By North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold
As we wind down one year and look ahead to the next, it is natural that we hope for a better year to come.
Even when our lives are healthy, full and secure, we hope for better days ahead for all, especially for those who need it the most.
It goes without saying that this year has been especially difficult for many British Columbians as we weathered the pandemic that continues to affect us all, and the wildfires, floods and landslides that inflicted severe damages on many communities.
As we faced the threats of 2021, I was consistently grateful for the grit and determination of those who serve to help us, to protect us and help us recover. There are many to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for their service as they provided essential goods and services, healthcare, public safety, education and support for citizens and communities faced with the challenges of recovery.
From the service of these citizens, and many others for whom I am grateful, I hope we can all draw motivation to likewise serve our communities in whatever ways we can, big or small, because we all have something to offer.
In May, Canadians learned of the remains of at least 215 Indigenous children confirmed to be buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The revelations at Kamloops and others that have since been made elsewhere demonstrate that more work must be done on the path to reconciliation. I have called, and will continue to call, on the government to implement calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In 2021, one of the challenges I worked through as your federal representative was finding the balance point amidst the diverse needs and hopes shared with me by constituents in the thousands of emails, phone calls and engagements. From housing and labour shortages, to the impacts of addiction, to slow downs in the immigration system, to the needs for more mental health supports, and the need to get businesses fully operational again, there are many challenges.
2021 was a truly memorable year as my wife and I became grandparents for the first time. Being a grandparent brings new perspectives and I am more determined than ever to continue working in Parliament for a bright future for present and future generations; a future where everyone can have a place to call home, a reliable, steady income and an affordable retirement.
During a pandemic that has affected so many, I was especially grateful for my health and that of my family this year, and my hope is that our communities, province and nation will see good health in the year ahead. I also sincerely hope that Canada and the global community will emerge from the pandemic and take strong strides of recovery towards a brighter future.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the opportunity to celebrate in a way that aligns with your faith. All the best of life in 2022!
Mel Arnold is the MP for the North Okanagan-Shuswap.
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