Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on September 7, 2011.
I am back in Ottawa this week and one of the last tasks that got looked after on my last visit here was getting the fax machine up and running. As you can see it is now not only running, but literally running away with fax- literally hundreds of them. Amazingly when you sort through the pile of them and eliminate the fax equivalent of “spam” there were only three faxes in this mass of paper that were not placed in the recycling bin.
Next summer break I will most likely unplug the fax machine at my Ottawa office.
Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on August 5, 2011.
I am getting a fair bit of feedback from upset motorists who are unhappy with current gas prices. As much as we often like to blame gas companies we also have to remember that both the Provincial and Federal Government also take a fair share of tax revenue from gasoline.
Not only are these monies reinvested back into our transportation network, they can also positively affect our economy, increase safety or in some cases, add to local amenities.
A recent example of this is an $8 million dollar investment to create the first four lane passing section on Highway 97 between Osoyoos and Oliver. Gas tax revenues are also distributed back into local communities to fund other worthwhile projects. Another such example, is in the unincorporated community of Okanagan Falls where gas tax funds helped to create a waterfront park and beach area with handicap accessible walking paths.
In this most recent four lane highway opening I was happy to attend with Boundary Similkameen MLA John Slater. This project also provides a secondary road that helps promote the local fruit-growing industry and increases public safety by keeping tractors off the highways as well.
Another added bonus is a great hiking and cycling path that offers a terrific view of a Ducks Unlimited natural area. It is a positive project for the area that also helps to support the local economy.
To be clear, I am not for a moment defending current high gas prices. In fact former Industry Minister Tony Clements has invited stakeholders from the oil and gas companies to appear in Ottawa to explain gas pricing practices to Canadians. While this event has yet to occur I do plan on sharing this information once available directly here on my blog. That said, I do believe it is important to recognize that fuel prices are in part inflated as they contain government taxes that are used to help fund infrastructure and with the introduction of gas tax revenue sharing with local government, important projects within our communities.
For the Penticton Western News story on the new passing lanes, click here.
Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 27, 2011.
Today I had the honour of attending the Kin Canada Portraits of Honour tribute to honour the one hundred and fifty seven brave men and women who have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan. Listening to the artist Dave Sopha, the project began for Mr. Sopha out of concern for his nephew who was serving in Afghanistan. With the announcement of each death, often on the late night news, Mr. Sopha would hold out hope that it would not be the son of his brother whom he would see on a daily newspaper the next day. However the sense of relief would be short lived with the growing realization that each loss would be deeply felt by another family. As an artist and a Kinsman Dave Sopha decided to take action and dedicated this work to honour those fallen soldiers and the family left behind.
One of those fallen soldiers was Captain Jonathan Snyder of Penticton. I did not know Capt. Snyder personally, though he was only five years younger then I at the time of his passing. However his father, Mr. David Snyder, was one of my favourite teachers in high school at Penticton Secondary. Mr. Snyder left a strong impression with me as a teacher who cared and wanted to make a difference to all of his students much as he had with me. Today was my first day meeting with Mr. Snyder as a Member of Parliament. Only today, Mr. Snyder was no longer my high school English teacher but rather a grieving parent understandably mourning the loss of his son and trying to find meaning in his heartbreak.
There are no words that can describe the magnitude of loss for the Snyder family. As to the meaning of the loss I believe that will be left for the test of time to decipher. As a Member of Parliament I have had a chance to meet with those who have served and hear more directly about the work that we as a country have done in Afghanistan. This work may not be in the headlines, nor may it be as noted and as appreciated for the significance of what it will achieve. The sacrifice of those one hundred and fifty seven families is one that we can all honour for the fact that the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters lost were willing to serve for the betterment of others. God Bless.
Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 24, 2011.
Late last week, Minister Oda visited the Dadaab refugee camps in East Africa and announced that our Government will increase its financial support to East Africa by an additional $50M and establish the East Africa Drought Relief Fund to help the victims of the severe drought now affecting approximately 11 million people in East Africa. This is in addition to the $22.35 million provided by CIDA earlier this year for humanitarian assistance in the region.
As well, our Government has created a matching fund program for East Africa. For every dollar an individual Canadian donates over a 10-week period (retroactive to July 6, 2011, and ending September 16, 2011) to a registered Canadian charity responding to the drought in East Africa, the Government will contribute an equivalent amount to the East Africa Drought Relief Fund.
Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 19, 2011.
