MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“The Airport…my new office!”
Silver linings. This week I find myself reflecting on how good things can result even when the best-laid plans go wrong.
As many constituents are aware, whenever my duties do not require my presence in Ottawa, my staff and I engage in some very intensive manoeuvres to schedule meetings and briefings with as many local residents, community leaders and business people as possible. I particularly appreciate those opportunities when I can gather your valuable input “in person”.
This past week saw my schedule filled with such back-to-back meetings. The kind of schedule that makes my staff and I very pleased that we’ve been able to accommodate and touch base with so many constituents. However, we didn’t account for the havoc that Canadian winters often inflict upon air travel.
Frigid temperatures and the challenges of de-icing the plane in Ottawa caused a delay in my flight to Vancouver. That in turn resulted in missing my connecting flight to Prince George. When I rebooked on the next available flight, it was also delayed. By then, I had missed a number of appointments with constituents.
Fortunately, I was able to re-schedule some of those meetings and subsequently enjoyed productive and informative discussions with the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the forestry sector and a number of other individuals.
Upon my departure however my fate was once again in the hands of the weather. After six hours fogged-in at the Prince George airport, I was eventually rerouted to Quesnel before I finally made it to Fort St. John … too late to appear as scheduled at the High on Ice festival.
It was at this point that I began to accept (reluctantly) my derailed schedule, and to count my blessings.
“Silver Lining Number One”: … I have amazing staff. They were not only able to juggle my meetings with their usual professionalism, they were able to fill-in for me at the festival and ensured that the meetings I did hold went off without a hitch.
It was upon the delay of my flight out of Fort St. John that I began to recognize that my several hours of waiting at both the Prince George and Fort St. John airports actually comprised “Silver Lining Number Two”.
During those hours, I was able to meet and converse with many constituents and local business people. During a time when our Conservative Government has been actively seeking feedback, I was fortunate to find myself in the midst of multiple discussions that were highly engaging, frank and informative. And it didn’t require any ‘scheduling’.
While I don’t plan to start holding office hours at our local airports, I want to convey my appreciation to those who took the time to speak with me during those hours and for proving that waiting around in an airport does not have to be a ‘waste of time’!
When I finally made it onto a flight back to Ottawa, I was armed with many of your suggestions and ideas…and a strong reminder that the people of Prince-George-Peace River are good natured, well-informed and always willing to provide valued feedback…a trait I truly appreciate as your MP!