MP REPORT: The importance of listening

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

This week is the final constituency week before the House of Commons adjourns in late June for what is expected to be the final sitting of the 41st Parliament.

Constituency weeks are important for Members of Parliament as they provide an opportunity to meet with groups and citizens in our home ridings to hear feedback and in many cases provided assistance in dealing with federal government programs and services.

Later in the week I will be travelling to the Lower Mainland to participate in a skills training related announcement that will outline details for a new program that will soon be available in many parts of Canada. What is exciting about this announcement is that the idea for the program in question originated with a citizen who lives within our riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla and his team at a B.C. based post-secondary institution.

Although this is not the first time a local citizen from our region has submitted a suggestion that resulted in national attention, it is from my own experience the first time a program has come forward from a local proposal to be implemented by Government. In my view the fact that a private citizen living in a relatively small community can submit an idea that can have national implications is exciting. It is also a testament to the importance of feedback, input and suggestions put forward by citizens to elected officials that in turn can be presented directly to the level of government they are elected to represent.

While this pending announcement will likely not receive a significant amount of media attention nor the fact that it came from a proposal from a private citizen, it is important to recognize the difference that Canadians can make in contributing ideas in how to build a stronger Canada. In my brief time as an elected official I have been fortunate to be involved in changes both related to local government and more recently the federal government. Many of these changes all came from ideas and suggestions from citizens and is one of the reasons why each year I do a listening tour.

For those of you who frequently read my weekly reports you will know that each week I ask citizens to always feel free to contact me with comments, questions and concerns on matters before the House of Commons. This is often where ideas come from and I would like to thank the many citizens who do take the time to respond and invite others to give me a call or send an email. When citizens work together with their elected representatives we can continue to build a stronger Canada. Please contact me via email at dan.albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

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