Another busy week

It was another very busy week all across the riding and on Parliament Hill, with many stories and issues grabbing the spotlight. I want to touch on a few of these events and issues and share my thoughts with you on them.
Last week had our municipal elections and hundreds of people from all across Northwestern Ontario stepped up and offered to serve their communities for the next four years as elected officials.
I want to congratulate everyone who stood for office and thank you for helping to make our democracy work.
I would also like to further congratulate all the winners from Monday’s vote. I look forward to working with all of you to help our region achieve its full potential. Finally, I would also like to give my best to all those incumbents who either decided not to run again or were not victorious this go around. Thank you for your many years of dedication and service.
Back in Ottawa this week, my New Democrat colleagues and I have been working on many issues of importance, a couple of which I wanted to raise with you today.
First, we have continued our efforts to convince the Conservative government to remove the federal portion of the HST on your home heating costs.
We know that our families are already feeling squeezed financially and that soaring home heating costs mean that things will only get worse unless we act now.
Conservative MPs, like Greg ?Rickford of Kenora, voted for Bill C-62 which enabled an eight percent tax increase on home heating among other goods and services in Ontario.
The eight percent increase in home heating means we are paying an extra $877 million during these tough times.
It’s just not right, so New Democrats are continuing to fight this move by the Conservative government.
If taxing the necessities of life like home heating weren’t bad enough, more news came out this week about how the Conservative Government has been abusing our tax dollars.
The Parliament buildings are a cherished national monument yet this government, risks turning the restoration project into a national embarrassment due to some shady dealings by the Minister of Public Works.
More evidence came to light this week of contracts being awarded for renovation work to the West Block of Parliament to business owners who have made timely donations to the Conservative party and discussed the work of government at high priced partisan fundraisers.
The Stone Mason on the West Block Project, Bobby Watt, presented documents showing the conditions that needed to be met for bidders was amended on more than one occasionand just before being awarded to the benefit one company.
The only beneficiary of these last-minute changes appears to have been an under-qualified firm that hired a Conservative lobbyist and made a large donation to the Minister overseeing the renovations and who spoke with him for some time about the issue at one of those pricey partisan fundraising events.
Weren’t the Conservatives supposed to get rid of this sort of shady backroom deal making? I guess when they talked about bringing “accountability” to Ottawa they simply meant kicking out Liberal lobbyists and replacing them with their own.
I don’t believe that political scandals are victimless crimes.
Not only do they ensure that taxpayers don’t get the best bang for their buck, but they undermine the legitimacy of our government and cast a bad light on elected representatives of all stripes.
Personally, I think like the Liberals before them, that the Conservative are simply getting too comfortable in government and that they are due for a serious wake-up call from the voters, and I am sure that one day soon they will get it.

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