I have always been politically engaged and now even more so after being elected to office. I believe it is very important for all citizens to be knowledgeable of the different levels of government because it has the greatest influence on their lives next to their family. For the most part, people are content to elect someone they see as having experience or some of their same political views and entrust him/her to do the job. Once they vote, they want to get on with what personally interests them -- a job, family, and community.
A few, and I mean only a few, want to be engaged and be heard on every issue I work with. I do appreciate the input. What causes confusion is knowledge of what my job is and what is under the jurisdiction of the province or local government. I have always felt that more needs to be done to educate students on how all three levels of government work.
A past article, in a local paper, questioned what your MP was doing for the Okanagan – Shuswap local priorities. Well, the four-lane of 97 from Armstrong to Kelowna was funded by our Government, as well as improvements in Enderby, not to mention the four-lane in Sorrento, the bridge close to Three Valley Gap, the four-lane of the TransCanada Highway through Pritchard, and in the future, Hoffman Bluff section. Furthermore, investment in the Salmon Arm Okanagan College for skills training and for career support services, were all funded by the federal government in addition to one- third of all major civic infrastructures through many project initiatives. It is important to keep in mind, that this is a large constituency and that my job is to balance all of the riding’s priorities.
The article also asked why I thought immigration was such an important issue. Most of the files handled by my riding office are immigration matters. Immigrants of many skills and professions are helping to grow our Canadian economy and they are not as the writer expresses simply performing ‘slave-labour jobs’.
I am in Ottawa for approximately 132 days a year. In Ottawa, I am a member of the Energy Caucus, the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, Canada/Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group, and the Canada- United States Inter-Parliamentary Group. I frequently meet with High Commissioners and Ambassadors from many countries. I deal with a mirage of issues and public policies.
In the next month, the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) Committee, of which I am also a member, will travel across Canada to assess skills training and labour market shortages. When finished, we will recommend policy and investments in various labour market needs.
The government does not create jobs. The government lays the landscape for investment by building the infrastructure, especially, transportation, tax policy, and regulatory policy, especially, environmental. By investing in people your government provides them the opportunity to access education, skills training, and investment opportunities for innovation and research.
The articles I write to you in our riding papers pertain to what issues I am involved with on a national scope. Some of the issues fall close to home and others do not but my articles are all part of my responsibility in the job I do.
Colin Mayes, MP – Okanagan-Shuswap