This past week was a very enjoyable one being back in the riding for Canada Day and getting a chance to visit communities such as Peachland, Okanagan Falls, Summerland, West Kelowna and Penticton. I would also like to sincerely thank the organizing committee for the Westside Daze event in West Kelowna for putting on a great celebration and for providing me with such a warm welcome. A good time was enjoyed by all who attended and the cake was great as well.
Over the past few weeks one of the more common concerns that I have heard from many of you across the riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla is over Bill C-428. For those of you unfamiliar, Bill C-428 was a Private members bill introduced by former Federal Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla. This bill called for amendments to the Old Age Security Act that would see newly arrived citizens entitled to a monthly pension payment after just three years of residency instead of the current ten year requirement. It should be noted that this bill was introduced into the former 40th Parliament and has no official standing in the current 41st Parliament. In the event that a similar bill was proposed by another member and based on the overwhelming opposition that I have heard from so many of you I would not be in support of such a bill.
Another topic of concern that I heard about in my recent door knocking travels was related to illegal human smuggling and related jumping of the cue in immigration matters. Canada has some of the most generous immigration laws in the world and yet there are those will attempt to profit or circumvent our immigration laws solely for personal gain. These acts can not only put lives at risk, they can also unfairly impact those who are legitimately going through the process and following the rules and procedures. Our Government is taking action and has introduced Bill C-4 Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act. This act will create new tools that will allow Government to have more flexibility to respond to these situations should they arise in the future. Criminals who profit from human smuggling, should not be able to do so at the expense of Canadian taxpayers.
In my last MP report I mentioned that I was intending to use much of the summer as an opportunity to meet people from across our riding. I am pleased with the warm response of my listening tour thus far but I would like to again ask individuals, not- for- profits, businesses and local government representatives to meet with me and let me hear your thoughts, views and priorities. We live in a unique and diverse riding, one with many points of view that need to be heard- and voiced to Ottawa, so please contact my office at 250-770-4480 or via email at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca
Although I have been your Member of Parliament for a relatively short period of time, every moment has been rewarding and enjoyable in spite of being a very steep learning curve. I am certainly not alone; according to a recent report, our newly elected Parliament is a younger and more diverse one with a record number of female MP's and more members from careers other than law or medicine which was not the case in Parliaments past. What doesn't change is that all of us must work together constructively. Debate through dialogue and agreement into action are hallmarks of what has made this country great; we all must make sure that future generations inherit a Canada that we can all be proud of.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament elect for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.