MP Richard Cannings opens constituency office in Castlegar

MP Richard Cannings has a new constituency office in Castlegar at 1695A Columbia Ave.

MP Richard Cannings has a new constituency office in Castlegar.

The office is located at 1695A Columbia Ave. in the Century 21 building, with an entrance off Columbia Ave.

Cannings’ schedule for visiting the office has yet to be finalized, as it needs to be planned around the House of Commons calendar, but Gina Petrakos, constituency assistant, will be in the office Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help people with any concerns. She’ll also be available by appointment on Mondays.

Petrakos says one of the things she can help people with is passport applications.

“If [people] are in a hurry for instance, they need to make sure their applications are filled in properly. We go over them with a fine-tooth comb and make sure they’re filled in properly so there’s no delays incurred,” explains Petrakos.

People still have to mail their own passports, but Petrakos says applications can be addressed to the MPs section, and that way if there are any problems, the passport office will call the constituency office instead of mailing the application back.

Petrakos can also help anyone who needs help with their CPP, old age security or unemployment insurance.

“We have a direct MP line to Service Canada, so if someone is stuck in the system, can’t get the information they need, or you know, something’s not happening quite right, we can call and they’ll pull up their file right away and let us know where things are at,” she says.

The office can also help with immigration. They can’t help anyone “jump the queue” but they can help people work through any snags that might come up.

For activists, Petrakos can also help make sure that petitions are admissible in the House of Commons.

“A lot of times people type up a petition and circulate it and gather all kinds of signatures and they’ve completely done it wrong, so it’s not admissible in the House of Commons. So we like people to make sure that their work is not going to be pointless,” she says. “This is a non-partisan office, so we help anybody. It doesn’t matter whether we agree with their petition, or disagree with.”

Those who’d like to contact the office can call 250-365-2792 or 1-800-667-2393, or fax 250-365-2793, or stop by during office hours.

Those who would like to write Cannings can do so by email at Richard.Cannings@parl.gc.ca or by regular mail at 1695A Columbia Ave., Castlegar, BC, V1N 1J1 or at House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A OA6, postage free. Petrakos recommends keeping to one topic per letter and all personalized letters will receive a personalized reply.