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Results: 1 - 52 of 52
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to budget 2019, a budget that makes it easier for Canadians to thrive and join a prosperous middle class.
Housing affordability is a large part of this budget. That is because Canadians have told us that the rising cost of housing is one of the biggest barriers to getting ahead in life. Housing supply has not kept up with demand, which has driven up costs to the point where an adequate place to call home has become out of reach for too many families. This means they do not have the safe, stable base they need to find work, study, raise their families and contribute to their communities.
This is why our government developed a national housing strategy, which includes a number of initiatives to boost the housing supply, focusing primarily on the needs of the most vulnerable populations. These programs are already having an impact on communities across the country by giving more Canadians safe, affordable rental homes. In fact, budget 2019 includes an expansion of the successful rental construction financing program, which will add significantly to the rental housing supply and, in turn, bring down the cost to rent.
Today, I want to speak about an innovative program in the budget that makes it more affordable for young Canadians to buy their first homes. While it is true that whether one rents or owns it is still a home, many Canadians aspire to own their own homes. When first-time homebuyers purchase a home, it frees up even more rental supply and leads to lower rental costs for those in housing need.
Unfortunately, for too many Canadians, home ownership is increasingly out of reach. Beginning in September, the first-time homebuyer incentive will help more young Canadians buy their first homes by reducing their mortgage payments. Eligible buyers who have the minimum down payment required for an insured mortgage will be able to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The new program will provide funding of 5% of the purchase price for existing homes and 10% for newly constructed homes. Rather than making ongoing monthly payments on the shared equity portion of the mortgage, the buyer would repay the incentive at a later date. This keeps monthly costs down for homebuyers so they have money for everyday expenses.
Details of the program are being finalized and will be announced at the end of the year. However, I can tell my colleagues in the House that for families a buying $400,000 home, this program could save as much as $228 per month and up to $2,700 per year per family.
Officials at the Department of Finance and CMHC have worked hard to develop a program that is balanced and achieves our objectives of helping first-time buyers without undoing the progress we have already made through measures that prevent excessive borrowing and limit house price inflation. It does this by focusing specifically on those who need help the most.
Younger Canadians who have a household income of about $120,000 a year or less have trouble affording home ownership. It ensures they do not take on too much debt by limiting total borrowing to four times their income. In addition, to be sure the program does not end up contributing to the house price inflation, we have capped it at $1.2 billion over the next three years. The inflation effect will be minimal, less than 0.5% at the most, if that.
This program will make home ownership more affordable for young Canadians in a way that is more effective than the measures some other people have suggested. Measures like reducing the mortgage insurance stress test or extending the maximum amortization period to 30 years would simply put Canadians into greater debt. The rate of home price inflation would be five to six times greater than the maximum anticipated by the first-time homebuyer incentive.
Finally, by doubling the incentive for the purchase of a new home, the new program will encourage new supply to meet housing demands, which in turn keeps prices down for all Canadians.
This program will work in all markets, including Vancouver and Toronto. Even with a cap of four times the household income, first-time buyers will have the option. It may not be a condo in Yaletown or a house in Riverdale, but there are starter homes in both metropolitan areas that could be purchased using this program. In fact, based on last year's activity, more than 2,000 homebuyers in Toronto would have been eligible for this FTHBI, and over 1,000 homeowners in greater Vancouver would have been eligible.
Budget 2019 will also establish a fund to help existing shared equity mortgage providers scale up their businesses and encourage new players to enter the market. The fund will provide up to $100 million in lending over five years and will be administered by CMHC.
Our support for Canadians trying to purchase their first home does not end there. Budget 2019 also provides first-time buyers greater freedom to invest their RRSP savings by increasing the homebuyer plan withdrawal from $25,000 to $35,000.
We have also proposed the new housing supply challenge. This $300-million initiative will help municipalities and other stakeholder groups to find ways to break down barriers that limit the creation of new housing.
Infrastructure Canada and CMHC will collaborate on designs for the new measures.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize one person working to make a difference in my riding: Daphaney Doss from Xaxli'p First Nation. Daphaney is preparing for her second Great Cycle Challenge cancer fundraising ride. Last year she travelled 250 kilometres and raised $1,300.
Daphaney is truly an inspiration. She rides to honour the loss of two family members and to raise cancer awareness for those in her community and surrounding areas. I would like to thank Daphaney for her outstanding community service as she continues to motivate others and make a difference.
I encourage Daphaney to keep up the great work. We are all behind her.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, 100,000 Canadians would be able to buy their first homes. We have already received a great deal of positive reaction to budget 2019 and its progress in boosting affordability. Canadians are pleased with the way it would help young householders realize their dream of home ownership and encourage the construction of new homes.
