Tell MPs immediately if they're targeted by foreign governments

Don't keep MPs in the dark

As Parliament prepares to adjourn for the summer, the government is focused on a few "need to have" bills rather than its long list of "want to have" bills.

One of these bills is C-18, an act (addressing) online communication platforms that make news content available to Canadians.

Online platforms like Facebook and Google have upended the traditional business models of news organizations, leading to a decline in revenue and the closure of many local newspapers in my riding and across the country.

Bill C-18 is the legislation to force online companies such as Facebook and Google to pay eligible Canadian media organizations when a link to their online content is shared on their platforms. Most media organizations sell their own online advertising, so the added traffic from links on platforms such as Facebook and Google helps their advertising revenue.

Charging platforms for every link shared by their users, who often want to raise awareness and discussion among their social media groups, raises concerns about how this law would impact not only the platforms but also the online media companies and everyday users of these platforms.

In response to C-18's proposal for mandatory payments for such media links, large platforms like Facebook and Google have threatened to stop the practice. If the bill becomes law, it would harm the bottom lines of large media organizations and make it extremely difficult for small and independent media to expand and build audiences.

In my experience, a government can have the best intentions but it may inadvertently make the problem worse as it rushes to what it thinks are quick solutions. This is what is happening with this bill. Bill C-18 is currently before the Senate, and my Conservative colleagues and I will continue to oppose it.


Much of the focus in Parliament remains on the serious topic of foreign interference in Canada by the Chinese government in Beijing.

This issue took a significant turn when Erin O'Toole, MP for Durham and the former leader of the Conservative Party, revealed he was recently briefed by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

According to the CSIS briefing, the Chinese Communist Party is suspected of paying funds through the United Front Work Department (UFWD) to create specific “products of misinformation" about O'Toole, who was then Conservative Party leader.

The briefing alleged the UFWD supplied human resources and provided workers to campaign against O'Toole.

O'Toole is not the only Canadian MP to receive a briefing after being told they were targeted by Beijing. Fellow Conservative MP Michael Chong and NDP MP Jenny Kwan also received briefings.

While I am personally outraged these briefings took years after intelligence agencies and officials within the government were made aware of (the targeting), I am also profoundly shocked the government has only expelled one (Chinese) diplomat so far. I expect far more solidarity from the government.

Getting men and women of substance to run for office is difficult enough. While the House of Commons sets out its security protocols and tries to support all MPs in their duties, when an MP or their family members are targeted, it should be the standard that the MP in question is immediately apprised and the government immediately responds accordingly.

So far, the vague assurances and promises to do better are not reassuring many of us in Parliament. These are grave concerns.

With the ongoing stream of intelligence leaks that raise questions about the government's apparent lack of response to foreign interference, coupled with former top intelligence officials, several diaspora groups and the opposition parties in the House of Commons calling for an independent public inquiry, one would expect the government to heed the calls and work on creating such an inquiry.

However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal caucus refuse such a process. Their continued evasiveness has raised considerable debate about their motivation for not supporting such an inquiry.

This week's question concerns foreign interference in Canada:

Do you support a fully independent public inquiry?

Contact me at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Federal clean fuel regulations will hit rural, low-income Canadians hardest

A bigger cost for fuel

Last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) released their latest report, titled A Distributional Analysis of the Clean Fuel Regulations.

The regulations require liquid fossil fuel (gasoline and diesel) suppliers to reduce the amount of pollution from the fuels they produce and sell for use in Canada over time.

The PBO issued the report to calculate how much money these new fuel regulations will cost Canadians. According to the PBO, at the national level, in 2030, the cost of the Clean Fuel Regulations to households will range from 0.62 percent of disposable income (or $231) for lower-income households to 0.35 percent of disposable income (or $1,008) for higher-income households."

The PBO concludes the regulations will significantly impact lower-income households, who spend a larger share of their income on transportation and other energy-intensive goods and services.

Concerns remain about how these regulations, along with the carbon tax, will penalize those who live in rural communities and who are forced to do more driving due to fewer local services, like health care, and limited public transit options.

Also back in Ottawa, the prime minister's appointed special rapporteur, David Johnston, recommended against a public inquiry into foreign interference in Canadian democracy.

The prime minister quickly accepted there should be no public inquiry into foreign interference in our elections, despite support for such an inquiry from all opposition parties.

Lastly, with Parliament set to rise in June, I will soon begin my annual summer listening tour.

