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 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.

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 borders.

Dan’s parliamentary record includes being recognized by the Ottawa Citizen in 2015 as one of only five Members of Parliament in Canada with a 100% voting attendance record.  Locally in British Columbia,  MP Dan Albas has been consistently one of the lowest spending Members of Parliament on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

 MP Dan Albas is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top ten most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

In October of 2015 MP Dan Albas was re-elected to Parliament representing the new riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola.  Dan is currently the Deputy Finance Critic, serving with Finance Critic, MP Gerard Deltell and sits on the Standing Committee on Finance.

Dan is honoured to serve the residents of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola as their Member of Parliament.

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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