David Wilks, Member of Parliament (MP) for Kootenay- Columbia, came through the Golden region on September 13. The full day trip started with a breakfast event that gave local residents a chance to hear from the MP while also asking questions directly to Wilks.
Wilks was questioned about issues from the long gun registry to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) at the gathering. When asked if he felt the people of British Columbia fully understood the possible ramifications of getting rid of the HST Wilks said, “It was an emotional decision. It was a strong emotional issue.”
Wilks also confirmed “We (the Federal Government) will be asking for the $1.6 billion dollars back. The province has no problem with that because they understand it is part of the agreement. So we will let Minister Falcon and Minister Jim Flaherty work their way through that and we will see where the dust settles from this in the end.”
As for the long term effects for getting rid of the HST Wilks would not speculate on what was going to happen. During his presentation he also felt the time was coming to look at some of the “archaic laws” which are on the books in Canada in an attempt to update them. “At some point and time it has to be visited especially when dealing with First Nations. When you are dealing with a law that is 140-years-old, it is not fair. We have to involve them in writing new legislation. I think that is how we can get laws that work. They will involve the people,” Wilks said.
One of the people in attendance was Golden Mayor Christina Benty who explained the meeting was a great idea because it shed light on many aspects of being an MP.
“I thought it was really interesting as it gave me a good opportunity to see the scope of his job, some of the challenges he faces and some of the challenges that are out there. Also the layers of bureaucracy which gives local people the chance to see what is involved with the federal government
She also felt the meeting gave residents a chance to learn about how the local government works closely with the government in Ottawa.
“It is a chance to see the connections between different levels of government. I am extremely pleased to see David going around and talking to the local government and other groups. It is a little bit daunting to realize how much red tape they have to go through to accomplish something. It could discourage someone,” Benty said.
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Doug Clovechok, the president Columbia River Revelstoke BC Liberal Association, was also at the breakfast meeting. He felt “The presentation was really good. What it shows us is that we have a member of parliament for this riding who is working very hard. He has some issues which he is trying to solve for us, from the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) to child protection. I think he is doing an awesome job and am glad he has been elected.”
In the afternoon Wilks made his way to a Committer of the Whole meeting with the Golden Town Council. He took about 20 minutes explaining some of the things he has been doing since being elected. Wilks has been going to all the different councils in the Kootenay-Columbia region as part of a promise he made during the federal election. Wilks spoke on a number of issues explaining his hope that the Trans-Canada Highway will continue to receive needed upgrades, cellphone services are being improved and he encouraged local governments to get involved with Interior Health over helipad questions. Wilks talked of the potential to have the speed limit in the park raised on the TCH. “One of the initiatives I am looking at through Parks Canada, which some people agree on and others do not, is to increase the speed limits through the National Park on the TCH to 100 kilometres(kms). Ninety kms is slow and anyone that does it backs up traffic for miles and miles. As most of you are aware I was with the RCMP and am very aware of the situation,” Wilks said.