Responding to the general notion that “politicians simply aren’t accessible to the general public,” Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht will be making himself available to constituents beginning in late February in a series of ‘coffee dialogues’ across the riding.
Albrecht said that by holding these sessions he will be better able to reach out to a large number of people with different issues.
“This riding is more than 10 times the size of Kitchener-Waterloo. There is a lot of distance between the communities in our riding and they are very diverse. We have farmers, people who work in high-tech firms, students, manufacturers, etc.”
Last spring Albrecht visited Floradale to celebrate the opening of Bonnie Lou’s Café, and the event turned into an open-forum-style discussion with community members. Having been slightly overwhelmed at the community’s apparent need for face-time with their MP, Albrecht decided to dedicate time this year specifically to getting back in touch.
“One of my big tasks is to be the link between Ottawa and our community – to give them a voice where they might not have that opportunity on their own.”
Albrecht noted that each week, issues are brought to his attention by the community – by telephone, via e-mail, or in person – and although each concern is taken seriously and considered, it is especially notable to Members of Parliament when a matter is brought to their attention several times, and becomes a trend.
“If we hear the same issue arise 10 times in a week, we can make a call to the appropriate ministry or draft a letter about the things we are hearing, so they will be able to address it.”
The dialogues are intended to make communication between Albrecht and the community more fluid, and he said he looks forward to hearing questions, comments and concerns on any number of topics.
“I just want people to tell me what they’re thinking – positive, negative, whatever. We are here to listen.”
Albrecht will be available for discussions in Woolwich and Wellesley at the following times and locations:
- Feb. 22, 2-4 p.m. at the Homesteaders Two (10 Dolman St., Breslau)
- Feb. 24, 2-4 p.m. at the Schmidtsville Restaurant (3685 Nafziger Rd., Wellesley)
- Feb. 25, 8-10 a.m. at the Crossroads Family Restaurant (384 Arthur St. S., Elmira)
- Feb. 27, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Maryhill Bed & Breakfast (1302 Maryhill Rd., Maryhill)