One of the buzz words emanating out of Ottawa this week is some talk of a national unity crisis. This discussion comes after Montreal Mayor Dennis Coderre announced strong opposition to the proposed Energy East pipeline project that is supported by the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick. The opposition from the Mayor of Montreal was particularly not well received within the Province of Alberta, who has for decades diligently paid into the Canadian equalization program that annually pays out billions of dollars to Quebec and none to Alberta, or for that matter currently British Columbia or Saskatchewan. Even well-known CBC comedian Rick Mercer entered into the debate focusing a rant segment entirely in support of the Energy East project while lambasting the stance from Montreal Mayor Coderre.
As a result the subject of pipelines has featured prominently in Ottawa this week including on Wednesday when the Liberal Government will announce a new pipeline review process and then Thursday the Official Opposition Conservatives will table a motion calling on the Liberal Government to express support for the Energy East project along with a number of other conditions. At the time of my writing this week’s MP report it is unknown what the new pipeline review process will be or what the outcome of the motion on Thursday is.
Also occurring this week is debate on the response to the Throne Speech, a debate that I was honoured to participate in. One of my reasons for speaking in response to the throne speech was to raise the importance of resource industries in rural communities. Here in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola there are multiple lumber mills and a number of mines that are large scale employers on a regional basis. I also raised the subject of civic infrastructure as well as the importance of a new softwood lumber agreement to our British Columbia economy including the need to focus on inter Provincial trade.
Before I close this week’s report I would like to invite citizens to hold me to account at a public forum I will be hosting in West Kelowna on Saturday, January 30th at 6pm. Location is at the Westbank Lions Community Centre. There is no admission to attend or advance registration required. For those who cannot attend this forum I will be hosting more in other communities and as always I welcome your calls and emails. I can be reached via email at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or by phone at 1-800-65-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.