Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the delegation of the Canadian branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, concerning its participation in the Bureau Meeting and the 44th Ordinary Session of the APF, held in Quebec City, from July 5 to 10, 2018.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, my colleague delivered an excellent speech. I just want to come back to a couple of points that he made.
I have to share some of what I picked up from Jerry Dias, Unifor, who said, “There are some incredible victories in this deal, things we’ve been arguing and fighting for the last 24 years.” He went on to say, “Traditionally, trade deals have been about profit, not people.”
Then of course we have the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie who said, “I just want to congratulate everybody in this room for the fantastic job that you did, for the leadership of Unifor, to be sure, that we can get the best deal possible and protect workers all around this country.”
Those are very important quotes and comments that I want to share with the member. How would he respond to the sharing of that precise information we received?
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House tonight, as the member of Parliament for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, in Nova Scotia, excited to to speak to this important bill, yet saddened, as this will be my last speech in the House for the 42nd Parliament. I have mixed feelings.
In my closing speech for the 42nd Parliament, the theme I would like to speak on is CUSMA. Bill C-100 is a great example of the work our government has done throughout the four years it has been in power.
If we want a country to be strong, we have to ensure Canadians, the business community and all citizens have opportunities. This is the third trade deal we have brought forward.
A couple of years ago, we brought forward CETA, which was a very important deal with the European Union. With that deal, we potentially have access to 500 million people who can purchase our goods as well. We need to remember that under that deal, 98% of tariffs are gone. In the past, it was only 25%. We are opening the market tremendously and there is great potential for Canadians to move forward with important opportunities.
Our second deal was the CPTPP, once again providing us access to 500 million people. We now have access one billion people. It is an outstanding potential opportunity in Asia and the Pacific. We know we have great entrepreneurs who continue to innovate. They are able to sell and trade with those countries.
The third deal is CUSMA, which is extremely important. Of course, it adds access to 500 million people more. We are now have access to 1.5 billion people.
This is a continuation of what is happening in this great country right now. Our unemployment rate has changed from the time we took power. When the Conservatives left four years ago, we had a 7.2% unemployment rate. Today, as I stand before the House, the unemployment rate is 5.2%. It is outstanding.
There has been job creation. Who has created those jobs? Canadians. How many jobs have they created since 2015? Over one million jobs. How many Canadians were lifted out of poverty during that time? Over 825,000. It is very impressive.
What else have we done? We are investing in Canadians to create a strong Canada, ensuring we build a Canada that Canadians can be proud of and from which Canadians will be able to benefit. We brought forward a national housing strategy for Canadians. We brought forward the CPP. We brought forward a national early learning and child care framework. Canadians should just watch us now, though. We are bringing forward pharmacare for all Canadians. This is what we are doing.
It is important to share with members this victory. It is tremendous.
This is such an important victory for Canadians and I have to tell them how it turned out. President Trump was waking up in the middle of the night and tweeting about what he felt the Americans needed if a deal was to be had. He talked about three major areas.
The first one was the five-year sunset clause, or a shotgun clause, whatever we want to call it. If there was no renegotiation on that, the deal was dead. Canada said no. We cannot expect business communities, businessmen and women and business entrepreneurs to invest, upgrade and modernize when they only have five years of guaranteed potential. We know what the Conservatives were saying. From the start, they were saying we should sign any deal. It did not matter, we just had to get it done. However, that is not what we did. We got what we wanted.
The second thing Trump tweeted about in the middle of the night was that we had to end supply management. The Americans did not want that in the deal. Do we have supply management today? Absolutely. That is a very important. The Americans will not flood our markets with their cheap products. We will not have it. We are proud Canadians, and we will continue to defend supply management for all Canadians.
The third thing President Trump said was he could not sign a deal unless we changed the dispute management mechanism. It was important to the Americans that we changed that. Why? Because the Americans were losing 98% of the time when things went to the tribunal. He wanted to do away with the international tribunal and have American lawyers and judges determine what was right and what was wrong in the deal. The Tories wanted to sign. We said it would not happen and it never happened. That also is important.
I think back to when the Conservatives were criticizing us, saying “Sign Sign”, but we stayed on the path. We were successful. The former prime minister of the country, Brian Mulroney, said that Canada did very well. He said it was a great deal. He was speaking, of course, for the Conservatives.
