Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty was in Quesnel today, speaking to constituents about a number of topics as he embarks on a series of Town Hall meetings in his riding.
Doherty travelled to Quesnel by motorbike, and jokingly apologized for any bugs that may be visible in his teeth as he began speaking.
He invited the dozen attendees present at the meeting, which took place at the College of New Caledonia campus in Quesnel, to address him candidly with their questions. “Today is about listening to you,” he said.
Discussion topics brought up by Quesnel locals centred around the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute; the need for better PharmaCare coverage; Bill C-45, which will legalize cannabis as of October 17, 2018; the need for more rural policing; the economic impacts of the 2017 wildfires and the pine beetle epidemic; Bill C-71, which hopes to tighten firearms regulations; and lack of regional transportation now that Greyhound Canada no longer serves many northern communities.
Doherty said he is hearing similar concerns throughout the region, having already held meetings in Vanderhoof and Prince George, with one more scheduled for Williams Lake tomorrow.
“This is exactly what we are hearing everywhere. What’s being done to protect jobs? The concerns about C45, the wildfires. Others that we’ve heard are around opportunities in the region after graduation or if I lose my job…,” he said.
One of the topics dwelt upon in Quesnel was that of rural policing and the local crime rate.
“Rural crime is a big issue,” agreed Doherty, who said he has not held a rural crime roundtable for the region, but that he speaks to local municipal governments and First Nations leaders on the topic regularly.
Doherty said the information he’s gathering from constituents will be compiled for ministers in Ottawa.
“We take this information and we create a regional issues sheet. We file that off to our Conservative shadow ministers, and when I’m talking to ministers they know what our challenges are in our region. So I don’t always have to stand up. I always try to work collaboratively behind the scenes with them, but they know that we will poke the bear if we have to,” he said.