By this time next week the House of Commons will have again resumed session and I will be back in Ottawa for 10 of the next 12 weeks and the next major break in late December.
Over the next few months I will make every effort to report on the latest events occurring in Ottawa to help keep the citizens of Okanagan-Coquihalla informed. There is also a fair amount of information that I have gathered from my summer listening tour that I will be sharing in Ottawa and following up on as well.
It is important from my perspective that as Members of Parliament we share not just the challenges, but also the success that we have in our home ridings. From my perspective what can be a success story in one community or region can potentially help resolve challenges in another.
One of the downsides of being back in Ottawa over the majority of the next few months is that it means that there will be a number of local events that I will not be able to participate in, one of those events is local “Take Back the Night” events that occur throughout a number of communities in Okanagan-Coquihalla and elsewhere.
During the past Parliamentary session I was the lone male member of the Parliamentary Committee on the Status of Women. During my time on this committee I became more familiar with some of the disturbing incidents of violence against women that still occur here in Canada. By the numbers between 2009 and 2010 over 64,000 women accessed services at women’s shelter. Further, looking back over the past decade it appears these numbers remain as a relative constant on a national level.
Another area of concern is that younger women and particularly aboriginal women are more likely to encounter family violence and/or domestic abuse situations. Sometimes spousal assault and domestic violence can be fatal as was the tragic case of Penticton resident Lynn Kalmring.
Having met with the family I can speak firsthand of the sense of loss and trauma that these acts of violence leave on the loved one’s who are left behind.The Kalmring family has prepared a petition to support changes to the law that will better protect family victims of violence in the future and I would like to invite members of the public to stop in at my office to sign this petition if they are so inclined.
I would like to present this petition to Parliament in early December to coincide with the national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. Physical, sexual or psychological harm that can also include intimidation, verbal abuse and threats should not be tolerated in any family household.
A reminder for those interested in attending my office to sign the petition the address is #202 – 301 Main Street located in the Nanaimo Square Heritage building in downtown Penticton.This is the same address as my predecessor, the Hon. Stockwell Day. Likewise the telephone contact information also remains the same 250-770-4480 or toll free at 1-800-655-8711.