2020 was a unique year to many, and Kootenay Columbia MP Rob Morrison said his time in parliament has been busy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, from a large number of calls for help to questions on a federal gun ban.
Morrison said his office was expecting to handle hundreds of files in 2020, but it has instead encountered thousands.
Morrison said he is thankful he made the decision to hire more staff instead of opening another office, to help make the large amounts of work more manageable.
“Luckily we had a full contingent of people, because we would have really struggled with the thousands of calls, like up to 3,000 calls, compared to 100 to 200 a year. We’ve done more in the first year than, historically, in four years for an MP’s office,” said Morrison.
A particular issue Morrison noted, was recovering Canadians who were stranded abroad as the pandemic spread across the globe and travel was restricted.
“We went back and forth with 100 plus emails and conversations with government officials,” explained Morrison. “We had people that were stranded hours away from an airport who weren’t allowed to travel, so they couldn’t get to an airport to get home. It was in South America, so they were trying to get home and we had to work with local officials, we had to work with our embassies abroad to try and allow them to get to the airport so they can get back home.”
Morrison, shadow minister of National Security, also spoke about the issue of gun safety and talks of bans coming from the Federal Government.
“A lot of things are put aside because of the health crisis, but this gun legislation is really important for us out here that the government is trying to put out. What is the rationale to take legal guns from legal gun owners at the cost of a billion dollars, when I know with my background, that billion dollars will go a long way for enforcement against gangsters and organized crime and have no legal guns and will never have a legal gun,” explained Morrison.
After bringing it up in Parliament and at Public Safety Committee meetings, Morrison feels he has not gotten a satisfactory answer on the issue.
“For organized crime and gangs, we need to start looking at our children and start educating them when they are very young as to the impacts of what happens if you get into a gang and getting them to make smart decisions when they get older,” said Morrison.
Along with the issue of gun bans, Morrison also spoke with a committee earlier in the year on the issues of systemic racism in the RCMP.
More: Morrison continues to push Parliament on Canada’s new gun ban (June 18, 2020)
More: MP Rob Morrison comments on racism in Canadian policing (June 26, 2020)
With the Federal Government offering assistance to citizens amid the pandemic, Morrison said the help was needed, but attention must be paid to the way that money is recouped.
“It was the right thing to do, we needed to step back and spend money. I think that initially, it was our goal, we all worked non-partisan to make that happen. As time goes on, we’re looking to get businesses back going again,” explained Morrison. “I think we’re at $1.1 trillion and I believe the government wants $1.8 trillion, so now it’s a matter of the money being spent, and let’s be accountable for it and how are we going to pay the bill back, we need a plan.”