In roughly two weeks’ time, the House of Commons will resume sitting and Canada’s 42nd Parliament will get down to work.

At this point the legislative agenda remains largely unknown as the Liberal government is expected to table a series of government Bills that ultimately will determine what matters will first come before the House for debate.

In addition to government bills, the private member’s lottery has also now been held that determines in what order eligible MPs will see debate of their respective private member’s bill or motion in the House of Commons.

The majority of Parliamentary standing committees have yet to be announced that review bills after they have reached second reading in the House of Commons. The next few weeks will remain active in Ottawa in preparation for Monday, January 25 — the first sitting day of 2016.

Some of the issues that are expected to feature prominently in Ottawa over this new parliament include the Liberal government budget, responding to the Supreme Court ruling on physician assisted suicide, change to Canada’s current electoral system, a new process for appointing Canadian Senators, changes to Canada’s current aerial campaign with our allies against the terror group ISIS and continued updates on efforts to resettle Syrian refugees. 

Amid these challenges it has been a priority of mine to also raise the need for our Liberal Government to immediately engage with the United States government on prioritizing a new softwood lumber agreement.

Given the importance of the B.C. lumber industry to many regions of our province, including Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, this will be a matter of vital importance.

Aside from these issues it is also important to work with local communities in identifying infrastructure priorities to ensure we can continue to see many important projects moving forward. 

I am excited at the opportunity to represent the citizens of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola on these important issues but also invite citizens to share your comments, concerns and questions with me.

Over the past four years I found that input from citizens was of vital importance in helping to shape the direction of government.

As one example, after my MP report on assisted suicide the amount of response I received was both heartfelt and overwhelming. 

While a large amount of important concerns were expressed, the majority of those I heard from were generally supportive of physician assisted suicide.

This in turn was shared in Ottawa and as this topic arises again it will be important that the concerns I heard can be satisfied.

Specifically that no person is in a situation to consider physician suicide reluctantly out of concerns of guilt on the burden they might place on care givers.

It is also clear that we must actively and aggressively continue to expand and offer more palliative care options.

As it is expected that the Liberal Government will at some point table legislation in response to the Supreme Court ruling, I will continue to provide updates and solicit feedback from constituents.

While I have only provided a few examples of some of the many subjects expected to come before the 42nd Parliament, I am enthusiastic about the importance of this work as we continually seek to build a stronger Canada.

As has always been my commitment to citizens, I will continue to provide weekly reports on what is occurring in Ottawa and welcome your comments, concerns and questions. 

Citizens deserve to be heard. On that note I would like to sincerely wish you all a happy and prosperous 2016. I can be reached at [email protected] or toll-free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola