Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison recently spoke with the District of Sparwood council, delivering an update on legislation in Ottawa and taking questions from councillors on the vaccine roll-out and the environmental assessments being carried out on proposed steel-making coal mines in the Elk Valley.
Speaking at the Feb. 16 council meeting, Morrison criticized the Liberal government’s proposed gun control legislation saying it was “horrific” for anyone in the community that hunted, fished or recreated outdoors.
“It’s unbelievable the government actually thinks by taking legal guns away from legal gun owners it’s actually going to have an effect on organized crime.”
The legislation before parliament in Ottawa proposes to buy back assault-style weapons which were blacklisted last May, as well as introducing tougher penalties for gun smuggling and trafficking and supporting municipalities that ban handguns, among other measures.
The Conservative Party argues that the majority of firearm crimes are committed with illegally-obtained weapons, so focusing on legal gun-owners does little.
Morrison also fielded questions on the vaccine roll-out and testing, saying that the opposition was asking plenty of questions but wasn’t get many answers from the Liberal government when it came to when communities would have more access to the vaccine, adding that given Kootenay-Columbia’s low number of COVID-19 cases, there was an argument for businesses to open up.
“We’ve had such a low COVID-19 positive rate, why are we not moving forward with getting businesses back to work, getting people out there working, getting the borders open.”
Morrison said that the opposition hadn’t been able to get the government to move forward with a more robust border testing regime to allow more people to cross into the United States. Morrison has previously argued for rapid testing to be implemented.
Finally, Mayor David Wilks asked for Morrison to keep a close eye on the steel-making coal mine proposals currently working through environmental assessments, noting that dual provincial and environmental assessments (such as those being conducted on the Fording River Operations Extension project – or Castle Mountain) had proven to be problematic in the past.
“Without Castle Mountain, Fording River will close,” said Wilks.
Morrison said that the handful of projects being developed in the Elk Valley were on his radar, and he’d be working to make their case if they needed it, saying that coal from the Elk Valley was ideal to trade with China. “We have clean coal, we have the best coal in the world.”
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