It was more than the centralized location that led West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones to situate her constituency office in Horseshoe Bay.
"The location represents Sea to Sky, our history of a life oriented toward the ocean, the mountains and nature," Goldsmith-Jones said in a release announcing the grand opening of her office at 6367 Bruce Street in West Vancouver on Jan. 14.
"Horseshoe Bay has also been built on industry, tourism and transportation. It has always been a place where people gather, relax and recreate. It signifies my belief in building strong connections throughout our riding."
Symbolism aside, the centralized location will be key to staying accessible in one of Canada's biggest ridings.
"The whole reason for locating here is to make it convenient for people on the coast and the corridor as well as West Van," Goldsmith-Jones said in a follow up phone call.
"So I really hope that people will come from all parts of the riding and see it as a place where we come together."
It's been a whirlwind three months for Goldsmith-Jones since being elected Oct. 19 — including her appointment to the role of parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs — but that's not to say she hasn't been focused on local issues in the midst of the chaos.
Goldsmith-Jones said she's met with local constituents on issues concerning fisheries, opposition to the proposed cell tower at Highway 99 and Lorimer Road and the labour shortage that dominated headlines for much of the summer.
One of Goldsmith-Jones' campaign promises was to form a local labour task force within 60 days of being elected.
While that deadline has come and gone, Goldsmith-Jones said she has discussed the Temporary Foreign Worker Program with Whistler Chamber CEO Val Litwin, who she expects to take the lead on the task force, as well as with new minister of employment, workforce and labour MaryAnn Mihychuk.
"We wanted to get an understanding from the minister, first of all, what would be helpful to her in helping create a strategy before we launched off into our own direction," Goldsmith-Jones said.
"It's a tricky issue, but we are not the only sort of micro-labour market that is unique, and that simply does not fit with the criteria established for permitting temporary foreign workers."
At the grand opening of her office, Goldsmith-Jones discussed some details about the expanded Canada Summer Jobs Program, which she thinks could help ease some of the labour pain in Whistler.
"Not-for-profit employers will receive up to 100 per cent of hourly wage, (while) public sector and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees receive up to half," she said.
"I'm not sure that people realize that for youth (aged) 15 to 24... unemployment is more than 16 per cent. It's a serious issue and we're hoping by doubling the number of jobs that we're prepared to fund, we will help to address that."
The application period closes February 26. Head to www.servicecanada.gc.ca/csj for more info.
After Pique went to press on Jan. 13, Goldsmith-Jones hosted a luncheon with the Whistler Chamber. Head to www.piquenewsmagazine.com for the story.
Goldsmith-Jones can be reached at her Horseshoe Bay office at 604-981-1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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