Now that the first anniversary has passed since the 2015 federal election, I’m often asked how I like being your Member of Parliament. Great question!
Every time I walk to Parliament Hill and see the Peace Tower, my place of work and home to Canada’s House of Commons, it still has the wow value. It is such an honour to be serving the citizens of Kootenay–Columbia.
What I like best is learning more about our communities in Kootenay-Columbia and communities across Canada every day. I learn about the challenges facing those who live in our riding, and the frustrations they are facing with various federal government departments.
I work hard at resolving these concerns because the public service aspect of my role is important to me. I have travelled the riding listening to your concerns about climate change, democratic reform, food security, protecting our rivers and lakes, small business challenges and national parks. By understanding your concerns about these and many other issues, I will continue to be your strong voice in Ottawa.
My team works hard to keep you informed through news releases, articles like this one, monthly newsletters, issue-based mail-outs, and quarterly householders sent to every mailbox in the riding. Collectively we respond to thousands of emails, and hundreds of phone calls and social media messages every month. I love how interested you are in what’s happening in the riding and in Canada. For example we received almost 700 mail-back responses on democratic reform alone.
The House of Commons sits for six months of the year and during the other six months I spend a lot of time visiting the amazing places we get to call home here in Kootenay-Columbia. All MPs struggle with striking a healthy work-life balance. We never get used to missing family events like birthdays and anniversaries, or cancelling out on going to the symphony or to WHL or junior hockey games with family and friends.
That is the price that all members of Parliament pay, particularly if they are from large rural ridings far from Ottawa. Ours is 64,336 square-kilometres, serves 107,589 people, and is a seven hour drive corner to corner. Every flight between Cranbrook and Ottawa takes eight to 10 hours one way.
You sent me to Ottawa to work collaboratively to build a better Canada, and I am proud to have developed friendships with Members from all parties. When personal or national tragedies occur we stand united in our support and in our belief in public service, and you expect no less.
There are three years to go in the life of Canada’s 42nd Parliament and I look forward to meeting many more of you. Thank you for being such great constituents – your interest and caring for our home in Kootenay–Columbia is very much appreciated.