In the weeks leading up to the Oct. 19 federal election, the Summerland Review is asking questions of the four candidates in the riding of South Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
If you are elected but your party is not the governing party, how will you ensure our concerns are heard at the federal level?
My Private Members Bill that opened the Canadians wine market for our local vintners was passed both in the House of Commons and the Senate with unanimous support.
It is rare to achieve unanimous support on anything in Ottawa and this reflects my approach to work with other elected officials and public servants respectfully and collaboratively.
Those who read my weekly reports will know I avoid excessive partisanship and do not use profanity or alarmist language when in the House of Commons.
During my four years as a Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla I have maintained a positive working relationship with all local Mayors and council, MLAs, local First Nations leaders and senior staff at various levels of government. In my view the importance of people working together is how things get done.
Finger pointing, heavy rhetoric, extreme language and excessive partisanship might make for great headlines however these things all serve as barriers to productive governance.
People deserve to be heard and treated respectfully to create positive working relationships that get results. That has always been my goal and will continue to be my focus regardless of who forms government.
Elizabeth May is the consummate politician. I have watched her garner agreements where the odds were not in her favour.
I too have had to work with clients that are very angry about the problems they are having.
With Elizabeth at the helm and my skills in conflict resolution we can make a great difference.
Politics and democracy is about coming to a consensus. It isn’t all about the power – that’s dictatorship – and we have enough of that.
This is where my ability to work collaboratively is highlighted.
A large part of my role in the 10 years that I worked for the federal government was to develop strong, respectful relationships with all other levels of government and community based organizations, regardless of political stripe or objective.
I was often tasked with leading new projects that required collaboration between all these stakeholders but were very politically charged.
I have a proven track record of negotiating agreement between parties with long-standing disagreements and this will be a significant asset should I be elected but the Liberal Party not form government.
I take this responsibility very seriously and I will advocate for this riding to the best of my ability regardless of what party forms government.
I have always believed in working across party lines and will strive to represent the citizens of this area no matter what.
My NDP MP Alex Atamanenko was elected for three terms and always worked with the Conservative government, introducing private member’s bills and making sure that services were available to our ridings’ citizens.
He brought the passport “mobile office” concept to our riding, helping people to get their passport paperwork filed without them having to travel to Kelowna or Vancouver.
I will continue to offer such services throughout our riding.