Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that I will be splitting my time with the member for St. Catharines.
What a privilege it is to be here today at the centre of democracy in our country as the elected representative of the great people of Kings—Hants. Located on the shores of the Bay of Fundy and Minas Basin, Kings—Hants is home to the highest tides in the world; to Acadia University, one of Canada's top-ranked undergraduate institutions; the birthplace of hockey, in Windsor; a wine industry that is gaining international recognition; and a dynamic and diverse agricultural sector that is the backbone of our economy and a key piece of our identity.
I would invite all members of the House, and indeed all Canadians, to come and visit us in Nova Scotia where diverse cultures co-exist, extraordinary seafood abounds, breathtaking vistas await and exceptionally friendly people will serve as their host. They will not be disappointed.
Mr. Speaker, I would also like to congratulate you on being elected. I am glad we will be able to rely on you to hold us accountable for ensuring the highest possible degree of decorum in the House.
I would like to thank the people of Kings—Hants for the support and confidence they have placed in me. I recognize both the privilege and the responsibility that accompany this role. I will be putting all my energy into serving them and all Canadians in the days ahead.
All parliamentarians can attest to the importance of families and having their support as we take on this important role as lawmakers in this chamber. I am so fortunate to have the love of a supportive family and friends in Nova Scotia, especially my fiancée Kimberly and my mother Shelley. Without them, I would not be the one standing in the House. I know they are back home in Nova Scotia, watching proudly today.
I would also like to recognize my volunteers. All of us have volunteers who help us get to this place, to be privileged. I want to thank all my volunteers at home who are watching today.
Finally, I have two special people looking over me today in the chamber. My father, Gordon, passed away when I was 14 years old and I recently lost my grandfather, Leroy, in January. Both were incredible supporters. They never missed a hockey game or softball game. I know they are watching from above today and I hope they are proud.
Canadians sent us here to work on the issues that matter most to them. I am proud to be a member of the Liberal Party, and I am eager to work with all MPs under the leadership of the Prime Minister as we strive to improve the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
I want to talk about the importance of continuing the good work our government has done to support the middle class and those working to join it. I grew up in a working-class family. My father was a truck driver and my mother is an administrative assistant at the local school. I saw first-hand how hard they worked to ensure I had a better future. In fact, there were times when we did not even have enough money to pay for the groceries. Therefore, I am proud to be a member of the governing party that is focused on supporting people who need help the most.
I want to tell a story of a single mother I met during the campaign. Her name is Sarah and she is working two jobs to support her two girls. Sarah was in tears on the doorstep when explaining to me how the Canada child benefit was allowing her to buy healthier groceries and to put her two girls in soccer.
Our government's policies have lifted 250,000 seniors out of poverty. Child poverty in Canada is at an all-time low. At the same time, we have created over one million jobs and unemployment is near an all-time low. We know there is more work to be done, but when we invest in people and put money in the pockets of those who need the help, they spend it and drive our economy forward.
I am 28 years old. I am one of the youngest members of this House and I am proud to be a member of a party that is taking concrete measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. I want my children and grandchildren to have a future and an environment we are all proud of. In the same breath, we need to be mindful of ensuring that no one is left behind, and that our rural communities and residents can afford our necessary transition. This will not be an easy balance, but it is necessary to ensure we can all move forward united together.
Health care is on the minds of Canadians across the country. This was a prominent issue on the doorsteps in Kings—Hants. Recruitment and retention of family physicians in rural areas of our country is a top priority for many. As we know, health care is a challenge not only in Canada but across the western world. While the provinces administer health care, it is vital that the federal government be a willing partner to support their efforts, and I am proud to say that our government has been, and will continue to be, a strong partner with the provinces.
For example, in Nova Scotia, since the Canada health accord was signed in 2016, there has been more money than ever before transferred to the province to support health care. I say this knowing that there is more work to be done. Between our commitment to launch a national pharmacare plan and to provide more money to support the recruitment of rural doctors, I know our efforts will improve health care in this country.
My riding, Kings—Hants, is home to three indigenous communities, namely the Sipekne'katik, Glooscap and Annapolis Valley nations. I believe that all members, not just the Government of Canada, have a duty to forge strong relationships with indigenous communities because of the special constitutional relationship we share.
No other Prime Minister or government in Canadian history has done more to support indigenous communities and work toward true reconciliation. Our critics will say not enough has been done, but the legacy of neglect and the impact of the residential school system cannot be turned around in four years. Our government will continue the hard work needed to bring meaningful change and long-lasting opportunities to these communities, which represent the fastest-growing segment of the Canadian population.
As part of our government's efforts to make life better for all Canadians, we committed to make historic investments in infrastructure. I am proud to see that work is well under way on significant infrastructure projects in Kings—Hants. The twinning of Highway 101 at Windsor will save lives. The new Lantz interchange will ease traffic congestion. The new recreation complex in Windsor-West Hants and the new aquatic centre in East Hants will increase opportunities for people to lead healthier lives. Completed major projects, like the new interchange in New Minas, the renovated science facility at Acadia University and the rebuilt wharf in Halls Harbour have all led to increased economic prospects.
Finally, I want to speak about agriculture. Kings—Hants has the largest concentration of agricultural producers east of Montreal. It is the backbone of our economy and a key piece of our identity. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Kentville Research and Development Centre has been providing vital support to Nova Scotia's agricultural sector for over 100 years. The facility has developed 60% of the strawberry varieties grown in Canada and identified the Honeycrisp apple, a high-value apple well suited to the maritime climate.
Importantly, our government recently opened a research winery at the facility to support Nova Scotia's burgeoning wine sector. I look forward to working with the Minister of Agriculture, and indeed all members of this House, on the issues that matter to farmers and on the initiatives that will support and continue to grow the agricultural sector.
Yes, there are and will be challenges for Canadians to face every day, but with those challenges come opportunities. That is why it is important that we all work collaboratively in this House to make a positive difference for all the people we represent.