MP Gray: In your service

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray’s column

On August 12th, I was in the House of Commons in Ottawa, and had the opportunity to question Finance Minister Bill Morneau about Canada losing our AAA credit rating from Fitch Ratings earlier this summer. Little did I know at the time that I would be the last Member of Parliament to question Morneau prior to his resignation as Finance Minister and MP.

I focused on two reasons Fitch Ratings cited for our downgrade. First, Fitch cited Canada’s lack of an economic recovery plan, and I questioned when the government would be releasing a plan. Second, Fitch stated it was due to Canadian interprovincial trade barriers. I reminded the House about my questioning to Deputy Prime Minister Freeland about this three months ago, as it fell within her portfolio. The government had announced earlier in the year that they were putting a hold on all work being done to remove interprovincial trade barriers, and Minister Freeland answered that this was due to the pandemic. That was months ago, and with Canadian businesses working on recovery, many I talk to want to know when the removal of Canadian internal trade barriers work restarted and when there would be an update. As we work on economic recovery, now is the time to embrace made-in-Canada products and services. Unfortunately, we did not hear clear answers to either question.

It has become more evident than ever how important parliamentary standing committees are in a minority government, in particular with parliament not sitting fully since the pandemic was declared. Many revelations have come out through committee studies and questioning, such as improper government planning for the pandemic and its related programs, the WE Charity scandal, requests for proposals for various contracts, and more.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Industry, Science and Technology Standing Committee that I sit on has conducted studies on fraud and on the Investment Canada Act. We looked at whether Canada has strict enough laws against foreign state-owned enterprises purchasing Canadian companies. We’ve focused on the effects of the pandemic on institutions, workers and businesses. Recently, our Conservative team put motions forth to question the Privacy Commissioner about the COVID-19 mobile app and Amazon about reports of anti-competitive behaviour. In this minority Parliament, there are as many opposition party MPs as government MPs on committees. There are 6 Liberals (1 being the chair, who only votes in a tie), 4 Conservatives, 1 New Democrat, and 1 Bloc Québécois. The opposition parties have more often than not voted together to call witnesses and do studies.

Tourism is very important to our economy here in the Okanagan. It was one of the first to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and I’m hearing it will continue to have serious ongoing challenges. It’s disappointing that the Industry Committee scheduled only one short meeting to hear from the tourism sector, which contributes $100 billion to the economy and employs 1.8 million people in Canada. I made a statement to this effect prior to my questioning witnesses. I believe it is important that the committee hear from all aspects of tourism, from many stakeholders – whether individual businesses, local associations, or national groups, and from all regions so that a comprehensive report with recommendations can be given to the federal government. Tourism operators and organizations can write and share your thoughts with the committee so your voice is heard via email at: indu@parl.gc.ca.

You can view videos of my comments about tourism and questioning about our credit downgrade on my Facebook page or website. It has been wonderful being out in the community more lately connecting (safely) with residents and businesses. Please be sure to reach out if you need assistance or have thoughts you’d like to share: 250-470-5075, tracy.gray@parl.gc.ca; tracygraymp.ca.

In case you missed it:

MP Gray: In your service

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Reward offered for return of Kelowna puppy

An 11-week-old boxer-mastiff cross pup was allegedly taken from its Friday, Sept. 18

Spoken word virtuoso performs at Creekside Theatre in 2020

Tickets go on sale December 18 for spoken word artist Shane Kayzcan

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Woman refused entry after refusing to wear mask at store in Kelowna mall

The woman filmed the encounter at LUSH Cosmetics, where wearing a mask in-store is company policy

Smoky skies clearing throughout B.C. Interior

Environment Canada expects “widespread” improvement for all affected areas by Sunday

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read