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Results: 106 - 120 of 1102
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-03-21 16:06 [p.26387]
Mr. Speaker, much like the member for Don Valley West, I was in my seat. I was unable to hear even the number of the vote or the very beginning words. If I am not able to hear that, I would kindly request that you begin again, as previous Speakers have done in this set of votes. There is precedent for this already today.
The purpose is so we can hear the question, and then all members present will have been able to have heard the question, as the Speaker previously ruled today.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-03-21 16:46 [p.26391]
Mr. Speaker, I was here both times but I must admit that, as I said in my earlier intervention on the point of order, I did not hear the vote number and I did not hear you finish it, so I did not ever consider that it had been read or commenced, because I was unable to hear. That was the point of order that I raised during the escarmouche, as my hon. colleague has been referring to it.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
moved that Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to open second reading debate on Bill C-92, an act respecting first nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. Before I go any further, it is important to recognize that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
My remarks today will focus on three key areas: first, how Bill C-92 aligns with this government's commitment to renewal of the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples; second, the importance of child welfare generally and the necessity of cultural protections in child welfare regimes; and third, how implementation of this bill would allow for greater protection of vulnerable children, youth and families while recognizing and affirming the inherent right of indigenous peoples to self-determination.
I cannot in good conscience stand in this House today without recognizing the important work done by the member for Markham—Stouffville. The member got us started on this road, and we cannot forget her accomplishments as Canada's first minister of indigenous services. We are very grateful for what she did during her time.
While we are providing credit where it is due, I must acknowledge the role of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations in bringing the bill forward. Her commitment to renewing the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples is clear and it is unflagging. It is my pleasure to stand and recognize her contributions to the co-development of this important legislation.
Earlier I mentioned how Bill C-92 aligns with the government's progress on renewing Canada's relationship with indigenous peoples. Canadians are increasingly aware that indigenous issues are Canadian issues, that indigenous issues are critical to this country and that indigenous issues must be addressed. This government continues its strong commitment to these issues, because Canadians want it, because this country needs it and because, fundamentally, it is the right thing to do.
We have made historic investments to build and repair thousands of new and safe housing units in indigenous communities, like those I witnessed recently in Cat Lake. More importantly, we are delivering those investments through a new distinctions-based approach. There is no more one-size-fits-all approach that is supposed to work from southwestern B.C. to the far reaches of the Arctic to the tip of coastal Labrador. We have partnered with indigenous people to create a first nations-led housing strategy, the Inuit Nunangat housing strategy, and the Métis Nation's housing strategy.
All Canadians should have access to safe, clean drinking water. We are committed to delivering on that, and we are on track to be able to lift long-term drinking water advisories on public water systems on reserve by the end of March 2021, as planned.
We continue to invest in infrastructure in indigenous communities, including roads, schools, recreation centres and aerodromes, to name just a few. We are doing so because we realize that efficient infrastructure helps communities prosper. Thriving communities lead to activities, initiatives and growth that create economic development opportunities.
We know that the long shadow cast by decades of neglect will not be erased overnight. It will be difficult to reverse, but it is possible. It is essential that we take these steps now and in partnership, not with paternalism.
This government and this Prime Minister have committed, since the beginning, to a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. This bill is a wonderful example of this, and it is my hope, through this debate and with the support of members on all sides of this House, and in the other place, that with it ultimately passing, this bill could serve as an example of the type of work we need to continue doing.
Before getting into the minutiae of the bill before the House today, I think there may be some value in pulling back a little and speaking generally about child welfare and the emerging recognition of the importance of cultural stability being provided to children who are in care.
Interestingly enough, March is National Social Work Month in Canada. I say that because I think it is important for us to take a moment during this debate to acknowledge and appreciate the professional duties executed by social workers day in and day out right across this country. They are often placed in settings that most Canadians do not even know exist, and they are often forced to make difficult choices across stark options. They work within systems, and the decisions they make are often mandated by those systems. I want to be clear that when we talk about the need to address systemic faults, we do so without unduly criticizing those who work within those systems.
All that is to say that there is increasing acknowledgement in both the academic and operational worlds that current child welfare systems are failing indigenous youth.
