Kelowna – Lake Country – Stephen Fuhr, MP said he is thrilled at the opportunity to continue representing the constituents of Kelowna-Lake Country in the 2019 federal election.
Fuhr’s historic victory in 2015 made him the first federal Liberal candidate to represent Kelowna-Lake Country in nearly 50 years, bringing a change in leadership to Kelowna-Lake Country.
Fuhr says he has been happy with the level of federal visibility and federal investment in the riding, as well as his office’s effectiveness in resolving individual casework: “I’m confident running on my record.“
Fuhr said there is little doubt the riding continues to have Ottawa’s attention: both Pacific and National Caucus meetings were held in the riding, as well as pre-budget consultations, stakeholder meetings with ministers and parliamentary secretaries, and even a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their first trip to Canada with their children.
“I very much appreciate my colleagues support. It makes it easier for me to advocate for the things this community needs and cares about,” he said.
As for tangible local deliverables, Fuhr has been pleased with the amount of federal investment in Kelowna-Lake Country over the past three years saying the amounts have been substantial, and targeted to areas the community wanted.
Support from the federal government includes the re-opening of the Veterans Affairs office, major investments in water infrastructure, UBCO and Okanagan College, support for the Okanagan Rail Trail, local invasive species prevention, and a new community centre in Lake Country.
Support was also provided to local arts and culture organizations, small business through an enhanced Canada Summer Jobs program, research and development support for the wine industry, and new market access to Japan for cherry farmers, which will increase the profitability of local fruit growers.
With regard to resolving constituents’ issues with the federal government, Fuhr says interventions by his local office have also produced results: “We’ve had good success helping constituents on a case by case basis. Most of the time we have positive outcomes and I am grateful to a knowledgeable and caring staff. If it can be done, we get it done.”
Fuhr thinks that the government will be judged mainly on its fiscal record in the next election and notes that, from a national perspective, the arrows are pointed in the right direction: economic and wage growth are up, unemployment is down, debt to GDP is on the decline, and foreign direct investment in Canada was twice what is was in 2017 by the first half of 2018.
Fuhr said Canada is doing well under the government’s fiscal plan: “The government is using its fiscal capacity to invest in Canada and Canadians and it is working. Investments in physical and social infrastructure and preparation for a 21st century world where the digital economy, artificial intelligence and automation will dominate is not only smart, it’s necessary.”
“We must also continue to press ahead with action on climate change, noting that it’s not only imperative for the planet, but presents economic opportunities we cannot afford to miss. In the end it’s about balance. We can debate the direction and speed at which we approach a low carbon, knowledge based economy, but there is no question we need to get there,” he said.
Fuhr said it’s also been a real pleasure to serve as the Chair of the National Defence Committee since February 2016: “Defence and security are of personal interest to me and I feel fortunate to serve in that capacity.”
But mostly, Fuhr says, it has been a tremendous honor to represent Kelowna-Lake Country in Ottawa: “I want to thank the community for its support and confidence. I appreciate the many conversations I’ve had with constituents over the years and I’ve done my best to represent their views in the Nation’s capital. I am passionate about seeing Canada continue to move forward as a progressive democracy and, in 2019, I look forward to seeking the community’s support to continue in that direction.”