I want to start by saying that it’s an honour to have been re-elected to serve once again as the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.
My promise to you is that I will continue to work hard on your behalf through our local constituency office and to stand-up for the priorities of Kelowna-Lake Country in Ottawa. I’m committed to ensuring that the priorities of our community are heard in Ottawa and that the government works to address our needs.
As I stated on election night, I want to take a moment to thank my family, all the volunteers and donors who supported me and also thank the other candidates and to their volunteers. I believe that it is important that our community comes together with compassion for each other following a divisive federal election.
My last column was in August, prior to the election, and there has certainly been a lot that’s happened since then.
Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau called a $600+ million snap election during the height of the Okanagan’s wildfire season, and we had enhanced health measures put in place in the Central Okanagan to respond to the rise in COVID-19 cases. At the same time, in Afghanistan, the Taliban forcibly took control of the country, with Afghan citizens who helped Canadians during the war, such as interpreters, seeking help to escape from the Taliban.
Even with all this, it was clear that the Liberals felt the time was right for them to call an election in an attempted power-grab.
Thankfully, Canadians did not fall for it and held them to a minority government once again.
It’s important to note that this election was the second time in less than two years that the Liberals shut down Parliament, with the first being when they prorogued Parliament in 2020. What doesn’t get enough attention when Parliament is shut down is that it causes all committees to cease to exist and stops all ongoing work in Parliament. This includes any legislation that could be at various stages of the process which have yet to be passed. Government departments function, but activity slows down and many initiatives and programs are put on hold until after the election.
I was sitting on the International Trade Committee which was undertaking critical studies on clean technology exports and getting Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries. Unfortunately, reports and recommendations that were going to be made to the government simply will not happen because the election was called.
Since the Sept. 20 election, many people have been reaching out to me to ask: “What happens now?”
Locally, being re-elected means I have our experienced team already in place and we can immediately get back to work in responding to constituent requests and we can get back to work immediately.
I’ve also already been making calls and attending meetings on important local issues, like the labour shortage and the need to re-open Kelowna International Airport to international flights.
In Ottawa, the prime minister will announce his cabinet soon and opposition parties will be announce their shadow ministers (critics) soon as well. The government will recall Parliament on a date of its choosing, which the prime minister has indicated will be before the end of fall.
Once Parliament is recalled, we will be back up and running as we were before the election was called.
I’ll be working hard in Ottawa to hold the government to account and put our priorities forward to the government. While in Kelowna-Lake Country, I will continue to meet with you and work on your requests and better understand your priorities for the upcoming Parliament.
I’m off to Ottawa next week and will have more updates in my next report.
As always, please be sure to reach out if you have any thoughts, ideas or concerns and if you need any assistance with federal services.