With Portage-Lisgar MP Branden Leslie in Ottawa for his first week, specific issues of local concern were tackled. He says the carbon tax is most definitely the biggest one. 

"I heard that at every doorstep," notes Leslie. "People hate the carbon tax. They know it is just driving up the cost of everything. If you tax the farmer that makes the food, you tax the trucker that ships the food, you tax the grocery store and it ultimately cost more for Canadians."

Leslie explains one of the main priorities is the cost of living. He says typically, in smaller communities across rural Canada, there are more moderate housing prices than elsewhere. 

"But even in towns like Portage or Winkler and Morden, they have skyrocketed," continues Leslie. "It's becoming extremely unaffordable to rent or or buy a property as a young individual and a young family. That's before you even go and start buying groceries for the family. So, housing affordability and just broader affordability right now is, I think, two of the main topics that we're going to be focusing on; making sure that we can find solutions to lower the price of goods for Canadians and try to get things back on track here." 

He thanks the people in his riding for placing their trust in him. Leslie explains it's an honour, privilege and a responsibility that, he notes, he does not take lightly.

"I am ready to get to work and excited to be here in Ottawa, but looking forward to getting back to the riding and touching base with folks every weekend that I can over the next few weeks here," says Leslie. "So, it's an overwhelming experience, but one I am absolutely up to the task for and ready to get to."

Branden Leslie was elected in a by-election taking over for Candice Bergen on June 19.

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