Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod sees October’s federal election both as a highlight and lowlight when looking back at 2019.
Being re-elected was a highlight, but the election results also marked the start of a transition for her party, one that will mean a Conservative Party leadership race late in the new year after leader Andrew Scheer announced he will step down in 2020.
McLeod called Scheer’s decision a “disappointment,” but noted opportunity amidst a minority Liberal government.
“The election, personally, I was very honoured, with strong support locally,” she said. “But the bigger picture is a challenge.”
Another challenge in 2019 has been the forestry crisis. Mills in the Interior have curtailed their production or closed, leading to job losses and economic impact in various communities.
McLeod has been calling for action from Ottawa.
The forestry issue will continue to be on McLeod’s to-do list.
In 2020, McLeod said, she is poised to push the issue, having been given the role of shadow minister for natural resources (forestry and mining). McLeod has met with Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and given him a number of ideas to support communities in the region.
“I think that puts me in a very good position to advocate on those issues,” she said.
McLeod said she will also be keeping her eye on the April 4 arts centre referendum in Kamloops. Voters will go to the polls and decide whether the city can borrow up to $45 million to build the arts centre downtown at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Seymour Street. If that referendum succeeds, grant funding will be sought.
McLeod said she will also be following progress of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, with work in the Kamloops area expected to begin in the spring.