For example, Heather Tremain, CEO of Options for Homes, had this to say:
The Federal budget takes concrete steps to address Canada's housing affordability problem and will help to improve access to home ownership for middle income earners.
We understand the many benefits that come from having a safe and adequate home that one can afford. Through budget 2019, we are once again demonstrating that the Government of Canada is back in housing. We are delivering an ambitious, comprehensive and realistic plan that would create much needed new housing, protect the affordability of existing homes and include new support for first-time home buyers. This is a plan that would benefit generations to come.
I urge my colleagues on both sides of the House to support the budget implementation bill for the benefit of our economy and a more inclusive and prosperous society for all Canadians.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, let us talk about my colleague's riding. I had the privilege to announce $11.8 million for 67 affordable units. We are going to provide rental units for 30% less than the market price. I also had the privilege to announce $7 million for 36 units to look after women and children, rental space that will also be offered at 30% less.
These are the good things we are doing in his riding.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I do not think we need to convince a whole lot of people on this pretty straightforward deal. About 100,000 Canadians will be eligible to buy a home within the next three years. For people who want a $400,000 home, we will pay a 10% down payment so they can buy it. This is for newly built homes. The federal government will chip in a 5% down payment for someone buying a second-hand home. I think this is very good news for first-time homebuyers.
Our government is making home ownership more affordable for the first time, allowing people to lower their monthly mortgage payments. I urge both sides of the House to pass this piece of legislation.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for bringing up the one million jobs we created in the country, 75% of which are full-time jobs.
We lifted 300,000 children over the poverty line. Our 10% increase in GIS benefited 900,000 seniors, putting many over the poverty line. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in our country for the last 40 years. We have the lowest tax rate for small businesses out of the G7 countries. The list goes on.
When people work, they bring more taxes into our coffers. I think we are going in the right direction. We will continue to help Canadians.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, as we have seen recently in communities across the country, the effects of climate change are real. They are devastating to our communities. Canadians want to know that we take these threats seriously and that we are making the investments necessary to prepare for and mitigate the effects the next time disaster strikes.
Could the Prime Minister or the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities please update this House on the investments the government is making to tackle climate change, particularly in British Columbia?
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to acknowledge the InterCultural Online Health Network, iCON, for its efforts in advancing the well-being of multicultural and indigenous communities in British Columbia.
Celebrating 10 years of service and partnership with the South Asian community, I was happy to attend a health forum for seniors and caregivers living with diabetes and hypertension. iCON has successfully brought together key stakeholders in health, such as the B.C. Ministry of Health and its health authorities, health care providers, patients and families. iCON has started a dialogue on health care issues to help educate communities with workshops and web-based resources.
I encourage the Minister of Health to connect with Dr. Cheema and Dr. Ho, iCON leaders, to explore how we can bring iCON to communities throughout the country.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to apologize, without reservation, to the member for Vancouver Granville. My comments were inappropriate. Whether inside or outside this House, it is incumbent on all of us to treat each other with respect at all times.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to be in Chilliwack, British Columbia a couple of weeks ago to announce the construction of 67 new rental housing units on behalf of my friend and colleague, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. Partnering with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the government invested $11.8 million in this great project.
This project is one of many under the national housing strategy. As a former property developer, I have engaged with countless Canadians who are trying to find their new home. Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. I am pleased to represent a government that is supporting a real solution to the housing issue in our country.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, agriculture is an exciting and dynamic industry that is full of opportunities, but it is not without challenges. I rise today to recognize the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Farm Credit Canada for raising mental health awareness within the farming industry. My riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon has a high concentration of farmers and it is important that both individuals and families receive support throughout stressful situations.
I am pleased farmers will have improved access to wellness resources, with the FCC launching its mental health strategies guide. Mental health issues can affect anybody. It is important to have these discussions.
I am proud to join my colleagues and the agricultural community in removing the stigma surrounding mental health.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to thank the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction for the $86 million in funding to combat gun violence. I know in my riding this money will be appreciated as rising concern about gun violence has been a major issue for quite some time, which I discussed with the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction when he visited in my riding.
Like many ridings in our country, Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon is in close proximity to the U.S. border. The funding will be crucial to stopping illegal firearms from entering our country and into the hands of gangs. My riding is no stranger to the perils of gun violence, and I am committed to ensuring that my constituents and all Canadians can live without fear of gun violence.
I am thankful to represent a government that is committed to addressing gun violence with real, tangible action.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, last Saturday I was proud to attend the seventh annual Walk & Talk - Defeat Depression event in Harrison Hot Springs. The defeat depression campaign is a national fundraising campaign designed to raise funds in support of local mental health programs and services. The campaign has grown into a national movement, bringing needed awareness of mental health issues and fighting the mental health stigma.
