Wayne Stetski speaks with a supporter prior to the federal candidate meet and greet event in Invermere during the election campaign. Pioneer file photo

Wayne Stetski speaks with a supporter prior to the federal candidate meet and greet event in Invermere during the election campaign. Pioneer file photo

Outgoing MP reflects on term in office

Wayne Stetski looks back as MP for Kootenay-Columbia for last four years

Wayne Stetski, outgoing Member of Parliament (MP) for Kootenay-Columbia, was in a contemplative mood when interviewed a few days after the election.

He recalls walking into the historic House of Commons after the election in 2015.

“To take your chair – you just sit there and you just think of the stories that have been created there. The words, the people, that have sat there for almost 100 years. There is no feeling quite like that particular feeling, one you never forget,” he said. “That’s where much of Canada was made, and we are one of the best countries in the world. To be part of that is very very special.”

Overall, he said, he is happy with what he accomplished as MP of this riding.

“We’ve helped hundreds of people over the last four years. That’s one of the things we pride ourselves on is good public service,” Mr. Stetski said. “We did work really hard on behalf of our constituents, both in dealing with casework in the riding, but also taking their issues forward to Ottawa.”

When asked what he is most proud of from his time in office, Mr. Stetski listed a number of initiatives that came to mind, including the 20-horsepower regulation for the Columbia River main stem; having a national local food day bill pass through the House of Commons (though it did not pass at the Senate level); supporting the work of the Ktunaxa band to receive $16 million for study in the Qat’muk area (which includes the Jumbo Valley), and $25 million funding for Avalanche Canada, as some examples.

General voting day of October 21 was not the last day of work for Mr. Stetski. By November 11, he needs to have all three of his offices vacated, be cleared out of his apartment in Ottawa, and have laid off all six of his staff (two in Cranbrook’s office, two in Nelson’s, two in Ottawa). All the equipment must be inventoried and returned as it belongs to the House of Commons. All casework is confidential and therefore must be shredded, so Mr. Stetski’s staff have been busy contacting constituents who had raised issues with his office, informing them they will need to restate their case to the new MP.

Once his end-of-term duties are wrapped up, Mr. Stetski plans to take some time off to reconnect with family and friends. When asked if he will run for office again, Mr. Stetski, he said he will have to see where life goes. But the election signs, he shared, are just in storage for now.

So, what is his advice to incoming MP Rob Morrison? To be nonpartisan, and to be accessible to all constituents, he said, as well as having staff in the West and East Kootenay.

To his supporters, Mr. Stetski said thanks for the opportunity to represent the people of Kootenay-Columbia for the last four years.

“You get to help people every day, you get to try and make a better Canada every day.,” he said. “With all the incredible constituents that I have, you learn from them every day. It’s very fulfilling. If you enjoy lifelong learning, which I do, there’s no better job than that.”

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