Kelowna-Lake Country MP says he’s close to opening an office in riding

Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr has staff in place but with no local office has only been accessible by phone or electronically.

Kelowna-Lake Country is close to having a fully-functioning MP’s office once again.

MP Stephen Fuhr said this week he is close to finalizing a deal to secure office space in downtown Kelowna and should have it open within the next few weeks.

While he has already hired staff for both his Kelowna and Ottawa offices, the Kelowna staff, like him, are currently only accessible electronically via Fuhr’s parliamentary’s email address: stephen.fuhr@parl.gc.ca.

He said while he is trying to push non-urgent meetings back to early January, if something urgent does come up, he will find a way to meet face-to-face with the constituent.

Two of the people Fuhr has hired to run his Kelowna and Ottawa offices will be familiar to locals. In Kelowna, he hired former Conservative MP Ron Cannan’s long-time constituency assistant Linda Baker. In Ottawa, he hired the woman who used to run Cannan’s office there.

He said while he did use Cannan’s old Capri Centre office in Kelowna for one meeting with a constituent shortly after he was sworn in, that office is now closed and cannot be used as it is not in the riding anymore.

The area south of Harvey Avenue was moved out of Kelowna-Lake Country and into the new Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding for the 2015 federal election. Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, which includes West Kelowna, is represented by Conservative MP Dan Albas.

Fuhr said so far about 25 per cent of the correspondence he has received as MP has come from people living in the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, some unaware they do not live in Kelowna-Lake Country anymore.

He is encouraging constituents of the other riding to contact Albas first, as he is their MP and should be their first point of contact when it comes to dealing with federal issues and programs.

As for working with Albas, Fuhr said he feels the two will be able to work well together for the area as a whole, despite being on opposite sides of the political fence.

“I didn’t know Dan before the election but I have met him (since then) a few times and he seems like a nice guy,” said Fuhr.