Langley Advance Times runs a new weekly feature, call it “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley school board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online each Sunday.
RECENT – AT YOUR SERVICE: Federal clean energy efforts lauded by MP
Both Langley MPs were asked the same question: Should the government revamp the Emergencies Act in the wake of the Ottawa convoy occupation?
MP John Aldag
A. Earlier this year, illegal blockades caused havoc in our capital and across Canada – including here in the Lower Mainland.
In Ottawa, residents felt unsafe in their own neighbourhoods. Extremely loud honking was heard, 24/7.
Elected officials were threatened.
People were out of work when businesses closed and children – including young cancer patients – couldn’t get treatment. Symbols of hate were displayed, while white supremacist rhetoric was amplified by convoy organizers.
Across the country, blockades hurt Canadians.
Closed borders forced plants to close and workers to be laid off in Ontario, while ranchers in Alberta couldn’t get cattle to market.
Only minutes from our community, the Pacific Highway Border Crossing was blocked. This severed B.C.’s most important link to the United States and meant that toddlers at the Creative Kids Learning Centre – just trying to nap or play – faced non-stop honking and screaming.
With the impact mounting, we invoked the Emergencies Act to restore public safety.
Blockades in Ottawa were cleared without any serious injuries and crossings reopened.
Significantly, an attempt to re-block the Pacific Highway was thwarted using tools from the Act.
A public inquiry is underway, and we look forward to seeing its conclusions. We invoked the Emergencies Act to keep Canadians safe – and it worked.
MP Tako van Popta
A. The Government of Canada does not need to revamp the Emergencies Act, it needs to respect it.
On Feb. 14, 2022, in response to protestors setting up camp in downtown Ottawa, the Liberal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in over 50 years.
In 1970 it was invoked in response to the October Crisis, when two people had been kidnapped – one later found murdered – and the Front de liberation du Quebec threatened more havoc if their demands for a free Quebec were not met.
The trucker convoy of 2022, on the other hand, was a disparate group of individuals whose common goal was that the government should lift COVID-related vaccine and travel mandates.
Law enforcement and legal experts, including CSIS and the RCMP, testified at the public inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act that there was no threat to the “security of Canada” as defined in the law, and that police had not yet exhausted their resources.
Despite that, the government chose to follow a broader understanding of a threat to the security of Canada and invoked the Act anyway.
Simply put, this government wishes to adapt laws to suit its objectives – to rationalize their actions for political purposes.
What protection do Canadians’ rights and freedoms have if we allow any government, present or future, to avoid accountability by changing the rules?
Next week’s Langley Citiy councillors are being asked: What is the city doing to stay within budget given high inflation and rising interest rates?
Watch for their answers online Sunday.
AT YOUR SERVICE: City council weighs in on supervised consumption sites
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley trustees applaud positives found amid pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Township council weighs in on lack of industrial land
AT YOUR SERVICE: MLAs see feds as partners in SkyTrain to Langley
AT YOUR SERVICE: Creating more housing, on all fronts, critical to stabilization: MPs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Heat wave another call to action – City council
AT YOUR SERVICE: Pools need to be part of Township-wide recreation planning
AT YOUR SERVICE: No current need for year-round schooling in Langley, trustees agree
AT YOUR SERVICE: MLAs suggest staying the course on battling of B.C. wildfire
AT YOUR SERVICE: MPs call for borders to be safely re-opened
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley City council wants to keep higher density development north of Nicomekl
AT YOUR SERVICE: Passports key to keeping B.C. businesses open, people safe during pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Trustees ponder what kids are missing out on during pandemic
AT YOUR SERVICE: Education should trump rules for vaccination of health-care workers, suggest MLAs
AT YOUR SERVICE: How to handle rising housing prices
AT YOUR SERVICE: City council divided on call for indoor pool
AT YOUR SERVICE: Council ponders vaccine requirements for workers
AT YOUR SERVICE: Skyrocketing enrolment prompts intensified lobby by trustees
AT YOUR SERVICE: Political stripes aside, MLAs agree heat dome was tragic and action required
AT YOUR SERVICE: MPs agree much must be done to right wrongs for Indigenous
AT YOUR SERVICE: Is pay parking in the City a viable consideration?
AT YOUR SERVICE: Some suggest more needed to protect floodplains from development
AT YOUR SERVICE: Monitoring student transport not good use of school district resources – trustees
AT YOUR SERVICE: Liberal caucus floats all-party committee in reaction to emergencies
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley MPs address issue of rising food costs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Inflation inevitably hits City taxpayers in the pocketbook
AT YOUR SERVICE: Future of Aldergrove core up for debate
AT YOUR SERVICE: Trees and more greenspace at root of climate change solutions
AT YOUR SERVICE: Inflation inevitably hits City taxpayers in the pocketbook
AT YOUR SERVICE: Councillors differ on future of SkyTrain beyond Langley City
AT YOUR SERVICE: Bigger schools not necessarily solution to rising land costs
AT YOUR SERVICE: High gas prices of concern for MLAs of both stripes
AT YOUR SERVICE: Military readiness for climate disasters must be ensured – says one MP; other says army only one piece of bigger puzzle
AT YOUR SERVICE: Empty homes can be safety concern, but not huge concern in City
AT YOUR SERVICE: Most of council content with current pothole repairs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Survey gives school district tools for staff recruitment, retention
AT YOUR SERVICE: Liberal MLAs call for overhaul to B.C.’s student funding model
AT YOUR SERVICE: Canada must continue its support of Ukraine, MPs
AT YOUR SERVICE: Best use of industrial land paramount to Langley City councillors
AT YOUR SERVICE: More ALR land needs to be used for farming: Most of council
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley is attractive to school staff, but given rapid growth trustees agree more must be done
AT YOUR SERVICE: Local MLAs agree more must be done to make life affordable in B.C.
AT YOUR SERVICE: Federal parties working on multiple fronts to end hate crimes
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley City ponders cannabis retail policy
AT YOUR SERVICE – Most on council say parks and rec plans address future growth
AT YOUR SERVICE: School district moves forward on reconciliation efforts with Indigenous partners
AT YOUR SERVICE: MLAs agree diking upgrades needed, divided on if enough is being done
AT YOUR SERVICE: Local MPs disagree on whether 2 billion trees can be planted by 2030
AT YOUR SERVICE: In light of SkyTrain coming, Langley City embarks on parking study
AT YOUR SERVICE: Langley Township should consider schools for future cooling centres
AT YOUR SERVICE: Despite challenges, trustees affirm Langley is ready to accept more refugee students as need arises
AT YOUR SERVICE: Opposition MLAs critical of NDP’s affordable housing record
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