Refreshing and enthusiasm is how Gary Vidal describes 2022. As COVID-19 restrictions eased, most MP’s tried to return to normal life of in-person gatherings in Ottawa.

“Something that’s been really frustrating and refreshing about this year, is the ability to start to, I think, do the job in a way that I think it was intended to be done in the first place. Where we can kind of get together face to face and meet with people and engage people and have those conversations and learn together and work together to find solutions,” Vidal explained. “It’s kind of a water cooler talk, right? We’re so we’re at a committee meeting, while instead of all being on a zoom screen, we hang up when we’re done, you go to grab a glass of water or a cup of coffee from the table, and you end up standing around the table with somebody from the other parties, or even as an event the other night where I have the opportunity to be introduced to and we meet one of the one of the key staff members of one of the ministers.”

This year also saw the Conservative Party change leaders and for Vidal, it was a critic portfolio change back to Indigenous Services Canada from Crown-Indigenous Relations.

“I would say that maybe that’s just a recognition of the work that we’ve done over the last few years and him kind of giving us the direction in you making that investment in those relationships and doing the hard work,” he explained.

As for 2023, Vidal says he wants to continue to build on relationships and meeting the needs for northerners.