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No comment on Trudeau

I have been asked to comment on the re-emergence of an 18-year-old editorial from a Creston newspaper that was written by a reporter who stated that she was groped by Justin Trudeau. 

Many news organization, both inside and outside Canada, have now reported on this alleged incident and many have taken issue with the response from Mr. Trudeau.  

The common criticism against our Prime Minister is that he has used a double standard by not holding himself to the same zero tolerance principle that he has held to other members of the Liberal caucus while facing similar circumstances.

I have had a long-standing policy to not comment on the conduct of other members of Parliament, past or present.

At this time, I see no need to change my position on matters like these and will not comment further. 

Instead, this week, I am going to focus on something the Liberal government has done that I agree with and support. 

In my June 26 MP report, I referenced that on July 1, Canada’s retaliatory counter tariffs against a variety of U.S. imported and produced goods would be implemented that will make many U.S. produced goods more expensive for Canadians to buy.

The list of U.S. produced items that would be subject to a 10 per cent tariff on July 1, 2018 was extensive and included common grocery store items such as yogurt, coffee, pizza, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, soups, dishwasher detergent, toilet paper, and some appliances.
 
This week, the Liberals announced that mustard made in the United Stated would be removed from the tariff list. 

Why do I support this decision?

In short, because Canada is the largest producer of mustard seed in the world.

As an example, French’s mustard, despite being made in the United States, is made from almost exclusively Canadian grown mustard seed. 

Even French manufactured Maille mustard contains a significant percentage of Canadian grown mustard seed.

This example of mustard seed is effective in establishing the degree that the United States and Canadian economies have come to work together as a result of free trade.

By eliminating this tariff, the Canadian mustard seed industry will remain competitive.

My question this week does not relate to mustard, but rather to Greyhound.

As many citizens will now know, this week Greyhound announced intentions to withdraw service from Western Canada.

Greyhound has cited many factors for this decision, but primarily it is an overall decline in ridership. 

At this point, it is unclear what role government at all levels may do in response to this decision. 

My question is:

  • Will you be affected by the loss of Greyhound service in British Columbia?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.



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Fighting to protect families

It is often said that time flies on the government side of the House of Commons, but moves much more slowly on the opposition side.

I mention this as last week marked the six-year anniversary since my first private member's bill became law.

Bill C-311 removed prohibition era federal restrictions that blocked direct to consumer shipping of wine.

In the last Parliament, the Conservative government used a similar mechanism to also include craft beer and artisan spirits, all in an effort to open up our borders to increased inter-provincial trade.

A private member's bill or motion is one of many ways MPs can introduce legislation to help benefit the riding they represent.

In the case of my former bill, many Okanagan wineries were frustrated at their inability to legally sell to out-of-province visitors because it was illegal to transport wine across a provincial border.

More recently, credit unions, of which we have many in our community, faced a threat from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions that would have banned them from using terms such as bank, banking or banker.

I wrote several MP reports on the subject and heard almost unanimous feedback. In some cases, there was even outrage at the thought of the long arm of Ottawa attacking credit unions.

In response to this feedback, I tabled another private member's bill, Bill C-379, that called for the Bank Act to be amended to ensure credit unions could continue to use these terms without fear of reprisal from Ottawa.

I was particularly pleased when an independent Senator, appointed by the prime mnister, contacted me with an interest in sponsoring my bill in the Senate.

Fortunately, and full credit to the Liberal government, they essentially included the spirit of my bill in their recent Budget Implementation Act.

This will ensure credit unions and caisse populaires (as they are known as in Quebec) will no longer face this threat.

Last week, before the House of Commons adjourned, I tabled my latest private member's bill.

Bill C-410 proposes to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to protect Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) and Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP) from seizure by creditors in the case of bankruptcy or insolvency.

RESPs and RDSPs are important saving tools for Canadians living with disabilities and for families saving for their children’s education.

Currently, a bankruptcy trustee an permit creditors to seize the holdings of any RESP or RDSP in the event that the account owner files for bankruptcy.

By extension, this can include accounts dedicated to provide care for severely disabled children. It can also include education accounts for children.

Bill C-410 will prevent in much the same way Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) and Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF) are protected now.

I was honoured to hear that the Canadian Association of Social Workers has responded positively to Bill C-410, however, as Parliament is adjourned, it is unclear if the Liberals and NDP will be supportive of my new bill.

I will continue to solicit input from industry, citizens and Parliamentarians over the summer recess.

To that end, my question this week:

  • Are you supportive of Bill-410, which proposes to protect families dealing with the high costs of caring for a family member with disabilities and for parents who want the best possible education for their children?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.



July 1 is T Day

The 1988 Canadian federal election was one of the most important in recent Canadian history.

At that time, the Conservative Brian Mulroney government had successfully negotiated our first free trade agreement with the United States.

It was not without controversy.

At the time, the Liberal Party, led by John Turner, ran election attack ads on TV showing the Canada/U.S. border being erased and asked “Just how much are we giving away?” and concluded with the statement “This is more than an election — this is your future."

Here in the Okanagan, there were media reports of some local vintners threatening to tear out entire vineyards, fearing they could not compete with the massive California wine industry. 

Today, we know that not only can our local vintners compete, but they can thrive and produce some of the best wines in the world.

