Newly-appointed minister John Duncan celebrates victory by closing his North Island office

June 2, the House of Commons began a new session – the first time since the May 2 election of Stephen Harper’s conservatives.

We have a majority government – another first for Canada after many years of minority governments.

New MPs and ministers were sworn in and the MP for Vancouver Island North, John Duncan, began his role as the minister for the newly-named Aboriginal and Northern Development ministry.

So how does Mr. Duncan begin his four-year term as minister?

For starters, he has closed his northern-most office in the riding.

Yes, reliable resources tell us that Mr. Duncan decided to close his office in Port McNeill and instead direct more resources to his office in Courtenay.

As the federal riding that is arguably farther away from Ottawa than most, why would our MP decide to downgrade his services in our smaller communities?

In those communities north of Courtenay and Campbell River, the federal governement has continually whittled away at government services to a point that our citizens now have to endure long hours of travel to larger communities to access help with their CPP issues, passport concerns and citizenship questions.

Yes, of course, these services can be accessed by phone and computer, but the people I have spoken to – many of them seniors – resent the erosion of the face-to-face people services they are familiar with.

This riding also includes a large population of First Nations. What about their access?

I am sure our First Nations are less than pleased that the minister directly responsible for their issues will be absent from at least half of the riding.

As we heard last week in the former Auditor General’s report, the issues that First Nations peoples face are worse after 10 years– not better – and now access to a local riding office means at least a seven-hour return trip.

During the election, Mr. Duncan held the dubious record for most missed all candidates’ meetings – meetings that he had confirmed his attendance and then opted out at the last minute.

Perhaps closing his office in Port McNeill is another way Minister Duncan is letting us know that he truly does not care about representing all of the people or issues in his riding.

Sigh…it will be a long four-year sentence for North Islanders.

Shirley Ackland,

32-year resident of the North Island

Just Posted

Oyster River salmon numbers bouyant, Quinsam/Campbell data not so

By Neil Cameron Special to the Mirror In a tale of two… Continue reading

Local artisan calls new Marine Harvest brand ‘inappropriate,’ too close to his Indigenous name

Salmon farming company prepares for name change amid objections from Mowisaht Designs

The Nutcracker comes alive in two Campbell River performances

River-Port Danceworks show featured professional dancers Danielle Gould and Giovanni Giordano

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

RCMP ‘desperate’ for clues in case of missing Parksville mom

Carmel Gilmour was last seen more than a year ago

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

North Okanagan site of first RCMP naloxone test project

Free kits, training to be provided to high-risk individuals who spend time in cell blocks

1 arrested after bizarre incident at U.S.-B.C. border involving bags of meth, car crash

Man arrested after ruckus in Sumas and Abbotsford on Thursday night

More B.C. Indigenous students graduating high school: report

70% of Indigenous students graduated, compared to 86% across all B.C. students

Most Read