Pubdate: Fri, 20 Mar 2015
Source: Cranbrook Daily Townsman (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Black Press
Author: Trevor Crawley


It's not everyday that a federal Cabinet minister comes to town.

However, Kootenay-Columbia MP David Wilks has been trying to get James
Moore out to Cranbrook for the last year.

"I think he was well received and it was great to have him out and
about," said Wilks, who spent the day with Moore meeting with
different groups all day, including addressing members of the
Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce for lunch on Wednesday.

"We met with the Columbia Basin Trust and another group of people
regarding broadband," said Wilks. "Broadband's a significant issue in
this area, especially to those people who still don't have access to
high-speed Internet and we're working toward making that happen."

The day also included a presentation by the CBT to put a proposal
forward with the Digital 150 grant application for broadband funding.

Addressing C-51

There were protests across the country last weekend as people gathered
in a national day of action to take a stand against Bill C-51, an
anti-terrorism bill that is currently being proposed by the
Conservative government.

Critics of the bill believe it hands too much power to government
authorities and has vague and ambiguous language that can be used
beyond the scope of anti-terrorism.

Responding to the criticism of the bill, Wilks, as a former RCMP
officer, said the most important part of the bill is the
information-sharing aspect of it.

"Most people won't realize that CSIS, RCMP, CBSA-all of those agencies
don't share information and never have.

This bill allows them to share information on individuals or an
individual of interest and allows for a better flow of

Drawing on his former career, Wilks said he's authored affidavits for
wiretaps and warrants.

"It's no walk in the park. It's a long, arduous process that is
extremely vetted and scrutinized by a Supreme Court justice and they
ensure that every (i) is dotted and every (t) is crossed," Wilks said.

"And if it isn't, you don't get your warrant. Or you don't get your
wiretap. It's just that simple."

He encourages people to read the bill itself to understand how it is

"It says at the bottom of Section Two, for better certainty, it
doesn't not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic
expression. It's pretty clear to me, maybe it's not clear to other
people, but it's pretty clear to me that it means if you want to have
a lawful protest, you may.

"And there's nothing wrong with that."

On overcoming addiction

Wilks recently opened up a more personal side in the House of Commons,
acknowledging his past addiction with alcohol and the recent work that
came out of a summit from the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse at
the end of January.

"Mr. Speaker, I bring this to your attention because just over 26
years ago, I took my last drink," said Wilks, in his statement. "My
life had spiralled out of control. But by the grace of God, I stand
before you and all Canadians to give hope to all those who still
suffer with addiction, that they can find a path which will provide
them with a daily reprieve from their addiction.

"Today, I can tell you that I would not trade my best day drunk for my
worst day sober. Today I reach my hand out to help anyone in need,
rather than pushing them away."

Wilks said he made his statement because it was important to him and
although he wished to make it closer to the CCSA summit date of
January 27-28, it wasn't his allotted time to make a statement.

Wilks noted that recovery is a long hard road, but he doesn't agree
with programs like Insite, covered under legislation from Bill C-2.

"I don't think it's a wise idea to be looking at safe injection sites
across Canada when the fact of the matter is that those addicted to
drugs and alcohol for that matter, opening these sites enables them to
continue to do what they want to do," Wilks said. "We shouldn't be
enabling them. We should be encouraging them into recovery, not
enabling them to continue with the drug of choice."
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