I believe it is important that as members of Parliament we not only listen to the concerns of the citizens who elect us, but also that we share those concerns in Ottawa as well. Over this past week my office has received a number of questions and concerns regarding the census that has been taken place over the past several weeks. Much of the concerns relate to reminder notices being sent out to households that have already submitted their census, sometimes even multiple times. This in turn creates a concern that either their census submission has not been received and processed or that there is waste of taxpayer resources in sending out these reminders. My family has also received such a reminder note even though it was sent in close to a month ago. I have raised this issue with the Minister responsible to ensure that there is awareness about them.
Another area of concern for many citizens in Okanagan-Coquihalla is gas prices. While we have seen some good things over the past few years in terms of reducing the government’s share of gas taxes through the reduction of the GST from seven to five percent and beefed up enforcement measures of faulty scales at the pump, it is still a growing concern. The Hon. Tony Clement recently shared these same concerns and as a result has invited refiners, distributors and retailers to appear in Ottawa to answer question on this very subject. I will be reporting back to you with the information and answers that arise from this upcoming meeting.
I was glad to be in Ottawa on Friday evening to hear a speech from my predecessor, the Hon. Stockwell Day. Stock, as he is affectionately known by many on Parliament Hill, spoke about a number of important points:
Living in a country of free speech and the importance of showing respect for others and their views
The rise of China and need for to work on our competitiveness as a country through education, productivity and innovation
And the three people who most influenced his political career, to the surprise of many they were not former politicians or world leaders, but rather constituents he met along his journey in Provincial and Federal politics. Stockwell`s lasting point was to recognize his biggest supporter, his wife Valorie.
In my travels around Ottawa I have come to realize and appreciate what a popular and significant influence that Stockwell had with many colleagues and staff here on Parliament Hill. The parting thought that Stockwell left with me is to never forget that it is serving the hard working people who have made this country one of the freest, most prosperous and peaceful places on Earth that we should never take for granted.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament elect for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.