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Albertans Deserve Better From Ottawa

August 22, 2022Arnold Viersen, MP for Peace River – Westlock

What a mess. Over the past year, Albertans have faced ridiculous wait times for the most basic services from the federal government. My office has received countless messages from constituents frustrated with trying to get passports. All across Canada, folks are waiting in line for days, missing travel plans, and facing utter confusion at passport offices.

My own office has faced similar challenges when advocating for constituents who contact me and we will continue to fight for the assistance you need regardless of how long it takes.

These delays are also leading to more complications in other parts of our lives. Imagine not being able to register your child for kindergarten because you submitted the birth certificate to Passport Canada LAST winter and it hasn’t been returned, nor has the passport been issued.

And its not just passports. We have seen massive delays at airports with the ArriveCan and a shortage of border staff. Seniors have had their guaranteed income supplement payments interrupted. Pharmacists in our riding are waiting over 8 months for Health Canada to approve narcotics dispensing licenses for small town pharmacies. Then there are government departments such as the RCMP Firearms Centre that don’t even answer the phone, whether it be the general public or the direct line for MP staff.

These delays have even impacted some of the most vulnerable. Despite, many Albertan sponsors offering housing, work, and schooling, many Ukrainian applicants are left in limbo, unable to come to Canada because they are waiting months and months for paperwork to be processed. In Valleyview, there are groups still waiting for sponsored Syrians to arrive.

We are discovering how long the Canadian public service can attempt to provide services without government direction. It seems about 7 years. Under the Trudeau Liberals, federal departments have all but ground to a halt. Showing up at a Service Canada can mean days of waiting. Calling a department means hours on hold with little chance of speaking to an actual human being.

The primary job of the elected federal Government is to provide direction and prioritization for the public service, whether it is finance, immigration, justice, or health.

The Liberals are so busy following the fads, being blown by the winds, and finding the right soundbite that they fail to provide the necessary leadership to our public servants. This results in failure on nearly every file. Just look at the reality that foreign investment is down, inflation is out of control, people are still jumping the queue at the Roxham Road crossing and along the Manitoba border, Syrian refugees and Afghan interpreters are languishing, and murder and violent crime is up.

The Liberals keep pointing to Stephen Harper and the Covid pandemic as their excuses. This doesn’t bear weight. The Harper Conservatives strengthened the economy and balanced the budget. And the Liberals have had ample time to prepare for Canadians returning to normal life over the past two years.

Conservatives are ready to get government back to providing the services Albertans rely on. It’s time to elect a party interested in governing Canada.