Despite the whirlwind of a government change-over, Pam Goldsmith-Jones, MP for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding, found time to read two books over the holidays — Ian Bremmer's Every Nation for Itself and Adam Kahane's Power and Love.
Every Nation is about the nature of global relationships in the 21st Century, and the waning influence of bodies like the G7 or G20. Power and Love discusses the relationship between authority and compassion.
"People made fun of Justin Trudeau when he said 'I think we need a more caring and compassionate country,' but I think he's right about that," Goldsmith-Jones told Whistler Chamber members at a Jan. 13 luncheon at the Fairmont.
"Both power and love are needed to affect change... (it's) like walking on two legs," she said.
"I would like us to be able to work together to open up our potential and create opportunity, and I'm here to help combine your expertise, your authority (with) the fact of a majority government in Ottawa, so that we can make our ideas come true.
"I cannot do this alone. I have no interest in doing it alone. By the end of today I hope that you can connect the dots for yourself, and ask me to open the doors that you need opening so that you can walk through them."
In her 30-minute address, Goldsmith-Jones talked about her role and responsibilities as parliamentary secretary to minister of foreign affairs Stephane Dion, the expanded Canada Summer Jobs Program and some of her efforts to take Whistler's concerns to Ottawa.
"Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) is an issue that is raised all the time, of course, and I am entirely focused on working on this in Ottawa," she said, adding that just two days before the luncheon, she spoke with the chief of staff for Minister of Employment, Workforce and Labour MaryAnn Mihychuk.
"I have obviously conveyed my concern and the concern of numerous members of the B.C. caucus... regarding the need for a more nuanced TFW policy in certain circumstances," she said.
"I've conveyed how prohibitively expensive the new fees have gotten, how restrictive it is, and how I think that we can improve it to meet the needs of business, assuming that we're doing everything we can to hire Canadians first."
A similar phone call took place between Goldsmith-Jones and the staff of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, in regards to the proposed cell tower at the corner of Highway 99 and Lorimer Road, she said.
She's expecting an update next week, which she said she'll pass along to Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
"They know that I am totally supportive of you, as was (former MP) John Weston, and also that you've taken a very reasonable approach to what the alternatives are and what could be possible, so I haven't forgotten about that either," she said.
After her presentation, Goldsmith-Jones took questions from Chamber members.
Whistler Blackcomb CEO Dave Brownlie asked about the timeframe for lifting Mexican visa requirements.
Goldsmith-Jones said she would get Brownlie an answer on that.
"I have raised it as well," she said. "I don't know the steps that are involved or how long it will take, but I do know that... apart from how damaging that was to business, it was significantly damaging toward our relationship with Mexico. So by lifting that visa we're also beginning to repair and rebuild a crucial relationship."
Other questions were in regard to bringing more international airlines to Vancouver, streamlining the processing of visa applications in other countries and whether or not Goldsmith-Jones would be willing to stand against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if her constituents told her they didn't want it.
The MP said she'd like to see what international trade minister Chrystia Freeland — who is currently conducting nationwide consultations on the TPP — brings back to the House of Commons before she commits to anything.
"The position of the government is that we've got to have trade agreements," she said. "The question, of course, is OK, at what price, and where do we draw the line? But this agreement has gone back to all the signatories for discussion and ratification at home by the sovereign governments. So it's in the process of being consulted on and then being brought back to the Canadian public."
While Goldsmith-Jones didn't have the answers to every question, she could be seen jotting down notes as the questions were posed.
Goldsmith-Jones can be reached at her constituency office in Horseshoe Bay by calling 604-981-1790 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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