Snuneymuxw elder Lolly Good offered a blessing as MP Paul Manly officially opened a Nanaimo-Ladysmith constituency office Monday on Dunsmuir Street. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island’s new green MP hits the ground running

Paul Manly has been busy in his first few weeks as member of Parliament

Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s new MP has a busy schedule, but he made time this week for an official opening of constituency office downtown.

MP Paul Manly is travelling back to Ottawa this afternoon, June 10, after a ribbon-cutting event Monday morning at his office on Dunsmuir Street.

There will be plenty of work to do around the new office. Manly said in the first 24 hours after his byelection victory May 6, he received 2,000 e-mails – most were congratulatory, but some people were immediately asking for his help on federal issues.

“I’ve been inundated with e-mails personally [so] it’s good to have people that are helping to deal with the volume of requests,” Manly said. “There’s people that need help in the constituency with a number of different issues.”

Manly was officially sworn in as MP on May 27. It was exciting, he said, and the work started immediately.

“Right after that, I was handed a stack of briefing notes and sent to committee to defend Green Party amendments to the budget implementation bill,” he said.

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s Green MP-elect getting to work

He’s had a chance to ask a few questions in the House of Commons now. His first asked the federal government to take emergency measures to help those in crisis situations due to lack of affordable housing. He told the News Bulletin that long-term plans are well and good, but “years of neglect from government cutbacks and austerity” have led to a crisis and he’d like to see federal funding for modular housing for those who need it most.

“We’re at a point now where we have vulnerable people who are living on our streets, and people with disabilities, and low-income seniors and … single moms who were living in campgrounds last summer with kids, and then finding places to live, only to have that house sold again and having to move again and there’s just no stability for children in those kind of situations,” Manly said.

As far as other files, he’s got “a stack of petitions” to deliver, he said, including 2,000 more just-received signatures regarding recreational access to Department of National Defence land on Nanaimo’s Westwood Ridges.

Parliament’s so-called “silly season” is coming up, Manly said, when the federal government will be trying to get a dozen different bills through the house and the opposition will try to block bills it doesn’t want passed. Summer sittings are possible, he thinks.

He said there’s some legislation being debated that he’s familiar with, but also some that he’s trying to get up to speed on, while at the same time learning parliamentary procedure.

He’s already been heckled, for making a comment rather than asking a question, but mostly he’s been made to feel welcome in Ottawa.

“I find it’s very collegial,” Manly said. “People are very friendly and sort of forgiving of you when you’re first starting.”

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith federal constituency office is at 103-495 Dunsmuir St. and is open Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Fridays by appointment only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Contact 250-734-6400 or e-mail Paul.Manly@parl.gc.ca.

OPINION: Green Party win can change the conversation on climate



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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