My apologies, another very long community update. It has been another busy few weeks here in the riding hosting town halls and reconnecting with constituents.
Before I begin, a big thank you from the Vis family. We were positively overwhelmed with all the notes of congratulations on the birth of our daughter, Launa Grace.
I’m scheduled for a few more days of meetings in the constituency, before flying back to Ottawa over the weekend to resume my parliamentary duties in person!
Excise Tax Increase
On April 1st, Canadians will be hit with the largest beer tax increase in our country’s history. As the Conservative Shadow Minister for Small Business Recovery and Growth, I am concerned about the impact this increase will have on local bars, restaurants and breweries as they continue to battle inflation and repeated disruptions to supply chains.
In Budget 2017, the Liberals added an automatic escalator to the excise tax on beer, meaning that every April the tax is increased based on inflation. Due to the high inflation rates of last year, this year’s increase is a record-breaking 6.4 per cent. In recent months, I have called on this government to cancel this automatic increase and give our local breweries, restaurants and bars a break.
Restaurants Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses and local brewers, wineries and distilleries have sounded the alarm on the effects this massive tax hike will have on their businesses, especially in small communities like Lillooet, home to both a brewery and winery that create jobs and attract tourists.
Let me know your thoughts on this increase to the excise tax on beer here.
Public Safety Town Hall
I would like to thank everyone who attended the Public Safety Town Hall meeting last week! It was wonderful being able to connect with so many of you and hear your questions and concerns.
I would also like to thank MP Ed Fast for co-hosting the event and Chief Mike Serr and the Abbotsford Police Department for their video presentation.
Many important public safety issues were discussed, and it was clear from you all that there is a need for major reforms to bail and conditional sentencing to keep violent offenders off our streets, a reversal is needed on the Supreme Court’s extreme intoxication ruling that prioritizes offenders rather than victims, and we need to continue our efforts to prevent youths from joining gangs.
There was also strong opposition to Bill C-5 and the objective of the Government to reduce sentencing for sexual assault, armed robbery, human trafficking, kidnapping and a host of other offences. Because there was so much interest in this Bill, please click here to read the official legislative summary. Some of the reduced sentences proposed can be found on pg 16.
If you have any additional questions about public safety, please reach out to my office.
I look forward to hosting more town halls in the future and hearing from you again!
In the House
The House of Commons is on break this week; however, I am excited to return to Ottawa on March 6.
Before the break, much of the House’s focus was on Bill C-39, which seeks to delay the expansion of medically assisted death to those with mental illness as a sole condition. I outlined my concerns in a speech to the House and called on the Liberals to cancel this dangerous expansion altogether. You can watch my speech here.
At the Industry Committee, I had the opportunity to question Francis Bilodeau, the Deputy Minister of Industry, on departmental spending. Watch here as I ask for transparency on how your tax dollars are spent to support small businesses.
On Thursday I participated in another town hall with my constituents in Lytton. During the meeting I urged PacifiCan to make the application for the business and housing supports to be as simple as possible. People are frustrated and this new government department has a unique opportunity to make a real difference.
It took six months from the time the $77M for Lytton was announced to form a PacifiCan team and start working with the Village. I am pushing for funding to be delivered this minute. Funding must cover the scope of actual needs of the community – not a list of criteria Lytton must confirm to but rather funding that conforms to Lytton.
Despite numerous conversations and letters to the Minister, CEBA loans for businesses decimated by wildfire in Lytton have not been forgiven. I am working on an official House of Commons petition with residents to call on Minister Sajjan and Minister Ng to provide CEBA loan forgiveness. These businesses have been hit hard and the majority still lay in ashes.
On Friday I had the pleasure to meet with Mission City Council and provincial MLAs Bob D’Eith and Minister Pam Alexis. With three levels of government in the room it was certainly a productive meeting. We discussed everything from housing to healthcare, infrastructure, homelessness, and more.
I am dedicated to advocating for federal funds to be invested here at home. We need more spaces for women fleeing domestic violence through SARA, more supports to lead those with addictions into recovery, upgrades to flood mitigation infrastructure and so much more to build on the potential of this vibrant community.
The District of Kent & the Lets’emot Regional Aquatic Centre
Recently, I launched a petition calling for additional federal funding to support the construction of the Lets’emot Regional Aquatic Centre in Agassiz. This facility will serve as a hub for not just Agassiz, but also Harrison Hot Springs and the surrounding First Nations communities of Seabird Island, Cheam, Stó:lo, Sts’ailes, Sq’éwlets, Skawahlook, Popkum and Peters; all of whom have provided letters of support for the project.
Due to inflation and supply chain disruptions, the cost of the project has significantly increased and the District needs additional support. When it was announced that the District of Kent would be receiving a funding package of $13.5 million for this project last spring, just $454,112 was contributed by the federal government.
Join me in calling on the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to provide additional funding by signing the petition and helping to collect signatures. You can download and print copies here and return completed sheets, postage-free, to Brad Vis, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6.
On Monday, I was in Agassiz where Mayor Sylvia Pranger hand-delivered 240 signatures! Thanks to the Mayor and Council for their strong efforts in collecting signatures over the last couple of weeks.
If you have a topic you would like to petition the Government of Canada on, don’t hesitate to contact my office. My staff are more than happy to assist you in drafting and formatting it.
While in Agassiz, I was proud to present certificates to the Agassiz Fire Department in honour of their heroic actions during the 2021 atmospheric river. The Agassiz Fire Department helped rescue 311 people trapped due to landslides. Their work alongside members of the Canadian Armed Forces saved lives during that fateful storm and proved our local first responders are a force to be reckoned with.
Hearing From You
In my last newsletter, I asked for your feedback on the report from the federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia. In all, 39 people took the time to fill out the survey; thank you to all who did!
On boundary changes, the most common concern raised was the proposed border along Wren Street in Mission, placing all of the city west of that street into the Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge riding. Some potential name changes were proposed as well, including changing the proposed “Kamloops—Thompson—Nicola” to “Kamloops—Fraser—Nicola” recognizing the large chunk of the Fraser Canyon being incorporated into that riding.
Thank you again for this important feedback. It is very valuable as my colleagues and I review the report and begin preparing objections.
Also, don’t forget to fill out this week’s survey on beer excise tax here.
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