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Dan Albas HOC

On Monday, Dan Albas, MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, introduced private members’ legislation which will help bring some peace of mind to evacuees.

“As we have seen in New Brunswick, Quebec, and the Ottawa region over the last number of weeks, Canadians stand with our neighbours in times of crisis. This sense of community is part of what makes our country the best place in the world to live,” said MP Albas. “However, some people use disasters as an opportunity to abuse that trust and prey on the vulnerable through theft and looting.”
 
If passed, Bill C-447, Act to Amend the Criminal Code (aggravating circumstance – evacuation order or emergency), would allow judges to take into account natural disasters, emergencies and evacuation orders when sentencing criminals by adding them to the list of aggravating factors.

“When someone has had their day in court, and has been found criminally responsible, then when it comes to sentencing this aggravating factor would come up,” said Albas. “A justice would then say, given that society through Parliament has clarified that looting, particularly when people are away on evacuation orders and particularly vulnerable is absolutely heinous. We are going to give a stronger sentence.”

The bill, as much as it’s about law and order is also focused on providing people with a small amount of peace of mind when the evacuation call comes down.

“During a flood or forest fire, Canadians need to be focused on their family’s health and safety, not worried about their home being looted or vandalized while they are away,” said MP Albas.  “Far too many people don’t listen to evacuation orders because they are concerned about their property.  Hopefully, all parties can support this common-sense change so that we can give that crucial peace of mind to Canadians in their time of need.”

Albas mentioned that throughout conversations with constituents, the topic of evacuation protection was top of mind.

“It was the main topic on my summer listening tour last year. All three valleys, the Okanagan Valley, the Nicola Valley and the Similkameen Valley, everyone of them said if there’s a way to make evacuations easier then please help us with this. This is one way to make that happen,” said MP Albas.
 
“I hope people support the premise of the bill, and I’m also open to feedback from people, particularly in a community like Merritt where we’ve had so many evacuations due to flooding in the Nicola Valley. I’d love to hear their feedback,” said Albas.

Our Member of Parliament can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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Loon Lake

During the 2017 Elephant Hill Wildfire the Fire Hall in Loon Lake was lost. While fundraising to build a new hall has been progressing nicely with money being donated from various sources including the TNRD, there was still some red tap to cut through.

Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart spoke to a bill she’s brought to the legislature floor.

“We also have another bill on the floor, it’s to amend the park at Loon Lake to allow for the Loon Lake Volunteer Fire Hall to be rebuilt,” said Tegart.

During preliminary talks with the Minister it was taught this bill would not hit the floor until the fall.

“Based on my sense of urgency and his response we’ve been able to get the bill on the floor last week, and I believe it will be passed this week, so we don’t miss this opportunity this summer to put some shovels in the ground,” said Tegart.

MLA Tegart also spoke to a concern she raised with during the housing estimates. Tegart was worried about the services that accompany supportive housing.

“They really need to ensure that those wrap-around services have the capacity to serve the people that will be going into those facilities,” said Tegart. “We may have a list of local services but whether they have room on their client list to provide the support that is needed is critically important.”

“The communities are saying we don’t want to turn housing away, we believe people need housing, but we also don’t want to put people into a situation where they don’t have the supports,” said Tegart.

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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rcmp 1

Merritt RCMP have confirmed that a Vancouver Island man was arrested for assault with a weapon and mischief to property.

On May 12th, 2019 the Merritt Detachment received a call of a disturbance on Hwy 5 when an elderly man was seen trying to flag down traffic and appeared to be injured. 

Members attended and the investigation revealed that a male suspect and his spouse were travelling from Alberta back to Vancouver Island when they got into a fight forcing the woman to pull over on the highway.  Their vehicle was being followed by the male suspects 91-year-old grandfather.  The grandfather attempted to intervene in the dispute and was allegedly also assaulted by the suspect.  The suspect then obtained a pair of pliers and began to damage his grandfathers 68 Mustang. 

The accused has a violent history and police are attempting to have him held in custody.  He will make an appearance this week in Kamloops. 

 

Mounties have also confirmed how a police car ended up with a smashed hood on Friday. A member of the Central Interior Traffic Services Unit was travelling west bound and going to stop a semi unit for speeding. 

The semi truck pulled up to the 97C intersection with the police car behind it.  At this point the driver of the semi truck realized he was in the wrong lane, placed the truck in reverse and backed up onto the hood of the police car causing extensive damage to the vehicle. 

No one with injured in the incident and the truck driver was issued a violation ticket for driving without due care and attention. 

 

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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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Jackie Tegart New

Currently the BC NDP Government is looking at changing the Employment Standards in the Province. One of the key changes gathering steam in the public is the change to the working age, raising it to 16-yearsold.

Q101 spoke with Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart to get her opinion on the proposed changes.

“We are certainly hearing a lot from those out in the community around the fact that the Government thinks that they know what the best age for a kid to go to work is and that they think it’s 16,” said Tegart.

Tegart also mentioned that parents and not the government know when it’s best for their kids to start working.

“I think about mowing lawns at a golf course, I think about people pumping gas, I think about the experience of working in a kitchen at a restaurant picking up dishes. I think that every parent knows their child and the fact that a kid can’t go out at age 13 and make some money to buy a bike because the government has made rules. I think it’s a little heavy handed,” said Tegart.

“Kids that go to work at age 14 often pick up a great work ethic, they understand what it’s like to get up in the morning to go to work, they understand the value of a paycheck, they understand being part of a team. So, I really question whether this amendment to the Employment Standards is a bit far reaching,” said Tegart.

“I think the Government needs to get out of the way,” said Tegart. “Yes, there are situations where kids shouldn’t be working in dangerous situations. But I also think we need to consider the fact that we have teachable moments with young people. To think that they can’t go to a daily job before the age of 16, I think about my kids and they worked much younger of that.”

It should be noted that children will be permitted to conduct ‘light work’ at the age of 14, but what exactly defines ‘light’ has not yet been decided.

 

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leaf

Bowen Island Growers will be making a presentation to council tonight (May 14th). The company that began back in 2013 as a research project has grown into a full research and development company.

The cannabis producers plan for the Merritt area includes mention of two separate properties.

“They’ve just expressed interest in our region generally and want to present to Council and I think get a little bit of a feel for their interest,” said Director of corporate Services Sean Smith.

A portion of their presentation refers to building stratified warehouse units for micro cultivation, production and nursery sites.

“Council has shown to be very development friendly here and that is a welcome thing in this particular industry, where in some communities there has been a lot of roadblocks that have been placed,” said Smith. “No surprise from our end and at the very least it’s exciting to see the interest.”

“Our location I think makes it ideal for a lot of these businesses,” added CAO Scott Hildebrand.

Further details will be available on Wednesday (May 15th) following their presentation to City Council.

Tonight’s Council Meeting begins at 7pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall. As always, the public is encouraged to attend the meeting.

 

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