I was once told that it is important to recognize that each day globally there is roughly 100,000 scheduled flights that will take off and land without drawing any media attention. It is those flights that do not successfully take off and land that will become the focus of media stories and often speculation very quickly. The context of this analogy was that in public office it is often the scandals and failures that tend to receive far more media attention then projects or policy that work effectively as intended. I mention this as this week it was particularly rewarding to participate in a media event profiling some of the more positive local initiates for public engagement.
CPAC, who many often believe is the taxpayer funded Canadian Parliamentary Access Channel, is actually a privately owned Canadian Public Access Channel that is owned and funded by Canada’s private broadcasters. CPAC was in our riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola earlier this week to profile among other events the Summerland pilot project that involves my shared constituency office with local area MLA Dan Ashton. Aside from considerable cost savings this shared office also better serves local residents who are often unaware of what services are Provincial or Federal and as such are not bounced between two different offices that may be located in different communities. As much as it makes sense to share an office between an MLA and an MP this pilot project is to date the only identified shared office of this kind in Canada hence the interest from CPAC in profiling this unique arrangement. Hopefully this shared office will catch on in other regions and the added exposure of our beautiful region on CPAC will also draw a few new visitors to experience our riding.
On the theme of shared offices I would also like to publicly thank the Mayor and Council in Princeton, Merritt and Keremeos for also making space available so that local citizens in these respective communities can have access to their Member of Parliament on a monthly basis to assist in matters of concern. Operating budgets do not allow for an MP or an MLA to open an office in every community in a geographically large riding however when different levels of government work together to find efficiencies services can become available on a more economical basis. Citizens deserve to be heard and the ability to meet face to face with elected representatives is critically important.
Before I close this week’s report I would like to thank the many citizens who have taken the time to stop in and attend the mobile constituency offices as well as my regular office to provide input and ask questions. This information is very valuable to take back to Ottawa in late September when the house resumes. Just a reminder that the mobile constituency office schedule is as follows - Merritt City Hall on the 1st Tuesday of each month from 9am to 12pm, Princeton Town Hall on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 9am to 12pm and Keremeos Village Hall on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 1pm to 4pm. To schedule an appointment or share your comments or concerns with me I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament elect for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.