Gord Brown reflects on busy year
Brockville – This year has been busy for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes Member of Parliament Gord Brown.
“Being party Whip has kept me busy in Ottawa while I also maintain a hectic schedule of meetings in the riding,” says Brown.
“It was an honour being chosen in late 2015 by interim leader Rona Ambrose to be the Official Opposition Whip,” he explains.
Due to the light Parliamentary schedule in 2015 this year has been his first full year in that position.
“As well as working with our Conservative members to ensure that they are achieving their personal goals I meet regularly with other party Whips, and as an Officer of the House, some of my time is dedicated to ensuring the House of Commons operates effectively and efficiently.”
Despite the workload as Whip he has also introduced two Private Members Bills and has worked with constituents on issues that concern them.
“The first Bill I introduced is a Bill that will see better access for boaters along the international border between Canada and the United States,” he explains.
Currently when US boaters enter Canadian waters, whether they are landing or not, they have to report to the Canadian Customs.
Also, when Canadian boaters who have merely transited US waters pass across the Canadian border, they have to report.
“My bill, which is gaining multi-party support, will eliminate this red tape.”
Brown also introduced a second Bill that will establish a legacy fund for maintenance to National Historic Sites owned and operated by the federal government.
“This will aid sites such as Fort Henry, the Rideau Canal, Fort Wellington and Bellevue House,” he notes.
Brown expects to see action on both these Bills in 2017 and hopes to have the border Bill passed for boaters as early as this summer.
Meanwhile, pressing the federal government for more infrastructure money for the Rideau Canal and Fort Wellington resulted in two announcements earlier in the year.
“I am pleased that we were able to acquire more infrastructure money for the canal, and money to accomplish needed work at the fort.”
Brown has also encouraged the environment minister to look at modern interpretation services for the Rideau Canal and will continue to press this issue in 2017.
He has also been working hard to correct a problem for the “Forgotten Survivors” of Thalidomide.
A compensation package introduced in 2015 includes requirements that can’t be met by many survivors. Paperwork and witnesses are no longer available so they are unable to prove their mothers took Thalidomide even though their physical disabilities clearly show tell-tale signs.
“I have been working locally with a Gananoque man along with survivors from across Canada to get the criteria for compensation changed. I hope for results from these efforts in 2017 as well,” he says.
Brown also spent time this year working on border wait times at the Johnstown crossing and higher than average gasoline prices in Brockville.
“The minister has already indicated that some changes have taken place at the border crossing and I have not heard any other concerns as of now,” says Brown.
Meanwhile the Competition Bureau and the minister responsible, refuse to act in small markets with single suppliers such as Brockville, to help curb rising fuel costs.
“I am continuing to monitor this issue as well,” notes Brown.
In the fall he conducted an electoral reform consultation and a Householder sent out the first of December included the local results of that consultation.
“This has been an important issue in our riding and I expect to hear more about this in the 2017.”
Earlier this year he was pleased to see the opening of the Aquatarium in Brockville. “Our Conservative government provided a great deal of funding for this attraction and I was pleased to see it open and doing a great business,” he says.
The coming year will be busy notes Brown as he and his caucus members continue to hold the new government to account for their continued deficit spending and integrity issues.
“My door is always open if anyone has any concerns,” he notes. “My main constituency office will remain in the 1000 Islands Mall and I will continue to operate three other offices in Kemptville, Westport, and Gananoque.”