2022 was a milestone year in many ways.
I often refer to sudden acts of generosity as the “Spirit of Kelowna-Lake Country”. We saw this spirit many times throughout the year, including when people stepped up to help our local Ukrainian community, and Ukrainian refugees as their homeland came under attack.
Canada saw 40-year high inflation. The high-tax, high-spend, high-debt agenda of the NDP-supported Liberal government is hitting people hard and stories about how people and small businesses are struggling are heartbreaking.
The Governor of the Bank of Canada said Canada’s inflation is home grown. With record housing prices, rising interest rates and economic slowdown, we can all see the dream of home ownership for many is now just that, a dream. To combat these problems, I've fought for tax relief on gas, groceries and home heating.
The number one topic residents reached out about most was the invocation of the Emergencies Act for the first time. Conservatives fought against unscientific federal mandates and various legislation, including removing minimum sentencing for serious crimes, internet censorship, online changes to help only the largest media organizations and the prohibition of rifles used by hunters, farmers, First Nations and sport shooters.
The Auditor General released a scathing report on the (government’s) housing strategy to curb homelessness and another which highlighted billions of tax dollars that were misallocated in Canada’s pandemic spending towards unqualified applicants and the largest corporations.
I introduced my first Private Members Bill, the “End the Revolving Door Act”, to provide mental health assessment, addiction treatment and recovery in federal penitentiaries. More than 70% of people sentenced to jail struggle with addiction and my bill provides a common-sense approach to help people, their families and the communities they return to.
As a person adopted at birth, I also put a motion on notice similar to what other countries have, to celebrate adoption by calling for a National Adoption Awareness Month.
It was a privilege to be appointed as Employment, Future Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion critic by new Conservative leader, Pierre Poilievre. I’ve focused on looking at the labour crisis in Canada and what common sense policies can be implemented.
Leading the Conservative team on the Canada Disability Benefit bill, I was happy to recommend an amendment that was passed at committee for expedited benefit reviews to see if there are unintended issues, such as interactions with other programs that could affect people.
It also was wonderful to be around the community, volunteering and attending fundraisers, pancake breakfasts, community cleanups, visiting farms as part of my annual farming tour and meeting with residents, businesses and not-for-profits organizations.
Paying tribute to veterans at numerous Remembrance Day events was important to me as well as having our booth set up at car shows, Vaisakhi and Canada Day, where I saw lots of people coming to chat and kids enjoying our colouring table.
Thousands of residents responded to my many surveys sent to homes. Reaching out allows me to gain important feedback, which I bring to Ottawa. Thank you to everyone who engaged with my surveys over the course of the year.
Many residents had challenges accessing federal government services, including the CRA, passports, NEXUS, immigration, veterans’ disability, or various benefits. Most departments are not meeting service standards. I want to thank my team members for their dedication to serving our residents while they overflow with opportunities to serve.
I hosted a ceremony to present the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pins to locals who contributed to our community. We didn’t realize at the time that it was the day before Queen Elizabeth II’s passing. Parliament was recalled and I attended the National Commemorative Ceremony in Ottawa.
I advocated for a full-service passport office in Kelowna so residents don’t have to travel to Surrey. The statistics justify this addition to service, and many local organizations support my initiative.
It is an honour to serve the residents of Kelowna—Lake Country as your voice in Ottawa.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and happy New Year.
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This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.