I want to commend the organizers from the Agassiz-Harrison Community Services for their hard work putting this together, all of the volunteers who helped the day run smoothly and those in attendance who shared their own stories with us.
Let us keep this fight going.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague for Winnipeg Centre.
I am pleased to provide some perspective on some of the amendments proposed as part of the other chamber's consideration of Bill C-65.
The issue of workplace harassment and violence is complex. The measures required to eradicate these behaviours must take many factors into consideration. For example, women tell us that they do not come forward because they feel that it is not worth the risk or it is embarrassing. Many fear potential consequences. Perhaps most disappointing is that many simply do not believe that coming forward will make a difference.
Reporting an incident requires courage. Women fear reprisals or even losing their jobs, and the stigma associated with being a victim can make it extremely difficult to report an incident. It is clear that if people know that they can come forward without fear of being identified, it will reduce their hesitation around speaking out.
One of the key elements of this proposed legislation is support for affected employees. Privacy is integral to that support. We believe that the success of Bill C-65 is closely linked to ensuring the privacy of those involved in incidents of harassment and violence. It is with this perspective that we considered some of the other chamber's proposed amendments.
The other chamber put forward two amendments that proposed that the minister's annual report and the annual report prepared by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board contain statistical data related to harassment and violence, categorized according to prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Information categorized according to prohibited grounds of discrimination under the CHRA would include information such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability and others.
Our government supports the amendment being proposed with respect to including this information in the minister's annual report. However, we do not support the amendment to the section that would apply to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board's annual report. I will explain.
The first amendment proposed relates to the annual report the Minister of Labour would publish each year providing data on incidents of harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces, including parliamentary workplaces. The proposed amendment would require that the data collected from employers for the annual report by the Minister of Labour include information on whether the incident could be considered a prohibited ground of discrimination. This would provide very useful information on the nature of these incidents so that together, we could work to prevent their occurrence.
However, we also recognize that collecting this data would represent certain risks to colleagues. Perhaps the most pressing would be the risk to the privacy of the individuals providing the information. This is particularly true for smaller organizations with fewer employees, where the risk of being identified is very real. To mitigate this risk, the provision of this information would be entirely voluntary. It would be up to the employees to decide whether they felt comfortable disclosing any details about themselves that could potentially identify them down the road. We feel that this is the best approach.
We felt it was important to support acceptance of the amendment to include the data in the minister's annual report because we believe that this risk would be effectively mitigated, and because the potential benefits are significant.
The data that would be collected could be used to determine whether Bill C-65 is doing the job it is supposed to do, particularly for those who are most vulnerable to incidents of workplace harassment and violence. This data, which would cover incidents in both federally regulated and parliamentary workplaces, could be used to make adjustments if there is evidence that this is not the case.
Our government is committed to making evidence-based policy decisions. The more data we have to work with in the future, the better our ability to do just that. However, as I mentioned, we do not support the other place's proposed amendment to require that the statistical data in the board's annual report include information that is categorized on the same grounds. While we support the intention of the amendment, we do not think it would be feasible. The report that is produced by the board captures only appeals made in relation to part II of the code. Only a smaller subset of those appeals would apply to harassment and violence. These appeals would not relate to investigations of the incidents themselves, but whether or not the process to deal with the incident under the code has been followed.
Given that the report would cover only the appeals that the board hears, and these appeals would relate to the process followed, the dataset would be far too small to report according to prohibited grounds of discrimination without revealing the identities of the individuals involved. I think we would all agree that breaching privacy and in any way discouraging individuals from coming forward is the last thing we want to do.
Let me be clear. This report by the board would only capture appeals, it would not capture the total number of incidents of harassment and violence occurring in parliamentary workplaces. Those incidents would be captured in the previously mentioned minister's report.
We know that these behaviours are not exclusive to our workplaces. However, with the rise of movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, we are understanding where we need to act and how we need to enable people to come forward. This legislation would help to create a culture where certain behaviours are simply not tolerated.
