North Okanagan Shuswap MP reflects on accomplishments

Arnold feels he was successful in representing constituents, particularly with concerns regarding assisted-dying

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold

It was a busy but fulfilling year for Mel Arnold.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap MP says there were a number of accomplishments in 2016.

“We’ve been working on building trust with First Nations and municipalities and just building those relationships,” he said.

He added attending council meetings, performing pre-budget consultations and staying in contact with constituents has contributed to building trust within his riding.

He empathized the importance of staying connected with the public.

“We spent 26 weeks of the year sitting in Ottawa… so that’s half of the year I’m not here in the riding. So we have to make sure those communication lines are open,” he said, adding he stays connected to the community by attending events when he can.

Arnold feels he was successful in representing his constituents, particularly when they had concerns regarding the assisted-dying bill that became law in June, 2016.

“We take feedback on all of the issues. In early summer we had a lot of input on that. There was a lot of aspects to that that most people didn’t understand, or didn’t have knowledge of the complexity of it,” he said.

He didn’t agree with the bill.

“There were measures I would have rather seen in place, more precautionary measures.”

On more national topics, Arnold stands with the Kinder Morgan pipeline project set to begin in 2017.

“I think it was the right decision,” he said.

However, Arnold was also critical of Trudeau, disagreeing with how the prime minister has chosen to consult with the public on electoral reform.

“Ninety-one per cent of people want a referendum; he seems reluctant to agree to that. They may be postponing the issue too far down the road to allow for that to take place before the next election.”

For the new year, “One of my main goals is to continue building on the trust and communication across all levels, to improve services and life standards for everyone in the North Okanagan-Shuswap. This will mean working with businesses and government to bring employment growth, and working with service providers to understand and advocate for their needs,” he said.