MP holds coffee house

After spending time in Ottawa, MP Stephen Fuhr of Kelowna — Lake Country, organized a coffee house in Lake Country.

MP Stephen Fuhr listens to questions at Lake Country Coffee House.

MP Stephen Fuhr listens to questions at Lake Country Coffee House.

After spending time in Ottawa, MP Stephen Fuhr of Kelowna — Lake Country, organized a coffee house in Lake Country to meet community members.

At Lake Country Coffee House, around six people asked questions and provided comments to Fuhr.

He has been spending time away from his riding due to focus on building relationships in Ottawa, he said.

“Relationships are super important– getting to know the minister’s staff, chiefs of staff, key policy people is super critical for my job. I did spend more time in Ottawa because I was searching out those relationships.”

This is Fuhr’s first year in politics and he said it has been going well.

“It just takes me time, (now) I have a fairly well-established network in Ottawa.”

With a growing population in Lake Country, Fuhr attributed the shift from a typically Conservative riding to Liberal because of the changing rural to rural-urban communities.

He said technology, tourism, agriculture aerospace and academia are dynamics have been growing in his riding, particularly expanding projects at UBCO.

“There’s been a shift in the way people are looking at politics in the Okanagan,” said Fuhr.

With the rural-urban dynamic, Fuhr said he hasn’t faced difficulties with the community, but acknowledged the riding carries different views.

He believes people have been paying attention to federal politics more than in the past.

Last summer, Fuhr held meetings where discussions on electoral reform and climate change. Now, he will continue to work on advancing Rail to Trails and working with Lake Country’s municipality for waste-water treatment, he said.

He liked the idea of a coffee house because it’s a less formal than a town hall.

Members of the community asked questions about NAFTA and the discussion revolved around President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Saturday morning, Jan. 21.

Fuhr typically spends one week per month in the riding and spends more time for big events.