A lot happened this week at the federal level, and I’m going to my best to give you an overview of what I’ve been up to in response to recent events across Canada.
I want to begin by thanking the thousands of constituents who were in touch with my office this past week about our Conservative motion calling for the government to lay out a plan for lifting federal mandates and safely re-opening our country.
With more than 90% of Canadians vaccinated, we now have a higher vaccination rate than many countries that have begun safely lifting restrictions, like Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Israel and Finland.
We’ve also seen provincial health officials across Canada beginning to lift restrictions, and even Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam has stated Canada needs to re-examine our restrictions.
Canadians have done our part, and now it’s time for the government to set out a roadmap to normalcy and hope. We deserve to know what their plan is to bring us back to normal.
I was proud to join my Conservative colleagues in moving a motion to have the federal government provide a roadmap for re-opening and the lifting of restrictions. However, I was disappointed that outside of one lone Liberal dissenter, the NDP and Liberal MPs voted our motion down.
They didn’t believe Canadians deserved to know when the government intends to lift restrictions and what metrics the government is using to justify re-opening, closures and mandates.
I know many Canadians are justifiably tired and with no plan to lift restrictions, many are losing hope. Parliamentary debate, connecting with your elected officials, having your representatives bring your voice to the table and peaceful protest are the correct forums for that frustration. Blockading critical infrastructure is unlawful and never the right way to express frustration.
The Conservative Party is the party of law and order. We want a peaceful end to all protests. I’m happy to report that many of the border crossings that were blocked have now been peacefully re-opened due to diligent work by law enforcement.
Even with this, the prime minister took the extraordinary action of invoking the Emergencies Act. In its current version (since 1988), this is the first time it has been used. There are four types of emergencies in the Act—public welfare emergency, public order emergency, international emergency, and war emergency.
The government cited the public order emergency. Upon analysis, many experts, provincial governments, my Conservative colleagues and I do not believe the threshold has been reached under the Act as a national emergency and most of the authority mentioned already exists within (existing) laws and with law enforcement agencies.
The measures are effective the date issued but must receive confirmation in the House of Commons, where there are unique parliamentary procedures that can occur. The Conservatives will debate against this through the weekend, me included.
If the majority of MPs vote against the government’s motion, it will be immediately defeated and the emergency powers revoked.
Another activity in Ottawa was debate on the opioid crisis, in which I participated as well. Opioid and fentanyl deaths are outpacing COVID-19 deaths. B.C.’s chief coroner says we are sadly losing six British Columbians a day to fatal overdoses, and we’ve seen many heartbreakingly lose loved ones in Kelowna-Lake Country.
Since my first speech in Parliament, I’ve asked the federal government to offer actionable items to address this. Kelowna has gone from counting drug deaths in single digits just 10 years ago to now having many then a dozen a year.
Inadequate access and poor funding for drug-treatment beds, community recovery centres and wraparound services are significant factors.
My heart also goes out to the heroes serving to save lives on the front lines of this, the first responders, health care professionals, charity workers and volunteers.
I know many of your efforts are still underfunded or reliant on donations and I will continue to press on this (issue) in Ottawa.
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