Last week's MP report to you resulted in one of my first dealings with our national media. As a city councillor I often worked with local media and enjoyed getting to know the many personalities that make up our local print, radio and TV voices. So I was most happy to participate on a live radio program to discuss my latest MP report, specifically on concerns that I had heard about human smuggling.
There was some surprise expressed that the taxpayers in Okanagan-Coquihalla took issue with immigration system being manipulated by criminals trying to illegally smuggle in human cargo for profit at the same time as also trying to jump the immigration line. The manipulation of our immigration system by criminals for profit at the expense of Canadian taxpayers is subject that many have told me they would like to see our Government take action on.
As we got further into the interview, it seemed that there was a misunderstanding as to the reasons for my writing a regular weekly MP report. While some might comment that it stands as an electioneering tool or an opportunity to rain my opinions down from a bully pulpit, I would humbly submit that by the very title of MP report, that I am reporting to the citizens that I represent. To be held accountable as your Member of Parliament, to report on my activities, ask for input and validate what I have been hearing. I have heard (from a variety of sources) that the distance from here to Ottawa is 3,000 or so kilometres but the distance from Ottawa to here seems to be more like 30,000. By submitting these reports, attending community events and other tools like door knocking, help to make sure that I am on the right track.
Listening and reporting are not just commitments that individual MP’s make; as a government we recognize the wide diversity of Canada and that those closest to the challenges and the opportunities are the ones we must listen to. Thus the Parliament of Canada’s Standing Committee on Finance is asking for taxpayers to share their ideas at the annual pre-budget consultation hearings. Submissions can be made in person or in writing. The deadlines to participate are as follows:
Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Tel.: 613-992-9753 Fax: 613-996-1626 E-mail: FINA@parl.gc.ca
There will always be debate as to what are the best ideas to carry Canada forward. What is truly unique about our country is that we always develop ways and means for everyone to have their say and to test and challenge those ideas. We can all feel proud that when the last spike is hammered, the last soldier returns home or the last vote is counted, that we all had our part in it.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.