The opioid crisis and the housing situation need federal government action in 2019, says North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold.
In a year-end interview with Beach Radio News, Arnold said Ottawa must take measures to stop the importation of illegal drugs which have led to so many overdose deaths.
“It’s continuing to take lives through all levels of our society,” Arnold said.
By the end of last August, the BC Coroners Service reported 17 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths in Vernon alone.
Meanwhile, Arnold said housing affordability remains an issue here and right across the country.
“In this area and almost everywhere I’ve been in the country, affordability of housing is a challenge that we’re going to have to address,” said Arnold. “Even slight increases in the inflation rate make people nervous.”
With a federal election set for October 21st, 2019, Arnold said the Conservative Party had policies prepared to “stabilize” the immigration process and to crackdown on the criminal use of firearms — focusing on gang violence.
The local MP even believes the Trudeau Liberals may try to hold an early federal election in an effort to wrong-foot opposition parties.
When asked about the date, he said the prime minister had “broken so many promises since 2015 that I don’t think he can be trusted on that.”
He added the Tories were prepared for an election battle at any time.
A member of Parliament’s fisheries and oceans committee, Arnold said he is pleased with the unanimous support in the House of Commons given to his motion to study the federal government’s approach to preventing and managing aquatic invasive species.
The issue is of key import in the Okanagan Valley, with local governments concerned the invasive species could enter local lakes with disastrous consequences.
“I look forward to that (committee) study in the new year,” Arnold said.
(with files from Pete McIntyre)