Earlier this week, many saw the media headline “Trudeau Announces Boycott of Beijing Olympics.”
This early headline led to some confusion before subsequent media headlines clarified: “Canada announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics, athletes will still compete”.
There was only a brief period of time where some confusion existed, however, what was interesting was that when athletes were thought to be part of this boycott, many citizens had strong views and were keen to share them.
When it was later clarified the boycott was only diplomatic in nature and did not include athletes, the comments quieted down significantly. The few comments I have now heard back locally range from “what is a diplomatic boycott” to “why does anyone care if diplomats attend or not?.”
While this remains a significant topic of discussion in Ottawa, it is not one I am hearing locally. If anything, it serves as a reminder just how quickly the focus of Ottawa can change from day to day.
My focus remains on communities, like Princeton and Merritt, as well as the surrounding rural and Indigenous communities. With winter conditions now in effect, the clean-up and the rebuilding is much more challenging.
The impact of flood damage to our highway system has also resulted in significant commercial truck traffic on Highway 3, which in turn has led to more accidents on that highway and that leads to additional emergency road closures. At this time, it is still unknown if regular traffic will be allowed on this route, which is currently restricted to essential traffic only.
It is also having an impact on families, as communities are no longer connected. That is also not an ideal situation for truckers. For many who could make a trip from the Coast to the Interior and return in a single shift in the past, that is no longer possible. Overnight trips are now normal in many cases and that can be increased if an accident results in further delays.
Those travelling via air, for a variety of different reasons, are finding higher fees as well as new and significant restrictions that are changing frequently and with little notice because of the new omicron Covid-19 variant. To make this situation even more challenging, the border staff are sometimes not up to speed on government policy changes, resulting in many unfortunate and unfair incidents.
I appreciate the efforts of government ministers and their staff who have assisted my office on behalf of local citizens who have found themselves in demanding circumstances.
I also know that there is anger out there. As an elected official, I hear frequently from citizens who are unhappy with how government services at different levels have responded to these various situations. It is in my view that it is appropriate elected officials hear your concerns when government services are not meeting your expectations.
I mention this because it is critically important that frustration and anger should not be taken out on front-line staff who are doing the best they can in very challenging situations.
Let us not forget that many front-line service providers and emergency responders also face some of the very same challenges in their personal lives.
My question this week:
What is your greatest local concern at this time?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.