Kootenay-Columbia MP reflects on 2017

Wayne Stetski opens up about serving regional constituents both locally and in Ottawa.

It’s been a long year in Canadian federal politics, but even though the goings-on in Ottawa may seem far away, Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament Wayne Stetski has right in the thick of it.

Stetski,

The federal representative hailing from southeastern part of the province may be in opposition, which prevents him from driving the legislative agenda, however, he has had a busy year advocating for constituents in the region.

“When I ran and got elected, I said I wanted to be a strong voice for the people of Kootenay-Columbia in Ottawa and it does take a little while to figure out how to make that work,” Stetski said. “But we had a lot of success this last year.”

When a constituent has a problem that they need resolved, they can contact their local MP’s office, who has access to phone numbers that the public does not have in order to connect directly with government bureaucrats or ministers.

Stetski had a few different issues that he was able to resolve quietly behind the scenes, while others he raised with his NDP colleagues in the House of Commons.

Stetski described a situation where a single mother was not receiving a child benefit monthly payment because she needed to have her ex sign off that she had custody of the child.

“You can imagine the stress that was putting on single mothers and that was wrong,” Stetski said.

Another situation involved a senior couple who were receiving a combined Guaranteed Income Supplement that put them over a financial threshold that denied the husband a subsidy to get into a care facility.

“So the husband and wife were actually thinking about whether they would have to legally separate or get divorced after 40 years in order to then have single GIS income and therefore meet the threshold in order to get into subsidized care,” said Stetski. “Again, that’s unbelievably wrong.”

Other local issues included advocating for credit unions who were facing changes in how they could market and describe their services — in essence, they wouldn’t be able to call themselves ‘banks’ or provide ‘banking’ services.

“Government has now backed away on that and credit unions can still invite you to come and bank at a credit union,” Stetski said.

Within Kootenay-Columbia, there are three provincial ridings, and Stetski held meetings in all three of them to bring municipal, provincial and federal levels of government together in one room to meet with small business representatives.

Marijuana legalization has been a hot topic as the federal Liberals are hoping to introduce a bill to legalize recreational use by next spring.

Stetski said he held a telephone town hall that generated a lot of good feedback from constituents in the region. A report was generated from the questions asked by more than 3,000 people who listened into the town hall, and a report is available on Stetski’s website.

With the federal Liberal majority, it’s all but certain there will be a bill by July, said Stetski.

“My job, then recognizing that this is going to come, is to try and make sure that we are economically benefiting within our riding from legalization,” said Stetski.

“It’s going to happen, the best thing we can do is try and make sure the multiple growers that we have the riding, in essence, become legal growers and are able to benefit the region economically.

Other issues coming up in the new year include pension reform.

Stetski says he will be holding another telephone town hall to talk about pensions on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.

The conversation will focus on defined benefit pension and target benefit pensions, he said.

Stetski will also have the chance to submit a private member’s bill in the House of Commons in February, and is currently in the process of determining what the topic should be.

He floated issues around the Navigable Waters Act, the creation of a National Local Food Day on the Friday before Thanksgiving, and a motion to help municipalities move their communities away from ammonia-based coolant systems, in response to the recent tragedy in Fernie.

Stetski also touted the Canada Summer Jobs program, which has brought $1.237 million over the last two years into the riding for small business owners and non-profits to apply for a wage subsidy for summer students.

This summer’s application process is already open and business or non-profits have until Feb. 2 to apply.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City eyes new look for championship banner program

The City is looking at changes to the championship banner program running… Continue reading

Emergency services respond to kitchenette fire at Sandman Inn

Fire was already extinguished upon arrival due to efforts from room guest, hotel staff

GoByBike week taking place in Cranbrook

Participate in GoByBike week from September 28 to October 4, 2020

Cranbrook, Kimberley communities participate in World Clean Up Day

The Columbia Outdoor School and JCI Kootenay partnered up to host events in three locations

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Four more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 31 active cases in isolation in the health region

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Totem pole considered cultural appropriation removed from Nelson’s Hume School

The pole had also become rotted and was seen as dangerous to students

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Most Read