Letter: Lots of important work being done

Letter: Lots of important work being done

I must write to correct the record on some points.

While I welcome Barbara Cousins’ Aug. 20 letter highlighting the public town hall I hosted in Vernon, I must also write to correct the record on some points.

Since being elected, I have worked, and continue to work, with elected representatives and community stakeholders from across the North Okanagan-Shuswap to focus my efforts in Ottawa on our communities’ priorities.

In February, I informed the Finance Minister of the acute need for federal support in our region’s fight against the opioid crisis. I welcomed funding announced in Budget 2018 for opioid addiction prevention and treatment and my office continues to work to connect federal resources with those in our region fighting the crisis.

I am honoured to partner with representatives from municipal and Indigenous governments and organizations like the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan (SPCNO) to support those affected by homelessness and affordable housing shortages. My advocacy has included promoting SPCNO’s proposal that Vernon is recognized as a designated community in the federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

I also advocate for federal support for mental health resources in our region as these services are fundamental to community health and safety.

Although Ms. Cousins critiqued how much I have spoken about our riding, it is my job to speak on behalf of our riding because Parliament’s work, especially legislation, impacts us all.

Ms. Cousins’ assertion I have introduced abortion legislation is factually incorrect. I have introduced two bills—one to establish a national award for search and rescue volunteers and another proposing stiffer penalties for theft or tampering of firefighting equipment.

Whether it’s the opioid crisis, homelessness, public safety, tax relief, mental health, protecting B.C.’s waters and wildlife or any other matter, I am committed to listening to those I represent and collaborating with others to achieve results for our communities, province and nation.

Mel Arnold, MP