about the challenges currently facing Iranian women in Iran.
Finally, one of the great honours I have in serving as your MP is recognizing residents for their acts of accomplishment, inspiration and service by presenting a parliamentary certificate and community service medallion.
During the last month, I've had the privilege to acknowledge locals Liz Borrett, the first woman of her age group to complete six major world marathons and consistently win in her age category, Marshall Orton, a local hero who helped save someone who had a diabetic emergency and Brad Hartridge, a RCMP officer who helped stranded children in Kelowna on Christmas eve.
I will be home as much as possible on weekends, so maybe I’ll see you out in the community.
Do not hesitate to reach out if you need assistance with federal programs or would like to let me know your thoughts, issues or ideas.