On Friday, Kootenay Columbia MP David Wilks spoke to the Townsman about a busy and eventful year. He said he’s looking forward to being in the riding for the next few weeks for the Christmas break.
Overall, Wilks said it has been a positive year.
“I’ve been able to move some of this stuff forward that’s important for the riding,” Wilks said. “I’ve been able to secure a significant amount of funding for communities around the riding – specifically to water treatment plants in Nakusp and Creston.
“There are infrastructure issues throughout the riding that each of the communities have been able to take advantage of. Some of those funding announcements were for small amounts, some were for larger amounts, but all-in-all I think everyone benefitted from some federal funding this year.”
There has also been a significant amount of legislation, with Wilks estimating 20 to 30 pieces.
“There’s been a ton of legislation,” he said, noting that included Bill C-32 — amendments to the Firearms Act — that the Conservatives pledged in the 2011 campaign.
“So slowly making inroads with that and moving forward with that.”
Most recently, there was the introduction of the Universal Childcare Tax Benefit.
“Every family with children, from newborn to 17, will receive a cheque in the mail every month that will go towards how they see fit to take care of their children, on top of a daycare credit that’s available,” he said.
The government also got rid of the Canadian Wheat Board. Wilks noted that was a good thing for Western Canadian farmers.
Wilks personally worked on prostitution bill C-36.
“I sat on the committee for that and believe we came up with the best solution on a no-win type of scenario for us,” he said. “So I think we came up with the best that we could with that.”
Wilks said the legislation on the table is about all that will be coming forward for 2015 until the election on Oct. 19.
“The legislation that we’ve put forward is about what you’re going to see, because we’re running out of time,” he said. “We do have some stuff in Justice Committee that we’re dealing with.”
That includes the Sexual Predators Act, as well as two government bills and three private members bills to deal with. He said that would take them until June.
“I think you’ll see most members of parliament from both sides, including myself, ramping up for the election, getting ready and moving forward to Oct. 19,” he said.
Wilks said he was also able to secure about $50 million in funding for the Trans Canada Highway.
“We were able to repave all of Revelstoke National Park and upgrade three bridges in Glacier National Park,” he said. “That’s one of my most important endeavours within my time in the house of commons. I really would like to see a commitment for the twinning of the Trans Canada highway. It needs to be done, so let’s see what happens in this upcoming budget.”
Wilks was also present on Parliament Hill during the traumatic events of Oct. 22, when a lone gunman shot and killed a Canadian soldier on sentry duty. The gunman was then shot and killed by the Commons Sergeant at Arms.
“That will be a day that many Canadians, including myself, won’t forget,” he said.
Wilks will be visiting Cranbrook and Creston the week of Dec. 15. Thursday, Dec. 18 is a constituency day, where people can arrange a meeting with MP Wilks. Then there is also an open house on Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 100 – B Cranbrook Street North.
“People can just drop in and have a chat with me,” he said.
The office will then close down for Christmas.
“Then we get back at it in January and during the month of January I’ll be focusing on the northern part of the riding, so revel stoke, Golden, Invermere, Nelson and then over to the West as well.