February 13, 2024

Dear Constituents, an update from my office: 

After a winter break spent connecting with constituents and getting some much-needed rest and quality time with my family, I am feeling energized. It is great to be back in Ottawa holding the government to account while raising the issues that matter most to you. As housing affordability challenges worsen and the cost-of-living continues to rise, there is a lot of work ahead of us this winter and spring.  

An update on Bill C-27 

As we return to the House, the Industry Committee’s study on Bill C-27: Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022 has resumed with a focus on the artificial intelligence (AI) portion of the bill. One thing that has been very clear is that the federal government is not prepared to effectively regulate AI to protect Canadians. In our first week back, experts called for greater resources to ensure privacy rights are protected. 

Last Monday, we heard from Yoshua Benjio, a computer science professor at the Université de Montréal who has been dubbed a “godfather” of AI. He called for strong regulations to protect Canadians from misuse of the technology and to prepare for potential AI threats from authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. 

On Wednesday, we heard from representatives of big tech firms including Google, Microsoft and Meta. During my time to speak, I covered a range of topics including children’s privacy, national defense and the government’s woeful lack of capacity to effectively regulate AI. You can find this must watch clip here. 

Recently, I launched a comprehensive survey on Bill C-27, seeking your input on the future of Canada’s privacy and artificial intelligence laws. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts here. Your feedback is greatly appreciated as we work to fix this bill and ensure it keeps Canadians and their data safe. 

Expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) for Mental Illness 

Currently before the House is Bill C-62, an act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), No. 2. This bill would further delay the expansion of MAID eligibility to those whose only medical condition is a mental illness until March 2027. Presently, those with mental illness as the only condition will become eligible for MAID this March. 

Despite repeated calls for the protection of the most vulnerable, the government failed to act responsibly.  Around this time last year, instead of cancelling the expansion of MAID for mental illness, the Liberal government introduced last-minute legislation to impose a temporary one-year pause.   

This past fall the Liberals had an opportunity to get rid of this expansion altogether.  

In February 2023, my colleague Ed Fast, Member of Parliament for Abbotsford, tabled Bill C-314, which would have cancelled the expansion of MAID to those with mental illness as the sole condition. When the bill came up for a second reading vote in October, the Liberals, along with the Bloc Quebecois, shamefully defeated it.   

I am firmly opposed to the expansion of MAID to those who suffer solely from a mental illness. My Conservative colleagues and I believe that we should never give up on those experiencing mental illness and that we should always be focused on offering help and treatment rather than assisted death. I encourage you to watch my speech from last February as the House debated Bill C-39, which was the government’s first delay of this expansion. 

In the House 

Housing affordability continues to be a top issue for many Canadians. Our housing supply remains woefully insufficient to meet the needs of Canadians, and millions more homes need to be built quickly. The Liberals’ housing plan hasn’t worked, and the NDP continually criticizes it despite supplying confidence to the Liberal government and supporting their housing policies. Recently, I highlighted this during debate on the Fall Economic Statement and called on the NDP to drop their confidence in the Liberals. 

Debate continues on the implementation bill for the Fall Economic Statement, and I recently took the opportunity to highlight how only a fraction of the funding promised to rebuild British Columbia and prepare for future disasters has been delivered. This was exposed in a response to an Order Paper Question I submitted in November.. Despite all of the government’s grand promises, photo-ops and announcements since 2021, the Fraser Valley remains seriously unprepared for another major flooding of the Sumas River. As your MP I am committed to ensuring our region is prepared the next time a disaster strikes. 

Being back in Ottawa has also given me the opportunity to raise more of your concerns directly on the floor of the House via petitions. Last week, I presented petitions calling for the cancellation of proposed new regulations on natural health products as well as the Prison Needle Exchange Program, which is making the job even more dangerous for Correctional Officers. I also tabled a petition calling for more concrete action to stop spam calls which have defrauded Canadians for millions of dollars. If you would like to sponsor a petition on any topic, please contact my office and my staff can assist you! 

Last Monday, the House debated a Conservative motion to cancel the planned Carbon Tax increase on April 1st. During the debate, I asked a Liberal MP whether he believed it was fair for Canadians to pay more in Carbon Tax than on the actual fuel used to heat their homes. Frustratingly, he wouldn’t even answer the question and instead resorted to old talking points on rebates. Conservatives remain committed to axing the tax to bring home lower prices on gas, groceries, and home heating. 

On Tuesday, I gave a Member’s Statement on the alarming new statistics from the Superintendent of Bankruptcy. In 2023, business insolvencies increased by 41.4%, and Statistics Canada continues to report that more businesses are closing their doors than are opening. Locally, in the Abbotsford-Mission census district, 62 more businesses closed than opened in October 2023. The federal government must stop its attack on small business through red tape and high taxes and turn Canada back into a place where small businesses can not only survive but thrive. 

In the riding 

It was great to be back in Lillooet for a challenging but fruitful townhall in January. Many residents came out to discuss their concerns with me. We covered a range of issues from the Israel-Hamas war to small business and passenger rail. If you live in Lillooet, you may have read the recent articles in the Lillooet News which covered this event. While I know some folks disagree with my position on the Israel-Hamas war (that the terrorist organization Hamas must release all the hostages they have taken and relinquish control over Gaza), this was an important discussion, and I will never shy away from tough questions.  

It has been over 2 ½ years since the Lytton fire and progress to rebuild has been slow at best. While in the Fraser Canyon, I was able to meet with Lytton Mayor O’Connor alongside Councillors Michell and Thoss. We had a great meeting discussing the ongoing efforts to rebuild the town. I’m thrilled some building permits are finally being issued, but the provincial government’s ongoing archeology assessments are still slowing down most projects.

I continue to fight for the necessary aid that Lytton needs, specifically pushing to get the Lytton Business Restart Program up and running. 

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbotsford and connect with small business owners and farmers. Much like other small businesses, farmers and their suppliers are struggling under the pressure of bureaucratic red tape and high taxes. I will continue to advocate for policies that get bureaucracy out of the way, lower taxes, and respect Canadian farmers. 

Happy Lunar New Year! 

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of participating in the Vancouver Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade. I had a great time connecting and celebrating with the East Asian communities of British Columbia as they rang in the Year of the Dragon. May this year be one of happiness, good health, and prosperity! 

Hearing from you 

In my last update, I asked for your feedback on my work in 2023. In total, 62 people filled out the survey; thank you for the feedback! Please see the full results below. 

This week, I want to hear your thoughts on Bill C-27 as we continue our study at the Industry Committee. Let me know by filling out my survey here.   

Please note that I read all of your responses and they are extremely helpful in guiding my work on your behalf; however, these surveys often receive responses from only a small fraction of the people who read these emails. I hope you’ll take the time to share your thoughts so that I can be well informed on your concerns. 

You’re my boss  

Your feedback is valued.  Please do not hesitate to contact my office to voice your concerns or seek assistance with any federal government programs at 604-814-5710 or [email protected]. I also encourage you to follow me on Facebook, X (Twitter)Instagram, and YouTube, where I post more frequent updates on my work as your MP.

Thank you, 

Brad Vis, MP  

Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon