MP connects over coffee

MP connects over coffee

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold meets with locals

North Okanagan residents got a chance to air their government grievances Saturday.

A small, yet vocal, crowd of about half a dozen turned out for a Coffee Connection with North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold at Station BBQ in Vernon.

“Conversations were interesting and as varied as the individuals that came in,” Arnold reported following the morning meeting.

Along with a question about SOGI 123 (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) curriculum, one constituent queried the change in the national anthem.

“When did that become such a big focus of the current government?” asked Sylvia Herchan. “It seems really irrelevant when people are dying in droves from fentanyl, waiting a year and a half for hip replacements at best.”

Canada’s Senate passed a bill Feb. 1 making the country’s national anthem gender-neutral. The change is to the verse “in all thy sons command,” to now read. “in all of us command.”

See related: Senate votes to approve gender neutral wording for national anthem

While the senate had a lengthy debate on the change, the private members bill only had two hours of debate in the House, according to Arnold.

“I”m certainly not going to defend the government on that one,” he said.

Arnold would like to have more face-to-face meetings with his constituents and has plans to hold similar events over coffee.

“Watch for future events like this across the North Okanagan Shuswap,” he said.

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