Honouring our brave Canadians

This week will be a slightly shortened one in Ottawa as the House will be adjourned on Friday for Members of Parliament to attend National Day of Honour ceremonies to mark the end of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan. For many Canadians, including families and friends here in Okanagan-Coquihalla, Canada’s service in Afghanistan was a life changing experience. There are times when words cannot properly reflect the magnitude of loss for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving in our armed forces. It is also important that we recognize the service of our non-military personnel who also volunteered to accept positions in Afghanistan at great personal risk to themselves. These brave Canadians had a commitment and a desire to help build a better country that protected the values of those more vulnerable citizens from tyranny and oppression. While there will always be debate on the success of these efforts, let us never question the sacrifice or the commitment of the many brave Canadians who served with dignity and respect.

Prior to Friday there will be a number of private members bills coming up in debate. Some of these bills include Bill C-560 An Act to amend the Divorce Act (equal parenting) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, Bill C-570—An Act to amend the Criminal Code (mandatory minimum sentences for rape) and Bill C-539— Promotion of Local Foods Act. Also debated will be the opposition day motion on temporary foreign workers along with votes on Bills C-479 An Act to Bring Fairness for the Victims of Violence, Bill C-208 An Act to amend the Supreme Court Act, Bill C-483 An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (escorted temporary absence) and Bill C-567- An Act to amend the Access to Information Act (transparency and duty to document).

On the topic of Private Members Bill C-587 from Okanagan-Shuswap MP Colin Mayes. Bill C-587 (formerly Bill C-478 from Selkirk-Interlake MP James Bezan) “Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act” that I referenced in my April 22, 2014 MP report, will come before the House of Commons on May 30, 2014.

I would like to pass on special thanks to many in Okanagan-Coquihalla for expressing strong support for this particular bill that will help prevent families of very serious crime from being re-victimized on an ongoing basis through the parole process. The Penticton Herald ran a poll on this bill and while not scientific, 86% of those who responded expressed support for Bill C-587. Locally I have also had a number of citizens come in to sign the petition that opposes parole for Mr. David Ennis (formerly known as David Shearing), the man responsible for taking the lives of the Johnson-Bentley family in August of 1982. This level of support is very helpful as it helps me to take a strong message to Ottawa: that the family and loved ones who are left behind should not be forced to relive these tragedies. The petition will continue to be available at both my Westbank and Penticton offices through the month of May and early June.

I would also like to express regret on the recently announced resignation of Chief Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations. Chief Atleo is a British Columbia based aboriginal leader who worked tirelessly to further aboriginal education and other challenges at the national level. This is an incredibly demanding and difficult job and I am not alone in expressing appreciation for Chief Atleo’s efforts in this regard.

If you have a comment, question or concern on any matter before the House of Commons I can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla who writes a weekly report for his constituents and his website www.danalbas.com has an archive of previous reports.

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About the Author

Dan Albas has been a Penticton resident since 1981. After attending Okanagan University College, he chose 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.

He has served as campaign chair for the United Way of the South Okanagan-Similkameen in 2006-07 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. 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 Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola as their Member of Parliament. He has made good on his commitment to establish a personal blog with his http://www.danalbas.com/mp-report site, where he chronicles his activities as the Member of Parliament for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

Dan 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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