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North Island-Powell River MP wants collaborative action in House of Commons

Rachel Blaney hopes for progress with new ministers
ROLES SHUFFLED: North Island – Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has some new cabinet ministers to work with on issues she sees important to her and her constituents.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of a new cabinet brings some new faces, but Canadians are still facing the same issues as before the federal election, according to North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney.

Blaney said it is frustrating to be doing this process again after an election her party and many Canadians did not want.

“Basically, a very similar format has been sent back to the House of Commons,” said Blaney. “I do hope the government takes this as a signal that Canadians want to see us working together in a more collaborative manner. They actually want a minority government, which, of course, adds its own challenges, but there is important meaning to that. It means there has to be more collaboration.”

Blaney said as for the new federal cabinet, she said she is looking forward to working with new fisheries and oceans minister Joyce Murray, who represents the Vancouver Quadra riding. Blaney said that while Murray is a west coaster, she has concerns about Murray’s knowledge of rural and remote communities, such as those in the North Island-Powell River riding.

“However, I’m always hopeful that when we have an MP from our coast, that there is more understanding,” said Blaney. “I have a lot of conversations planned to talk about the chinook fishery, the spot prawn fishery, and all of the changes that need to happen with the fish farm industry. I’m hopeful [Murray] will be somebody we can work with productively.”

Blaney said she also found it interesting there is a ministry with the word housing in it. Ahmed Hussen is the new minister of housing and diversity and inclusion.

“I hope that identifies that the federal government is actually going to take a more serious response in the housing crisis that we’re facing across our riding, and quite frankly, across Canada,” said Blaney. “We’ve seen the provincial government step up, but they need the federal partner to stand up for there to be a more rigorous response. I’m hopeful, but I do know the Liberals’ history of saying one thing and doing another. It’s something I’m always cautious about.”

Blaney said there have been some changes in the Indigenous ministries. She said Marc Miller has changed into a different role with the ministry of crown-Indigenous relations role.

“He has a history there, so hopefully, we’ll be able to work together,” said Blaney. “We also have a new minister [Patty Hajdu] in Indigenous services. We are looking at some of the key things that need to be dealt with, things like reconciliation, and looking at what we are going to do in this country to recognize the children we’re finding buried outside of residential schools.

“When we look at the court case that is happening around taking Indigenous kids again to court, and whether or not the federal government should have to pay out, the Canadian human rights tribunal has shown that the federal government failed. Those are some key things in our riding that I think are really important.”

Blaney said there is a lot of work to be done, and that hopefully, she can work productively with members of cabinet in the new government.