For the NDP, there is no such thing as an NDP deal. The New Democrats are anti-trade. We could not make it good enough for them. There will always be an issue or a problem.
There is one good, solid New Democrat when it comes to trade, and that is my colleague, the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie. I think he wants to be a Liberal. I believe he is more Liberal than New Democratic. This is what he said:
I just want to congratulate everybody in this room for the fantastic job that you did, for the leadership of Unifor, to be sure, that we can get the best deal possible and protect workers all around this country.
That was pretty impressive for a New Democratic member who really understands the importance of trade deals.
Let us talk quickly about CUSMA. There are certain aspects that we were victorious on, over and above the fact that we told Trump those three were not going to happen, and that he should get over it. I guess he did get over it. He never showed up last week. He sent Pence here. He knows he did not get the best deal for the United States. He knows that Canada got the best deal. He knows the Liberal Government of Canada got the deal done.
Another very important piece we were successful on was labour. We were able to bring a more ambitious and robust piece to the labour portion of the agreement. The new auto rule of origin that we were successful in getting for the auto industry allows auto workers guaranteed work over time. The auto industry is very proud of that.
The environmental changes we brought forward are very important and are incorporated in the agreement. We are talking about air quality, water and marine. They are all very important aspects.
Of course, who can forget the very important gender lens? We are a party that will work to ensure all genders have opportunities. We put in place a mechanism to protect women's rights. It is very important to recognize gender identity and sexual orientation.
We cannot forget this. The Conservatives, NDP, Bloc and the Greens asked us how we could sign a deal that did not remove steel and aluminum tariffs. We knew what we were doing. Not only were we working on ratifying and ensuring we had a the deal, but we did not ratify this deal before the tariffs were removed. The tariffs on steel and aluminum are gone. They are history. We were able to do that successfully.
I want all members in the House of Commons not to forget that Canadians have a victory with this deal. The people from Nova Scotia have a big victory with this deal. This is very important for people from Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook as well. This bill will create good middle-class jobs for all Canadians.
We have strong deals because we believe in industry. Our products, when we have a level playing field, are the best in the world. We are proving that by implementing these trade deals. Canadians have created over a million jobs. Those jobs have been created before seeing the success of these trade deals.
This is a very good deal for Canadians. I am very proud of this deal and I know all Canadians are proud of it.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, my colleague needs to understand one thing first. I did not deliver that speech because I am angry. I delivered that speech because I am passionate. The angriness is on that side of the House. We are passionate about what we are doing for Canadians. I want my colleague to remember what happened under the Conservatives. Exports hardly grew under the Harper government. It had the slowest economy post-war.
The member should remember what the Business Council of Canada said. It applauded the government's success in negotiating a comprehensive, high-standard agreement on North American trade. That is pretty impressive. He needs to read that closely because there are great things in there for Canadians.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of things I need to correct. We are not fast-tracking. This is a process that was in place, and we are moving step by step. We will not allow the Conservatives, the NDP and others to slow us down, because Canadians need this.
The second thing I would tell my colleague is that he should look at the statistics. There are more women working in Canada today than ever before. That is extremely important, and the member should keep an eye on that.
I could go on, because there are lots of quotes that talk about how this deal is good for Canada. There are so many more jobs being created for Canadians. There are some in agriculture who did not get as much as they wanted. We have compensation for them and investment and innovation. That is what I call looking at the big picture and delivering for Canadians.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, again, the member is getting me excited. I want to share with him that Canadians have created over one million jobs. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the history of Canada. The highest percentage of indigenous people are working in Canada today under our leadership.
I cannot close without saying that what the Conservatives did to Nova Scotia with investment was sad. For example, they invested $530 million in nine years in Nova Scotia. We invested $560 million in four years. Nova Scotia is prospering under our leadership.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, those members would like us to stop and restart. They do not realize how important this economy is to our country. There is $2 billion per day in trade between our two nations.
We cannot stop the 825,000 lifted out of poverty and the 300,000 kids lifted out of poverty. The CCB, which is tax-free, is five times better than what the Conservatives offered. This is a great economy we are seeing. We should be proud of it. Sign up.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give an update to the House on the construction of the Sackville-Bedford-Burnside connector. This project will improve safety and travel time for commuters and commercial traffic between Burnside and Sackville. The construction of the connector has already begun, and over 500 jobs will be created.
