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In-Your-Service

Bringing Kelowna-Lake Country issues to Ottawa

The work of an MP

My role as your Member of Parliament is to bring the voice of Kelowna—Lake Country to Ottawa, rather than be Ottawa’s voice in Kelowna—Lake Country.

That’s why in this week’s column, I’m going to highlight some of the work I’ve been doing to bring your priorities to Ottawa.

The rapid increase of housing prices in our community over the last several years is one of the most pressing issues facing our residents. From first-time homebuyers to new parents and to seniors on fixed incomes, the housing crisis is impacting everyone.

Recently, a local 15-year-old said to me “the dream of home ownership - is only a dream.” That comment hits the core of what has become one of the most frequent debates in the House of Commons and I quoted it to the parliamentary secretary to the federal housing minister when I asked why the government’s housing initiatives have failed to cool housing prices in the Okanagan.

I wish I could say the parliamentary secretary answered my questions substantively, but sadly, what I got for an answer was a rehashing and doubling down of the government’s dysfunctional housing policies over the past seven years, which have failed to have any impact on bringing prices down during their time in government.

A senior recently said to me she was holding her electric bill in one hand while looking in her pantry and deciding whether to pay her bill or buy food. That was just after she told me she and her husband had to go back to work part-time.

I brought the resident’s comments to Question Period. Thirty-year high inflation is hurting everyone and yet the government in Ottawa is failing to grasp the struggle everyday people are going through.

I also often look to meet with locals when they are in Ottawa and did so with an owner of a local RV dealership who was bringing forth issues affecting the RV and campground industries.

Our visit happened to coincide with the Canadian Environment Commissioner's release of his carbon tax study, which showed the government had not addressed the impact the carbon tax has had on small business owners across our country.

As I was questioning the environment minister that same day, I used our local RV business as a real-world example of how the minister’s policies were falling short of the government’s commitment to help small businesses recover.

While a real answer was sadly not forthcoming from the minister, I was happy to host our local resident to watch in the House of Commons during Question Period that day.

If you plan to visit Ottawa, now that Parliament has re-opened to the public, be sure to reach out to me so I can let you know what is required to get a tour or attend Question Period.

Also, that week, I had the opportunity to invite Michael J. Balingall, the chairman of the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association and senior vice-president of Big White Ski Resort, to present at the Industry Committee on how tourism businesses have been impacted over the last few years, and what needs to be done to restore competitiveness.

He touched on the need to streamline processes to ensure travellers have confidence when coming to Canada, the need to address backlogs and labour shortages in our airports, as well as onerous red tape like the ArriveCAN application. We also heard about labour shortages many of our local small businesses are experiencing, and proposals about how to improve this situation.

You can see videos of some of the examples I cite in this column on my social media and on my website.

As Parliament continues to sit, I look forward to continuing to stand up for Kelowna-Lake Country in Ottawa.

If you need any assistance with programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out. At 250-470-5075 or at [email protected]

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

Tracy Gray, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is her party's critic for Employment, Future Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

She is a member of the national caucus committee’s credit union caucus, wine caucus, and aviation caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the 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, sat on the Passenger Transportation Board from 2010-2012 and was elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the boards of the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library and was chairwoman 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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