Friday, December 19th2.2°C
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Dan Albas

Impact of trade on local economy

This is the second week of a two week break before the House of Commons resumes sitting on Monday, March 24th. Over the past many days I have travelled throughout Okanagan-Coquihalla and met with many citizens, groups and local government leaders. Last week there was a strong level of enthusiasm for the recently announced Canada-South Korea free trade agreement. Given that British Columbia, with its strategic gateway location, strong business and cultural ties with the Asia- Pacific region, is considered to be first of the Canadian Provinces to benefit from this agreement. At a very recent round table in Kelowna there was positive reaction from exporters who in the past have faced tariffs anywhere from ten to as high as forty percent. The elimination of these tariffs and certainty for access to this market will create some real opportunities for Okanagan producers and fruit growers.

Also this week I have also come to better appreciate and understand the critical value of trade to Okanagan-Coquihalla for a different set of reasons, with the current trucking dispute at Port Metro Vancouver. In addition to affected businesses throughout Okanagan-Coquihalla, I have heard from concerned Mayors, councillors, regional directors and MLA’s on the very real possibility of large scale employers considering temporary closure as a result of not being able to import/export much needed goods either to or from the Port. The movement of goods in many cases is critical to the cash flow of small business operators who also must make payroll, pay taxes and other expenses related to running a business. The sheer volume and scope of different business operations that rely on trade are large scale and affects many sectors of our local economy that in turn can create ripple effects into other areas.

One other issue that I continue to hear feedback from citizens on a Private Member's Bill, known as Bill C-442, "An Act Respecting a National Lyme Disease Strategy". For many citizens in Okanagan-Coquihalla Lyme disease is a very real concern and as a result I can confirm that I will be supporting this Bill to move forward to committee review stage for further study. In the event the Bill passes, I will also follow the review carefully and provide further updates as they become available.

While this will be another busy week of meetings, I would like to sincerely thank the many citizens who do take the time to offer questions, comments and also criticism. I believe it is important for citizens to always hold your elected officials from all levels of government to account. If there is a decision or policy you do not agree with, please take the time to contact your elected representatives and ask for the reasons why a decision was made. Part of how we achieve better government decisions is from hearing from all sides and I certainly welcome your views in this regard. I can be reached at [email protected] or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.



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About the Author

Dan Albas has been a Penticton resident since 1981. After attending Okanagan University College, Dan choose to move into small business where his company Kick City Martial Arts has flourished, training hundreds of men, women and children 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 and his wife Tara reside in West Kelowna, where they raise their four daughters.

Dan has 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, Dan was elected to Penticton City Council in the 2008 municipal elections, where as a first time candidate he won with 5656 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. Dan took a leading role on public safety by proposing aggressive panhandling and dog control bylaws; he proposed a review that greatly helped his community to balance the books and to focus on core services by eliminating wasteful or unnecessary spending. His Penticton Politics website blog has offered new ways for constituents to communicate on important issues.

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 Okanagan-Coquihalla as their Member of Parliament. He has made good on his commitment to establish a personal blog with his www.DaninOttawa.com site, where he chronicles his activities as the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla.

Dan welcomes your input, so please contact him by e-mail, phone or mail. He can be reached at:

Okanagan- Coquihalla’s MP office
Suite 202-301 Main Street
Penticton, BC V2A 5B7
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 250-770-4480
Fax: 250-770-4484
Toll Free: 1-800-665-8711







The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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