Over 40,000 vehicles travel between Sackville and Burnside each day and cause extensive traffic backlogs. I was proud to attend the Prime Minister's announcement of our government's investment of $86 million to address the issue. After 30 years of planning, this important addition to the 100-series highway network is a great example of the partnership between the provincial and federal governments.
I look forward to sharing more updates with my constituents as we move forward on this very important and successful project from our government.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, Harper's Conservatives handed out cheques to millionaires. Our government created the Canada child benefit.
Harper's Conservatives gave tax credits to the rich. Our government introduced the new parental sharing benefit.
The difference between these policies is clear: middle-class families receive almost $51,000 more per child under our government than under the Conservatives.
Could the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development explain what our government is doing to help the middle class?
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports from the delegation of the Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie.
The first is respecting its participation in the 31st Regional Assembly of Europe, held in Andorra la Vella from October 21 to 24, 2018.
The second is respecting its participation in the bureau meeting of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, held in Brussels, Belgium, from January 31 to February 2, 2019.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Bay of Quinte for his hard work on veterans issues. He has chaired the veterans committee now for almost four years and has done an exceptional job. I want to sincerely thank him for that.
Our government has brought forward the first-ever national housing program. In that program vulnerable Canadians and veterans are a priority. That is extremely important. The member has mentioned the legion and Veterans Canada's great work to identify veterans who are homeless.
Would my colleague share some of the work that has been done in his riding on homelessness, but also about gender. Are we noticing a difference in the gender of homelessness among veterans?
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to Motion No. 226, concerning health care delivery in rural Canada. This is a very important motion.
A good part of the riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook in Nova Scotia, just on the outskirts of Halifax-Dartmouth, is rural. In Nova Scotia, all surveys indicate that 24% to 26% of Nova Scotians feel that this is a top priority for Nova Scotia and so it is a big issue. One reason is that 70% of our communities in all of Atlantic Canada are rural. Therefore, we have some challenges and this is a good example of the challenges we have.
In my riding in the eastern shore area, the residents have been looking for a doctor and nurses for a number of years. We are in dire need of supporting the communities and helping them to find solutions. This discussion is moving that agenda forward. I and members of the Nova Scotia caucus have had discussions with the minister to try to find different incentives and strategies that we could put together to move this forward.
I like the motion that my colleague has brought forward. It would allow for various solutions to come to the table. Recruiting high school students from rural communities to get into medical school and bringing them to practise and do their residency in their rural communities, those factors could help act as different incentives. Again, I want to thank the member for Kenora for drawing this to the attention of the House. I also want to recognize his hard work on this agenda because he has been a strong member of the Liberal rural caucus for four years.
This motion has two major objectives. One is to have the committee conduct a study and bring witnesses to find solutions. In the second objective, the member calls on the government to further address and improve health care delivery in rural Canada by working with provinces and territories and stakeholders. When people talk about jurisdiction, we are all in here together. It is the responsibility of all levels of government, even if an area belongs to a particular jurisdiction, to work together to find solutions to make life better for Canadians right across this country. That is the opportunity this motion brings.
Although the percentage of Canadians living in rural Canada has continued to decrease over the centuries, there has been a major shift within Canada's economy from an agricultural-based and industrial-based economy. We can agree that rural Canada continues to be a very crucial part of Canada and contributes directly to Canada in many ways. That is why we have to find doctors, we have to bring in broadband and we have to do more for rural Canada and bring that lens. This is why our government just appointed a new minister for rural Canada. That guarantees us that we will focus even more on these issues.
Canadians take pride in the fact that we live in a country where we are fortunate enough to have a world-class medical system. However, while the health care system is successful, our government recognizes that there are some discrepancies that exist, especially in the rural context.
The Canadian institute of health 2006 report, “How Healthy Are Rural Canadians? An Assessment of Their Health Status and Health Determinants”, found that rural Canadians have higher death rates, higher infant mortality rates and a shorter life expectancy than their urban counterparts. These health disparities are even more pronounced in indigenous communities located in rural areas. First nations men and women have average life expectancies that are 8.4 and 7.9 years shorter, respectively, than other Canadians. The determinants of health in rural populations in Canada differentiates their health needs and outcomes from urban populations. Health-related factors, such as higher proportions of smokers, lower consumption of fruit and vegetables, and obesity disproportionately affect rural residents.
