Weekly Commentary  

Around our town(s)

Congratulations Duncan Keith! Hey, it's not that we were without exciting items to talk about related to the Olympics, but our own hockey star from Penticton (and former Rockets star) being picked to play on Team Canada is great news!

If you were already planning to be glued to the screen for Olympic events now you have another reason to be writing the hockey games into your calendar.

By the way, some people locally have been asking me if I'm planning to be at the Olympics. Well, first of all, of course I was crushed to not be asked to compete for Canada in any of the events. (Obviously the coaches have never seen me skate or ski.....oh well, time for me to move over and let some of the younger athletes get a shot at the gold I guess.)

As far as attending, we have established a new policy for MP's that requires (quite rightly) that they pay for Olympic tickets themselves. So I was able to buy two tickets for one of the non-playoff hockey games. It will be a great experience just to attend. And at the time I bought mine there were still some seats available, if you're interested.

I will be in Vancouver for a good part of the time during the Olympics in my function as Minister for International Trade and the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

We are in the process right now of arranging meetings with the government officials and business reps from other countries who are responsible for trade and investment in their nations. While they are attending the Olympics I will meet within our International Trade display area to help them understand the benefits (for everyone) of investing (and creating jobs) in Canada.

Local employment will be one of the items on my agenda next Monday as I meet here with representatives from the Forestry Council. As you may recall we created a federal fund to assist communities which have been hard hit by the pine beetle problem and the drop in global prices for forestry products in general.

We have been able to direct a good portion of those bucks around the constituency and we will meet to look at what more can be done. Also, next Monday I have a number of constituent meetings already booked but still have a couple of slots open. As usual, just call the office and we'll do our best to fit you in.

I've also set aside time for some door-knocking. As regular readers of this column know, I maintain a year round program of door-knocking in between elections as well as during elections. I have found this to be one of the best ways to hear from you, the voters and taxpayers. There's nothing quite like getting the views of people right on their doorsteps - no filters, no handlers, just me getting the straight goods from you.

So I may be at your door next week either in the Peachland/ Westside area or up in Merritt and Logan Lake.

I'm also looking forward to speaking next week at one of our local Rotary Clubs. Rotary, like many other local service clubs, is always a good venue for feedback.

I am constantly impressed at how so many of you are involved in a wide array of volunteer initiatives for others, despite being busy working hard raising your own families. When it comes to getting advice on spending taxpayer dollars efficiently there's nothing quite like hearing from volunteers like you who know the value of a dollar.

From Tuesday to Thursday I will be in Ottawa for regular meetings related to my cabinet responsibilities.

Friday I will be in Vancouver to do an announcement related to the Asia-Pacific Gateway to enhance our port and shipping capabilities.

Then on Friday evening and Saturday I will be in Merritt and Logan Lake on economic and employment matters.

By the way, if you're looking for something fun and a bit of a getaway, next week's Polar Carnival in Logan Lake features great local events including a pond hockey tournament with teams from far and wide.

So that's more or less how things look for me next week. Hope yours works well for you as we sail into the New Year.

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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