MP REPORT: New regulations and legislation introduced

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and writes this weekly report for his constituents.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla.

Late last week I had the pleasure of sending out a news release– for those of you who may have missed it here is the opening few paragraphs:

“Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas welcomes new regulations to better protect BC freshwater lakes from invasive species.

Today Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea announced new proposed Invasive Species Regulations that create new regulatory tools that will help to prevent the spread of invasive species such as freshwater zebra and quagga mussels. The new regulations will create importation prohibitions at the border including other provisions relating to control and eradication.”

As I pointed out in the news release these new regulations are an important first step to better protect BC freshwater lakes from invasive species. We know here in southern BC that lakes such as Osoyoos, Okanagan and the Shuswap are very popular with destination boaters. We also know that there are now several lakes south of the border that are infested with invasive species such as freshwater mussels. Having regulations in place at the border is a critical first step towards prevention.

In the event a major lake has been infested the potential to spread to other nearby lakes is significantly increased; with so many pristine freshwater lakes in British Columbia this is a matter that could have a serious impact on British Columbia. Although this announcement is encouraging other measures will also be required and this will be an issue I will continue to work on.

Another recent announcement is from Government is the recent introduction of the Price Transparency Act. This Act proposes new regulatory powers for the Commissioner of Competition to investigate situations where retail practices result in pricing being significantly higher for an the same item sold in Canada compared to a lower price in the United States. Unequal pricing, often referred to as geographic price discrimination, can result in Canadian consumers facing significantly higher prices for similar goods then what can be purchased from across the border. There are other factors that can influence price that can include tariffs, transportation costs, variable exchange rate, market size and insufficient competition. The Price Transparency Act will allow the Commissioner of Competition an expanded mandate to investigate all of these factors to determine why a differential in pricing exists and what remedies may be available. It is estimated that Canadians frequently pay prices that are between 10% to 25% higher for goods in Canada compared to the United States. The intent of the Price Transparency Act is to help lower these price differentials and extend the purchasing power for Canadian consumers. For further information on this or any Bill before the House of Commons please do not hesitate to contact me atDan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or via phone at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and writes this weekly report for his constituents.