The availability of medical professionals in rural areas is also a very important issue. A recent study of the medical profession, conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, found that in 2017 only 8% of physicians was working in rural communities when 18% of Canadians lived there. Once again, for indigenous peoples living in rural communities the situation is even worse. According to a 2015-16 regional health survey, 22.6% of first nations people over the age of 18 face even more barriers in trying to find an available doctor.
The statistics demonstrate that the recruitment and retention of health care professionals, such as physicians, is a significant challenge in rural communities. This may be because personal and professional considerations, such as social isolation and longer work hours, are factors that disproportionately affect rural medical professionals compared to urban counterparts. Despite the challenges associated with rural medicine, there are many solutions available to us.
While primary responsibility for the provision and delivery of health care services falls under provincial and territorial governments, the Government of Canada recognizes that we also have a role to play and welcomes constructive feedback to help move this agenda forward.
For instance, it has been shown that medical graduates from rural backgrounds or who have practised or have had residencies in rural communities are more likely to stay. In order to retain more physicians in rural communities, governments could explore providing greater levels of support for high schools students, such as inviting them to take on the sciences, and increasing the acceptance rate of medical school applicants for rural areas. That would be a big help as well.
In 2018, a pre-budget submission of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, entitled “Advancing Rural Family Medicine”, also argued that more needed to be done to support specific competencies for rural family doctors and rural specialist medicine and to provide support for obtaining these competencies through physician training and practices.
Once again, I cannot enforce this point enough. It is very important to get together and get this job done to help rural communities with health care.
Health care delivery in rural areas is extremely important. Moving this agenda forward will require more research and coordination across all jurisdictions. Let us find out how we can help these communities on the ground.
I would like to thank my colleague from Kenora again for bringing the motion forward. I would also like to thank the House for providing me with the opportunity to speak to this important issue.
Nova Scotians, Atlantic Canadians and rural communities across the country need our support. It is our responsibility to work with the provinces and territories to find solutions so we can ensure we have more medical doctors and nurses in our rural communities.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand in the House tonight to speak to this important budget, budget 2019.
As members and Canadians know, the economy has been moving very quickly and successfully. Canadians have created over one million jobs since 2015, and over 110,000 jobs in the last month alone. That is extremely impressive.
We have also seen, with our investment of the Canada child benefit, that we lifted over 300,000 Canadians out of poverty. That is another very important signal of success that we have moved forward on for our economy. As well, we have seen and are seeing the lowest unemployment rate in 45 years. When we took office here, the unemployment rate was at 7.1%. It is now at 5.7% to 5.8%. That is a strong indication of how strong our economy is moving forward. That is because of the budgets and investments we have made over the last four years. This budget is a continuation of that philosophy.
I want to talk about veterans. As members know, I have the largest number of veterans in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia has the highest number in the country per capita. We have made some big investments over the last three and a half years for veterans, of over $10 billion. Even in this budget, we have again made some major steps forward.
The first budget was on transition. We have been working hard to find a seamless approach with a joint committee between DND and Veterans Affairs. It is in place and we are seeing some very positive steps forward in that area. However, we were only focusing that transition on ill and disabled veterans. Now we have included, in this bill, non-ill veterans, which is another very important factor.
We have enhanced the education and training benefit for veterans, which is $40,000 for six years of service or $80,000 for 12 years. We have now added the reservists to the list of those who can benefit from those programs. Those are very big steps that the veterans community was asking for and that we were able to put forward.
The other investment is the veterans survivor fund. Prior to this budget, the benefits and pensions of veterans who got married after the age of 60 would not be moved over to their spouse or partner. We made sure that we would bring forward investments to correct that as well, which was another important ask from our veterans community.
There are also investments in the Juno Beach Centre. We are celebrating, on June 6, the 75th anniversary of D-Day. We want to remember the loss of over 14,000 Canadians during that important time.
That is just a quick run-through of some of the investments in the veterans sector. Let us talk about the young people in this country.
We need to make sure that we are helping those young individuals to move forward and we have included some major steps in this last budget. Regarding student loans, we know that if students get a job they have to make over $25,000. We talked about that in previous budgets. Now we are saying that they will pay a prime rate but will not have to pay the plus 3%, which was a big one. Also we said that there will be no interest on the loan and no payments for the first six months, which is a big change as well.
