ALBAS: The importance of public feedback
By Dan Albas, MP Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola
Dan Albas, member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla.
Image Credit: Contributed
August 02, 2016 - 9:17 AM
I was asked recently why I write a weekly MP report given some other MPs do not submit weekly reports. There are a few answers to this question. The first reason is due to the fact the federal Government is so vast in size there is no shortage of policies, bills and legislation to try and inform citizens about. The second reason is my favourite, and that is the fact that my weekly reports provide an opportunity for citizens to share comments, questions and concerns on specific topics that are raised.
Why this is so valuable from my perspective is because often topics that are of great concern to local citizens may not be the same topics that dominate media headlines. In other words having a weekly MP report creates a good opportunity to take the pulse of how citizens in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola feel about a wide variety of subjects.
In last week’s report I asked for input on the idea of a Federal Government imposed national carbon tax. The response to this report was not only overwhelming but almost all of the feedback I received was strongly opposed. There were also a significant number of citizens who took the time to share the reasons why they opposed a national carbon tax.
Although many of the reasons varied the most common was that many citizens are paying more attention to the relationship between their gross income and their net take home pay after income taxes. At the same time their net take home pay is increasingly being subject to a growing number of consumption based taxes and fees that further reduce the household buying power. Many expressed a point of view that they cannot afford more taxation and as a result oppose another tax on something like gasoline that as many pointed out, is already heavily taxed.
Another point made by many was that government services and government could not function without burning carbon. Flights by politicians to Ottawa or Victoria being one example, emergency service vehicles, transportation trucks that carry essential supplies and services were more examples and that a national carbon tax would increase the cost of Government.
Another point made by some citizens was that while income taxes can be variable in a way to help those with lower incomes, often consumption based taxes apply equally regardless of income and some felt there was an element of unfairness in that. Often various Governments use rebate programs and/or direct payment subsidies such as the recently changed direct child care subsidy to help offset these increased costs but as another citizens pointed out these programs often only help certain families and not those who are low income who have adult children with severe challenges who cannot work, no children or are single. In summary there was no lack of different reasons why a national carbon tax was overwhelmingly opposed to the extent that only a handful of citizens voiced any support for the idea.
From my perspective this feedback was all very helpful and in the event the Liberal Government continues to try and force a national carbon tax in Ottawa it will be a taxation increase, I will share many of the reasons that were provided to me over this past week opposing a national carbon tax. Citizens deserve to be heard and the feedback from my weekly reports is part of what I will be sharing in September once the House of Commons is back in session. In my view this is an important part of our democratic process in Canada.
Want to have a say in my upcoming MP reports? Is there a particular subject you would like to see covered in a future MP report? Let me know an area of Federal concern and while I may not be able to accommodate every request the most common topics that are raised will be mentioned in upcoming MP reports from now until September. I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1 (800) 665-8711.
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