As I submit my MP reports on a weekly basis often the number of events that can occur within a seven day time frame are significant and difficult to fit into a single 550 word weekly update. At other times no words can describe some events that are truly shocking and disturbing in magnitude. Such is the immense sense of loss Canadians share on the tragic death of three members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Moncton. On behalf of all citizens in Okanagan-Coquihalla our thoughts and prayers are with the families and members of the RCMP who have suffered so greatly from a senseless act of violence. I would also like to publicly recognize the service and sacrifice of all members of the RCMP who bravely protect our communities while defending the law. This can be a demanding and dangerous job. The first RCMP officer killed in the line of duty happened in the early 1870’s. Since that time up to the present incident in Moncton two hundred and thirty four RCMP officers have lost their lives while on duty– including at least five in our riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Let us all pass on our condolences to the RCMP family during this difficult time.
As the House of Commons has been sitting until midnight for the past weeks a large number of bills have been before the House. One of those to be introduced is Bill C-36 “Protection of Communities and Exploited Person Act”– also referred to as the prostitution bill. This bill is in response to the Supreme Court of Canada striking down provision of Canada’s former laws in this area. Bill C-36 proposes a different framework on Canada’s prostitution laws in recognizing that many of those who sell sex do so for a variety of reasons that may include being forced or induced by others, to feed an addiction, poverty or other. Bill C-36 proposes to criminalize those who purchase or otherwise profit from the sale of sexual services. In other words pimps, johns, drug dealers, human traffickers and smugglers would face increased fines and potential for imprisonment for engaging in acts of sexual exploitation. These fines and potential prison sentences would increase if offences involve children or occur in locations where children may be present.
To assist in facilitating these objectives it is proposed that the advertising of sexual services would also be banned and $20 million of new funding will be made available to help provide supports for those currently engaged in prostitution activities to help transition away from these activities. This is a summarized review of Bill C-36 and more detailed information can be obtained from my office.
Each week I enjoy hearing from many constituents on a variety of different topics– while concerns are often unique at times there as some issues that will often unite citizens in support or opposition. One issue that generally most citizens are supportive of is eliminating Government waste – with that in mind one program that has been successful in this regard is Industry Canada’s Computers for Schools program. Each year Government, and other private sector business partners frequently upgrade computer systems that at times may result existing computers becoming surplus. The Computers for Schools program takes these surplus computers, refurbishes them, and distributes these computers to schools, libraries, not-profit learning organizations and aboriginal communities across Canada. This program over the next 4 years will distribute roughly 280,000 computers thanks in part to corporate partners such as CN Rail, Bell, Telus, and CIBC (to name a few) who join with Government in the donation of surplus computers and hardware. Last year close to 7,500 computers were distributed in British Columbia and another shipment was announced last week with several hundred coming to schools in Okanagan Coquihalla. If you are interested in donating or are an eligible organization interested in receiving a computer forms can be obtained from the Computers for Schools website.
If you have a question, comment or concern on any matter before the House of Common I can be reached at [email protected] or 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