Three issues kept cropping up during Member of Parliament Kelly Block’s recent round of coffee shop meetings in her riding of Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek.
The federally-imposed Carbon Tax, the SNC-Lavalin scandal and China’s refusal to allow imports of Canadian canola are all big concerns for voters across the constituency, according to Block.
“They were definitely the items people brought up at every stop on the tour,” said Block in a phone interview from Ottawa on Friday, April 5. “Getting this kind of feedback from people in their home communities is the reason I do these consultations twice a year. I think it’s very important to hear directly from my constituents, because they’re the ones I’m representing in the House of Commons.”
Block said the imposition of the federal Carbon Tax on April 1 will have an escalating impact on people’s budgets. She noted that while the initial tax is $20 per tonne, it is slated to rise to $50 per tonne in 2022.
“It’s going to make everything more expensive,” said Block. “During the meetings with folks, I was able to tell them that Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has already announced that should our party form government after this fall’s election, we would repeal the carbon tax.”
She said she supports the recent pro-pipeline rally in Regina.
“This is a very serious issue, because it’s hurting the economy of western Canada,” she said.
With spring seeding just around the corner, Block said China’s refusal to accept Canadian canola imports is approaching crisis proportions.
“This is a national economic emergency and it needs to be addressed at the highest level,” she said. “It’s a political issue. It’s not about the quality of the Canadian product. The Prime Minister needs to stand up for Canadian farmers and do everything he can to resolve this situation by engaging directly with the government of China.”
The ongoing SNC-Lavalin scandal has raised the ire of all Canadians, including those in her own riding, said Block.
“Certainly what I heard during the time I was in my riding, is that people are very engaged in what’s happening, and they understand the implications for the justice system if the government had succeeded in their attempts to pressure the Attorney General,” said Block. “Voters I talked to know the names of the individuals involved. They are paying attention.”
Block said Scheer has indicated he would explore the possibility of separating the roles of Attorney General and Minister of Justice in the federal Cabinet if the Conservatives are elected.
She said in her riding, which she characterized as primarily rural and conservative-minded, “most folks are definitely looking forward to this fall’s election, because they want to see a change in government.”
Block said the numerous stops in communities across her riding also provide people with a chance to talk to her about specific problems. She said this type of “case work” makes up a big part of her responsibilities.
“People are always welcome to contact me at any time,” she said. “But the coffee shop consultations are very helpful in strengthening the lines of communication.
“I enjoy doing these tours every year,” she added. “It’s something I’ve done every year since I’ve been serving as an MP.”