On October 25, Garry Breitkreuz celebrated 20 years as the Member of Parliament for Yorkton-Melville. It was a personal political highlight in a year he feels Canadians were unnecessarily distracted from the real business of government.
In a holiday message to constituents, Breitkreuz said he is grateful for having the opportunity to serve.
“I really appreciate the fact that I can work for this constituency and do what I am doing,” he said. “When we celebrated the 20th anniversary I just couldn’t believe it was 20 years and the glowing praise they had for the job I’ve done in Ottawa. It’s very, very humbling indeed. I want to thank the constituents of this area for their support. I continue to look forward to working for them in the next year. My hope and prayer is I will never let them down and I will continue to maintain a high ethical standard. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
Other highlights for the long-serving MP were his involvement with a number of international issues.
“A lot of things behind the scenes that I accomplished never get publicized, but being able to prevent the United Nations agreement on small arms importation, I think was a highlight for me,” he said. “It would have increased the price of firearms by 200 to 300 dollars per firearm. It would have virtually dried up the market for people to access hunting rifles and shotguns.”
He also pointed to his role as chair of the Canada-Nordic-Baltic Parliamentary Friendship Group and his relationship with German parliamentarians, which, he said, helped the negotiations in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union.
“We put in place a large European free-trade agreement,” Breitkreuz said. “That is something the rest of the world envies because we now have access to another 500 million people. I think, in my opinion, it’s more important than the free-trade agreement with the United States and that will play itself out in the years to come.
“For this riding that’s a huge plus because now our farmers have access to a large population in the world without a lot of hindrances. I think, for this riding, that’s huge.”
He laments that CETA didn’t get its due attention because of the PMO-Senate scandal.
“The scandal with the Senate involving Mike Duffy and the repayment of the money and so on, that hasn’t cost taxpayers any money at all,” he said. “Somebody inadvertently doing something against what the normal, accepted way of doing things probably got the person in trouble and if there’s any criminal activity he’ll have to face up to that, but I think the sad part in all this is that things that really impact the daily lives of Canadians is being passed by as far as news coverage is concerned. I think that’s unfortunate.”
Other things Breitkreuz felt got too little attention were the government’s handling of the economy and the passing of omnibus legislation, which, he said, included tax reductions and holding the line on spending.
Looking forward to next year, Yorkton-Melville’s MP said the towns and cities of the riding can expect to see Conservative policies start to have a positive impact on their bottom lines.
“We have doubled the GST gas tax refund to all of municipalities and I think we’ll begin to see the results of that as infrastructure is being established they can count on the funding,” he said. “That’s another thing that probably doesn’t get much publicity, but really is something I think will begin to bear fruit in this next year.”
As for personal political resolutions for 2014, Breitkreuz said he doesn’t make them per se, but plans to “stay the course.”
“I get up every day and try to do the best I can that day to deal with the issues in a principled manner and that’s my resolution, to keep marching in a battle that just never ends.”