Issues and debate

As you may have heard, this week the House of Commons will resume sitting on Parliament Hill for what is expected to be another robust session of debate and discussion. Some of the already identified items on the projected order of business for this week include Government Bills C-48 and C-52. Bill C-48 is the “Technical Tax Amendment Act”. Over time tax amendments are often introduced by Government that make changes to various aspects of income tax and sales tax much as was done recently in Budget 2012. Ultimately these proposed tax amendments must be included within legislation and to date is has been well over 10 years since the Act was last updated thus creating a significant backlog. One of the benefits of a stable majority in the House is that these kind of technical tax amendment bills that are important to ensure the integrity of our tax system, were often neglected during the recent minority years of Liberal and Conservative governments. As this is more of a technical Bill it is not expected to be a controversial one and the tone of today's debate seemed to be generally supportive.

Bill C-52 “The Fair Rail Freight Service Act” is in response to recommendations made by the Rail Freight Service Review Panel. In summary, challenges can arise within sectors of the agricultural community in securing mutually supported agreements between shippers and railway companies. The lack of a successful agreement can serve as a barrier preventing producers from getting their goods to market in a manner that provides certainty. Bill C-52 proposes new incentives to help strengthen the agreement making process, specifically an arbitration process will be introduced in the event an agreement cannot be reached and monetary penalties can also be assessed if there are violations to an arbitrated agreement. I have spoken with constituents who are familiar with the Canadian rail system and were supportive of seeing these legislative changes. Much like Bill C-48, this is also a Bill that is not expected to be a controversial one, as the opposition parties at committee supported the legislation with no changes or amendments.

In addition to Government Bills, there will also be a number of Private Member’s Bill coming up for debate this week. Bill C-457 “An Act to Repeal the Clarity Act”, Bill C-452 “An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons), Bill C-425 “An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act”, Bill C-444 “An Act to Amend the Criminal Code”, Bill C-460 “Sodium reduction strategy for Canada” and finally Motion M-412 “Hydroelectric Project”. In addition to private members business, Parliamentary committees will also again be sitting throughout the week while House votes may be occurring Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Not occurring this week but later this session will be the introduction of a new budget, along with continued debate on the following topics where bills have already been introduced to the House of Commons: Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act; the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act; the First Nations Financial Transparency Act; the Increasing Offender Accountability for Victims Act; the Northern Jobs and Growth Act; and the Safer Witnesses Act. If you have comments or concerns on any subject please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience. As taxpayer’s your input is an important consideration for the work that we do in Ottawa and while we may not always reach agreement on issues of concern the importance of sharing views and exchanging information should never be overlooked.

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About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola which include the communities of Kelowna (specific boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton and Merritt.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best. For his work on child safety and awareness, Dan was the recipient Penticton’s ‘2005 Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award. Dan served as campaign chair for the United Way of the South Okanagan-Similkameen in 2006-7 and 2010-11, both times surpassing their fundraising goals.

As a community leader, he was elected to Penticton City Council in the 2008 municipal elections, where, as a first time candidate, he won with 5,656 votes, topping the polls. Through his work as a city councillor, Dan has proven himself to be a strong constituency worker delivering results and standing up for what he believes in

On June 28 of 2012 Dan became one of the first MP’s in recent history to have a Private Members Bill (Bill 311) C-311 become law with the unanimous all party support of both the House of Commons and the Canadian Senate.  Bill C-311 “An Act to amend the importation of intoxicating liquors Act” amended a prohibition era law to prevented the free trade of wine over provincial boarders.

Dan is honoured to serve the residents of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola as their Member of Parliament. Dan established a personal blog with his http://www.danalbas.com/mp-report, where he chronicles his activities, offers insight and provides an opinion on issues.
Dan and his wife, Tara, reside in Summerland, where they raise their four daughters.
MP Dan Albas welcomes your input, so please contact him by e-mail, phone or mail.

He can be reached at:

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola's MP office
2562-B Main Street
West Kelowna, B.C. V4T 2N5
Email: [email protected]
Phone toll free: 1.800.665.8711
Fax: 250.707.2153

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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