I hope many of you had time to enjoy the company of your family and friends this holiday season.
As we wind down all the Christmas activities and put away the tree, it is the perfect time to reflect on this past year and look ahead to 2019.
The year 2018 was an eventful year, both in the riding and in Ottawa. A personal highlight for me was travelling to each community in the riding this past summer as part of my annual Meet Your MP For Coffee Tour. It is always a pleasure to meet with you one-on-one and discuss the issues that matter to you and how I can help. I was also humbled to once again be named Best Politician for both the North and South Peace in 2018.
In Northeast B.C. we also witnessed this year’s wildfires and the Old Fort landslide. At a time of hardship for so many it was heartening to see our community come together to help those in need.
We also FINALLY got to celebrate a win for the LNG sector with the announcement of final investment approval for LNG Canada. However, with the Liberal government’s continued implementation of ‘death by regulation’ anti-energy policies we will be watching this project, and other potential natural resource projects, closely. We have seen these announcements before, only to have them scuttled by this Liberal government.
2018 was also the year that lawmakers began to truly understand the darker side of Facebook after news broke about the personal data breach involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.
As Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics I oversaw our committee’s study into this breach as well as how our data is handled and controlled and how the spread of disinformation on these platforms is threatening democracies around the world.
I also travelled to Washington and London to meet with our international colleagues who are also investigating these important issues. In London, I co-chaired the inaugural International Grand Committee meeting where 24 representatives from nine different countries came together to try to get answers from Facebook.
Recent news about Facebook’s handling of users personal information suggests that we need to continue to push Facebook, and platforms like it, for answers and I’m looking forward to continuing this important work in 2019.
As I reflect on 2018, I want to thank YOU all for everything you do. Whether it is providing food for your family’s table, helping a friend in need, or volunteering in the community I know all of you are working hard every day to make our region and country a better place. You are also making a difference in Ottawa through your phone calls, letters, or signatures on petitions and we have seen this Liberal government back down on issues when faced with public pressure.
As I look toward 2019, I am looking forward to continuing to meet with you, local community leaders, stakeholders, and individual constituents and listen to your ideas and concerns. If you would like to get in touch with me, please feel free to contact my office in Fort St. John at 250-787-1192, Prince George at 250-561-7982, Dawson Creek at 250-719-6848, or Ottawa at 613-947-4524.
Bob Zimmer is the Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.