It is another very busy week in Ottawa with a large amount of different but important events that will be challenging to summarize all in this week`s report. First I would like to thank the many citizens and groups who took the time to comment on last week`s report regarding invasive species- in particular freshwater mussels. It is encouraging that many citizens are supportive of the need to be proactive against invasive species and I will provide further updates in this area as they become available. Two other subjects that I have heard a large amount of feedback from citizens on in Okanagan-Coquihalla this week include opposition to the recent reclassification of certain long guns and support for Elizabeth May’s Private Members Bill C-442 “National Lyme Disease Strategy Act”.
The decision to re-classify certain firearms is currently under review by Minister Blaney however the Minister has announced an amnesty program to ensure that existing individuals “in possession of these firearms can continue to possess their property without threat of criminal charges”. With respect to Bill C-442 currently this Bill has been introduced at first reading in the House of Commons and is now placed on the Order of Preference at number 18. I will also provide further information on the progress of this Private Member`s Bill as it comes forward for second reading debate in the House of Commons.
Recently in the House, Government Bill C-26 was also introduced, The “Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act”. This Bill proposes a number of changes to those convicted of serious child offences. Some of these changes include a requirement that those convicted of child sexual offences against multiple children to serve sentences consecutively– one after another rather than at the same time concurrently; along with an increase for maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences. Penalties will also be increased for violations of supervision orders and any crime committed while on house arrest or parole will be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing. In addition, registered sex offenders will also be required to disclose more information when travelling abroad and more availability for spousal testimony in child pornography cases will be made available. Thus far the comments I have heard from citizens on Bill C-26 have been supportive.
Also occurring this week is a motion, the full text is as follows:
“That the House recognize the importance of transparency and accountability in the expenditure of taxpayers’ money and also recognize that the majority of parties have already begun disclosing the travel and hospitality expenses of their Members; and therefore call on the Board of Internal Economy to instruct the non-partisan professional administrative staff of the House of Commons to begin posting all travel expenses incurred under the travel point system as well as hospitality expenses of Members to the Parliament of Canada website in a manner similar to the guidelines used by the government for proactive disclosure of ministerial expenses.”
As I am one of the MP’s who has already been voluntarily posting these expenses, I naturally will be supporting the motion to ensure this information is provided to taxpayers as a regular part of internal economy administration reporting. If you have comments or questions on any matter before the House of Commons do not hesitate to contact me at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.