Being vocal and speaking out in the House of Commons is a key part of representing our riding. So too is visiting to listen to people's concerns.
That is why I have been visiting non-stop since the House of Commons ended sitting in June.
Since then I have visited Churchill, Thompson, Flin Flon, The Pas, Nelson House, Snow Lake, Moose Lake, Norway House, Cross Lake, Grand Rapids, Manigotagan, Hollow Water, Seymourville, Little Black River and Sagkeeng.
What was clear was the fact that there are many local concerns but many other concerns that are common across the riding.
I visited many communities where people expressed concern about the need for proper pandemic planning and response, specifically regarding the H1N1 swine flu. This is one of the key issues I raised in the House of Commons during the session.
In other communities there was concern about transportation services. This included train service on the Bayline and bus service between Flin Flon, Snow Lake and Thompson. I will be meeting with Via Rail to follow up on the train service concerns. In terms of bus service, I spoke at two of the Motor Transport Board hearings in the North and I am continuing to fight against the proposed cuts to this vital service.
Concern was expressed over the impact of the economic slowdown in the North. This includes impacts on forestry in The Pas and mining in Flin Flon. I am continuing to speak out on the need for the federal government to support our communities and for reform to EI.
I also spoke to many people about specific individual problems and concerns. I encouraged people to contact my constituency offices if they do have any problems or concerns.
In visiting I also had the opportunity to visit many community events. We have so much to offer here in the North when it comes to summer events.
Yes, the Churchill riding is big. In fact it is one of the biggest in terms of area in Canada. What I found is that people really appreciate it when I do visit. That is why I will be doing more visiting this summer so that I can best represent our riding in Parliament.