Electronic Update from Murray Rankin

Today, my first e-newsletter was sent out to thousands of interested constituents.  It's an informative update on my work in these first eight months of representing Victoria as your MP.  The newsletter can be viewed below, or here.

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Electronic Update from Murray Rankin, Victoria’s Member of Parliament 

Welcome to my first e-newsletter!  In addition to direct mail, FacebookTwitter, and my website, I am going to send out electronic newsletters periodically to update you on my work as your MP and to solicit your ideas on how I can best represent our community in Ottawa. 
I have just passed the 8 month mark since being sworn in as your Member of Parliament for Victoria.  As you might expect, it has been quite a whirlwind.  Learning how the House of Commons works and getting to better understand the issues facing our community have been my major priorities.
Shortly after my official swearing-in, I was honoured to have been appointed by NDP Leader Tom Mulcair as Official Opposition Critic for National Revenue.  I was also appointed to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.  In addition, last Friday I accepted responsibility as Critic for Pensions.  In this capacity I intend to work hard to ensure a secure retirement for all Canadians. It has been an honour to stand up for our community alongside the strong and disciplined team of Opposition NDP in Ottawa.  Below is a summary of some of the issues I have been tackling on your behalf.
The Economy
As I launched into my new role in caucus, I was immediately impressed by the tireless efforts of New Democratic Members of Parliament to hold the scandal-ridden Conservative government to account.  On the Finance Committee, I led the charge on producing a critical report on tax havens.  It revealed that Canadians could be losing 5 to 7.8 billion dollars annually to tax evasion and tax havens.  In Question Period, I held the Conservatives to account, grilling the Minister of National Revenue on 29 billion dollars in uncollected tax debt and a missing 3.1 billion dollars that was highlighted in a report by the Auditor General this spring.  I also took the government to task for what it still denies is a retroactive iPod tax, and consistently pushed for real action on tax havens.  These rather technical issues ultimately boil down to a simple question of fairness.  Tax evasion and tax avoidance by Canada’s richest corporations and individuals puts an unfair burden on honest and hard-working Canadians.  I will continue to hold the Harper government to account for its sweeping budget legislation and backwards tax policies. 
Democratic Reform, Decorum in Parliament, and the Senate
I have also been working to reform Parliament.  I participated in the debate on New Democrat legislation that would have E-Petitions recognized in the House of Commons.  This would allow all Canadians a more direct avenue to raise their concerns to the House.  I joined my Opposition colleagues in showing what respectful parliamentary decorum looks like, following the excellent example set by my predecessor, Denise Savoie. I have also tried to work across the aisle, seconding legislation proposed by colleagues from other political parties.
New Democrats have done our best to ensure that Conservatives answer for a Senate that is unelected, unaccountable and increasingly under investigation.  Day after day, Tom Mulcair has grilled Stephen Harper, demanding that he reveal details of this shameful political cover up.  I was called upon for my legal background and experience to consult on the cross-examination style Question Period strategy that we adopted.  Tom asked me to sit beside him for what became some of most heated and talked about Question Period exchanges in recent memory. The Vancouver Sun detailed my role in a profile article published at the time: Murray Rankin: Rookie B.C. MP shows chops as lawyer in helping NDP develop strategy to attack Stephen Harper.
Last week I was on CBC Power & Politics to discuss the latest Senate woes.  The present outrage involves Senator Wallin's extravagant misspending of taxpayer dollars.  Over and over again on doorsteps in Victoria and Oak Bay I am hearing you demand that we abolish this undemocratic institution.  If you agree, please sign the petition online or stop by my community office to do so.
The Environment
As many of you know, the Harper Government’s disastrous environmental policies were one of the key reasons I decided to run for office.  I was honoured to address the NDP Convention in Montreal on the NDP’s commitment to environmental sustainability and the urgent need to protect our precious BC coastline.  I also urged the House to recognize climate change as the single most important issue of our time, and demanded strong action.  While this motion was ultimately blocked by the Conservatives and Liberals, I will continue to stand up for the environment every chance I get.
Our Community
It is my job to make sure your voice is heard in Ottawa.  Recently, I hosted a terrific community forum with green businesses, eco-friendly organizations and eco-savvy consumers.  Building the Green Economy attracted more than 200 participants for a lively and informative panel discussion, followed by an eco-friendly "expo" that featured some of the remarkable green businesses and organizations that are part of the vibrant green economy here in Victoria.
I am excited to announce that I was able to ensure that federal funding for the Rock Bay Clean-up will be available, despite the depletion of the federal fund earmarked for cleanup of contaminated sites across Canada.  Victoria will now be able to protect and enhance this key part of our community.
I also want to take this opportunity to praise the work of Fin Free Victoria, a group of young leaders in Victoria who are campaigning to put an end to the cruel practice of shark finning.  I am so impressed by Fin Free Victoria and was proud to support shark fin import ban legislation introduced by NDP MP Fin Donnelly and to stand up in the House of Commons to recognize the important work of this youth group.
Finally, it was very moving to be able to recognize the incredible bravery of a recently deceased constituent, Mrs. Nathalia Petrovna Buchan, and her husband, William Muir Buchan, who were Allied prisoners during the Second World War -- as well as the extraordinary humanitarian actions of  Mr. Tomohiko Hayashi, a Japanese diplomat who was the commandant of the Lunghua camp outside of Shanghai.  He is credited with saving the lives of the Buchans and other prisoners.  I believe we must honour these acts of compassion and recognize that beauty and humanity can emerge even in the darkest hours of war.
My Community Office at 1057 Fort Street office is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday.  My staff are happy to assist you and answer your questions. We are here to help you navigate federal departments, programs and services and to help resolve any related issues that you may have. Please find a useful list, helpful links, and more information on the “Help Desk” page of my website.  
Thank for all your emails, phone calls, letters, and support that I have received since I was elected a few short months ago. This summer has been a great time to meet so many of you on your doorsteps, at my community office, and at a variety of community events.
It is a great honour to represent Victoria in Parliament.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Murray Rankin, Member of Parliament for Victoria


The Community Office is located at: 1057 Fort Street (between Cook and Vancouver), Victoria, BC V8V 3K5

Office Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

Phone: 250-363-3600