For first-time homebuyers, we have set up an opportunity for young people. If they are purchasing a home for $400,000, they would have to put 5% down, which would be $20,000, so their loan would be $380,000. However, with the shared-equity strategy that we have put in place, their loan now is $340,000 and that is major. That is a savings of $225 per month. If I run that through for 30 years, it is $81,000 that an individual would save. That is a very important investment, as members can note.
As for student summer jobs, when the Conservatives were in power the number of summer jobs was the lowest that had existed in this country. Now that we are in 2019, there is the greatest number of summer jobs. In my riding alone, there are 255 individuals who are going to or are working in those summer jobs. That is $770,000 invested in that portfolio for students in my riding. As members can see, it is a broad approach that we are bringing forward, a coordinated strategy.
Then, we have brought in some investments in the Canada training program, which is a very important new program. It is tax free and people can save up to $250 a year, $1,000 every four years, for upgrading. That is something that we did not have access to. All members in the House know that young people today will often change jobs. The technology is moving so rapidly that this training is essential. We also have a program where people can draw from EI during the four weeks they are attending upgrading courses, which is extremely important.
We need to talk about seniors. We know that by 2034, seniors will represent about 25% of Canadians. That is a very high number. In the Atlantic provinces, the number is even higher than that. We need to focus on seniors. My riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook in Nova Scotia had the highest increase between 2011 and 2016. The Conservatives were going to move the retirement age to 67 and we said that was unacceptable. Canadians who have worked up to the age of 65, if they so desire to retire, they should be able to retire in dignity. Therefore, we ensured that the age of retirement stayed at 65, which was a crucial investment.
We have made investments to the GIS, the guaranteed income supplement, in two areas. The first one is a big investment of approximately $950, which allowed 700,000 seniors to move above the poverty line. That was very important, as well.
On health care, pharmacare, we are going to move forward. We have had a committee study a national pharmacare program. We should be able to deliver that in the very near future. We have made some investments in the Canadian drug agency to lower the costs. A national dementia strategy is very important. I met with a group in Sackville last week, in my riding. Northwood is trying to open an adult day program for dementia patients. Again, that is very important as well.
I must also include some of the investments on reconciliation with indigenous peoples. We have eliminated over 80-some boil water advisories. We have promised that by 2021 there will be no more boil water advisories. There is an investment for indigenous peoples for entrepreneurship and economic development, and for start-ups and expansion for Métis small businesses. Those are big investments for indigenous people.
I would like to finish off, of course, with the African Nova Scotian community. We have made some major investments there as well. The black community is the oldest black intergenerational community in Canada. It has the biggest Black Cultural Centre in Canada. Two months ago, the Prime Minister was in the Preston area. It was the first time a Prime Minister ever stepped into the Preston area.
There are some very successful initiatives that we are moving forward on. One is the anti-racism strategy investment, which will allow community-based focus groups to come forward with all kinds of different projects. There is also some capital investment, up to $25 million over five years, for projects and capital assistance to help the vibrant black community continue to grow.
I have to close with the trade deals. We have brought three trade deals to the table, successfully. That is 1.5 billion people trading in and out of Canada.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for having an opportunity to speak on the second reading debate of Bill C-206, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding the abuse of vulnerable persons.
I would like to begin by thanking my colleague from Yellowhead for giving us the opportunity to discuss this important social issue as well as for the excellent work he has done in his riding and here in the House of Commons over a number of years.
From what I understand about this complex social issue, we will need a multi-faceted approach to effectively address exploitative and abusive conduct toward seniors.
Bill C-206 proposes to amend paragraph 718.2(a) of the Criminal Code to list as an additional aggravating factor acts that target abuse toward seniors and vulnerable adults who depend on others for their care because of their mental or physical disabilities. The objective of the bill is to bring further protections to seniors and other vulnerable persons by imposing tougher penalties on offenders who commit crimes of abuse against these types of victims.
The Criminal Code presently includes a number of offences of general application that offer equal protection to all Canadians from abusive criminal conduct. Additionally, the Criminal Code directs a sentencing court to account for all aggravating and mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender. It explicitly lists a number of aggravating factors that can apply in cases involving the abuse of elderly or vulnerable persons. These aggravating factors include evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on age or the mental or physical disabilities of the individual.
This last aggravating factor was enacted by Bill C-36, the Protecting Canada's Seniors Act, which essentially codified common law sentencing practices, because courts were already required by case law to consider the specific impact an offence had on a particular victim, given all their circumstances.
