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In-Your-Service

Connecting, budget, bills

This past week was a constituency week, which allowed me to focus on the aspect of being an MP that I care about the most – connecting directly with residents of Kelowna-Lake Country.

I was able to bring many residents and organizations new Canadian flags and visit numerous small businesses as part of my continued social media “small business spotlights.”

It was great to volunteer with CrimeStoppers Central Okanagan at their Shredding Event where a record number of people drove through, bringing a total of 11,370 kg of paper to be shredded by Okanagan Paper Shredding.

This fundraiser will help fight crime as well as contribute to the community’s spring-cleaning efforts.

Through back-to-back meetings (many virtual) and phone calls every day, residents of our community brought forth a number of timely and important concerns on many pressing topics.

I heard from many residents on the recently announced budget and the enormous deficit that it will leave our children and grandchildren.

The deficit for the 2020-21 fiscal year is projected to be $354.2 billion, with a further deficit of $154.7 billion in 2021-22.

Combined, that’s over $13,000 of new debt for every person in Canada in just those two years, and an eye-watering $52,000 for a family of four.

The non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer and others have expressed concern that the level of spending in the budget may be higher than necessary to stimulate the economy.

Many items in the budget unfortunately aren’t focused on economic recovery or programs helping the most affected people and businesses, but instead on election-like spending.

The biggest source of federal government funds last year wasn’t tax revenue or lenders, but central bank money printing.

The $303.5 billon of new printed money in 2020 is not free.

Too many dollars chasing too few goods risks increasing inflation — meaning everyone pays more for things such as housing, food, and transportation.

Statistics Canada just announced that the cost of living went up 3.4% in April alone.

With years of deficits that were not needed prior to the pandemic, it’s clear that the government has no real plan to secure our future through an economic recovery where all sectors in all regions are firing on all cylinders.

In addition to holding the government accountable on many issues, our Official Opposition Conservative team have been hard at work introducing common-sense legislation that will benefit many Canadians.

Here are just three Conservative private members’ bills that have gone through the House of Commons and are now at the Senate:

First, Bill C-208:

C-208 makes it equitable for small businesses and farms to sell to family members. This is a great relief for many multigenerational businesses.

As it stands now, if you sell your small business or farm to a total stranger, you are taxed less than if you were selling to a family member. While this legislation received unanimous support from all opposition party members, only 19 Liberals voted in favour.

Notably, those who voted against this bill included the Minister of Small Business and the Minister of Agriculture.

Second, Bill C-220:

Bill C-220 extends the length of compassionate care leave by up to three weeks after the death of a loved one. This bill aims to allow more time for caregivers to grieve and take care of practical necessities before returning to work.

Third, Bill C-210:

Bill C-210 allows Canadians to easily register as an organ donor through their annual tax return. This information would be passed on to provincial and territorial governments so that their wishes would be added to their local registry.

The House of Commons is now sitting until late in June and I’m sure there will be much to report. If you need any assistance with federal programs or have any thoughts to share, please feel free to reach out anytime.

Stay well. 250-470-5075 / [email protected] / TracyGrayMP.ca

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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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