This is what Bill C-65 would help accomplish: a profound change in culture, a culture where people work in a safe workplace, one that is free from harassment or violence. For this to happen, people need the option of reporting reprehensible behaviour without fear of retaliation. Bill C-65 would help ensure that is the case.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, Bill C-65 is trying to create a single, integrated regime that would protect federally regulated employees from harassment and violence in the workplace. We are trying to create a level playing field so that harassment and violence is reduced in the workplace, regardless of whether the employee is parliamentary staff, exempt staff, an employee of a Crown corporation or part of the federal public service.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, it is very important that we ensure that victims feel supported when they come forward. Bill C-65 would ensure that victims are provided with adequate assistance and that workplace committees were put in place to help support victims.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I am going to get to the bottom of why Bill C-65 was introduced. Research shows that harassment and violence in Canadian workplaces is persistent, and often incidents go underground, because people fear retaliation. Bill C-65 seeks to create an environment and culture that would make victims feel safe coming forward. It is extremely important for employees to come forward without fear of retaliation.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Casey Wright and Danny Virtue. Casey and Danny are true role models in my riding, and have dedicated their lives to helping others.
Casey has fought cancer since he was a child. He has suffered from many other health complications. Casey remains positive and has led countless fundraising initiatives for hospitals and community organizations.
In addition, in 2002, Danny established a non-profit in my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. The Virtue Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness for children with physical, mental and financial challenges.
I would like to commend both Casey and Danny for their outstanding community service as they continue to inspire us with their hard work at The Virtue Foundation.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Jacob Firlotte, of the Sts'ailes band, in my riding. Jacob was selected 58th overall for the 2018 CFL draft, one of the few B.C indigenous men ever drafted to the league.
Jacob started playing football with his older brother and played community tackle football before joining his middle school and high school teams. He went on to play for Queen's University while studying philosophy.
Jacob has a goal to be a great role model for other children in his community. He wants them to know that they too can be successful and encourages all indigenous youth to pursue their goals. Mission—Matsqui-—Fraser Canyon is cheering for Jacob.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the village of Cache Creek is facing one of the worst floods in 90 years in the northern part of my riding. Over this last week, water levels rose due to a rapidly melting snowpack, and this is only the beginning of the season. As the community prepares for devastating floods for the third time in four years, I am reminded of the resilience of this community. In 2017, the same area faced devastating floods in the spring, followed by a harsh fire season in the summer.
My thoughts are with the families affected by the flooding in Cache Creek and elsewhere in Canada. As Canadians across the country prepare for flooding this spring, I want to remind everyone to thank the first responders in our communities, who help to keep us safe and prepared against the elements.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, over the last three weeks, I hosted seven seniors' town halls throughout my riding, in Mission, Abbotsford, Agassiz, Lillooet, Lytton, Ashcroft, and Cache Creek, to get feedback from constituents on shaping our national seniors strategy. Connecting with constituents is always gratifying, and these meetings were well attended, with a spirited discussion and great ideas.
Through these consultations, I was able to identify several key areas of improvement, including national pharmacare, easier access to assisted living facilities, and financial security for our seniors.
I would like to thank the member for Nickel Belt for his hard work with the national seniors strategy and for joining me in my riding.
I am committed to continuing the conversation and ensuring that the voices of all seniors are heard across our country.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Madam Speaker, I am proud to support the proposed changes to the Fisheries Act, which would restore lost protections and modernize safeguards to protect fish and fish habitat. The proposed amendments are the result of extensive consultations over the past two years. Canadians have spoken, this government has listened, and now we are acting.
I would like to review the elements of the proposed act that address monitoring and enforcement, two areas that were seriously affected after the previous changes in 2012 and 2013. I will begin with the area of monitoring.
Throughout consultations for the proposed amendments, indigenous groups and stakeholders expressed interest in better monitoring on several levels. For example, they want to see increased reporting and transparency regarding the habitat protection provisions of the act that are being reintroduced. I am pleased to say that the government has responded to this call for action.
In line with our commitment to transparency, the act would allow the development of an online registry. This would provide information on permit and authorization decisions, as well as codes of practice and standards. Significantly, the registry would also improve the department's ability to monitor compliance with the act. Indigenous peoples and stakeholders also want to see clear standards for how proponents monitor the impacts of a project on fish and fish habitat. The proposed amendments would address these concerns by making monitoring information more accessible via the public registry.
Let me turn now to the question of improved enforcement. As we know, fishery officers are responsible for ensuring compliance with all aspects of the Fisheries Act, including provisions to protect fish and their habitats. The Fisheries Act, in 2012, reduced habitat protections, and it is no surprise that habitat-related enforcement dropped by 80% between 2004 and 2016. The proposed Fisheries Act before the House today would go beyond restoring lost protections. It would also strengthen and modernize the enforcement powers of fishery officers. I would like to highlight the specific changes.
Throughout consultations and public engagement sessions for this bill, Canadians have been very clear that they want more fishery officers on patrol and more offenders caught and held accountable. I am pleased to say that amendments are proposed to clarify, strengthen, and modernize enforcement of the act. For example, fishery officers would be granted three new powers.
