Federal Representation during COVID-19: An update from your Member of Parliament

As your Member of Parliament for Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill, Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs, I wanted to share what I have been focusing on as your federal representative over the last month.

Helping Canadians in Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill:
The daily routine of Canadians has shifted dramatically as our homes have become the main hub for work, family, school, daily meals and much more. As we continue to adjust, my team and I are here to provide assistance as best as we can regarding the Government of Canada’s emergency assistance programs. My office has experienced a significant increase in the daily emails and phone calls we have received from members of our community and from Canadians across the country. Many constituents are requesting clarification on the terms of the benefit programs, asking for assistance on Canada’s plan to help repatriate Canadians abroad, and sharing the financial hardship and health concerns that the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has created for them. My Constituency office continues to remain closed for in person meetings but, my team and I can be reached by phone at 905-773-8358 or by email at Leona.Alleslev@parl.gc.ca. My team and I want to send you our very best during these difficult times – we hope you and your families are safe and well.

Connecting with elected officials and community organizations in Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill:
Over the past weeks, I have spoken with my colleagues MPP Michael Parsa, York Regional Chair Wayne Emmerson, Mayor Tom Mrakas and Mayor Dave Barrow to discuss the challenges they have been facing and the opportunities for intergovernmental support and coordination. I was grateful to engage with Sandra Ferri and members of the Aurora Chambers of Commerce during their weekly coffee meetings to hear firsthand the questions and concerns of business owners as we begin to gradually lift restrictions and reopen our economy. I also spoke with Karen Mortfield from the Richmond Hill Board of Trade and was honoured to be a guest speaker for their COVID-19 update series to discuss a framework for a post COVID-19 future.

My Role as Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition:
As Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs, I meet virtually weekly with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Francois-Phillipe Champagne, to discuss the ongoing efforts to repatriate Canadians from abroad and other foreign policy issues. I continue to work with the government to support repatriation efforts and to protect Canadian national security strategic interests and strengthen critical international relationships.

As Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition, I have released numerous statements to hold the government to account. From calling on the government to fix the repatriation process to help Canadians stranded abroad, to addressing critical shortages in personal protective equipment, to asking the government to fast track approval for vital medical supplies and requesting that the government strengthen and protect Canada’s cyber security. I will continue to put forward constructive solutions to ensure that the government is acting in the best interest of our country during this unprecedented time.

Virtual House of Commons and Committees:
While Parliament is not sitting during the coronavirus pandemic, a House of Commons committee is meeting once a week in person with a reduced number of Members of Parliament present to adhere to social distancing requirements and twice a week virtually. I was one of the few Conservative Members of Parliament that returned to Ottawa to review, debate and pass legislation to provide Canadians with emergency financial support programs.

The Official Opposition has established a shadow cabinet COVID-19 Response and Recovery Committee and I am pleased to act as the committee Chair. Its purpose is to work with my Conservative colleagues and evaluate and respond to the steps the Government of Canada is taking to respond to COVID-19, and to provide key recommendations for approaches to achieve an effective and balanced recovery.

Continuing the Conversation:
As always, I look forward to hearing from you. I encourage you to visit my website at LeonaAlleslevmp.ca for more information and to share your feedback and priorities, contact my constituency office by e-mail at Leona.Alleslev@parl.gc.ca or by phone at 905-773-8358.

Originally published in the Auroran newspaper