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How to get in touch with your MP
Many people know my family’s long relationship with Bowen and that one of the best assistants on Parliament Hill, Bowen’s own Josh Peters, helped me shrink the distance between Ottawa and Bowen in my first term as MP. So naturally I noticed when a Bowen constituent complained about access to my team and me (“Sitting on the beach of the bay”, February 17). The issue dealt with abandoned vessels; in fact, we had acted on the matter, but were ourselves delayed by the response of one federal department, which has now directed us to a different Department (sound familiar?)
On a broader basis, the article spurs discussion on how my great team of staff and volunteers serves this enormous riding. As this is one of the largest ridings in the province, and in the entire country, please understand the sheer volume of mail that comes into our offices daily via email and post, not to mention the huge number of phone calls. And yet, amid the dozens of immigration, CRA, pension, etc. cases that my staff resolves for constituents every month, we do our best to respond to every inquiry.
Perhaps you want to express your opinion about electoral reform? Or you wonder how to make a grant application for your business initiative? Federal budget questions? Or you’ve lost your passport and your vacation starts in three days!
When you go looking for me, your Member of Parliament, you have a good reason. You have an opinion to express or an urgent need to be addressed. As I’ve often said, I’m only as good and effective as my constituents. It’s the passion and wisdom of the citizens of this riding that establish my priorities and guide my actions. If people stay silent, I cannot respond. If the political coffee-shop debates come to an end with the last sip, I won’t know what moves you, what concerns you, and what excites you as a Canadian and resident of this gorgeous riding.
But how do you access your MP? I am aware that some folks have been frustrated in their attempts to make contact and to feel heard, and I wish I had the resources to satisfy every call and every email, the very day we receive them. The following is not an excuse; however, it might help to know the situation, as well as my very earnest desire to stay connected with you.
The Most Beautiful Place on Earth, as I call this riding, is one of the largest in Canada, both in terms of geographical size and population. It’s actually 20 to 30 times larger than several other electoral districts! Maintaining three constituency offices is a record in BC -- no other MP has as many. From mid-September to the end of June, I am necessarily in Ottawa to satisfy my obligations as an elected official. There, I bring your concerns to cabinet ministers, to the floor of the House, and to official committee meetings. However, I return home at least every second weekend, and do my best to travel to every point in the riding as often as possible, from Whistler to Powell River and to Bowen Island. But there are, of course, budget constraints.
So the question remains, how do you access your MP? The answer depends on your region. The office in Sechelt is open every Tuesday and Wednesday, while Powell River is staffed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Appointments are the most efficient way to be sure we are able to give you the attention you deserve. Beyond that, you are welcome to contact the West Vancouver office at 604-981-1790, the Ottawa office at 613-947-4617, or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. If computers and telephones don’t feel right for your concern, please send a letter to the MP’s Ottawa office, where we pool all correspondence and have access to every federal department for the most informed response: 770 La Promenade, 151 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6. We may not be able to respond immediately but we will get back to you, and appreciate your patience.
As your MP, I want to hear from you, I want to serve your needs, and I want to understand your viewpoint. Informed, passionate, engaged citizens will only make our country stronger, so Thank You in advance for your feedback, and the way you care about Canada.