Pam Goldsmith-Jones, MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, has been appointed parliamentary secretary to Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephane Dion.
Goldsmith-Jones will be tasked with supporting Dion in achieving the mandate set out for him by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"My job will be to stand up in the House of Commons (HOC) and speak on his behalf when he's not here, to convey our policies across party lines here in the HOC, and then obviously to fulfill any duties that he can't, whether that's here at home or anywhere in the world," Goldsmith-Jones said in a phone call from Ottawa.
"It's truly an honour."
In his mandate letter to Dion, Trudeau tasked the new minister with everything from improving trade relations to combating climate change.
The full letter can be found online at www.pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-foreign-affairs-mandate-letter.
"As a former mayor of West Vancouver and acknowledged environmental champion, Ms. Goldsmith-Jones' experience will be vital as we work hand-in-hand to deliver on my full mandate, particularly the challenge of revitalizing Canada's public diplomacy and stakeholder engagement, and working alongside the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to make Canada an international leader on climate change," Dion said in a press release.
Goldsmith-Jones said she particularly likes the focus on climate change, and the chance to work with fellow West Coast MP Jonathan Wilkinson of the North Vancouver riding, who was named parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
"It's a strong affirmation of leadership from B.C. and the West Coast of Canada," Goldsmith-Jones said.
"I think it's truly a visionary way of positioning our leadership role on climate change, and also Canada's role in the world as diplomats, as people who build relationships and seek out partnerships."
But her first concern with taking on the file, Goldsmith-Jones said, was her commitment to her Sea to Sky constituents.
"That is No. 1," she said, adding that she has been working hard arranging meetings with people in the riding.
She's also trying to set up a group to address labour shortages in Whistler, and expects to be making some announcements about the Canada Summer Jobs Program shortly.
"So I always have a view to the importance of these issues at home, and by being here (in Ottawa) an awful lot comes across my desk, and I just jump on the things that are related to us," she said.
Closer to home, Goldsmith-Jones has just signed the lease on her constituency office, set to open in Horseshoe Bay in January.
"I wanted to put it as central in the riding as I could," she said.
"So you can be a foot passenger on a ferry, you can catch the bus; if you're coming from Whistler or Squamish you can peel off into Horseshoe Bay."
Anyone hoping to reach Goldsmith-Jones in the meantime can call her Ottawa office at 613-947-4617 or email email@example.com.
Goldsmith-Jones said she'll be back in the riding from Dec. 12 to Jan. 25.
"I realize now that when I'm home I have to make the most of that to meet as many people as I can," she said.
"I think I have a fair number of speaking engagements and meetings and things lined up in January, so I'm looking forward to connecting with everybody."
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