Consider that less than 8% of this country's population is indigenous, but indigenous children make up 52% of children in care. That statistic is horrifying. That statistic is appalling. However, that is only part of the story. Far too frequently, non-indigenous social workers come into communities that are not theirs, apply an artificial standard without any context for the communities they are in, and take children away from their mothers, grandmothers and aunties. They take them away from their cousins and their classmates and bring them to another place where they are supposedly safe. They are safe, but alone; safe, but isolated from their culture; safe, but ultimately terrified. This happens because a child protection system built on a western and urban model has no place in indigenous communities.
Let us use my home province as an example. In Newfoundland and Labrador, once the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development has made the determination that a child is in need of protective intervention, it assesses the availability of placement options. It is a four-level continuum that starts with family-based placements, then moves to non-family-based foster homes, then eventually moves to staffed residential placements. The issue, of course, is that in small isolated communities like Nain or Natuashish, the availability of placement options is exceptionally limited. That holds true whether or not a small community is an indigenous community. The smaller the town, the fewer the options.
What ends up happening, of course, is that kids who need protective intervention generally have to move away from their towns and into larger areas. If children are taken away from their families and placed with strangers, that has an incredibly traumatic impact on them as children. If children are taken away from their families and placed in a town where no one looks like them or sounds like them and no one understands where they are from, well, members get the picture.
Existing systems too often place a priority on an urban definition of “safety” while ignoring the developmental necessity of culture, of community, of language and of a sense of belonging. No good comes from stripping away children from everything and everyone they know. Sometimes it may be necessary, but it should not be the standard course of action. Unless we change how we operate child welfare for indigenous communities, we will continue to cause serious harm to individuals and communities.
This is beyond unacceptable. This is a humanitarian crisis. We must act. With the proposed bill in place, we would have a path forward with which we could achieve the fundamental reform required.
Let me turn our attention to how implementation of this bill would allow for greater protection of vulnerable indigenous children, youth, and families while recognizing and affirming the inherent right of indigenous peoples to self-determination.
First and foremost, Bill C-92 would help to ensure that indigenous child and family services would be based firmly on putting the child first, not on the convenience of the system; that they would be fully aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; a that we would provide clear affirmation of the inherent right of first nations, Inuit and Métis to exercise their jurisdiction in relation to child and family services, enabling communities to not only administer prevention and protection programs and services that reflect their customs, practices and traditions but to also enact laws in this area if they decided to do so.
The proposed process would not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Indigenous peoples could exercise partial or full jurisdiction over child and family services at their own pace. This would enable indigenous people to tailor the exercise of their jurisdiction to their needs.
In this legislation, we are setting out principles applicable, on a national level, to the provision of child and family services in relation to indigenous children and families. These principles would help ensure that indigenous children and their families would be treated with dignity and that their rights would be preserved. Some of these principles, for example, would help to ensure that indigenous children were not taken into care based on socioeconomic conditions alone, as is happening right now. If children were apprehended, it would be in their best interest, and they would be placed with a family member or within the immediate community.
Rather than a system designed to respond to crises, we must enable a system focused on prevention. This legislation emphasizes the need for the system to shift from apprehension to prevention, with priority given to services that promote preventative care to support families. It gives priority to services like pre-natal care and support for parents. We know, academics know and front-line professionals know that preventative care is a leading indicator of child success and positive development.
The provisions in the bill respecting first nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families mark the beginning of a 180-degree turn, a turn away from a system that allowed residential schools to happen.
Bill C-92 also demonstrates the importance of a collaborative approach when looking at how legislation impacting indigenous peoples is developed. This legislation flows from an intensive period of engagement with first nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, communities and individuals, including the provinces and territories. This engagement would continue in the development and implementation of a new child and family services system, which the bill would enable.
Indigenous families and communities are being torn apart. Indigenous children are being taken from their families and communities and deprived of their language and culture. Their rights as members of indigenous communities, as children and as human beings have been trampled on for too long.
This bill is in line with our government's commitment to a renewed relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples.
The bill recognizes the current systemic issues in child protection generally and reinforces the necessity of cultural protections in child welfare systems.
The bill would allow for greater promotion of vulnerable children, youth and families while recognizing and affirming the inherent right of indigenous peoples to self-determination.
