MP talks marijuana to county council

Peace River – Westlock MP Arnold Viersen discussed issues with Big Lakes County council at its regular meeting Jan. 10. Left-right, are Kinuso Councillor Ken Killeen, High Prairie – Banana Belt Councillor Don Charrois, Faust Councillor Robert Nygaard, Joussard Councillor Richard Simard, Reeve Ken Matthews, MP Viersen, South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart, Grouard Councillor Fern Welch, Prairie Echo – Salt Prairie Councillor Dave Marx and Enilda – Big Meadow Councillor Donald Bissell.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Legalizing marijuana was a main issue Big Lakes County council heard from Peace River Westlock MP Arnold Viersen at its regular meeting Jan. 10.

“Marijuana legalization seems to be one of the big issues in the House of Commons,” says Viersen, on tour his constituency to visit municipal councils.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government continue to progress on the plan to legalize marijuana by July 1, even though full details have yet to be determined or announced.

“We have no idea what it’s going to be,” says Viersen, who was first elected for the Conservative party in the Official Opposition in the last election on Oct. 19, 2015.

He advises that local governments will have a major role to manage cannabis.

“It will be a large workload for municipalities since enforcement will be downloaded to them,” says Viersen, who serves as critic for rural issues.

He says the Conservatives are also concerned about cancelled pipeline projects for various regions of Canada and changes to the tax system.

“Pipelines are a big topic for us,” Viersen says.

“We have lots of oil in Alberta and our oil would benefit the East Coast and create jobs in Alberta.”

Tax changes seem to be causing more problems for taxpayers and filling the coffers for the government, he says.

“When it was meant to become simple, it has become confusing,” Viersen says.

“The federal government seems to look for cash anywhere and anyhow it can.”

Faust Councillor and deputy fire chief Robert Nygaard asked the MP what the Opposition was doing to fight the government’s plan to scrap tax exemptions for firefighters.

“All of these things, we’ll keep an eye on,” Viersen says.

The MP says he is still pushing to support federal funding from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for water projects.

Prairie Echo – Salt Prairie Councillor Dave Marx asked whether any funding was available from that source.

Big Lakes County currently has several water projects proposed for the region, many which would also serve Aboriginal communities.


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