Since I was elected as san MP, every summer I have use the tour to hear (constituent’s) concerns throughout the riding, which is home to a diverse set of communities and people.

If you would like to schedule a meeting during my summer listening tour, please get in touch with me by email or through my toll-free number below.

My question to you this week:

Do you support the new fuel regulations, considering the high cost of gasoline and the escalating carbon tax?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

MP worried about the cost of Canada's debt servicing

Debt servicing concern

For many Canadians, the recent rise in interest rates has led to a significant increase in their monthly payments for variable mortgages, lines of credit, and personal debt.

That has caused great concern as families struggle to make ends meet. In addition to the rise in interest rates, there have been significant increases in property taxes, insurance, groceries, gasoline, diesel, and home heating, such as natural gas or propane and that has made it even more difficult for Canadian households to service their debt, with many finding it unsustainable.

The challenge of servicing debt is not limited to households but extends to different levels of government as well. With higher borrowing costs, governments must divert funds from other critical services to pay off their debt. That can significantly impact the lives of Canadians, particularly those in rural communities who rely on government funding to repair their infrastructure and maintain essential services.

Recently, during an appearance by the finance minister before the finance committee in Ottawa, the topic of debt servicing arose.

The minister was asked how much the federal government is projected to spend on interest on the debt for the upcoming fiscal year The minister refused to provide a number and called the question "fiscal fear-mongering” by the Conservatives.

This response is troubling, as Canadians have the right to know how much is spent on debt servicing. The federal government debt servicing charges for the current fiscal year are estimated to be $43.9 billion. That means significant money is unavailable to fund critical services such as healthcare or support rural communities.
The fiscal year 2021-2022’s public debt servicing costs $20.4 billion.

Since this minister took over the responsibility for finance, our debt servicing has effectively doubled and lacks any projection for a return to balance, which only makes the situation worse. This issue will continue to be the elephant in the room for this government.

As a concerned Canadian, I urge the finance minister to take this matter seriously and provide clear answers regarding our country's fiscal issues.

Canadians deserve to know the truth about our finances and how our tax dollars are spent.

My question this week:

How concerned are you about federal government debt and the apparent lack of seriousness on this subject from our Finance Minister?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Oknagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Rural communities need more support from federal government

Federal assistance needed

I want to begin by sharing an unfortunate event from 2016.

That year, a rockslide damaged the regional irrigation canal located in the community of Oliver. The canal runs from north of Oliver south to Osoyoos and is critical infrastructure, serving many South Okanagan farming communities.

When it came time to fund the repairs, the local government budgeted to invest its fair share in the project. Likewise, the provincial government of the day also stepped up to cover its share. Unfortunately, the answer was no from the federal government. The bureaucrats said the project did not fit into any established grant programs and washed its hands of the problem.

The area was not in my riding, however, the MP who represented raised the issue many times in Parliament but was ignored by the government.

What was even more infuriating from my perspective was two years later, in 2019, the government gave the mega-grocery corporation Loblaws more than $12 million to help buy more energy-efficient refrigeration. The net earnings of Loblaw Companies Limited reached approximately $1.99 billion in the financial year ending Dec. 31, 2022.

For context, the cost to repair the Oliver irrigation canal was estimated at $11.4 million.

Why do I mention this? In 2021, communities such as Princeton and Merritt, as well as the surrounding unincorporated areas, were devastated by flooding. At the time, there was national media attention about the situation and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised residents of those communities he "had their backs" and "would be there for them."

The mayor of Princeton was given a special number to contact (Trudeau’s) office, but when he tried to use this number, he was told to go talk with the province.

You may have heard recently that the government announced it was giving Volkswagen up to $13 billion in subsidies over the next decade as part of a deal to ensure the automaker builds its electric-vehicle battery plant in southern Ontario. According to Statista, Volkswagen's operating profit in the 2022 fiscal year increased 14.78% from the previous year and stood at roughly 22.1 billion euros.

What you may not have heard is there are still residents in Merritt and Princeton who cannot return home. Likewise, there are many badly needed infrastructure projects these small communities need help to afford.
People in Merritt and Princeton pay taxes to Ottawa like everywhere else but all too often rural Canada is ignored by this government.

It is crucial Ottawa hears directly from rural mayors of these hard hit communities to understand better the struggles they face as they try to rebuild. Last week, I invited Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne and Merritt Mayor Michael Goetz to appear in Ottawa at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

I want to thank them both for attending and sharing the experiences of their communities and the many challenges they face.

This week's question:

Do you think the federal government is properly supporting rural communities?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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