Where capacity exists to build safe spaces for children and youth, where aunties, uncles, cousins and friends can come together in mutual support, and where communities want to end a cycle of child removal that creates lasting and widespread trauma, no children should be removed to spend their formative years in isolation, away from the supports they need to get the best start in life, away from the places where they belong. For children to go out and make their way in the world, they must know their place in the world. They must know where they are from. They must know where they belong. They must know who they are.
Time is of the essence. We must work collaboratively and effectively. We must maintain this momentum. We must see this through. An entire generation of indigenous children and youth are counting on us to get this right, and we cannot let them down.
There can be no greater measure of a society than how we treat our most vulnerable, how we treat our children. Today we can stand a little taller, because today we are moving to make it right. We are working to make it right.
I urge all members to join me in moving toward an end to this crisis with their support for Bill C-92.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the engagements and discussions with the provinces and territories continue. This is not the end game. The legislation would provide a path forward.
I would also emphasize for those provinces and territories, and for those watching today, that they can make decisions based on the principles as they are currently outlined in the proposed legislation. We have doubled the amount of money for child and family services since 2016 to some $1.2 billion. Therefore, we have the means there currently and are providing those principles, as the hon. member said, with which many are in agreement. Therefore, there is nothing to stop them.
Having said that, the hon. member is quite right. We need to work closely with the provinces and territories, and those conversations continue.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the issue of funding is a very important one. However, it would be extremely presumptuous to determine what those levels should be ahead of time. We will be working with individual groups to assure them of the level of funding and to ensure they have it.
Jordan's principle is something that sweeps well beyond child and family services. It also enters into the fields of primarily health but also education and other fields with respect to governments work with indigenous groups. Therefore, Jordan's principle is not part of this. However, anybody who reads the legislation would realize that the principle of Jordan's principle is imbued within the legislation.
On the issue of financing, we will deal with that with the individual first nations, Métis and Inuit groups.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, it is startling to think that of the $1.2 billion toward child and family services since 2016, 80% of that goes toward what we call protective services, which is a nice way of saying apprehension or some may call it abduction. The idea behind this is recognizing and affirming the inherent right of indigenous groups to child and family services and in working with them to build that capacity so they do not see their children apprehended and taken away to places where they are not able to embrace their culture. The legacy of these apprehensions will live on for decades and we must put an end to them now.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, I fundamentally agree with the hon. member in the importance of consultation and of getting it right. I will quote from Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, who said:
This legislation is first and foremost about First Nations children and their safety, their security and their future....The tragedy of thousands of First Nations children in care tells us we need a new approach. This legislation will recognize First Nations jurisdiction so they can build their own systems based on their own governance, laws and policies. Our focus has to be on prevention over apprehension, and keeping children close to their cultures and families. We need investments to support this work, and we need everyone to support this approach. The time is long overdue for First Nations to finally regain responsibility over our children.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, the most important thing we can do is to listen to indigenous groups and we have done that, having read Perry Bellegarde's quote on his reaction to this legislation.
I will also speak to President Natan Obed of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, who said:
I am encouraged by ITK’s relationship with...the Department of Indigenous Services and anticipate further discussions between Inuit leadership and government as this legislation moves forward...With today’s announcement, the level of ambition of both Inuit and government have aligned to do more to protect Inuit children.
President Chartier from the Métis National Council said:
Time is of the essence in acting on the crisis of Métis children in care and ensuring the right of Métis governments to establish and maintain their own child welfare agencies....The proposed legislation is a necessary and long overdue first step to achieve that.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Nick Whalen Profile
2019-03-19 14:49 [p.26148]
Mr. Speaker, three years ago, recognizing that Atlantic Canada is on the leading edge of a demographic challenge that will create challenges for economic growth across the entire country, our government announced the Atlantic immigration pilot program. Part of the Atlantic growth strategy, the Atlantic immigration pilot provides the tools and framework employers need to settle talented employees and their families in Atlantic Canada.
Can the minister explain how recent changes to the Atlantic immigration pilot program will continue to strengthen our economic growth?
