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Dan-in-Ottawa

Proud of West Kelowna

Most elected officials learn to develop a thick skin as criticisms and personal insults/attacks are an unfortunate by-product of public office.

This situation occurs more if you are as active on social media as I am.

The reason I share this is related to recent criticism I received for my support for the compassion shown by West Kelowna to 19 foreign national farm workers who have tested positive for COVID-19.

My reason for sharing this is not over the criticism, but rather my concern.

To be clear, this situation is in not the fault of these workers.

When they arrived in Canada on March 12, there was no screening or travel restrictions at Canadian airports.

These workers didn’t receive any special instructions and, by extension, were uninformed.

This is due to a lack of leadership at our airports that fall under federal regulations.

This situation has demonstrated the critical need for screening and travel restriction at our borders and airports that for too long our Prime Minister refused to implement.

It is unfortunate that many provinces are now forced to supplement these efforts due to federal shortcomings.

For these farm workers, let us all remember that nobody wants to be sick with a potentially terminal virus in a country far from home.

I would like to commend the many citizens of West Kelowna who the Kelowna Capital News reports “reached out to offer help, food, or general support for our seasonal guest workers.”

It was further reported that this support has “helped with their morale and feeling of belonging in our community.”

On a personal note, I am very proud of the people of West Kelowna for their kindness and compassion.

Thank you.

We must also not overlook that in many countries we have Canadians who, because of COVID-19, are trapped and are desperately trying to come home.

Canadian trapped in this situation, in another country far from home, would, I am certain, want to be located in a compassionate, kind and welcoming community such as West Kelowna.

On a different but related note I know that, with so many currently laid off, many question why temporary farm workers from outside Canada are still needed on local farms.

While I do not speak for farmers, I do hear from them.

This season, there will be a significant labour shortage in many local farms and orchards and there will be many farm-related jobs available.

Already InfoNews has reported that a well-known Lake Country farm operation has received “hundreds of resumes” from laid-off workers after posting help-wanted ads.

Expect this trend to continue throughout the Okanagan.

I have purposely included references that these stories were reported by local news organizations.

Local journalism is critical to our communities. Local media report on your local council, regional district and school board meetings, as well as local volunteer initiatives and efforts.

Right now, supporting local news is vital.

If you have a subscription-based, local news source, please consider subscribing.

If you are in a position to advertise, now is a critical time to do so.

Two questions this week:

  • Will you support local journalism?
  • If so, how?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 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 for Environment and Climate Change.

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.

Dan  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.

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.



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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