First, they could require that any vessel or vehicle be stopped and moved to a place that is suitable for inspection. This would enable an officer to order a vessel back to port or order a vehicle to a safe inspection site. Second, fishery officers could exercise their powers in relation to any Canadian fishing vessels in the waters and territories of other countries, provided the countries agree. Third, fishery officers would not be liable for contraventions of the act if done in the performance of their duties, and this exemption from liability would also apply to any person accompanying them.
Other amendments under the new act would modernize the powers of courts with four new elements. First, certificates signed by an analyst could be used in court as evidence that the substance, product, or fish has been analyzed or tested by an analyst; as evidence of the results of those tests; and as evidence of the accuracy of instruments used by fishery officers. Second, courts could authorize the forfeiture of illegal fishing gear found in Canadian fisheries waters. Third, courts could authorize further extension of seizures beyond the initial 90-day period, and fourth, courts could authorize forfeiture of fish or other things that would be illegal to possess, even if no charges were laid.
Another enforcement-related amendment would provide authority for the minister to suspend or cancel a licence where a licence holder is in default of payment of a fine related to a fisheries violation.
Not all offenders should end up in the courts, which can be costly for all parties and time-consuming. Amendments would enable the use of alternative measures agreements. These agreements focus on problem solving and addressing the root cause of the contravention. They are a cost-effective alternative to the criminal justice system and have been shown to reduce relapse. The proposed amendments would extend the use of alternative measures for some offences related to fish and fish habitat when the offender has recognized his or her responsibility.
To sum up, the proposed Fisheries Act would introduce measures to strengthen monitoring and to modernize safeguards for fish and fish habitats. The department has also identified the need for more strategic planning of monitoring activities. With respect to enforcement, the amendments would strengthen and modernize the enforcement powers of fishery officers. It would give the courts new powers, while expanding the use of alternative measures.
I am proud to get behind this bill. These measures would restore lost protections and modernize our approach to safeguarding our fisheries. At the same time, they would go a long way to restoring public faith in the department's conservation and restoration efforts.
I call on all hon. members to support the proposed amendments and give it speedy passage through the House.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, one thing we need to understand is that we have consulted Canadians on all aspects of change. There are 2,063 Canadians who registered online, and almost 5,500 who completed an e-questionnaire. Therefore, I am very confident that the changes with respect to the concern the member brought up have been taken into consideration.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for giving me the opportunity to expand on this.
Our government promised to not just return to the previous version of the Fisheries Act but to make the law even better than before. Our government is delivering on its important promise made to Canadians.
We are introducing the amendment to the Fisheries Act, which when passed, will restore and protect our fish and fish habitat. This was lost under the previous Conservative government. The proposed changes to the Fisheries Act will contribute to the advancing of reconciliation with first nations, Métis, and Inuit people, and a renewed nation-to-nation relationship, which is a priority for our government. These amendments would make it requirement to consider and protect the indigenous traditional knowledge when making certain decisions under the Fisheries Act.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I met with St'at'imc Chiefs Council in Lillooet late last year, with one of the most pressing issues raised being the need for increased federal support for the community's tribal police service.
Could the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please update the House on what he is doing to ensure that first nation and Inuit communities are receiving the necessary funding to properly serve and protect their communities?
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, during her testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, the Minister of Science told the committee that when she was at the G7 in Italy, Canada was viewed as a beacon for science around the world.
Could the Prime Minister update the House on the actions he is taking to ensure that Canada remains a top destination for international talent and how that is benefiting post-secondary institutions in Canada, but especially in my home province of British Columbia?
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I also rise today to recognize fallen Constable John Davidson of the Abbotsford Police Department who was killed yesterday in the line of duty. My sincerest condolences go to Constable Davidson's wife and three sons.
I am saddened that this senseless act has brought darkness to our community. Police departments across Canada work hard to protect Canadians. When an officer falls in the line of duty, the whole nation mourns. During this time of remembrance, it is important for all of us to recognize those who serve to protect. Whether at home or overseas, our brave men and women have put their lives at risk for their country. They are our heroes.
I ask both sides of the House to join me in celebrating the life of our fallen hero.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the hard work of the Wonder Woman Society based in Mission, British Columbia.
The Wonder Woman Society is a non-profit organization that supports women's education, employment, business, and health in our community and across B.C. The vision for the Wonder Woman Society is to create a network for women to empower and inspire other women to reach their very best emotional, physical, and mental health.
On November 22, the Wonder Woman Society will be hosting its first annual fashion show fundraiser. This event will bring together over 200 women from across the Fraser Valley. I am proud to support both this event and the long-term work of the Wonder Woman Society.
