I can now provide more information on the program that I referenced in last week `s MP report.

Last Friday I joined the Minister of Employment and Social Development, the Hon. Pierre Poilievre in announcing the new National Advanced Placement Prior Learning Program (N-APPL) for military veterans project, a project that originated from a proposal submitted by a local Peachland resident and his team at BCIT.

This project is summarized as a Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) project that will apply credential recognition for military work to help Canadian Forces members enter relevant training programs at BCIT and elsewhere to help transition to civilian employment.

This will help them to receive their desired credentials faster and will let them apply their CAF training to a new and rewarding field.

As mentioned last week, this proposal was submitted to me by a local citizen, Mr. Fred Mandl of Peachland.

I would like to publicly recognize and thank Mr. Mandl for this proposal that will help veterans increase skills training that in turn can help enhance employment opportunities.

After speaking with young veterans who have already benefitted from the original BCIT based trial program, we can all be proud of this made in B.C. initiative being rolled out across Canada.

There is also evidence that this groundbreaking methodology could apply to other areas such as the trades.

I will continue to encourage and support new approaches like these as they develop.

In Ottawa this week, I participated in the debate regarding the subject of federal research scientists and allegations of government sanctioned muzzling.

As many citizens are aware, we are fortunate in Okanagan-Coquihalla to have two federal research facilities in our region.

Over the past years I have been fortunate to meet a number of scientists from these facilities to learn more about the important work they do.

In turn, I have also shared some of this information in the House of Commons.

To date I have never had any of our local scientists suggest to me they are muzzled or otherwise prevented from sharing information with relevant stakeholders.

We are fortunate in our region to have many dedicated scientists who are doing excellent work in support of local agriculture and also measurement science.

In fact, I often hear from citizens how much they enjoy reading local columns from Ken Tapping, an astronomer from the National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory located in Okanagan Falls.

Another event that has generated a fair amount of discussion in Ottawa this week was an announcement from the finance minister that government will undertake consultations over the summer on the topic of a voluntary expansion to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

The topic being explored would be to allow for citizens to voluntarily increase their CPP contributions as a means to supplement their retirement savings.

Most of the feedback I have heard on this subject so far has been supportive of this idea although a few individuals have suggested an increased CPP should be mandatory and not voluntary.

I welcome your thoughts on this or any topic before the House of Commons.

I can be reached via email at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll free at 1-800-665-8711.


Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla