Kootenay-Columbia M.P. Wayne Stetski presented to Kimberley City Council on Monday, ahead of the Federal Election in October and the end of the 42nd Parliament.
He explained to Council that he was there to identify the priorities of his constituents.
On October 21, 2019 the Canadian Federal election will take place. Stetski explained that the writ will drop any day between September 1 and 15, which is when the 42nd Parliament will officially end and the election will begin. He estimates it will be closer to the 15th.
M.P. Stetski says that the top two concerns among people in this riding, especially millennials, is the lack of affordable housing and childcare.
“We need to create more options for childcare, and we need to pay employees properly. We need to advocate for these employees, who are mostly women, who are working hard to take care of our children,” he said. “We need their skills and expertise. This is a consistent concern around the riding.”
Councillor Kent Goodwin agreed, saying that childcare is extremely challenging in Kimberley.
“Childcare is a huge issue here. For example, Second Steps has received funding to improve and increase their space, but they have no employees. We need to figure out a way to be able to pay them better. How can we solve that problem?” Goodwin said.
Stetski responded saying that the answer is government subsidized childcare.
“We have to understand and recognize this value,” he said.
Other priorities for constituents in Kootenay-Columbia, Stetski says, are student loans, affordable and free pharma-care and climate change.
“Climate change, of course, is a huge issue. On September 20 there is a world-wide walkout taking place. I’m sure many schools and businesses will be participating, as I will,” Stetski said. “We have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but we also must take care of those who are working in the oil and gas industry.
“If we are going to transition out of using fossil fuels and into green energy, we need to make sure there are jobs for those in oil and gas during and after that transition.”
Stetski adds that three main things have taken place since the beginning of the 42nd Parliament that have changed Canada forever including medical assistance in dying, legalization of recreational cannabis and proportional representation.
He says that thousands of Canadians have already opted to use medical assistance in the event that they know they are dying.
He also pointed out that when cannabis was legalized, Kimberley was leading the charge, with two of three of the first cannabis stores opened here in town.
One of the issues however, Stetski says, is that seniors are struggling after medicinal products were taken off the market with legalization.
“It’s interesting for me,” said Stetski, “because I’ve spoken with many seniors who have said, ‘the government has made it easier for me to get high, but not to stay healthy'”.
Mayor Don McCormick agreed, saying that the Federal government has put billions of dollars into people quitting smoking (cigarettes), yet only legalized the smoking of cannabis.
Stetski also says that the Federal government needs to take micro and craft growers into consideration, and that many people have complained to him about the amount of garbage created through packaging of the product.
He says the regardless of the upcoming election, the government plans to make CBD creams and oils available at cannabis retailers come October.
M.P. Stetski urges all eligible members of the public to get out and vote on October 21. He also wants communities to know that he and his team are available to help.
“We have access to phone numbers, to people in the federal government who can help you with anything from student loans and pension to child and family benefits and veteran services,” he said.
To get in touch, email Stetski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone the Cranbrook office at 250-417-2250.