When a woman changes her life, she changes her family, her community, and her world. I applaud the society's work by empowering women to take advantage—
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Lib. (BC)
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, this is a petition to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
The petitioners call upon the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to repeal the decision to remove Elsje and Ronel to South Africa and grant them landed immigrant status to Canada. They are seeking a safe place to become productive members of our open and welcoming society.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, as we speak, the B.C. wildfires continue to burn across British Columbia.
In my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, as in many others across Canada, this summer's wildfires were a very real threat to many residents and posed a serious disruption for many businesses, and indeed for many communities' way of life. The destruction of homes was a serious concern for many in my riding, but for members of the Ashcroft Indian Band and Boston Flats communities, it was a reality.
As these fires continue to burn, I want to again acknowledge the hard work of the first responders, RCMP, volunteers, and local mayors and councils and the leadership of our first nations communities. It is in times like these that our communities come together, displaying what it means to be Canadian.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the life of a courageous resident of Cache Creek.
Clayton Cassidy served his community with integrity over the last 30 years as a member of the fire department, serving as fire captain and, most recently, fire chief. While investigating water levels following the floods in Cache Creek, Chief Cassidy tragically lost his life.
In the words of his brother Patrick, Clayton was a compassionate community leader. He was a man uncomfortable with praise who devoted his life to helping others.
Clayton Cassidy is survived by his wife Rose, his three sons, seven grandchildren and seven siblings.
On behalf of the constituents of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, I offer my sincere condolences to the Cassidy family. Chief Cassidy's service will forever be honoured and his courage will never be forgotten.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, Canada and the U.S. enjoy the closest energy relationship in the world and the largest trading partnership of any two countries. Canada's Minister of Natural Resources participated in Bloomberg's Future of Energy Summit in New York recently and met with key U.S. representatives, industry and business leaders, and officials from leading American investment firms to promote Canada's energy sector. Could the minister please update the House on the outcome of that visit?
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, Abbotsford Police cite that there have been about 50 significant violent gang-related incidents in Abbotsford since 2014, five of which were homicides.
The Abbotsford Police have developed a sophisticated approach to tackling gang violence. There are also commendable front-line efforts to steer at-risk youth away from crime, including the Abbotsford Community Services' In It Together program and the Mission Community Services Society's My House project.
Our government is pursuing a comprehensive approach by improving access to education, housing, and economic opportunities for young people while working with communities and law enforcement in British Columbia to ensure that they are receiving the necessary federal support to make it harder for criminals to acquire handguns and assault weapons. It is crucial that we continue to support our provincial and municipal partners.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the life of Nimrat Gill. On February 7, Nimrat passed away at the age of three from pneumonia at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. The events that led to her passing have raised serious questions and provincial authorities have launched investigations accordingly.
Those who knew Nimrat saw a child full of love and happiness. Her mother, Balraj, her father, Amarinder, and her older sister, Simrat, will always remember her as a playful child whose love for life was contagious. The heart of the child is the heart of the home. From playing Ring Around the Rosie and Daddy Finger to reciting her favourite poems, Nimrat's every word and movement was filled with love and affection for her family.
There is nothing harder than for a parent to lose their child. I offer the Gill family my deepest condolences.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, access to clean drinking water is a fundamental right for all Canadians, which is why, on December 10, I was proud to stand alongside my provincial and municipal colleagues to announce the completion of the state-of-the-art, $4.2 million Cannell Lake water treatment plant.
Thanks to $3 million from our government's gas tax fund and $1.2 million from the District of Mission and the City of Abbotsford, over 200,000 residents of the Central Fraser Valley can now rest assured knowing that they have access to safe, high-quality drinking water.
This is an example of our government's commitment to modernizing infrastructure, ensuring that Canada's quality of life continues to serve as an example to the world, and that should be a great source of pride for all members of the House.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to recognize the 33rd annual Mission Candlelight Christmas Parade taking place this Friday in my riding. The parade is an opportunity for all to celebrate the holiday season and to come together with friends and family to create lasting memories.
The Candlelight Christmas Parade has been a beloved tradition in the community for years and will showcase over 70 floats this year.
I am excited to take part in the parade this Friday starting at 7:30 p.m. The festivities begin at the corner of Horne Street and First Avenue. I am looking forward to kicking off this holiday season with my constituents at the candlelight parade. I will see everyone there.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to express my support for Bill C-26. I am speaking today because I believe Bill C-26 will benefit my constituents in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.
As members know, a strong Canada pension plan was a core element of our government's bold plan to put people first and to help the middle class, because we understand that a strong economy starts with a strong middle class. That is precisely what we are doing by enhancing the Canada pension plan.
