Parliament is back in session!
I was recently sworn in as your Member of Parliament and I want to send out a huge thank you to the people of Brandon-Souris for allowing me to serve them again.
I am ready to hit the ground running and immediately get to work on putting forward lasting solutions to the challenges that the people of our constituency face.
While I don't know just yet what will be in the Government's Throne Speech, I wanted to take a moment to outline some of my priorities for the upcoming Parliament and what I will be pushing for in the next federal budget.
Due to the minority Parliament, opposition Members of Parliament will have far more influence, as the Liberal government does not have the necessary votes to unilaterally pass legislation.
I was elected to serve everyone, not just the people who voted for me.
That work began the day after the election and now is the time for action. We have such tremendous potential in our region and we must seize it.
Westman must be a place of opportunity for everyone.
I am committed to working with any Member of Parliament or any political party to get results for you.
In the coming months, here are some of the areas that I will be working on to make sure that challenges that Westman residents face are front and centre:
- Open new markets around the world for our first-class agricultural products and take advantage of existing deals, such as the European Free Trade Agreement. Our canola and other agri-food products are second to none and due to trade disruptions, there is a financial strain on our farm families and local businesses. We need to improve the Business Risk Management Programs that assist farmers in times of market disruptions or weather-related challenges. We also must attract new agri-food opportunities to Manitoba and create wealth and jobs through value added operations.
- There is a housing shortage in Westman, particularly for our seniors. The federal government must commit to long-term and predictable funding, so our non-profit organizations can leverage those dollars and get building as soon as possible. The co-op housing model is one that works, and the results are tremendous. The federal government must also partner with our rural communities and get units built so that no one must leave their municipality for lack of housing. Time is of the essence. The federal government should make funding available, so organizations that want to spearhead housing initiatives can plan appropriately.
- Our highways and critical infrastructure, such as water and sewer systems, need updating. The federal government must prioritize projects that will create long-term economic growth, particularly for projects outside of major metropolitan centres. The federal government has taken far too long to get dollars out the door and get projects started. We need to get the fundamentals right, so our communities can grow, and those with smaller tax bases can still afford to make the necessary infrastructure improvements for their residents.
- The rise of crime rates, especially in our rural communities must be dealt with. People deserve to feel safe in their homes and communities. I will continue to advance the 13 rural crime proposals that he previously presented to the government. I want to speed up RCMP staff allocations and increase their community presence. And for those suffering from addictions, the federal government must invest in more treatment centres and make the recovery from addiction the goal of substance abuse policy.
- Having highspeed internet or access to a reliable cellphone signal are no longer considered luxuries, they are necessities in today’s economy. Far too many communities lack access to these services. Not being able to call 911 in an emergency or to get a weather alert on your phone, is an unnecessary risk. The federal government can partner with municipalities to ensure that cellphone coverage is expanded, and new towers get built. We must also encourage new players to enter the marketplace and to give consumers more options.
- Veterans are still waiting months and months to access the services and benefits they need. Redtape is hurting those who need it the most. It is long past time to enshrine a military covenant to demand that all Veterans are given the respect they deserve by federal officials and institutions and to mandate the delivery of services in a timely manner. We must get right to work to clear the backlog of Veterans benefit applications and ensure no Veteran is worse off under the new pension rules.
- The quality of our local environment impacts our lives. I recognize the important work that is being done across the region, such as farmers who manage their family land, so they can pass their farms down to their children or community organizations who work to improve the water quality of their lakes and rivers. To improve the conditions of our wetlands and to recognize their importance of combating climate change, while also slowing down water during times of flooding, it is time to introduce incentive-based programs that will restore and maintain critical habitats.
- Life is getting more expensive and far too many people are just getting by. I will urge the government to conduct a complete review of the consumer price index, which is used to calculate increases to federal benefits, such as CPP, OAS, and GIS. Inflation and increasing taxes are eroding people’s disposable income. Seniors who have worked so hard to save up for their retirement, should be able to have financial security.
- Our energy sector provides good paying jobs to countless people across the country, even right here in Westman. We must unite our country, get pipelines built and become energy independent. To provide greater certainty, we need to move forward on a new National Energy Corridor that will minimize environmental impacts. We must also facilitate employment between indigenous communities and resource development companies to create new high-paying jobs.