Written by Bow River MP Martin Shields
Dear Bow River Constituents,
As the first five sitting weeks of the 44th Parliament come to a close, Canadians are no closer to getting an answer from this Prime Minister or his government about the inflation crisis or the rising cost of living. For weeks the Conservative caucus has been holding the government to account in Question Period, during debates, at press conferences, at meetings, and on social media. Yet nothing but excuses and comparisons to other countries have come from the government benches.
My constituents aren't surprised by this however. We know very well that this government's lack of transparency - especially with spending - has been their trademark for six long years. Spending throughout the pandemic was unaccounted for, even so far as CERB went to fraudulent and criminal activities (like purchasing illegal handguns).
Grocery bills, gasoline, and rent has gone through the proverbial roof and yet this government has no solutions. Committees are only beginning to sit, Cabinet Ministers don't even have their mandate letters yet. Meanwhile the government is announcing new spending measures.
RCMP CBA Negotiations
After hearing from many municipal leaders regarding the federal RCMP CBA negotiations and the retroactive salary coverage, I have begun to stir up some interest for this issue within caucus. Many colleagues have also received questions and complaints from their local leaders asking for clarification, so it’s clear that this issue is relevant across the country.
For those unaware, the federal government has signed a collective bargaining agreement with the RCMP, which includes retroactive salary coverage for the last 5 years. What is unclear is who will pay.
I have spoken with colleagues, asked a question in Question Period, and am looking to writing a letter to the Minister of Public Safety and President of Treasury Board for further clarification.
Our RCMP work tirelessly to protect our neighbours, and they are deserving of the pay they receive. However, when municipalities and the provinces were left out of the negotiation room regarding the collective agreement, municipalities may be forced to bear the burden of this retroactive cost.
This burden will likely increase property taxes by at least 5%. In an era of inflationary pricing due to this Liberal government's mismanagement and never-ending spending, that property tax increase will hurt taxpayers and small businesses.
Liberals looking to fast track bills without Opposition scrutiny
In the five weeks from the beginning of the 44th Parliament, the Liberal government has introduced a number of bills that will have lasting impacts on the future of this country.
C-2: COVID Supports
The latest round of COVID support payments includes:
Extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). And the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022.
Support for those affected by government-imposed lockdowns by enacting the Canada Workers Lockdown Benefit Act to extend eligibility for sickness benefit.
C-5: Mandatory Minimums and Drug Possession
Bill C-5 seeks to remove many mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes including possessing a restricted firearm with ammunition, weapons trafficking, discharging a firearm while committing an offence, reckless discharge of a firearm, and extortion and robbery with a firearm.
This bill also seeks to remove mandatory minimums for all drug offences.
This is yet another example of Liberal hypocrisy: They want to ban firearms for legal owners yet seek to remove these mandatory penalties for criminals committing gun crime. How does that make any sense!?
I’d like to extend my best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Bow River constituents. I hope 2022 brings us all health and happiness. It has been another year of ups and downs, and it’s been tiring for everyone so let’s use this Christmas and holiday season to spend time with family and friends safely.
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Should you have a question or concern of a federal matter, please email my office at: Martin.Shields@parl.gc.ca
MP Bow River