Brad Vis, MP Remarks - Lytton Town Hall Meeting, April 28, 2022
Good evening, everyone. On behalf of MP Vis, I would like to thank you for the invitation to join and thank the Village of Lytton for hosting this townhall meeting. MP Vis sends his regrets for not be able to speak with you tonight. It’s been another busy week in Ottawa and he is currently in the air, flying home as we speak. My name is Andrea and I am the Director of Parliamentary Affairs. Brittany who normally attends is unable to join and so I am speaking with you tonight from Ottawa.
Last Wednesday and Thursday MP Vis had the opportunity to visit Lytton and was happy to speak with many of you at the Resiliency Centre and others in the community. The frustration, tears, anger and exhaustion are very real and living in limbo with unknown timelines and ever moving goal posts certainly exasperates the situation. He feels and knows your frustration.
MP Vis heard from businesses that took advantage of COVID-19 relief programs like the Canada Emergency Bank Account and are now struggling with repayment. He is working with Minister Sajjan and hopes to meet with him in short order on loan forgiveness. There is also precedence for federal funding to businesses in light of the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire and even more recent precedence with the funds downtown Ottawa businesses received during the protests. The same principle should be applied here.
The situation with Canada Post has been unacceptable for quite some time and while MP Vis was in Lytton he learned that the temporary office cannot even sell stamps! MP Vis has brought this issue forward to Canada Post along with the issue of PO boxes and the delay on the larger trailer. As we understand it, the larger trailer is ready to go and final arrangements are being made Lytton First Nation. We will continue to work with Canada Post on getting solutions.
Since the last Lytton Community Townhall, the federal budget was tabled. After British Columbia experienced the worst wildfires and atmospheric rivers witnessed in our history, we had high hopes for disaster recovery funding in Budget 2022. Unfortunately, this budget falls significantly short of what our communities need. That said, we know the provincial and federal governments are negotiating where the $5B earmarked for BC disaster recovery will be spent and there are other funding opportunities for infrastructure once the municipal government is in a position to apply.
Budget 2022 allocated $24.7 million over five years to an Emergency Preparedness Secretariat. In the meantime, MP Vis is working locally with many communities on immediate emergency assistance and recovery.
MP Vis looks forward to working with the Village on the Housing Accelerator Fund and the Rapid Housing Initiative, both of which are federal funds to create affordable housing in vulnerable communities when they are ready to apply.
As always, MP Vis’ office remains open should you require assistance with re-establishing any ID lost in the fire like Passports or immigration documents and is available to help should you run into any issues with CRA filing your taxes this year.
Thank you to everyone working hard to restore the community. Our ability to see the rebuild come to fruition determines where families will celebrate the next birthdays and holidays, where entrepreneurs will achieve new targets, and where the Lytton Warriors Basketball teams will dunk their next win. These milestones deserve to be celebrated at home, in Lytton. Let’s keep working together and make it happen. Thank you.