I would like to thank the voters of the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

September 20, 2021 – Vernon Morning Star

I would like to thank the voters of the North Okanagan-Shuswap who entrusted me to continue serving as Member of Parliament. Election campaigns require much work and commitment and I thank the many grassroots volunteers who helped drive our campaign across the finish line. I also thank my best friend and life partner, Linda, for supporting me every step of the way.

Although I was one in the majority of Canadians who opposed an election call, it was heartening to see citizens engaged by voting and mobilizing in support of campaigns of their choosing.  Our democratic process and right to vote are important, even in an election that is ill-timed or unnecessary. I thank everyone who voted and volunteered and the candidates who put their names forward to provide voters with choices.

Throughout the election, I heard from thousands of residents of the North Okanagan-Shuswap who shared their concerns and priorities with me. What I heard at doorsteps, in emails and on the phone was that Canadians didn’t want an election- they wanted the government to do its job and lead our nation out of the pandemic.

Young families and seniors shared their concerns about rising costs and inflation that are driving affordability out of reach for so many Canadians. Employers weathered by the past 18 months shared their challenges in hiring workers and workers related how local housing and rental markets make it difficult to settle here to work. The heat domes and wildfires this summer demonstrated the need for climate action and many residents expressed their expectation that emission reductions be achieved.

As MPs await the resumption of Parliament, I am engaging with Indigenous and local governments to further define needs and priorities of communities across our region. I expect the federal budget to be released in March and I will be developing a pre-budget submission in the coming months to submit to the government and guide my advocacy as your MP in the coming year.

I also wish to highlight that on September 30th Canada will mark our first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. I supported the establishment of this day because I believe it can support Canada’s pursuit of reconciliation if we use this day to consider how we can strengthen our personal understandings of history and commit to actions that support reconciliation and healing in the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

In the coming Parliament, I will continue to press the government to accelerate implementation of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released in 2015 and take other steps necessary to support reconciliation.

Regardless of which candidate you voted for, I am committed to listening to all constituents and fighting for legislation and policies to deliver results for our communities.

My staff and I are here to serve you. If you have input to share or if we can assist you in navigating federal government services, you can reach us by phone at 250-260-5020 or my email at mel.arnold@parl.gc.ca