Some thoughts on Canada Day 2014

The Canada Day long weekend is easily my favourite time of year.

The Canada Day long weekend is easily my favourite time of year.

It’s when Canadians from all walks of life join together in celebration for all that we love about our great country. This Canada Day I was able to attend Canada Day ceremonies and festivities in Okanagan Falls, Penticton, Summerland, Peachland, West Kelowna, Merritt and Logan Lake.

The drive around Okanagan-Coquihalla serves not only as a reminder of what a truly beautiful region we live in but also of the many great people who live here. In every community I visited there were many families taking the time to get involved and sharing in all that we love about Canada.

I would also like to thank so many people for taking the time to offer greetings and give their input to me. Hearing directly from people firsthand is some of the most valuable and insightful feedback that I receive and is part of why each summer I travel around our region as part of my summer listening tour.

For my 2014 summer listening tour I would like to invite citizens, groups and organizations along with employers to contact my office to arrange a time for a meeting. Please contact me at dan.albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free at 1(800)665-8711 as I find July and August often pass by quickly and I would like to meet with as many citizens as possible.

On the subject of feedback I would also like to thank the many individuals who have taken the time to express concern on the potential threat from invasive species such as freshwater mussels to freshwater lakes in our region. These concerns obviously apply to a large amount of lakes throughout British Columbia and the strong concern shown locally is helpful in my work in Ottawa.

The need to take proactive action and for all level of Government to work together on this issue is an important one and is an issue that I continue to pursue in Ottawa on a regular basis. I would also like to recognize again the work of the Okanagan Basin Water Board in championing this issue to all levels of Government and for creating an awareness campaign that citizens can more easily participate in.

This week’s report will be a shorter one for a change, however, I would like to thank the growing number of people who take the time to read my weekly reports and offer comments and questions.

Last fall, a Summerland resident passed on some concerns over a Federal program that was creating challenges in a local sector of our economy. These concerns allowed me to make contact with many stakeholders within the sector in question and ultimately to identify these concerns and bring them forward in Ottawa.

Recently changes were made to the program in question and specific regulatory changes were made that will resolve the previously identified challenges. Without the initial feedback from the individual in Summerland it is possible these changes may not have been made, or not as quickly. This is not the first time a local citizen has provided input that is helpful for policy related changes and from my perspective this helps to demonstrate the importance of local feedback and questions from citizens.

It is often pointed out that Canada is a diverse and resourceful country. Canada Day is an important reminder that while our great diversity helps to establish our uniquely Canadian character it is our ability to set aside our differences and work together in building a stronger Canada for all Canadians that is a true legacy of what we celebrate on Canada Day.

Thank you for the honour to serve as one of your elected representatives.

Dan Albas is the MP for Okanagan Coquihalla

 

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