MP Gray: In your service

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:

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,;

In case you missed it:

MP Gray: In your service

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


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

Just Posted

Paramedic Jason Manuel, dressed in PPE, inspects an ambulance at Station 341 on Nov. 30. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Second wave, twice the anxiety; Okanagan paramedics reflect on pandemic from the front line

‘I don’t know who that (next) person is going to be, I don’t want it to be me or my family’: Paramedic

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna’s 2021 preliminary budget proposes 4.27% tax increase

Proposed budget calls for eight new RCMP officers

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
First long-term care resident dies from COVID-19 in Interior Health

Man in his 80s dies following virus outbreak at Mountainview Village

One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

The former BC Tree Fruits office building at 1473 Water Street has been sold. (Contributed)
BC Tree Fruits downtown Kelowna office sold for $7.5M

Historic building sold for 44 per cent more than the $5.2-million asking price

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Police responded to W.L. Seaton Secondary after reports of young man attempting to smash car windows in the student parking lot on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Facebook)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

Member of W.L. Seaton Secondary exposure Nov. 26

The aftermath of the 3 a.m. fire in Keremeos. (Keremeos Fire Department)
Fire and explosion wakes Keremeos residents

A motorhome was consumed and a boat severely damaged after the 3 a.m. fire

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Margaret Holm
HOLM: Better Bicycle Lanes

Margaret Holm writes about solutions to global warming

The newly opened Switzmalph Child Care Centre at Salmon Arm offers culturally enriched programs featuring the Secwépemc culture but is open to children of all heritages. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Video: Switzmalph Child Care Centre shares culture with Shuswap community

New daycare at Salmon Arm offers Secwépemc culturally enriched programs to children of all heritages

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Man walking in the winter downtown.
Dyer: The role of air tightness testing in energy efficiency

Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley

Most Read