The fall legislative session kicked off on Monday at the House of Commons in Ottawa and there are a number of issues to tackle, according to Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed Conservative supporters at a rally in a convention centre in Ottawa on Monday, where he presented the legislative agenda for the federal government.
The prime minister focused on foreign policy such as affirming Canada’s commitment to battling fundamentalists with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as well as domestic priorities such as the economy and trade agreements.
“The prime minister made his speech his speech yesterday in front of Conservative fanfare in Ottawa and spelled out the agenda, which will be focused on the economy and continue to move forward with job opportunities,” said Wilks.
On the topic of justice and crime, Wilks—a former RCMP officer—said the government will be addressing harsher sentences for serious crimes.
“We’re moving forward with legislation on the very serious crimes across Canada such as murder, sex assault involving a murder and kidnapping involving a murder,” he said. “Life will mean life, so there will be no chance at parole in those types of crimes.”
Wilks, who sits on the the Standing Committee on Health, said the government is also looking at studying E-cigarettes—electronic cigarettes—which are currently unregulated in Canada.
Closer to home in the Kootenay-Columbia riding, Wilks said he is working with various cabinet ministers to expand the Trans-Canada highway through national parks.
“The number one priority, of course, is the twinning of the Trans-Canada highway from the Alberta border through the national parks, which is the sole responsibility of the federal government, so I’m continuing to lobby the ministers responsible for that,” Wilks said. “That’s a huge priority in my area.”
On the controversial subject of temporary foreign workers, Wilks said he will be talking with various ministers to see how the issue will affect the economy in the riding.
“Although the program is sent and I understand where we’re going with it,” Wilks said, “it is somewhat pragmatic in some parts of the riding, especially in the ski industry and the golf industry areas, so the Columbia Valley, Fernie, etc, so looking forward to working on that file as well.”