It was an incredibly productive winter recess from Parliament back in the riding of Barrie-Innisfil.
I had numerous meetings with constituents and stakeholders on a wide range of topics from electoral reform, to addressing PTSD and the upcoming Innisfil Polar Bear Dip – where I will take the plunge for charity into the frigid waters of Lake Simcoe in February.
I was also pleased to address Barrie city council as the Member of Parliament for Barrie-Innisfil for the first time.
I continue to be honoured, inspired and humbled to represent the people of Barrie-Innisfil in our nation’s capital.
With the return of Parliament this week, this session on the Hill is shaping up to be a very busy one. On Monday, I was pleased to address the House of Commons with my comments on the government’s Speech from the Throne.
As the Opposition’s Critic for Urban Affairs, my focus was on the infrastructure challenges facing Barrie-Innisfil and municipalities across Canada.
With less than 10% of the overall tax revenues at their disposal and nearly 90% of the burden to fund infrastructure, municipalities need more help in meeting their obligations.
The riding of Barrie-Innisfil is no exception and as a former long-time city councillor, I understand all too well the battle being waged at the local level to combat infrastructure deficits.
Recently, I have met with both Barrie and Innisfil mayors on the issue of infrastructure funding. The City of Barrie currently has nine significant shovel ready projects for this year that will cost $52 million and the Town of Innisfil has no less than a dozen pressing improvements needing support in 2016.
I reminded members how federal monies flowed over the past decade through the previous Conservative government. Whether it was facilitating a new transit facility, cleaning up Lake Simcoe or helping to restore GO train service with two new stations built in the riding, significant commitments were made and delivered upon for the people of Barrie-Innisfil.
I encouraged collaboration moving forward and also made a suggestion the government consider using the Gas Tax Fund (GTF) transfers as a vehicle to best deliver on the Liberal’s ambitious election promise of enhanced infrastructure funding distributed promptly.
In my view, an ‘allocation versus application’ approach would serve as a more efficient delivery system for sorely needed funds. The template for the use of the federal GTF has already been well established and could help our limping economy in the short-term with immediate investments.
It would also distribute funds to all ridings fairly and thereby avoid any potential criticisms of partisan decision making.
In closing I want to remind area residents of a passport clinic I am co-hosting this Saturday with Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP Alex Nuttall at the Bayfield Mall from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Constituents from both ridings are welcome to bring their completed applications to the clinic to be checked over and sent to Passport Canada on your behalf. We are here to serve you.
For information on my activities as your MP, the latest riding news or to see videos of my speeches to Parliament, please visit johnbrassard.com.