Dear Constituents, an update from my office:
Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs
Last week, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia reached an agreement to decriminalize the possession of up to 2.5 grams of many illicit drugs, including fentanyl. Over the last few years, we have witnessed a drastic increase in illicit drug use and overdose deaths in BC.
We must be compassionate with the people in our communities that require a path to recovery. We must provide them with the treatment and recovery options they need to recover, and we need a federal mental health strategy to prevent Canadians from turning to drugs.
Watch my statement in the House on this decision here.
Lytton Town Hall
On June 1, I attended the Lytton Town Hall to provide an update. I was pleased to share that the Minister of Pacific Economic Development offered his assistance in funneling applications for CEBA loan forgiveness to the relevant Ministers.
I highlighted the shortcomings of Canada’s disaster response and recovery system. Current programs in place simply do not meet the needs of Lytton right now and I continue pushing both the federal and provincial governments to deliver rapid and flexible emergency funding.
You can read my notes here.
In the House of Commons today, Minister Sajjan let me know that more announcements are forthcoming.
In the House
In the House of Commons, this time of year is always busy as the Government rushes to pass legislation ahead of the summer break. As such, things can be quite unpredictable. Last Monday, I was scheduled to speak on Bill C-18: Online News Act, but just hours before my allotted time, I was informed that the Government would be moving for time-allocation, which would shut down the debate before my speaking time.
Last Thursday, I was scheduled to speak during debate on the Standing Orders that govern the House of Commons procedure. In other words, they dictate how our democracy operates. However, due to a disruption by the Bloc Quebecois, my speech was once again cancelled.
Fortunately, Facebook Live exists, and you can watch both of my speeches on my page. If you aren’t following me on Facebook already, please consider doing so as I post regularly on my work in the House of Commons.
My speech on Bill C-18: https://fb.watch/dxHbHv86PN/
My speech on the Standing Orders: https://fb.watch/dxHafM-8RK/
This week the House has been debating Bill C-5: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This Bill would remove mandatory minimum sentences on a range of firearm and drug offenses, including but not limited to:
- Robbery with a firearm
- Weapons trafficking
- Importing or exporting a firearm knowing it is unauthorized
- Drug trafficking or the possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking
Bill C-5 would also allow for conditional sentencing (house arrest) for many offenses, including but not limited to:
- Sexual assault
- Trafficking in persons – material benefit
This Bill would allow many dangerous criminals to simply serve house arrest or face shorter sentences. My colleague, MP Larry Brock, was a Crown Prosecutor for 18 years and has an extremely informed viewpoint on this legislation. I would strongly encourage you to watch his speech on Bill C-5 here. His speech begins at 12:48:17.
Last night, I spoke on this Bill. You can watch my speech here.
Finally, yesterday at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs I presented an amendment to Bill C-14: Preserving Provincial Representation in the House of Commons Act to provide equal representation for British Columbia in the House of Commons. You can watch my comments on it here.
Unfortunately, the Chair ruled that my amendment was out of order as it did not fit under the scope of the Bill. While I disagree with her decision, I do believe my amendment was put forward in good faith.
Hearing From You
In my last email, I asked for your feedback on the ArriveCAN app, and I received 473 responses.
Here are some of the things I heard:
“I like that you set up a one-time profile and you just have to add your trip info after that. I like that you can fill out your family unit on one phone.”
“My wife and my accounts were linked which led to difficulties they didn't explain could happen. We had to figure that out ourselves. Border agents weren't reasonable during that phase.”
The majority of survey respondents reported facing technical difficulties, with the most common being that the app would not accept certain personal details such as email addresses. Additionally, many reported that information regarding current restrictions and mandates was out of date.
The overwhelming theme I heard was that this app should not remain in use. Nearly 80% of survey respondents felt this way. I heard repeatedly that many of the delays Canadian travelers are facing in our airports stem from technical glitches with this app.
This week, I want to hear your take on the decriminalization agreement between the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada. Click here to share your thoughts with me.
Something Not Political
Last week, our all-party MP soccer team, Commoners FC faced off against a team of Parliamentary staffers. It was a blast! Things can get heated in the House of Commons, so it is always great to connect with MPs and staff on all sides for some lighthearted fun after work.
Last night, we played against a team of diplomats. It was amazing to connect and have a bit of fun with representatives of many of the different diplomatic missions here in Ottawa!
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 where I post more frequent updates on my work as your MP.
Brad Vis, MP