From navigating COVID-19 mandates to a new firearms bill, politicians in the southwest were busy over the course of 2022.
Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Jeremy Patzer, said two pieces of legislation stood out to him last year as substantive for folks in the southwest.
“Bill C-234 This is a private members bill up by my colleague Ben Lobb,” Patzer said. “This is the one that provides exemptions to farmers from the carbon tax. The bill is currently in report stage in the House of Commons, so it’s got a little bit further to go.”
Once the Bill is through the House of Commons, which Patzer hopes will be early this year, it’s off to the Senate to get royal assent.
Bill C-234 provides exemptions for on-farm fuels, as well as any barn or structure used for raising and housing livestock, and grain drying. Property that is used to heat buildings on a farm are also included.
Patzer added that they are still working hard on Bill C-21, the Liberals’ Firearm Bill, which is still sitting in committee.
“They’ve made some very substantive changes to it, and my colleagues that are working very hard in that committee have done a fantastic job of exposing the flaws of that bill,” he said. "The fact that there's going to be so many hunting rifles that are going to be banned or outlawed, as it’s currently written. We're working very hard to get that bill changed or defeated.”
When the federal government implemented vaccine mandates surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, local MPs faced a challenge, according to Patzer.
“I think the way the federal government handled a lot of the mandates caused a lot of challenges for a lot of people.” Patzer recounted. “And I don’t think it really mattered which side of the issue that a person was on. There was a lot of tension, a lot of animosity, and there's a lot of lot of name-calling by the Prime Minister.
“Trying to really find a solution that would allow people to be able to make their own medical decisions—I think that was a very difficult rope to walk both for the government, but also for all Members of Parliament. I took a position from day one, that people should be able to make choices for themselves. I think the whole conversation around that issue was one of the bigger challenges that all MPs faced in 2022.”
Moving forward into this new year, Patzer said he’s looking forward to continuing to work hard to represent the folks in his corner of the southwest.
“I talked about Bill C21 earlier; that's going to be a very big bill going forward,” he added. “I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do to try to either defeat the bill entirely with the other opposition parties, or at least make the amendments to the to the bill that need to be made to stop the government from taking property from lawfully abiding firearms owners.
“The other one would be my own Private Members Bill which is Bill C-294. That's going to amend the Copyright Act to provide greater certainty for agricultural manufacturing companies to be able to continue to make the products that farmers and rancher use on their day-to-day operations.”