On the question of whether we should have a federal election there appears to be little, if any, debate. I have crisscrossed the constituency (and the country) a number of times this summer.
I have sent out my usual updates to you as my constituents and have received many responses. Also, as usual, I have received comments, advice and suggestions on a variety of issues. I have met across the riding with individuals, groups, businesses and associations.
On Saturday, I was doing my regular round of door knocking before heading back to Ottawa. With all of the above outreach I have not encountered one, I repeat, not one person who thinks the country should be going into an election.
This is not a partisan observation, clearly not everyone with whom I meet votes for me or the Conservative Party. As a matter of fact one of the people I talked to at the doors on the weekend made it very plain to me that she was a Liberal.
That's one of the reasons I value door knocking. People give me their views, eye to eye, unfiltered, sometimes raw and uncensored. It's probably the best way for me to get a sense of the pulse of the neighbourhood at a given point of time and on the question of excitement about an election, I can tell you there is no pulsating at all (other than the anger people feel that there are some politicians who appear to want an election).
So that is the position I will be taking to Ottawa this week. My constituents do not want another federal election right now. Period.
Yes, the job numbers released this week were better than expected and there are some encouraging economic signs showing up. But things are fragile at best and the global recessionary effects are ongoing.
People are telling us to stay focused on the economy. That is our plan.
There was another item that came up, unsolicited, at a number of doors -Harmonized Sales Tax, the HST. Some people I talked to understood that the decision to bring in a harmonized tax in BC is a provincial one. For others there was some confusion. So please allow me to clarify this.
The decision to bring in a harmonized tax in BC is a provincial one. Several provinces have moved to an HST. There is a process that was put in place several years ago by the federal Liberals to assist provinces which opt to move in that direction. We have made that same transition process and resources available to the BC government, at their request.
Moving to an HST is the decision of the province of BC. For details on what it means to you please feel free to call your local MLA.
I was also asked at the doors if the infrastructure program (Building Canada) is still pumping out the dollars locally. Basically, yes. From the outset of the program our goal was to accelerate the pace of needed projects in a way that would create jobs and stimulate the economy. All indications point to the success of that strategy.
In BC, the cooperation between the provincial and federal governments was exceptional. The majority of projects and dollars are already 'out there'. There are still federal dollars on the table. For many of the remaining projects, we and the municipalities are waiting for the BC government to decide on how they want to handle their dispersal of the provincial remaining funds.
We have worked well together on this to date and I'm sure that will continue.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.