COLUMN: A tale of two cabinet ministers

COLUMN: A tale of two cabinet ministers

To what degree do you believe a cabinet minister has a duty to be accountable to citizens of Canada?

In the spirit of the holiday season this I have decided to share a tale of two different cabinet ministers from my time as a Member of Parliament representing the concerns of local citizens here in the riding.

In my first year as a Member of Parliament, a man who was a citizen from another country and had a permit to live and work in Canada, decided to take a weekend trip to visit the United States, a common activity for those who live near the border.

Upon return to the Canadian border, the man in question experienced an unfortunate incident where he was ordered to be removed from Canada within seven days.

The removal order was based on claims that the man was not legally in Canada to begin with.

This occurred despite legal documents the man possessed that clearly indicated this was not the case.

It was evident that a mistake had been made but the wheels of Ottawa bureaucracy turn very slowly.

This issue in question was brought to my attention by a local MLA who reached out and advocated on behalf of the man, requesting he be allowed to stay according to the terms of his original admissibility documents.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Considering Canada’s relationship with China

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Forestry deserves to be discussed in Ottawa

Fortunately, the Minister of Immigration (at the time) was willing to hear the details of the case and ultimately corrected the error and restored faith in the fairness of our administrative process.

I respect this minister, who is no longer a MP, to this day for demonstrating the leadership necessary to right a wrong that could have easily been buried behind bureaucracy.

On a different note, more recently I was approached by a small business owner from the Okanagan.

This small business owner has been successfully importing goods for resale worldwide for close to two decades.

Over that time frame this business now employs over a dozen people full time and has invested significantly in a local Okanagan community.

Recently, and without warning, a federal agency refused entry to a shipment of goods destined for this small business.

These were the same goods imported to Canada for close to 20 years without incident.

To add insult to injury, no specific reasons have been provided to the small business to justify what was clearly an arbitrary decision made by this agency.

These unaccountable bureaucrats have refused to assist in any meaningful way to produce a solution or even a course of action to resolve whatever issue is ultimately at play.

They have stated that the products are not in compliance, yet will not offer any forward guidance as to which rules are being broken or how they can be brought into compliance, citing that it is the job of the small business and not the department in question.

This attitude stands diametrically opposed to the government’s rhetoric of encouraging small businesses to expand and export.

From my perspective, this is the type of situation that gives government bureaucracy a bad name.

I took this issue directly to the minister in question who sadly has sided with the department and will not offer any useful assistance.

This small business owner faces the potential of losing a significant amount of money that was invested in the inventory that was paid for prior to shipping.

There was a solution here.

Considering the same goods have entered Canada for close to two decades, this shipment could have been released with a directive that it would be the final shipment unless whatever corrective action deemed necessary is identified and undertaken. In the absence of that, the local small business suffers.

I will not be identifying either minister referenced in my report today but share this with you to ask one simple question.

To what degree of importance do you believe a cabinet minister has a duty to be accountable to the citizens of Canada they serve?

I would like to wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year in 2020.

I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Hedley, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The old Shielings Motel is being demolished for an eventual roundabout to reduce congestion between Skaha Lake Road and South Main Street. The city is also hoping to have affordable seniors housing there too. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Affordable seniors housing coming to Shielings Motel site in Penticton

The city hopes to turn a portion of the site into affordable housing

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
UPDATE: COVID-19 exposure at Penticton independent school after school program

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in Interior Health schools

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read