This week Prime Minister Trudeau finally announced his new cabinet, after waiting over one month since the September election.
Not unlike what occurred under former Prime Minister Harper, the new cabinet announced yesterday by PM Trudeau is significantly larger with 39 members, one under 40 members, the largest that appointed by Prime Minister Harper in 2015.
For contrast, the first cabinet announced by Prime Minister Harper in 2006 was just 26 members, likewise Prime Minister Trudeau’s first cabinet announced in 2015 was 31 members.
In total there are eight “rookies” in this new cabinet, and one former Minister returning, while two current Liberal MPs were dropped from the cabinet.
Unfortunately, we still must wait until November 22nd, 2021 before Prime Minister Trudeau recalls Parliament.
On a personal note, I am frustrated by the long wait for Parliament to return.
One reason for this relates to the expiry of Canada’s pandemic response benefit programs that occurred on October 23rd, 2021.
By now you have likely heard that the Liberal Government will not be renewing these programs as they previously existed, but instead have announced new assistance programs that will be more targeted.
The Liberal Government has further announced that these new programs will be more focused on incentivizing a return to work.
For the record I fully support the stated goal of the Liberal Government in this regard, however I believe this same principle should apply to Parliament and getting MPs back to work in Ottawa as well.
As is often the case with Government programs reading the fine print is always the key to ensuring the programs are working as intended and are accessible to those in need.
In this case the details of many of these programs require clarification and proper Parliamentary scrutiny and oversight is an important part of this process.
Another challenge with Parliament not sitting is that it limits the ability to raise issues of concern within the House of Commons.
One example of this is the continued closure of direct to the Kelowna Airport (YLW) international flights, in particular from the United States.
Recently I have heard from several in the accommodation and tourism sector who are literally losing tens of thousands of dollars of revenue as frequent customers from US destinations who are instead booking direct trips to other Canadian airports that have had their international flight status restored.
As one small business owner recently vented in frustration – they do not want “government handouts” they simply want the opportunity to host their guests again.
They have also correctly pointed out this can save the government from providing expensive support programs.
My question this week:
Do you support the Kelowna Airport being re-opened to International flights as have been many other airports in Canada?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.