OTTAWA: New Cape Breton-Canso Member of Parliament Mike Kelloway has been meeting with cabinet ministers and unveiled new mobile offices.
During his first session in parliament, Kelloway had the opportunity to address the house, thank the people of the riding and talk about Cape Breton-Canso.
“I really wanted to be one of the first out-of-the-gate for a lot of reasons,” Kelloway told The Reporter. “That was a great experience and kind of a proud moment.”
In a letter written to constituents late last month, Kelloway said one of his wishes for the new year is to connect the riding with federal agencies, and to do this, the new MP is promising to develop relationships with cabinet ministers and their staff, including the Minister of Health. Recent discussions with the minister centred on the need to work with the provincial government for additional funding.
A major priority for Kelloway is the federal government’s involvement in health care, pointing out that in October’s federal election, the Liberals promised an additional $6 billion for better health care delivery and programs that include doctor recruitment and the recognition of credentials earned by medical students and professionals outside Canada.
“The first two weeks and two days that we were in session, I made a point of reaching out to some cabinet ministers to talk, very briefly, about our riding and the opportunities and challenges,” Kelloway said. “I talked about the riding… and the complexities and challenges around doctor recruitment, doctor retention.
“I’m a bit of a straight-shooter; I talked about those challenges in detail given my experience working in the riding in health care; working with groups trying to recruit doctors and trying to set up collaborative health care clinics and things of that nature.”
The new MP also spoke with the Ministers for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as well as Social Enterprise and Social Innovation about how Cape Breton-Canso is ready for investment.
“I also talked about infrastructure, I talked specifically about opportunities in the Strait area, and in Inverness County, and in Richmond County, and more to come on that in the new year,” Kelloway noted.
Another New Year’s wish for Kelloway is continuing to work together to strengthen First Nations communities, including We’koqma’q, Potlotek, and Paqtnkek.
Kelloway has also been meeting with municipal councils, and MLAs from around the Strait area since taking office.
Recently, Kelloway announced the first four pilot locations of his mobile office.
Due to inclement weather, the office scheduled for today (January 9) at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre has been rescheduled to this Saturday (January 11) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location.
The Arichat post office building will host an office on January 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On January 30, the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex in Guysborough will host an office between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
According to a press release from Kelloway, the intent of the offices is to reduce barriers that some residents face in connecting with their federal representative and government services.
“We need to bring the MP’s office to people,” Kelloway stated.
This is the first four of the 12 different locations, Kelloway and his staff will test over the next three months. Once the 12 weeks are complete, he and his staff will evaluate the effectiveness of the sites.
“We’ll take a look at it and see what areas are the most populated in terms of people coming to us and wanting our help,” he noted. “We’re trying some things different in the riding, in terms of engagement, and listening, and acting.”