This time of year is especially significant for Member of Parliament for Portage-Lisgar Branden Leslie. It's not only the end of the most recent session of Parliament in Ottawa, but it's just past his first year since his election on June 19. 

"It's been a great first year and a humbling privilege to represent my friends and neighbours across Portage-Lisgar and had the opportunity to engage with so many individuals: not-for-profits and municipal governments. I was able to get a sense of what's going on out there and just can't wait over the course of the summer to continue to reach out to people have them reach out to me have these strength conversations, and hear what folks think. I just look forward to a little bit of a summer of of normalcy and then just having the chance to connect with people."

Regarding the latest session, Leslie explains it was a very busy one.

"We had a five-week stretch at the end which is a bit daunting," continues Leslie. "Long hours with midnight settings, but you know, overall, I was really proud of the team effort. We had the whole thing over into account and really bring forward a lot of the issues that I hear all the time when it talked to people, mainly affordability; the anger with the carbon tax and really just kind of struggling to not get ahead, but even just stay afloat right now. So really trust the government on a lot of key policy issues that I think are really reflective of the challenge of the folks are going through right now and the solutions that they provided us."

He notes the Liberal party seemingly has staked their political hats, so to speak, on the carbon tax policy.

"Everybody in our area; we drive to school, we drive to work. We just drive as part of our way of life and we recognize that frankly, we're just sending money and redistributing it to urban centres. They have subways; we don't. The data that the government knows itself, and the parliamentary budget officer have brought forward, shows that it's a huge hit of $30 billion to our economy. And the obvious question is, is it creating results? And unfortunately, the answer is no. The carbon tax is now reducing emissions, and it makes us feel a little bit better about how we live our lives, potentially."

Leslie notes, at the end of the day, the carbon tax is just taxing us into poverty and really doing nothing for our environment.

Following Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa MP Dan Mazier's victory in seeing Bill C-288 about clear Internet service become law, Leslie says he' couldn't be more proud.

"A remarkable accomplishment. It's very few Members of Parliament get the opportunity to pass a Private Members Bill and then have the cross-party support in order to do so. I think it's probably under 300 in history, so big kudos to Dan for getting what is an important issue across the finish line is going to bring transparency to the speeds that the Internet companies are saying that people get, and unfortunately, we know that that's not necessarily accurate. So, bringing forward that transparency, I think, for rural Canadians is going to be a huge advantage, a a small step in a bigger problem."

He notes Canadians deserve good quality Internet in order to provide industries of the future and our businesses to succeed.

"I'm so proud to have him as a colleague and see him get that across the finish line."

Reflecting on the surprising news of the Liberal loss of the Toronto-St. Paul's riding, Leslie says he was not expecting them to win in "Fortress-Liberal Toronto."

"I think it just shows the frustration of the people have, and I think really sent the Prime Minister a strong message that he's not worth the cost. People are upset with the policy approach that this government has taken and sent that strong message at the ballot box. Obviously, we're very happy to have a great new well-qualified candidate joining our caucus. I think he's going to bring a lot to the team but I think it. It just shows that it doesn't really matter where you are in Canada right now. You are feeling the many challenges financially and frustrations and crime that's rapidly increasing and frank, they're just sick and tired of the government."

He notes now that the session is over, he's going to be able to spend a little bit more time around the riding and talking to real people, and getting out of the Ottawa bubble.

"Over the course of the summer, we'll tried to have to have a number of meetings on the Environment Committee and it's been very busy bringing to light some very questionable spending of green technology that apparently is not going to reduce emissions. And more importantly, I think highlighting in the government's own data that shows that the carbon tax is making us all a lot poorer and as frankly harming our economy, which it comes to the surprise of I think most nobody, really. most people recognize that this is a tax plan, not an environmental plan. So, we've got new evidence that shows the damage that it's causing our economy and individuals, and we're really going to continue to focus on the cost of living crisis that it's creating."

In summary, Leslie adds he just passed the one-year anniversary of the by-election and with by-elections being a hot topic, he notes it helps to keep him grounded in the reality of the obligations he has as our representative, and the fight needed to continue to protect our real way of life.

"It's one I am excited to continue to do," says Leslie.