A look into the federal government from Blaney

The Parliamentary Session was adjourned until Jan. 30, and MP Rachel Blaney will be taking the concerns of the riding back with her.

The Parliamentary Session was adjourned until Jan. 30

The Parliamentary Session was adjourned until Jan. 30, and MP Rachel Blaney will be taking the concerns of the riding back with her.

In her most recent poll of the riding, she said the most common issues brought forward had to do with seniors, health care and housing.

Housing

In early December Blaney tabled a private members bill that would add the right to housing to the Canadian Bill of Rights.

“We know, based on watching this that proper housing is a basic human right. And when housing needs are met it really does provide some general prosperousness and a stronger community,” she said.

Blaney believes that adopting this bill would increase the ability of claimants to identify how high housing rates apply to them, open the avenues to access and increase landlord accountability.

She quoted an example from Powell River, where there isn’t any emergency housing.

“So if people want to go stay somewhere they’re actually being put on the ferry to come over to Comox and find housing for the night there, which really isn’t a very good solution,” she said.

Electoral reform

Last week’s change in cabinet ministers has Blaney hopeful that progress will be made on electoral reform.

She said that the last minister in charge of the project “really rejected” the 300 page report that the committee presented.

“I am hopeful that a new minister being elected will show a more respectful tone,” she said.

She is also concerned that the survey that was put forward was not really looking at the issues that citizens are bringing forward.

“I find it very interesting that, in the questionnaire to people they ask a couple of questions around online voting, and if you actually read the report you will see from the witnesses that any kind of online voting is of high concern, its just not secure enough for a national election,” she said.

With only four months left before Election Canada’s deadline, Blaney is hoping to see action and positive outcomes with this change in leadership.

She doesn’t know what the system will look like, but based on feedback she knows it has to be something more proportional.

Healthcare

Blaney, and the NDPs remain very concerned about healthcare across the country.

“The cuts that Harper promised for the transfers to the provinces and territories look like they are going to happen regardless of the Liberal government coming in,” she said. “That’s unfortunate because during the campaign they were very clear that they would not make those health care transfers less.”

In particular she has heard from her remote constituents that accessing health care professionals is a huge burden.

“There is a lot of frustration with accessibility to services and how often people have to travel and little reimbursement there is included in that,” she said.

Along with health care cuts Blaney expressed disappointment that there was no increase to home care, in the 2016 budget, as was promised.

She is hoping that the Liberal’s will not go ahead with the Conservative’s cuts and that she will see some good faith in their negotiations with the provinces so that there will be strong health care in the future.

Internet access

Blaney said access for all to the internet is another issue that is brought up over and over again in parliament.

“People want to look at opportunities they want to build their business they want to increase their business, they want to have more of an attraction strategy and because of the weakness of the internet capacity it has become a big challenge,” she said.

She sees those issues only increasing if something isn’t done so she is putting pressure on service providers to expand their services as well as the government to follow through on their promise to make sure everybody has accessibility to broadband.

Fentanyl crisis

So many people have been dying because of fentanyl and Blaney and the NDP have been pushing for the government to announce a public health emergency, which would release 90 days of federal funding.

“We want to see the federal government actually call it a public health emergency so that those resources can be released and we can actually start dealing with it in a more meaningful way,” she said.

Blaney wants to see those resources go frontline workers who are out there working “outrageous hours” trying to address the problem.