MP says ‘pleasant persistence’ pays off

Rachel Blaney looks back at first term in office

Rachel Blaney, New Democrat MP for the North Island-Powell River, speaks to party members at Merville Hall. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Rachel Blaney, New Democrat MP for the North Island-Powell River, speaks to party members at Merville Hall. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Rachel Blaney relied on “pleasant persistence,” and a strong connection with local governments and organizations, to advocate for North Island-Powell River constituents during her first four years as a member of parliament.

She says collaborative efforts helped bring in $25 million to the riding during her first two years after being elected.

“I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done. I feel that we’ve done a good job in my office of making sure that we’re the North Island-Powell River voice in Ottawa,” Blaney said. “I really believe it’s that pleasant persistence. I didn’t try to pick fights with people, I just tried to get things done.”

A highlight of her term was working with former Comox mayor Paul Ives to secure the fixed-wing search and rescue project at CFB Comox.

“I hope people remember there were multiple bases trying to get that project, and Comox was successful,” she said. “It’s great for our local economy.”

When she ran for office, Blaney repeatedly heard about challenges posed by high costs of ferry travel, which is a provincial issue. Nevertheless, after being elected, she and other coastal MPs advocated for federal funds to be made available for terminal upgrades. She said $60 million has since come into the riding to help BC Ferries upgrade terminals.

Blaney serves as vice-chair of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Bill C-92 — An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children, youth and families — passed at the end of the last session in the House, following the testimony of many witnesses. Several of Blaney’s recommended amendments were accepted.

“I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I got some pivotal things that looked at protecting Indigenous children, and making sure that we were moving in the right direction,” she said, noting B.C. contains the largest number of Indigenous communities in the country. “When we talk about reconciliation, these are some of the key things that we want to see moving forward.”

As co-chair of the standing committee on Veterans Affairs, Blaney is pleased about the passing of a motion that calls for government, after the fall election, to formulate a plan to address the estimated 3,000 to 5,000 homeless veterans in Canada.

“That’s a good number, but it’s not so big that we can’t deal with it. We’re looking forward to seeing some solutions.”

Another hat she wears is Seniors’ Critic for the NDP. On July 1, Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments increased, but Blaney said the combined increases work out to an extra $12-16 per month.

“How is that going to make a difference?” she said, noting the need for a National Seniors Strategy. “We need a plan that doesn’t leave so many seniors struggling.”

Blaney will be seeking re-election Oct. 21.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sawyer, a northern saw-whet owl that became synonymous with Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society, passed away peacefully over the weekend. Sawyer would make numerous public appearances with MARS staff in and around the Comox Valley and Campbell River. Photo supplied.
Popular MARS ambassador owl dies

Submitted MARS Wildlife Rescue has lost one of its mightiest ambassadors. Tiny… Continue reading

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 19 Wing Comox assisted in helping an injured hiker down from the top of Mt. Benson near Nanaimo Jan. 23. Photo by 19 Wing Comox
With video: 442 Squadron assists mid-Island mountain rescue

The crew on the Buffalo hand-launched 15 flares

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Comox Valley artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Comox Valley medical clinics are all open, including the availability to book face-to-face care (i.e. for a physical examination) as per your clinic’s protocol (most clinics operate a “virtual care first” policy). ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Comox Valley doctors offer answers to local COVID health care questions

Public service announcement submitted by the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

McDonald’s on Nicol Street in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
McDonald’s in Nanaimo reports COVID-19 case

Employee at Nicol Street location last worked Jan. 17

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

Most Read