Ideas worthy of support

It has been suggested that if you are an elected representative, the worst day in government is still preferable than the best day in opposition.

Although I am still relatively new member of the official opposition, I believe it is always important to focus on the fact that both sides of the House are important in a properly functioning democracy.

I also believe that as opposition, we can also aim higher and raise the bar in how we hold the government to account and in that process ultimately influence the shaping of policy.

If you have been following the prime minister's efforts to change how Supreme Court justices are appointed, you may be aware that part of these changes aimed to end the unbroken convention of respecting regional representation from different parts of Canada.

As Atlantic Canada was the first to be adversely impacted by these changes, it was only natural that it became a very unpopular proposal there.

Unfortunately for Atlantic Canada as there were no opposition MPs from the region, it was up to the official opposition to raise this unpopular issue in Ottawa.

In order to force the government to address these concerns the official opposition tabled a motion to respect the convention of regional representation when making appointments to our Supreme Court.

To the surprise of many in Ottawa, the government ultimately voted in support of this Conservative opposition motion and subsequently passed.

A s a result, this week it was announced that Malcolm Rowe from Newfoundland is our newest judge on the Supreme Court.

This example of maintaining regional representation on the Supreme Court illustrates that despite being in opposition, well intended proposals can become part of Government policy.

It is for this reason that I have maintained my position as a member of the opposition will always include the importance of proposing alternatives from time to time as opposed to exclusively opposing.

On a related note earlier this week I was also honoured to be named as the deputy critic for finance and by extension also a member of the finance committee.

This is an opportunity that I welcome and one of the reasons why I am hearing from many local credit unions who are frustrated with changes that increasingly force administratively costly one size fits all policies onto them.

As many in our riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola will know, credit unions provide an important community based alternative to the larger financial institutions.

Unfortunately for credit unions, they simply do not have the clout and lobbying power of the big banks who are increasingly shaping government policy as was evidenced by recent changes to mortgage rules that benefit banks over independent mortgage finance companies.

As the deputy critic for finance, these are some of the local community related issues that I will raise with my work in this area.

It is also my intention as critic from time to time to mention those actions that I believe are potentially beneficial to Canadians.

As an example, home builders and those involved in construction are concerned about significant increases in tariffs, in some cases as high as 276 per cent on dry wall that will make housing even more expensive.

I have heard this may add an extra $5,000 or more to a new home. I have raised this issue in the House of Commons appealing both publicly and privately to government members.

Although I am disappointed that the finance minister has not supported the Canadian Home Builders Association suggestion to suspend the new tariffs, I am pleased to report that the minister has announced this tariff policy will be formerly reviewed.

This is an issue I will continue to press the government on as every effort from Ottawa should make housing more affordable, not more costly.

I welcome your comments, questions and concerns on this issue or any other matter before the House of Commons.

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


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

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.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

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

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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