Rob Morrison, MP for Kootenay-Columbia looking for common sense on rapid testing, quarantine rules. The Kootenay parliamentarian also discusses a recent firarms bill that was defeated. (Submitted)

Rob Morrison, MP for Kootenay-Columbia looking for common sense on rapid testing, quarantine rules. The Kootenay parliamentarian also discusses a recent firarms bill that was defeated. (Submitted)

MP Morrison looking for ‘common sense’ in quarantine rules, rapid testing

Kootenay-Columbia MP speaks on defeated Tory firearms bill, Columbia River Treaty talks

As Canada hits a logistics snag with COVID-19 vaccine supply, Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison says he is continuing to push for a rapid testing regime at the international border and airports.

The federal government recently implemented further travel-related restrictions, requiring travellers to reserve a room in a government-approved hotel room for three days while awaiting a COVID-19 molecular test result, both at their own cost, as well as conducting a 14-day quarantine afterwards.

Morrison cited the case of a young man in Alberta who was whisked away by officials to a hotel for quarantine after arriving in Calgary from the United States on a flight, despite his mother being on hand to take him home.

“I think we just need to get back into some common sense here,” Morrison said.

As part of updated travel restrictions, four major Canadian airlines have voluntarily suspended flights to sun destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30.

“We’re stuck in this travel ban situation because we haven’t had the opportunity or the government has not opened the door to having these rapid tests out so we can get people in and out,” said Morrison.

“If someone tests negative, why would you 14-day quarantine? Yet, we’re still in this quarantine process because we haven’t rolled out these tools in our toolbox.”

Morrison also said it was “odd” that Canadian airlines are voluntarily suspending flights to sun destinations, while American air carriers are still able to operate at Canadian airports and fly travellers to those same destinations.

Despite issues with vaccine procurement and supply, Morrison says rapid testing can serve as an important tool towards easing restrictions even if vaccinating an increasingly larger percentage of the Canadian population takes more time.

“I think the rapid testing will take care of that, in that, now we’ll know if you are, in fact, positive or not,” Morrison said. “So to me, the rapid testing is the process for us to get our businesses and our tourism and get the energy sector back going again, things that are so important for Kootenay-Columbia.”

On Jan. 29, a federal minister issued a statement that Canada was only going to receive 78 per cent of the forecasted Moderna vaccine that week, as the company and other pharmaceuticals ramp up capacity to meet a huge global demand.

Seeking observer status for Columbia River Treaty talks

Morrison rose in the House of Commons last week to voice the significance of the Columbia River Treaty to the region, while also noting that he’s requested observer status in the negotiations between Canada and the United States.

The treaty, ratified in 1964, is a water management agreement between the two countries, providing flood control downstream of the Columbia River in the United States.

Under the terms of the agreement, Canada built the Mica Dam, Duncan Dam and Keenleyside Dam in British Columbia, while the Americans built the Libby Dam in Montana.

The treaty flooded over 110,000 hectares of land, displacing rural and indigenous communities, as well as impacting ecosystems and farm land.

The Ktunaxa, the Secwepemc and the Syilx-Okanagan First Nations joined the talks in 2019 as observers, participating in negotiation preparations and have made presentations during treaty discussions.

Morrison said any renegotiated terms should include compensation to those who lost their lands to flooded reservoirs, a re-introduction of salmon into the upper Columbia River, stable water levels at Lake Koocanusa and fair compensation for power generation.

His priorities also included addressing low water levels at Lake Koocansua for tourism values and summer recreation.

“Recreation, number one,” Morrison said. “Also compensation for those who lost their ranch or lands or grasslands. A lot of people have not been compensated, and I think water levels — lets just take a look at [Lake] Koocanusa. Having Koocanusa water levels to where they can actually have water by the dock instead of 40 feet away from the dock.”

Morrison said it’s been three months since he last heard an update from the federal government on the state of the talks, which is still in preliminary stages after 10 rounds of discussions.

Liberals, NDP defeat Tory firearms bill on illegal guns

A Conservative private members bill, with Bloc Quebecois support, was shot down by Liberal and NDP parliamentarians last week, legislation that would have proposed stiffer penalties for smuggling and trafficking illegal guns.

Morrison said the Tory bill would have punished possession and trafficking of illegal guns without targeting law-abiding gun owners, who are properly licensed with legal firearms.

“Of course, we know that organized crime and gangs don’t have any legal guns, because they can’t get a Possession and Acquisition license because they’re criminals …,” said Morrison. “They can’t get one, our process is so strict, they wouldn’t get one.”

The Tory proposal included mandatory minimum penalties for possession of unlawfully imported firearms.

During the debate, both Liberal and NDP members voiced their opposition to the bill by citing concerns about constitutionality of mandatory minimum penalties.

The bill was defeated in a vote of 171-150.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Splatsin First Nation concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, will struggle to recover without habitat protection and restoration action - report

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Five-year-old Bayne Krause poses for a photo with his mom Marianne. Bayne’s shirt reads, ‘I have Cystic Fibrosis. Help keep me healthy, please social distance.’ Photo: Laurie Tritschler
West Kootenay mom promotes awareness of cystic fibrosis

Marianne Krause wants people to know what it’s like for her five-year-old son to live with CF

Sisters Audrey Cunningham and Donna Erdman, join the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus singing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Okanagan choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Experts now predict 33.6% rise in B.C. home sales for 2021

BCREA economists also predict home prices to increase by 14.3%

B.C. Auditor General Michael Pickup in 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. didn’t effectively manage conservation lands program: auditor general

Michael Pickup says staff had limited approaches to resolving the unauthorized use of the most at-risk conservation lands

Google
Threats against Kamloops school forces a hold and secure

The threats were made against Brock Middle School

The majority of city council votes in favour of this design for a new Salmon Arm flag on Monday, May 10, 2021. (City of Salmon Arm image)
Majority of council salutes new flag for Salmon Arm

Two councillors raise concerns about logo being too corporate for a flag

(Pixabay)
B.C. doctors could face consequences for spreading COVID misinformation: college

College says doctors have a higher level of responsibility to not spread incorrect information

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
75% of Canadians need 1st vaccine dose to have more normal summer: Trudeau

The country is on track to hit a major milestone on the road to COVID-19 herd immunity Tuesday, with 40% vaccinated with a 1st dose

A black bear, dubbed Huckleberry by Deep Cove, B.C., residents died on July 31, 2020, after becoming conditioned to food and humans. (North Shore Black Bear Society photo)
Fewer dead bears, more fines: Advocates call for B.C. conservation officer reform

B.C. Bear Alliance wants to see body cameras on conservation officers after more than 600 black bears were killed this past year

Friends Fraser O'Brien, Chris and Ben Reinhardt and Youngbin Kim enjoy a game of hockey on Okanagan Lake off Kin Beach this past winter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Synthetic ice scores outdoor rink applause from Vernon

A new year-round rink could make its way to Polson, Kin Beach or Kin Racetrack

Most Read