Dear Constituents, an update from my office:
It was great to be back in the riding over the weekend, connecting with constituents and spending some time with my family. I joined the Smiles Through Seva Foundation for their 1st annual gala, which raised $46,000 for hospice services in the Fraser Valley and stopped by the grand opening of a new small business, Bath Gallery, in Abbotsford. There’s a lot to update you on after a couple of busy weeks in Parliament, so strap in!
I stand firmly with the residents of Lytton and their frustration at the lack of progress on recovery. The Province’s requirement to perform archaeology assessments on each individual property before it can be rebuilt is extremely costly to residents and the source of significant financial and emotional stress.
Lyttonites have been without a home for over two years. This rebuild is not a vanity project, it is a necessity. The Province needs to take a hard look at their archaeological processes and requirements versus the real-life impact they’re having on residents.
The federal government has promises on the books for more funding through PacifiCan to Lytton businesses, through Infrastructure Canada for Lytton public infrastructure, as well as the remainder of the $5B Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements to all of British Columbia. These promises are nothing without follow through and I continue to urge the government to make good on their funding commitments.
Firearms Confiscation Delayed
On October 12, the Department of Public Safety announced that it would be extending the Amnesty Order issued in conjunction with their 2020 Order in Council (OIC) arbitrarily banning thousands of firearms models. It will now remain in effect until October 30, 2025, just after the next scheduled federal election.
This extension is an admission by the Liberal government that they have no plan to complete their expensive buyback program and they are once again punting this issue down the road. My Conservative colleagues and I continue to oppose this undemocratic confiscation of private property from law-abiding Canadians. We call on the government to move forward with common sense solutions to address gun violence committed by gangs and criminals and to stop the flow of illegal firearms across our border.
Small Business Week
October 15-21 was Small Business Week across Canada. I encourage you to continue supporting the amazing local businesses right here in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon who create jobs and high-quality goods and services.
During the week in Ottawa, I attended a virtual discussion with small business owners and associations across Canada on the challenges they currently face. Labour shortages, rising input costs, continued supply chain disruptions and repeated tax hikes have put small businesses in a position where they are unsure how much longer they can keep the lights on.
I also joined small business owners for the Ottawa South Small Business Week Networking Breakfast in Manotick, Ontario. Once again, I heard similar concerns raised regarding labour shortages, supply chains and tax hikes. Small businesses also continue to struggle with CEBA loan repayment and were frustrated by the government’s recent announcement that left many confused.
When I got back to Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon at the end of the week, I stopped by Van Belle Nursery in Abbotsford to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Van Belle Nursery is a great, local small business success story, having become stalwarts in North America’s flowering shrubs, perennials, annuals, evergreens and houseplants industries. Keep rockin’ the free world!
As Shadow Minister for Small Business Recovery and Growth, I am committed to fostering an environment where entrepreneurs have the confidence to take risks and grow their businesses. Employing two-thirds of Canada’s private sector labour force, small businesses truly are the backbone of our economy.
To mark Small Business Week, I gave a Member’s Statement, thanking the hardworking small business owners across Canada who create powerful paycheques for Canadians. You can also find my written statement here.
In the House
Last week, most Liberals and all Bloc Quebecois MPs voted down Ed Fast’s Bill C-314, which would have prevented the upcoming expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) to those with a mental illness as the only condition. Experts have been clear, MAID for mental illness cannot be safely implemented. Rather than focusing on expanding MAID, the government should be focused on the myriad of crises that have driven so many to consider making this choice.
During last week’s opposition business day, Conservatives brought forward a motion calling on the government to table a plan to return to a balanced budget in the House. The Liberals, NDP and Bloc all voted against our motion. As outlined in our motion, the Bank of Canada has been forced to increase interest rates 10 times in the last 19 months, and since 2015, average monthly mortgage payments have increased by 150%.
Canadians cannot afford more deficits. Conservatives are the only party that is committed to reigning in federal spending so that we can get inflation back under control and reduce the debt burden on taxpayers.
Recently at Industry Committee (INDU), we had a chance to question the Privacy Commissioner and hear his thoughts on Bill C-27, Digital Charter Implementation Act. This bill is the most important proposed legislation regarding children’s privacy on the internet to come before Parliament, however, it is severely flawed.
As your MP, and also as a father, I am taking on a new cause in Parliament, and that is to protect and champion the privacy rights and safety of our children online. Bill C-27 lacks key definitions, including what a minor is in the context of privacy regulations and what information is considered sensitive. It also fails to expressly recognize the fundamental right to privacy for all Canadians.
When it comes to privacy rights - especially for children - we can't afford to get it wrong. My Conservative colleagues and I continue to push for common sense changes to Bill C-27 to ensure privacy rights are respected and enforced, particularly in the digital age. This is a long clip, but it is exactly what I was elected to do on behalf of the residents of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.
Last week, Bill C-34, the National Security Review of Investments Modernization Act, returned to the House for Report Stage. The bill makes changes to the process of initiating and conducting national security reviews of foreign investments in Canada. As authoritarian regimes seek to influence Canadians and our institutions, it is crucial that we protect our people, our natural resources and our sovereignty.
At INDU, Conservatives passed a number of key amendments, including one to ensure that investments made by state-owned enterprises are automatically subject to a national security review. However, many more were defeated by Liberal, NDP and Bloc members of the committee. At Report Stage, we are moving another amendment that would ensure that cabinet is involved in the decision-making process around these reviews. You can watch my Report Stage speech here.
Finally, I also had the opportunity last week to table a petition calling on the federal government to extend the Canada Child Benefit to parents who experience the sudden loss of a child for a short period following the child’s passing. Commonly, benefits continue being paid out to families and then are later clawed back by the CRA. This change would prevent the CRA adding additional pain and suffering to families as they go through the most challenging period of their lives.
Hearing From You
In my last update, I asked for your thoughts on our Conservative plan to build homes, not bureaucracy. In total, 36 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 and privacy rights. Let me know by filling out my survey 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, X (Twitter), Instagram, and YouTube, where I post more frequent updates on my work as your MP.
Brad Vis, MP