At the invitation of Edmonton-Mill-Woods-Beaumont MP Mike Lake, I participated in a roundtable discussion yesterday morning with some local Conservative MPs and a group of eight Edmontonians from diverse backgrounds. Along with Mr. Lake, the local MPs in attendance were Edmonton-Sherwood Park MP Tim Uppal, Edmonton-East MP Peter Goldring, Edmonton-St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber, and Edmonton-Centre MP Laurie Hawn (who unfortunately had to step out for part of the meeting).
As the start of the meeting, each participant was asked to name a few issues that were important to them and that they wanted to discuss. The three issues that I raised, and were discussed, were:
– Urban Growth: The growth of safe and healthy urban communities and investment in LRT and public transit.
– Telecommunications: CRTC, User Based Billing, and the lack of competitiveness in the telecommunications sector in Canada (Internet service providers and Mobile Phone service providers).
– Public Health Care: The need to provide stability in the public health care system. A big part of the Federal Government’s role in this could be ensuring the funding for the 2014 Canada Health Transfer.
I am not going to go into detail about the discussions that took place around the table over the next two hours, as they touched on a wide range of topics related to housing, immigration, temporary foreign workers, economic competitiveness, budget deficit, government debt, student finance, mental health, to urban growth and more.
I was actually surprised at how quickly the two hours passed and how smoothly the discussions flowed. The roundtable format of the small group discussion certainly gave the meeting a more intimate feel. It also allowed for more flowing conversations and exchanges between participants and topics than a traditional town hall meeting would allow.
I appreciated the opportunity to talk with local MPs about some of the important issues close to my heart and listen to the issues raised by the other participants.