Middle-class Canadians in my riding are working harder than ever, and many are worried that they will not have set enough money aside for their retirement. The Department of Finance has examined whether families nearing retirement are adequately prepared for retirement. About one in four Canadian families approaching retirement, or about 1.1 million families, are at risk of not saving enough to maintain their current standard of living.
The risk is highest for middle-class families, families without workplace pension plans are at even greater risk of under-saving for retirement. A third of these families are at risk.
I spoke with many seniors in my riding during the last election who were concerned that they will not be able to afford basic costs before they receive their next guaranteed income supplement cheque. Our government has to address this by substantially increasing the GIS, and also honouring our campaign commitment to lower the age of retirement from 67 to 65.
However, they were more concerned about their families' futures. They wanted to know their grandchildren would have the same security going through life that they had. Hearing that on the doorsteps from residents of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon is why I support Bill C-26.
Younger Canadians across the country and in my riding, who tend to have higher debts than the previous generation and in most cases will live longer than the previous generations, face the challenge of securing adequate retirement savings at the time when fewer can expect to work in the jobs that will include a workplace pension plan.
We are aware of the need to help Canadians save more. Saving more will mean they are more confident about their future and about their ability to secure a dignified retirement.
I am proud to be able to say that we are delivering on our commitment to do just that. Working in close collaboration towards a common purpose with governments across Canada, we reached an agreement that will give Canadians a more generous public pension to help them retire with dignity. The goal of a stronger CPP is truly a high priority, which is shared by Canadians from coast to coast to coast, with 75% in favour of a strong public pension plan.
The challenge that government faced in drafting an enhanced CPP was that the current plan was not accumulating benefits quickly enough to meet the future needs of Canadians in the world where workplace pension coverage continues to decline.
The enhancement that the Canadian government agreed on would do two things to address this. First, it would boost the share of annual earnings received during retirement from one quarter to one third. For example, an individual making $50,000 a year in today's dollars over his or her working life would receive about $16,000 per year in retirement instead of the roughly $12,000 they receive today.
Second, the enhancement would increase, by 14%, the maximum income range covered by CPP. This means, once fully in place, the enhanced CPP would increase the maximum CPP retirement benefit by 50%.
In other words, the current maximum benefit of $13,110 in today's dollar terms would increase by nearly $7,000 under the enhanced CPP, bringing the maximum benefit up to almost $20,000.
The legislation also includes enrichment to the CPP disability and survivor benefits. For most Canadians these increased benefits would come from just a 1% increase in contribution rates. This enhancement is set to help young Canadians just entering the workforce the most. They would see the largest increase in benefits. This means that young people throughout my riding and across Canada would have a Canadian pension plan that fills the gap for those who do not have a workplace pension plan.
Having grandchildren myself, this is important for me, knowing that young people today will have a CPP that ensures their security when they grow older and eventually retire. We are also making sure to give individuals and their employers plenty of time to adjust to this modest increase, making sure it is small and gradual starting in 2019.
Today's legislation as agreed upon with the provinces and territories would ensure that low-income Canadians are not financially burdened as a result of their extra contributions. It would do this by enhancing the working income tax benefit to roughly offset incremental CPP contributions, leaving eligible low-income Canadians with little to no change in disposable income, while still securing a higher retirement income for them.
The enhanced CPP would simply build on the core existing CPP benefits, in a smart, carefully targeted, and effective way that reflects the extensive research that governments brought to the table in crafting this enhancement to the benefit of working Canadians. Taken together, it is a comprehensive package that would increase CPP benefits while striking an appropriate balance between short-term economic considerations and longer-term gains.
What does Bill C-26 mean for my constituents and Canadians across the country? Enhancing the CPP means first and foremost there would be more money from the CPP waiting for Canadians when they retire. This means they would be able to focus on the things that matter like spending time with their families rather than worrying about making ends meet. It means reducing the share of families at risk of not saving enough for retirement as well as reducing the degree to which Canadians are under-saving.
A stronger CPP is also the right tool at the right time to improve retirement income security of young workers. It is an opportunity for today's hard-working Canadians to give their children, grandchildren, and future generations a more secure retirement. Since I was elected last October, I have had the honour and great responsibility of representing my constituents in Ottawa. I have enjoyed time with young people in my riding, local schools, community groups, and other events. Their ability to save money for a secure and comfortable, dignified retirement is very important to me.
This enhancement of the CPP and this investment in Canadians would ensure future generations are secure in their retirement. This is why I will be voting for Bill C-26 and I encourage my colleagues from every party to do so as well.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am pretty sure we all remember when CPP was introduced back in 1965-66. Even then, those across the aisle said that businesses would close as a result, but look at the result today. Our seniors have a better retirement from the CPP.
