Closing office was a safety issue

This decision during the demonstration was not taken lightly

Re: Concerned about legislation, Letters (Nov. 7)

I wanted to address a number of letters to the editor that have appeared in local papers including this one regarding a demonstration held at my constituency office on Oct. 31.

Meeting with constituents and hearing their concerns is extremely important to me. It is why I was very disappointed to learn, while I was already in Ottawa, that the day chosen for a demonstration at my office would be a day that I would be sitting in the House of Commons.

I’m not sure why this date was chosen, but certainly the public understands that when parliament is in session I have a responsibility to them to be in Ottawa.

The decision to temporarily close my office during the demonstration is not one I took lightly. While the demonstration was by all accounts peaceful (and creative), I did previously receive anonymous threats of violence against my office via Twitter.

When it comes to the safety of my staff, I will always err on the side of caution.

With respect to the development of new pipelines, no decisions have been made.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline for instance is currently undergoing a thorough and rigorous review. The decision to approve the project will be made on the basis of science and not on ideology. If it can’t be demonstrated that the project can be done safely, it will not proceed.

It is simply not true to suggest that major projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline would not be subject to environmental review. Nor is it accurate to suggest that the China-Canada Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) would prevent governments from regulating in the public interest.

I have already met with many constituents who have concerns regarding these issues, and we have always engaged in a respectful and fact based discussion.

I look forward to doing so again with concerns citizens in the future.

Mark Strahl

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP

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