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Concern for Ukraine and handling of Ottawa protest from Okanagan MPs

Conservative MPs Tracy Gray and Dan Albas spoke at a Kelowna Chamber luncheon Feb. 24
Kelowna-Lake Country MP, Tracy Gray, left and Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas

“Canadians push back against tyranny and bullying.”

That’s what Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas told a Kelowna Chamber luncheon on Thursday, Feb. 22 just hours after Russia invaded Ukraine. Albas and Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray were the main speakers at the event.

Albas said he agreed with most of what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday in imposing sanctions against Russia.

“We need to have a united front when it comes to these kinds of challenges,” said Albas. “We need to make it very clear that we will not tolerate this and anyone in the Putin regime that we can sanction, we should sanction, and we should encourage other countries to do the same.”

Gray was in agreement with Albas regarding sanctions and Canada standing with its allies.

“Our heart goes out to the people of Ukraine,” she said. “We do have a lot of people in our community, in the Central Okanagan, that have family back home (Ukraine). So we need to be there to support them during this really difficult time.”

One of the other topics Gray and Albas spoke to was the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to remove protesters from the streets around Parliament Hill. Gray said the Conservatives had asked immediately, and on several more occasions, what did the government need that they didn’t have in place already?

“How can you go to the most extreme measure without having done other actions before then?” asked Gray. “We never had any answers from the government. We had seen many times in history where there were a lot of crises in Canada that never justified the Emergencies Act. So for a number of reasons we weren’t supportive.”

Albas said Prime Minister Trudeau didn’t help the process and only added fuel to the fire. He said government should have used a different approach than the Emergencies Act.

“We’re a country of law,” said Albas. The party (Conservatives) has always taken the position that we will listen to people. We will try to represent as best we can in the House of Commons and raise views, some views the Trudeau government has dealt as out of hand. At the end of the day, we need to have good debates in the House where people feel represented. We also need to have the rule on the streets. That’s how it works.”

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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