Hoping to hear your feedback

We are nearly finished the two-week parliamentary break for Easter, as well as a series of workshops and town hall meetings I’ve been hosting across the riding.
I’ll have more to say about how these meetings turned out sometime soon, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know why I think having these meetings from time to time is so important.
As you know, Thunder Bay-Rainy River is a very distinct riding from most others in Canada. We have a medium-large city, several small towns, and many aboriginal communities spread out over an area that takes more than four hours to travel across by car.
As your elected representative, I feel it is very important to visit each of our communities regularly in order to stay in touch, hear about emerging local issues, and to provide you with as high a level of service as possible.
I hope to have several rounds of meetings each year so I can stay on track and provide you with effective representation in Ottawa.
In this most recent round of meetings, I set some time aside for a town hall discussion on the economy and other issues. I did so because the recession likely is affecting families differently from community to community, and because I wanted to hear your personal opinions and ideas.
While I’ve already heard from many of you by e-mail or phone, I believe face-to-face meetings are a better way to stay in touch—and allow us to have more detailed and in-depth discussions.
These meetings also are a chance for you to hold me to account if you think I am on the wrong track or not doing enough to help.
Aside from being a chance to talk face-to-face, these meetings also enable me to provide you with better service. For instance, the first hour of the latest round of meetings was devoted to informing you about the disability tax credit, and helping you get access to any money you may be owed through that program.
Future meetings could focus on helping you obtain and complete passport applications, or helping with other types of casework as needed.
While I’ve done my best to maintain a day-to-day presence throughout the riding by opening up permanent offices in Thunder Bay, Atikokan, and Fort Frances, I feel that holding regular meetings in Upsala, Kakabeka Falls, Emo, Stratton, and Rainy River will help ensure that you and others always have access to the public services you deserve and are entitled to.
By John Rafferty
So what do you think? I am hoping you will write and let me know how you feel about the work I am in doing in Ottawa and the riding, and what you think of the various workshops and town hall meetings I’ve hosted across the riding.
Do you think having these meetings every so often is a good idea, or not so much? Do you want there to be more meetings or fewer? What subjects would you like to discuss in the future? Are there any federal programs you think I should bring information about?
If you do choose to let me know what you think, please know there is no postage required when you mail my Ottawa office.
My address in Ottawa is: John Rafferty, MP, 326 West Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont., K1A 0A6.
I also can be reached via e-mail at raffej@parl.gc.ca
Thanks again for reading, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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