Rachel A. Blaney MP is a Canadian politician who was elected during the 2015 Canadian federal election to represent the federal electoral district North Island—Powell River. Blaney was appointed the New Democratic Party critic for multiculturalism, and subsequently for seniors issues, and the deputy critic for Infrastructure and Communities in the 42nd Canadian Parliament. She introduced two bills into the House of Commons. An Act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (right to housing) sought to add the right to proper housing free of unreasonable barriers into the Canadian Bill of Rights, though it was defeated at second reading, and An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (monthly guaranteed income supplement) to provide guaranteed income supplement recipients assistance in filing yearly taxes.
|Member of the Canadian Parliament|
for North Island—Powell River
|Assumed office |
October 19, 2015
|Preceded by||John Duncan|
|Born||1974 (age 44–45)|
|Political party||New Democratic Party|
|Residence||Campbell River, British Columbia|
|Profession||Executive Director (non-profit)|
Rachel Blaney was raised in Terrace, British Columbia, as an adoptive daughter of a Stellat'en First Nation family. She moved to Nanaimo to attend Malaspina University-College where she received a bachelor of arts degree in First Nation studies. She moved to Campbell River in 1998 where she married, and raised three children. She worked with the Homalco First Nation before becoming the executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre of North Vancouver Island (later the Multicultural and Immigrant Services Association of North Vancouver Island) in 2007.
In fall 2014, the 40-year-old Blaney sought to be the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in the North Island—Powell River riding for the upcoming 2015 federal election, gaining the candidacy over challenger Dave Coles, a retired union leader also from Campbell River. She was encouraged by a visit from party leader Tom Mulcair in December 2014, and campaigned throughout 2015 in preparation for the October election in which she was viewed as a likely contender to wrest her riding away from the Conservative Party. In the election, she benefitted from a wave of NDP support over Vancouver Island and defeated Conservative Party political advisor Laura Smith, retired meteorologist Peter Schwarzhoff for the Liberal Party and financial administrator Brenda Sayers for the Green Party.
42nd Canadian ParliamentEdit
Though Blaney was elected as a Member of Parliament to represent the North Island—Powell River constituency, her party had lost seats overall and formed the third party in the 42nd Canadian Parliament. She opened constituency offices in Powell River and a shared Campbell River office with MLA Claire Trevena. For constituency work, Blaney hosted numerous public meetings on a variety of topics, including hosting Romeo Saganash to discuss aboriginal affairs and the NDP critic on international trade Tracey Ramsey to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Party leader Tom Mulcair assigned her to be the party's critic on multiculturalism issues and deputy critic (to Matthew Dubé) for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Communities. Mulcair reassigned her critic role from multiculturalism to seniors issues in February 2017. Also in 2017, Blaney was named as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit for a Facebook post that read, "Taxpayers paid $550,000 for what? No notes, nothing tracking the work he had done.". The lawsuit was filed by Gordon Wilson, whose politically-appointed position as "LNG - Buy BC Advocate" was eliminated by a new provincial government and that Blaney ought to have known that the post was false. In the October 2017 NDP leadership election Blaney endorsed Jagmeet Singh, who went on to win and appoint Blaney as the party's Deputy Whip under Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet, and a year later, in 2019, added critic for veterans affair to her portfolio.
Blaney introduced two bills into parliament. First, An Act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (right to housing) (Bill C-325), sought to add the right to proper housing free of unreasonable barriers into the Canadian Bill of Rights. It was the same bill that Peter Stoffer had introduced in the previous four parliaments (38 through 41), but while it received first reading in December 2016, the bill was defeated at second reading in November 2017 with both the Liberal and Conservative parties voting against it. Blaney went on to introduced An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (monthly guaranteed income supplement) (Bill C-449), in May 2019, which sought to allow guaranteed income supplement recipients additional time to file taxes and to mandate Employment and Social Development Canada to provide assistance in their tax filings. Along with Courtenay—Alberni MP Gord Johns, she advocated for reversing the previous government's scheduled closure of the Comox Marine Communications and Traffic Services. While the new government directed the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to review the closure, they ultimately upheld it.
|2015 Canadian federal election|
|New Democratic||Rachel Blaney||24,340||40.21||-1.53||$139,441.92|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||60,536||100.00||$268,365.27|
|Total rejected ballots||177||0.29||–|
|New Democratic notional gain from Conservative||Swing||+9.17|
|Source: Elections Canada|
- Farrell, Terry (November 4, 2015). "Rachel Blaney represents diversity in Parliament". Comox Valley Record. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
- "Meet the new head of the multicultural association". Campbell River Mirror. Campbell River, British Columbia. August 15, 2007. p. A3.
- Cassidy, Olivier (October 13, 2015). "Group urges anti-Tory vote to go NDP in five ridings". The Province. Vancouver, British Columbia. p. A6.
- Cleverley, Bill (October 20, 2015). "Island's largest riding votes orange, Blaney maintains early lead". Times - Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia. p. A5.
- "Candidates outline their strengths". Campbell River Mirror. Campbell River, British Columbia. October 13, 2015.
- Doll, Jocelyn (October 25, 2016). "After one year in office Blaney inspired and determined". Campbell River Mirror. Campbell River, British Columbia.
- Doll, Jocelyn (September 14, 2016). "Aboriginal affairs critic tours to gather support for C-262". Campbell River Mirror. Campbell River, British Columbia.
- Doll, Jocelyn (July 28, 2016). "Blaney hosts anti-TPP info session". Campbell River Mirror. Campbell River, British Columbia.
- "Blaney takes on critic role for seniors issues". Campbell River Mirror. Campbell River, British Columbia. February 16, 2017.
- Smyth, Mike (August 6, 2017). "Sacked LNG advocate threatens to sue B.C. premier". The Province. Vancouver, British Columbia. p. A9.
- Dhillon, Sunny (September 11, 2017). "Horgan files defence in defamation case: Premier cites responsible communication, fair comment and qualified privilege in disputing former LNG advocate's accusation". The Globe and Mail. p. S1.
- "Blaney endorses Jagmeet Singh in NDP leadership race". Black Press Media. September 21, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
- Davies, Mike (January 26, 2016). "North Island - Powell River MP Rachel Blaney named NDP deputy Whip". Campbell River Mirror. Campbell River, British Columbia.
- "MPs Gord Johns and Rachel Blaney appointed to new NDP party roles". The Courtenay Comox Valley Record. Courtenay, British Columbia. March 14, 2019.
- "Blaney introduces right to housing bill". Campbell River Mirror. Campbell River, British Columbia. December 8, 2016.
- "North Island-Powell River MP wants to help seniors retain pensions". Courtenay, British Columbia: mycomoxvalleynow.com (Vista Radio). May 17, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
- "MPs fighting for Coast Guard station". The Courtenay Comox Valley Record. Courtenay, British Columbia. December 23, 2015.
- "Sun sets on communications centre". The Courtenay Comox Valley Record. Courtenay, British Columbia. May 11, 2016.
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