The Year Ahead: MacGregor settling into MP’s seat

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford NDP MP Alistair MacGregor said he’s left 2015 “wrapped up with a nice bow tie”

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford NDP MP Alistair MacGregor said he’s left 2015 “wrapped up with a nice bow tie” and is looking forward to getting 2016 underway.

“I am finally feeling like everything is falling into place now in that I now have a fully operational Ottawa office and constituency office and I’ve hired four staff, two in each office,” MacGregor said. “All of them are experienced. Locally I’m working with former colleagues of mine and it’s just made the transition absolutely seamless. I think we’ve set ourselves up to do some great work in 2016.”

Among MacGregor’s priorities in the coming year will be to begin moving ahead with the commitment he made with respect to the Lake Cowichan weir. He wants to see a solution that will work for all stakeholders and for the environment as well.

“I also want to start identifying legislation that I want to bring forward as a private member’s bill,” he said, explaining that opportunities to introduce those bills are offered by lottery and he has been selected at 160th which means it won’t likely be his turn until the end of 2018.

Above all else, “being engaged with my riding is really important to me,” he said. “I think it stems from the background I have as a constituency assistant. I really want to be proactive with the Cowichan Valley and the City of Langford in looking at different community forums that we could set up.”

MacGregor has hopes for a solution to the ongoing contaminated soil issues in the south end of Cowichan, even though he admits it’s primarily a provincial issue.

“I’ve really been hearing so much about the South Island Aggregates issue,” he said. “In fact, I wrote a letter to the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans to see if there’s anything that can be done from a federal angle on that. It really is my hope that that issue gets resolved this next year.”

He doesn’t want to give anyone false hope that the feds would come swooping in and fix it but he knows the community is up in arms and they certainly show no signs of backing down so he wanted to support them.

MacGregor said he is encouraged by the new tone that’s been set by the Trudeau government — it’s a stark contrast to the Harper years during which he cut his political teeth.

“To contrast that style of politics with what’s going on today… the welcoming of refugees, a real start on the murdered and missing indigenous women inquiry… also they just seem to be a bit more open to consulting with members of the opposition on various things. I’m cautiously optimistic by what that means for the New Year and I have hopes that the new government will certainly be reaching out to the opposition and we’ll certainly be working with them in areas where we have common ground.”

MacGregor was loath to offer any predictions except for one: he’ll be spending 2016 working hard for the region.

“I’m incredibly happy that everything’s up and running because I’ve been chomping at the bit to get down to work.”