Editorial: New Year 2023

January 2023 – Shuswap Kicker

With the arrival of the New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to send best wishes to readers and constituents across the North Okanagan-Shuswap. The past couple of years have not been easy as we worked through a pandemic, economic and atmospheric storms, and social divisions – none of which we expected three years ago when we rang in 2020.

Through the challenges we faced over the past few years, there have been exceptional demonstrations of community and public service. Law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical and health service personnel have been there for our communities. Essential workers have also extended themselves to ensure we were able to buy groceries, turn on our lights, gas up our vehicles and more. Teachers, school administrators and support staff have adapted to provide students education and social connections that children need to grow. Volunteers kept our Legions and other community organizations and services running for those who needed them.  All these people, and many others, have made sacrifices and demonstrated exemplary service under extraordinary circumstances, and we owe them our thanks.

When difficulties that Canadians face grow in severity, I believe it is essential that the peoples’ House of Commons focus on delivering results to help make life better for citizens. Part of accountability is being responsive, and the House of Commons has been polarized by the federal government’s responses to COVID-19, mounting inflation, and troubling developments in foreign relations.

Through the debates and political scuffles, I remain anchored to the voices of constituents- the Canadians who count on me to represent them in Parliament. This is not always simple because there are naturally diversities of opinions across our region- opinions that are at times directly opposed. I listen to constituents and do my best to find the common ground- the balance required to establish consensus and positive results.

When the House is not in session, I spend much of my time connecting with constituents across our region to hear their perspectives, concerns, and priorities. Working with Indigenous and local governments and Members of the Provincial Legislative Assembly is also essential to informing my work on your behalf in Parliament. Although much of my work is of a formal political nature, I also consider my work to be that of one member of the community who has been elected to work and advocate on behalf of his neighbours- the residents of North Okanagan-Shuswap.

Our communities are special, thanks to the people who give of themselves every day, through thick and thin, good years and the tough ones, to support their friends and neighbours. It is hard to say what 2023 will hold for our region and nation, but for better or worse, we have each other and if we continue to find ways to cooperate and support each other, our communities will remain strong and resilient in the face of challenges.

A Happy New Year to all!