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In-Your-Service

Trudeau axes Parliament

The Prime Minister has asked the Governor General to prorogue Parliament and recall it Sept. 23

The prorogation brings an end to proceedings before Parliament. There was a hybrid sitting in the House of Commons planned for next week as well as many committee meetings, which are all now cancelled.

Some of the effects of prorogation include:

  • Any government bill that has not received Royal Assent being terminated
  • The government not needing to respond to any outstanding Order Paper questions
  • Matters of privilege and the terms of any privilege motion being nullified
  • There are other items that discontinue as well as similar affects in the Senate.

I was in Ottawa on Aug. 12 and questioned Finance Minister Bill Morneau about Canada losing our AAA credit rating from Fitch Ratings earlier this summer.

Little did I know that I would be the last member of Parliament to question Morneau before his resignation as Finance Minister and MP.

I focused on two reasons Fitch Ratings cited for our downgrade.

  • First, was Canada's lack of an economic recovery plan, and I questioned when the government would be releasing a plan.
  • Second, was due to Canadian interprovincial trade barriers and the government putting all work on hold to remove barriers.

As we work on economic recovery, now is the time to embrace made-in-Canada products and services. Unfortunately, we did not hear clear answers to either question.

It has become more evident than ever how important parliamentary standing committees are in a minority government with Parliament not sitting fully since March.

Many revelations have come out through committee studies and questions, such as improper government planning for the pandemic and its related programs, the WE Charity scandal and other agreements or contracts, and more.

Unfortunately, with the prorogation of Parliament, all committees cease to exist.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Industry, Science and Technology Standing Committee that I sit on has conducted studies on fraud and the Investment Canada Act.

We looked at whether Canada has strict enough laws against foreign state-owned enterprises purchasing Canadian companies.

We’ve focused on the effects of the pandemic on institutions, workers and businesses. Recently, our Conservative team put motions forth to question the Privacy Commissioner about the COVID-19 mobile app and Amazon about reports of anti-competitive behaviour.

We were slated to hear from more businesses bringing forth their perspectives and suggestions, but as mentioned, these are all now cancelled.

Tourism is important to our economy in the Okanagan. It was one of the first to be affected by COVID-19 and I’m hearing it will continue to have serious ongoing challenges.

It’s disappointing that the Industry committee scheduled only one short meeting to hear from the tourism sector, which contributes $100 billion to the economy and employs 1.8 million people in Canada.

I made a statement to this effect before I questioned witnesses. I believe it is important that the committee hear from all aspects of tourism, from many stakeholders — whether individual businesses, local associations, or national groups, and from all regions so that a comprehensive report with recommendations can be given to the federal government.

Tourism operators and organizations can write and share your thoughts with the committee, so your voice is heard via email at: [email protected].

You can view videos of my comments about tourism and questioning about our credit downgrade on my Facebook page or website.

It has been wonderful being out in the community more lately connecting (safely) with residents and businesses. Please be sure to reach out if you need assistance or have thoughts you’d like to share: 250-470-5075, [email protected].

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About the Author

Tracy Gray, MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is the Official Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Export Promotion and International Trade.

She also serves on the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, and is a member of the National Caucus Committees Credit Union Caucus, Wine Caucus, and Aviation Caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the year, and Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award, worked for 27 years in the B.C. beverage industry.

She founded and owned Discover Wines VQA Wine Stores, which included the No. 1 wine store in B.C. for 13 years. She has been involved in small businesses in different sectors — financing, importing, oil and gas services and a technology start-up — and is among the “100 New Woman Pioneers in B.C."

Gray was a Kelowna city councillor for the 2014 term, on the Passenger Transportation Board 2010-2012, and elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library as a Trustee and was chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

She volunteers extensively in the community and welcomes connecting with residents.

She can be reached at 250-470-5075, and [email protected]



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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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