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'There's no time for partisan politics': B.C. MP takes issue with reporters' questions amid flooding

Vancouver -

A Conservative member of Parliament from British Columbia's flood-ravaged Fraser Valley expressed frustration with the questions he received from reporters as he was on his way to a caucus meeting in Ottawa Wednesday.

As he approached the gathered media members, Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Brad Vis was asked whether he supports Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole's decision to expel Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters from the party's caucus after Batters started a petition calling for a review of O'Toole's leadership.

The B.C. MP didn't answer that question, launching instead into a lengthy explanation of the dire situation unfolding in his home riding.

"Why aren't you asking me about Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon and the devastating flooding that's taking place in Chilliwack, Hope, Abbotsford, the Okanagan?" Vis said, before thanking federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair for meeting with MPs from the affected region to discuss the situation.

"All of the major roadways in British Columbia are destroyed," Vis continued. "We don't have rail infrastructure right now. Our country is facing an unprecedented situation in B.C. and all hands need to be on deck right now … This is not a partisan thing. This is a Team Canada thing."

A follow-up question about Batters received a similar response.

"There's no time for partisan politics," Vis said. "Right now, there's only time to support British Columbia and get people safe. That should be your only question right now. Keeping British Columbia safe. The people need our help. They don't want to hear about a senator. They want to hear about what we're doing here today to help our province and to help our country."

The MP summarized some of the devastation that has occurred in the province, including the destruction of road and rail lines connecting the Lower Mainland to the rest of Canada through the B.C. Interior.

Vis also shared that he has family members who live in the Sumas Prairie area of Abbotsford, which was ordered to evacuate due to flooding and the possible failure of a pump station that was holding back water from the Fraser River.

The next question was about the situation in B.C., but Vis didn't answer it directly, either.

"Do you attribute this to climate change?" A reporter asked.

"Right now, we need to focus on the safety of British Columbia," the MP reiterated, before bringing in his colleague Ed Fast, who represents Abbotsford in Parliament, to speak to what can be done to prevent similar disasters in the future.

"There's a lot of work that has to be done going forward," Fast said. "These are long-term fixes that won't be resolved overnight. What we want to do right now is make sure that people are safe … We want to make sure that British Columbians have some hope that down the road, life can return to normal, but this is a huge, multi-billion dollar challenge that is facing our country, facing our province." Top Stories

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