North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has been given three portfolios in addition to returning to her role as NDP whip, which was announced previously.
According to a media release, Blaney will continue to serve as critic for veterans affairs, which she has done since 2019. In this role, Blaney has fought to eliminate the backlog for veterans benefit applications and worked to end the discriminatory “gold-digger clause,” which punishes veterans who marry after age 60, the release stated.
Blaney also resumes the role of spokesperson for seniors’ issues, which she held from 2017 to 2019. According to the release, she introduced a private member’s bill in 2019 (C-449) that would have prevented low-income seniors from losing their benefits if they are late in filing their tax returns. She has held numerous town halls and advocacy events for seniors during her two previous terms as MP, the release stated.
Rural economic development is a new portfolio for Blaney, but one she has long advocated for as MP for BC’s third largest riding. The release stated that in the fall of 2020, Blaney introduced motion M-53: Principles for a Sustainable and Equitable Future, to recognize the economic contribution of rural communities and ensure they be included equitably in all federal recovery programs and funding.
She also led a campaign to locate an office of the newly formed Pacific Economic Development Canada (Pacifican) in the riding of North Island-Powell River. In August, Mélanie Joly (then minister of economic development, now minister of foreign affairs), confirmed that Campbell River would be the site of one of eight offices in BC, according to the release.
“These three portfolios address issues that matter to our communities and the people I represent,” stated Blaney. “They are also areas where our federal government can and must do better to support the people who have built this country. I’m looking forward to working hard on these files to get results for people in our region and all across Canada.”
On October 29, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh announced the responsibilities New Democratic MPs will take on in the upcoming parliamentary session, including Blaney’s.
“Canadians can count on this group of New Democrats to fight for them and their families,” stated Singh. “We have a lot of diversity, talent and depth on this team. We’re going to use these strengths to push the government for concrete action on climate justice that includes a just transition for workers and communities, real reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and help to make life more affordable for Canadians.”