As much as it is often suggested that we are increasingly living in an era of information, the amount of misinformation that circulates on a daily basis continues to surprise me. Recently I have received a large amount of comments and largely negative feedback from many taxpayers who have viewed pictures of what is wrongly described as a new Canadian jail. Perhaps you have also come across these same pictures in an email that suggests your tax dollars are being misused in the construction of such an extravagant new jailhouse.The reality is that these pictures are not of a Canadian jail, but rather an Austrian detention center. Given that the opposition had suggested getting tougher on crime and ending the revolving doors of justice would result in billions of spending on the construction of new prisons it is understandable that some taxpayers would believe this type of facility was actually located in Canada instead of Austria.
What the true facts have demonstrated is that when you keep criminals in jail where they cannot re-offend you do not end up with more criminals but rather a reduction in recidivism. There are also costs to taxpayers and victims alike of the “catch and release” system that allows habitual career criminals back out on the streets where they can continue to victimize law abiding Canadians. Tougher sentences that keep career criminals in jail where they belong also has resulted in the Correctional Service of Canada returning $1.48 Billion back to Canadian taxpayers courtesy of reduced spending. For the record there are currently no Federal Prisons under construction in Canada today.
Another myth I would like to comment on came from a recent letter to the editor from an Olalla resident who suggested that a Member of Parliament is only actually working when the House of Commons is operating in Ottawa. It has been roughly one month this week since the House of Commons adjourned for the summer break. During the past four weeks I have attended or participated in close to sixty different events and logged several thousands of kilometres driving around Okanagan-Coquihalla meeting with local government leaders, employers, taxpayers and various interest groups. This is part of my summer listening tour and does not include responding to emails or phone calls which I also enjoy doing on a daily basis. I view this time over the summer months as being critically important to hearing from the citizens of Okanagan-Coquihalla firsthand and I look forward to the next four weeks and visiting those communities and other events that I have yet to attend.
When I ran for election I made a commitment to bring the concerns of Okanagan-Coquihalla to Ottawa and hearing from citizens directly is a very important part of that process. Ottawa at times can feel like a million miles away from our region and different challenges often require a firsthand understanding in person to both appreciate and fully comprehend. It is my view that Parliament Hill must serve the interests of the taxpayers of Okanagan-Coquihalla with real solutions and common sense. In my travels I often run into other Members of Parliament and also Members of the BC Legislative Assembly, all are working diligently from my experience over these summer months. Although the work that occurs in Ottawa is very different then the riding, hearing and witnessing both the challenges and successes in Okanagan-Coquihalla on a daily basis is something I take very seriously and believe all elected representatives should pay attention to. I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please contact me at 250-770-4480 or toll free at 1-800-665-8711
Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.