I came across an interesting website last night called 'We are in Canada'. It was a personal blog for a family that has come to Canada from Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a small country in South Asia and is bordered by India and Burma. The blog is fascinating as it chronicles their arrival in Vancouver and their initial thoughts and impressions- they enjoy the green plants and trees, as well as the many walk able parks.
They also drove through Highway 97C (a road that I am becoming very familiar with) on the way to explore Penticton and Kelowna. While there is very little written about the Okanagan (besides the road), they certainly have found many differences that exist between Canada and Bangladesh.
One such difference is the highly intense political atmosphere; the author pointed out this with this post and a link to a YouTube video, showing a local Bangladeshi elected official being accosted by police. As I watched the video, it certainly became very clear that although we have many challenges as a Country, we certainly have a lot to be grateful for: a large and diverse country, lush and welcoming, roads that allow exploration of this great country and a respect for the rule of law.
I wish I could have met and welcomed this family and introduced them to the riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla. I am glad that they have chosen to document their travels on their blog; I plan to check in from time to time and see what new experiences they are having. By posting their first impressions of Canada, it helps us to see our country through new eyes, and see the many blessings we are so fortunate to have.
Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 19, 2011.
Click here for a great article by Wayne Moore of Castanet on the new, far more durable and secure $100 bill.
To see the accompanying Castanet news story, please click the picture below:
Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 13, 2011.
As a general rule, I try not to bombard people with daily releases; however the ecoENERGY program has been so popular it is expected to fill up very quickly. If you or someone you know has considered participating in this program, I strongly encourage you to do so promptly.
Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 12, 2011.
I think it says a lot about a community when you have sixteen volunteers willing to take several hours out of their busy day in order to meet and collectively work on a project that will be of benefit to their community.
That is exactly the reality yesterday in Peachland, where I was happy to meet with his worship Mayor Keith Fielding, other community leaders and volunteers that represented a variety of different Peachland user groups. I would also like to thank the Peachland Chamber of Commerce for arranging and hosting this productive meeting.
Peachland has a bat problem, only it is not the type of bat problem that you might think it is. As I learned yesterday, we, as a society do not have much knowledge about bats. However they are actually a very fascinating subject and it just so happens that Peachland has a 103 year old school-house with an attic that is full of them. In fact, it may well be one of the largest Yuma bat colonies in the entire Province!
Peachland has been trying to save and restore this heritage school-house when the bat colony was first discovered in the attic. What at first posed a problem has since become part of the solution. The opportunity to provide a living bat colony for educational purposes is an important and rare one. At the same time, the need for Peachland to accommodate important community services such as the Boys and Girls Club (as one example) is also much-needed. Fortunately with all of the user groups working together including many volunteers, a shared vision has emerged that I believe is a very innovative one.
Like most things, money is required to make this project a reality but it must be noted that many materials and labour has already been graciously donated and other funds and sponsors identified.
At this point it is unclear what future grant opportunities will be available to help the community of Peachland but this a great project and one I will be going to bat for on Peachland’s behalf. I will also like to thank Wayne Power, a local Peachland artist who was kind enough to present me with a beautiful sketch of the Peachland School House that will soon adorn my office walls in Ottawa and help resolve my BWS (Bare Wall Syndrome) problems!
In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about the bats of Peachland, stay tuned to www.peachlandbats.ca as the site will soon be live!
Thank you again to all who attended for their thoughts, questions and input. I certainly learned a lot!
This post was originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 12, 2011.
Many believe that Provincially and Federally elected officials only work when their respective Houses are sitting and when not, little work is done. I have since discovered that is far from the case.
My lack of updates to this blog, along and my wife and family currently vacationing without me due to my duties and commitments as your Member of Parliament are reasons why. In addition to my constituency work, over the past ten days I have attended roughly twelve different meetings or events in Penticton, Summerland,West Kelowna and Peachland.
I have enjoyed these meetings greatly and believe it is very important to get up to speed on local concerns and issues.
Published originally on the DaninOttawa.com site on July 1, 2011.
Thank You! This is undeniably the warmest welcome that I have yet had as an MP, or for that matter ever as an elected official. My sincere thanks and appreciation to the kind citizens of West Kelowna for this much appreciated gesture.
Special thanks also to Walter and Connie Rendall for giving my family and I a first class experience in the Canada Day Parade in Peachland.Everyone had a great time, taking in the enthusiatic crowds and beautiful waterfront- a real Canada Day treat!
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
For more information about Dan Albas, click here.