Albas: Westside MP happy to see response to legislative initiatives

It was another very busy week in Ottawa touching on a number of different but important issues.

First, I would like to thank the many citizens and groups who commented on a report regarding invasive species, in particular freshwater mussels. It’s encouraging that so many people are supportive of the need to be proactive against invasive species.

Two other subjects that I have heard a large amount of feedback from citizens on in Okanagan-Coquihalla this week include opposition to the recent reclassification of certain long guns and support for Elizabeth May’s Private Members Bill C-442, the National Lyme Disease Strategy Act.

The decision to re classify certain firearms is currently under review, however, federal Minister of Safety Steven Blaney has announced an amnesty program to ensure that existing individuals “in possession of these firearms can continue to possess their property without threat of criminal charges.”

With respect to Bill C-442, currently this legislation has been introduced at first reading. I will provide further information on the progress of this private member’s Bill as it comes forward for second reading debate in the House of Commons.

Recently, Government Bill C-26 was also introduced in Parliament. Called the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, this legislation proposes a number of changes to those convicted of serious child offences—such as a requirement that those convicted of child sexual offences against multiple children to serve sentences consecutively rather than concurrently, and an increase for maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences.

Penalties will also be increased for violations of supervision orders and any crime committed while on house arrest or parole will be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing.

In addition, registered sex offenders will also be required to disclose more information when travelling abroad and more availability for spousal testimony in child pornography cases will be made available.

Thus far, the comments I have heard from citizens on Bill C-26 have been supportive.

Also occurring last week was a motion to recognize the importance of transparency and accountability in the expenditure of taxpayers’ money, and to instruct the non-partisan professional administrative staff of the House of Commons to begin posting all travel expenses incurred under the travel point system as well as hospitality expenses of Members to the Parliament of Canada website in a manner similar to the guidelines used by the government for proactive disclosure of ministerial expenses.”

As I am one of the MPs who has already been voluntarily posting these expenses, I naturally will be supporting the motion to ensure this information is provided to taxpayers as a regular part of internal economy administration reporting.

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