Monday marks the opening of autumn Parliament, the first session since the passing of NDP leader Jack Layton. It’s an absence that will be keenly felt, particularly by fellow NDP members.
However, B.C. Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko firmly believes that NDP members will solider on.
“Obviously when you lose a dynamic person like Jack it’s difficult but we’ve shown that as a party we can be very disciplined, and we’ll just continue the good work that we worked with Jack on,” says Atamanenko.
Looking forward and concerned about the state of Canada’s future, Atamanenko is already thinking about the major issues to bring forth in Parliament.
One of personal interest is the Canadian European Trade Agreement, which he says has many flaws.
One flaw of particular concern to Atamanenko is “large European companies will be able to bid on contracts and put local people out of work.” He is worried about the fact that there hasn’t been much public debated on the issue.
“There hasn’t been a lot of public debate so we’re going to be pushing for that,” stated Atamanenko.
Another issue close to Atamanenko’s heart is Genetically Modified Organisms and their potentially catastrophic effect on the local economy. It’s an issue he believes locals should pay particular attention to since organic products are part of the fabric of local life.
“We’re in danger of having more GMOs introduced into the environment… specifically genetically modified alfalfa [fertilizer]. If introduced into the environment can cause a blow to the organic industry,” says Atamanenko.
There is of course the fear that GMOs would disintegrate foreign markets that Canadian farmers currently enjoy, since some parts of the world do not permit any kind of GMOs in their products. The implications of which would have serious financial impact on the organic industry.
Still whatever the cause, this Parliament session will be focused on the issues that impact Canadians across the country.