My government today understands the need to enhance the CPP so that the next generation can have a decent retirement.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am proud of the work our government has done with the provinces and territories to enhance the CPP. However, we are aware that more could be done with respect to the dropout provisions as a result of disability and child-rearing. However, any changes need the approval of territorial and provincial governments. The finance minister is fully aware of that, and he will bring that issue to the meeting with the territories and provinces in December.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, and as negotiated by the Minister of Finance with the provincial and territorial finance ministers, the changes to the CPP will be phased in over seven years, starting in 2019 to 2025, to ensure that the impact is small and gradual.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to congratulate Anecia Gill for being chosen to represent Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon for Daughters of the Vote.
This initiative, organized by Equal Voice, will bring 338 young women, representing each of our ridings, to Ottawa to mark the 100th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote.
Anecia is a role model in the community. She attends the University of Fraser Valley for sociology, and works with the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies.
I am excited for Anecia to take her seat in the House of Commons, and to hear her vision for Canada. I congratulate Anecia.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be back in the House to represent my constituents after a busy summer in the riding.
I would like to recognize the Lifetime Learning Centre Society's intergenerational walking path project, funded through the new horizons for seniors program.
The project is a multipurpose path that enables youth and seniors to team up to create a safe and accessible walking path that provides measurable distances and goal setting for all users.
The project will make it possible for local youth and seniors to come together to create a multipurpose walking path, to be enjoyed and shared by generations to come.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, Canada's total merchandise trade with the Pacific Alliance, a grouping of Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, reached $46.2 billion in 2015. In fact, the four countries account for more than 70% of Canada's two-way trade with the whole Latin America region.
Could the Minister of International Trade update the House on what she is doing to promote deeper economic and people-to-people linkages with this important region?
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to recognize the Komagata Maru incident. The Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver in May 1914, and it was carrying passengers of mostly Sikh descent. The Government of Canada turned away the boat and they were forced to return to India, a decision that resulted in the deaths of many passengers.
We will never forget about the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community as a result of this incident. I am proud that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on behalf of the Government of Canada has recognized—
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I am proud that the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government of Canada, has recognized this incident and has apologized in the House of Commons.
Our country is defined by its diversity. The Komagata Maru serves as a reminder that we must continue to fight against prejudice.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate Dean Arsene and Courtney Inman for their induction into the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame, and the five teams and 13 individuals who were recognized by the Wall of Fame.
The Wall of Fame honours up-and-coming athletes from the ages of 14 to 25 who had outstanding years in their sport. They are recognized with a plaque in the Legacy Sports Centre for one year.
These athletes have displayed perseverance and dedication in sport which helped them accomplish amazing feats.
Congratulations to the athletes who were recognized last Saturday. It is a wonderful example to young people to stay active in their daily lives, and that practice and commitment in what we love to do can help us accomplish our goals.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate the winners of the District of Mission Community Service Awards.
I had the pleasure of attending the awards ceremony last Thursday, where remarkable individuals and organizations were recognized for their contributions to our community. The award winners have demonstrated exemplary volunteerism in the community through a wide range of charitable activity. Their high level of commitment is an example for all.
I am proud to take this opportunity to recognize these residents for being exceptional leaders. I would like to thank them for their outstanding service to our community.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the Fraser River is an important waterway in my riding and the depletion of the sockeye salmon population has greatly impacted my constituents, including indigenous peoples.
Could the minister please provide an update to the House on the implementation of the recommendations of the Cohen commission?
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to honour a constituent of mine, decorated veteran Mr. John Westley Kirkpatrick, who received the French Legion of Honour this past December for his service in World War II.
A resident of Ashcroft, B.C., Mr. Kirkpatrick joined the army in 1939 and was assigned to the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Mr. Kirkpatrick landed in Normandy, at Juno Beach. He went on to serve in Belgium, Holland, and Germany. It was through the bravery, courage, and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers such as Mr. Kirkpatrick that the Allies were able to liberate France.
We remember and honour Mr. Kirkpatrick's valour and that of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who served our country so that we are able to live in a democratic and free nation.
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Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour and a privilege to rise in the House for the first time to express my gratitude to my constituents in the riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon for putting their trust in me to represent them as their member of Parliament in Ottawa. I have the distinct pleasure of representing several diverse communities, and I look forward to working together to champion the needs of my constituents.
As a member of Canada's new government, I am committed to working with indigenous people to ensure that they will play an important role in shaping the future in my riding. I strongly support the initiative our government has shown to take immediate action on an inquiry into the missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. This is the first step to bringing in fairness and justice to affected families and communities.
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