Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski made his first official visit to the RDEK board of directors on Friday morning to formally introduce himself as he prepares for the upcoming parliamentary session in Ottawa.
Stetski gave a brief update on local operations, as constituency offices are now up and running in Cranbrook and Nelson and paid homage to his predecessor, David Wilks.
“I’d like to finish by thanking David Wilks for the time that he spent as both Member of Parliament and as a member of the RDEK board,” Stetski said. “I certainly did not agree with Mr. Wilks’ politics and certainly not his Prime Minister at the time, but I do have a great deal of respect for anyone who takes the time to sit in the chairs that you are sitting in today or in any political office—we all know how challenging it can be.”
Stetski encouraged the directors to visit Ottawa within the next two years if possible, as Centre Block—the main building of the parliamentary complex that houses the House of Commons and the Senate—will be undergoing renovations that could last up to 10 years.
Stetski said walking into the House for the first time was a profound moment.
“When you do walk into the house of Commons to take your seat, you can’t help but think about 148 years going back to Sir John A. Macdonald and the fact that you’re entering that House really where Canada was made,” he said.
“Canada we have today was largely made in the House of Commons over the decades, so you feel quite humbled and you also fee quite proud to be there representing the people.”
RDEK board chair Rob Gay said a good working relationship with elected officials at every level of government is key to resolving and advancing issues.
“We, as a board, have a good working relationship, we feel, with our MPs as well as our MLAs,” Gay said. ” They usually come on an annual basis and update us, so this was just an introductory one, but I think when MP Stetski comes back, he’ll have a little bit more meat as to what’s going on.”