Many people from outside Canada now know and visit the Okanagan like they have done in the Napa Valley for decades.

The U.S. president now calls trade deals with countries such as Canada, the worst the United States has ever signed.  

All efforts to renegotiate NAFTA have failed and at an awkward Canada-U.S. news conference of NAFTA negotiators, it was revealed there have been no talks for roughly two weeks.

This week in Ottawa, a number of business people in the Canadian aluminum and steel industries spoke in very blunt terms over the very real prospect of serious job losses.

On July 1, Canada’s retaliatory counter tariffs against a variety of U.S. imported and produced goods will be implemented that will make American produced goods more expensive for Canadians to buy.

This is not unlike how it was recently reported that the U.S. tariff on Canadian softwood lumber has increased the price of an average new home built in the United States by roughly $9,000.

The list of U.S. produced items that will be subject to a 10 per cent increase on July 1 as a result of the Liberals tariff counter-measures is extensive.

Items include yogurt, coffee, pizza, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, soups, dishwasher detergent, toilet paper, and some appliances. 

Obviously, many Canadians will face higher prices in grocery stores as a result of these tariff increases.

It has been suggested that the Liberals, where possible, have attempted to strategically implement these tariffs to maximize political impact on the home states where these items are produced.

Obviously, after July 1, when these tariffs go into effect, check the country of origin on items you buy.

That may explain price changes.

I hope these retaliatory tariff changes do not encourage further retaliation from the United States against more Canadian produced goods as the American market remains Canada’s largest trading partner.

One thing is for certain, consumers lose when tariffs are implemented.  

As we approach Canada Day, I believe we should all stand united in the hope that we can soon see a return to the NAFTA table and a successful agreement.

My question this week:

  • Do you support increased retaliatory tariffs that also increase costs on U.S. produced goods sold in Canada?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.



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Carbon tax cover-up

If you have been following politics in Ottawa in the past week, you have may have heard the term "carbon tax cover up."

What is the carbon tax cover up?

This question has resulted in considerable debate within the House of Commons including an all-night filibuster between the Liberal government and the Official Opposition.

In my May 2 MP Report, I discussed how much the Liberal carbon tax being imposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would cost Canadians.

At least I attempted to.

Unfortunately, the Liberal government continues to refuse to release a report that documents the estimate of these costs.

What does this report say?

Here is a direct quote:

“This memo focuses on the potential impact of a carbon price on households’ consumption expenditures across the income distribution. Key findings are…”

The rest of the report after this sentence has been blacked out by the Liberals.

A table in the report says:

“Original note based on preliminary projections from Environment Canada. Final projections have now been made available”

Once again the projections are not being made available because Mr. Trudeau’s government has blacked them out as well.

Despite the fact that the Liberals continue to hide this information from Canadians, an economics professor at the University of Calgary and director of energy and environmental policy at its School of Public Policy has made some calculations of these costs.

It is important to recognize that the carbon tax rate on emissions under Prime Minister Trudeau’s plan calls for the carbon tax rate to be continually increased per tonne of carbon.

I mention this point because previously a province, such as B.C., had the ability to freeze the carbon tax at a certain level if there is economic harm or concerns over affordability for citizens.

It is reported that advisers to the minister of the environment believe that a price of $100 per tonne is necessary for Canada to reduce our emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels within the next two to four years.

According to the professor, here in British Columbia, that means citizens could be paying more than $1,200 a year just in higher carbon taxes alone.

The provincial government will have some ability to refund or partially credit this revenue or to spend it in other areas.

Will this actually reduce emissions?

The Liberal government believes it will, and has, released a report from the Department of Environment and National Resources that concludes a carbon tax could eliminate up to 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2022.

The issue with this report is when you read the fine print, there is a disclaimer.

The disclaimer reads:

“The scenario presented in this document is for illustrative purposes only. It is not intended to signal any expectations on the part of the Government of Canada as to where the federal system will apply”

In other words, it is a purely hypothetical scenario created to help the Liberal government justify the carbon tax.

The challenge is that, in our riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, there are still many rural areas where no public transit exists.

Some areas have even lost Greyhound as an option.

Healthcare has been increasingly consolidated to larger centres, meaning lengthy trips are required for even basic medical needs.

Smaller schools, in places like Hedley, no longer exist, creating longer commutes for students and families.

Ottawa of course, does not have these problems.

This is why I consistently speak out against the carbon tax and have demanded, at a minimum, that the Liberal government come clean and disclose the costs from this report.

For citizens in rural communities like Hedley and Logan Lake, I do not believe potentially making them pay over $1,100 a year or more will be helpful when there are lack of alternatives in those areas.

In essence the carbon tax has the potential to unfairly penalize those in rural communities the most.

My question this week:

  • Will the carbon tax unfairly target Canadians living in rural communities?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.



More Dan in Ottawa articles

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About the Author

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.

MP Dan’s parliamentary record includes being recognized by the Ottawa Citizen in 2015 as one of five members of Parliament with a 100 per cent 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 constituent.

MP Dan Albas is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 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 2015, MP Dan Albas was re-elected to Parliament representing the new riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. Dan is currently the shadow minister for small business and sits on the Standing Committee on Finance.

MP Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern.  

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.



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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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