I wish to provide clarification in response to Barbara Cousin’s letter of May 17 in which she asserted that I am unavailable to my constituents. Having met with Ms. Cousins, hosted her at constituency events and provided responses to her written questions, I was somewhat surprised to read her letter. I campaigned on a commitment to being accessible to the voters of the North Okanagan-Shuswap and I continue to follow through on my commitment.
In her letter, Ms. Cousins questions meetings I attended in Manitoba in April. This is somewhat surprising as I responded in writing on April 30 to her query on these very questions.
For the sake of your readers, I wish to clarify that while in Manitoba, I participated in multiple meetings related to my position as a Member of Parliament and the deputy shadow minister for Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard, a position with responsibilities here in the North Okanagan-Shuswap and across Canada.
In Manitoba, I toured of a closed containment aquaculture production facility relevant to my role as a deputy shadow minister. As Member of Parliament for North Okanagan-Shuswap, I also participated in a trade meeting with agricultural producers examining canola shipments and potential trade barriers affecting fruit producers. I also met with fish and wildlife conservation organizations relevant to my role as deputy shadow minister.
Ms. Cousins’ assertion that I ignore my constituents is incorrect. I have made it a priority to consistently seek input from the people of the North Okanagan-Shuswap through multiple surveys, open houses, town halls and an overall approach of being accessible.
I will continue to be open and accessible to my constituents and work hard to advocate on behalf of the North Okanagan-Shuswap.
Mel Arnold, M.P. North Okanagan-Shuswap