If a sentencing court is already required under the current law to consider all aggravating or mitigating factors relating to the commission of the offence and the offender, including consideration that the offence had a significant impact on the victim, having regard for his or her age or other personal circumstances, including, of course, health and financial situation, I am interested to hear from the member for Yellowhead what situations he is imagining would be covered by his proposed amendment that are not currently covered under the Criminal Code.
It is important to acknowledge that the investigation and prosecution of crime involving elder abuse or abuse of persons with disabilities in Canada is predominantly undertaken by the provinces. As such, it may be wise to consider the impact Bill C-206 would have on the provinces, including the potential for increased litigation relating to interpreting the scope of the proposed aggravating factor, in light of what is already in the Criminal Code.
While it is important to address any gaps in the law with respect to protecting offended seniors or other vulnerable persons, non-legislative responses, such as public education campaigns about the protection offered by the law and further investments in services and programs, are also important measures for Parliament to consider. Non-legislative measures can target the socio-economic factors that increase the susceptibility of these victims to be exploited or abused.
I recall the testimony of Ms. Susan Eng, a representative of the Canadian Association for Retired Persons, who testified before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Bill C-36, the Protecting Canada's Seniors Act, that the aggravating factors proposed in that bill, on their own, were “but one element in a comprehensive strategy needed to prevent, detect, report, investigate, and ultimately prosecute elder abuse.”
I agree with Ms. Eng. I know that there are a number of non-legislative initiatives the federal government has spearheaded to support the needs, and prevent the abuse, of the victims referred to in Bill C-206.
The federal victims strategy initiative, led by Justice Canada, aims to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. For instance, the victims fund, which is available through the federal victims strategy, is accessible to provincial and territorial governments and non-governmental organizations to support projects that address the needs of victims and survivors of crime in the criminal justice system. It is my understanding that the victims fund can support projects that meet the needs of the victims who are the focus of Bill C-206.
In 2016, Justice Canada issued a call for proposals, under the victims fund, to non-governmental organizations for projects that would help address gaps in supports and services, raise awareness or advance research to benefit victims and survivors of crime with disabilities, including seniors with disabilities. Seven projects are currently being funded.
In one project, researchers at the University of Toronto worked with three organizations, Womenatthecentre, DAWN Canada and Brain Injury Canada, to address existing gaps in supports and services for women with disabilities who are survivors of crime. The focus of the research project was women who experience intimate partner violence who have sustained disabling, permanent traumatic brain injuries. As a result of this work, a toolkit was developed to provide knowledge of intimate partner violence through educational materials for front-line staff who are supporting women survivors of intimate partner violence who have sustained traumatic brain injuries.
As well, the University of Toronto worked with indigenous organizations across Canada to raise awareness with respect to women with disabilities who are survivors of crime and to expand a toolkit that is specific to the indigenous context.
I am also aware that through the federal victims strategy, Justice Canada hosts knowledge-building events that are designed to provide information about elder abuse and supporting victims who are seniors.
In addition to commemorating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, 2018, Justice Canada hosted an information session to explore various approaches in supporting and empowering women victims and survivors with disabilities, including senior women with disabilities who are victims of domestic violence. These knowledge-exchange information sessions are available to victims and survivors of crime, victims advocates, victims service providers, police officers and legal professionals.
I am also aware of the Justice Canada component of the federal family violence initiative, an initiative that is led by the Public Health Agency of Canada. It provides project funding to support the development of models, strategies and tools to improve the criminal justice system's response to family violence, including elder abuse.
The family violence initiative also addresses elder abuse by providing resources for the public. One helpful tool is the booklet published by the Department of Justice on its website entitled “Elder Abuse is Wrong”. The publication is designed for seniors who may be suffering from abuse by someone they know, such as an intimate partner, spouse, family member or caregiver.
Educating these vulnerable people about the resources available, as well as making investments in the services and programs that will address these victims' needs, can have an extremely positive impact on curbing these forms of abuse and exploitation.
The objective of protecting elders and other vulnerable victims is of great importance, and I look forward to hearing the views of other members as we continue to explore a full range of issues that come forward in considering Bill C-206.
View Darrell Samson Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, I definitely want to thank my colleague who sits on the Standing Committee on Official Languages with us and who does a very good job. There is no doubt about that. Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix is certainly a beautiful riding. I sincerely thank my colleague.
I am somewhat perplexed by this evening's debate. I thank you for your opinion and comments on this issue.
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