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Speaker, we are committed to working with our partners specifically to address tuberculosis among indigenous populations and particularly in the north. We are working with indigenous partners and governments, provincial and territorial, in supporting innovative and community-led approaches.
We are working with partners to eliminate tuberculosis across Inuit Nunangat by 2030 and reduce active tuberculosis by at least 50% by 2025. We will continue to work with our indigenous partners to address that rate of tuberculosis in a distinction-based and a culturally safe way, which will most definitely include housing.
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
Madam Speaker, I am rising on a point of order to table the government's response to Order Paper Questions Nos. 2149 to 2191.
8530-421-200 Answer to question Q-2149 o ...8530-421-201 Answer to question Q-2150 o ...8530-421-202 Answer to question Q-2151 o ...8530-421-203 Answer to question Q-2152 o ...8530-421-204 Answer to question Q-2153 o ...8530-421-205 Answer to question Q-2154 o ...8530-421-206 Answer to question Q-2155 o ...8530-421-207 Answer to question Q-2156 o ...8530-421-208 Answer to question Q-2157 o ...8530-421-209 Answer to question Q-2158 o ...8530-421-210 Answer to question Q-2159 o ...
...Show all topics
View Seamus O'Regan Profile
Lib. (NL)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-92, an act respecting first nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.
View Ken McDonald Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Ken McDonald Profile
2019-02-28 10:07 [p.25887]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled “Ensuring the Sustainability of the Small Craft Harbours Program”.
I want to thank all members for their input into this particular report, as well as the table staff, clerk and analysts for all their help in preparing this report.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-02-28 17:13 [p.25947]
Madam Speaker, one of the things I like about the bill is that it seeks harsher penalties for crimes motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression. Does the member see this as one of the fundamental changes the legislation would bring to those who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces across the country?
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2019-02-28 17:15 [p.25947]
Madam Speaker, I am happy to rise in the House today to discuss Bill C-77 and the important changes to the National Defence Act that our government is proposing.
Bill C-77 proposes changes to the act that we feel modernize it and are long overdue. At the heart of these changes are our people and those in service to Canada.
This is the most important piece, as I see it. I come from a family of people who have had long-term service in the Canadian military. I am extremely proud not just of them and the work they have done but of all those who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.
My sister is now a veteran of the military and continues to work with the Department of National Defence. I also have three other family members in service for this country. I have come to understand the tremendous sacrifices they and their families have made for our country each and every day.
We owe all the women and men in the Canadian Armed Forces a lot. We owe them our deep gratitude for their service to our country.
We also owe them fairness, openness and transparency within that service. This includes a military justice system that ensures that victims receive the support they need and deserve, a system that promotes a culture of leadership, respect and honour.
Canadian Armed Forces members are held to a higher standard of conduct, as we all know. Whether they are stationed in Canada or deployed around the world, we ask a lot of them each and every day. We have a responsibility to ensure that the rules that guide their conduct are transparent, equitable and fair.
Much of what is within Bill C-77 is an extension of the work our government is already doing to ensure a more victim-centred approach to justice; to build on Bill C-65, our government's legislation against workplace harassment; to strengthen truth and reconciliation with indigenous people; and to change military culture, through Operation Honour, in order to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces provides a respectful workplace of choice for every Canadian.
I would like to take a moment to expand on the importance of Operation Honour. As many members in the room know, Operation Honour aims to eliminate sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces. We have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct of any kind in our Canadian Armed Forces and in any entity within the country.
Through Operation Honour, we have introduced a new victim response centre that provides better training for the Canadian Armed Forces personnel and an easier reporting system.
I would also like to acknowledge the important work of the Sexual Misconduct Resource Centre, which recently released its annual report. We thank the centre for continuing to support Canadian Armed Forces members affected by sexual misconduct.
I am also pleased to note that the SMRC is looking at providing caseworkers to victims of inappropriate sexual behaviour to ensure they have continuous support from when they first report an incident to when their case concludes.
The work of the Sexual Misconduct Resource Centre has been exceptional. I know that victims are being well supported as a result of its efforts.
Its origins come from former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps, who recommended it in her 2015 report. As a government, we acted to put in place a sexual misconduct response centre to provide support to those affected by inappropriate sexual behaviour.
We have extended the hours so that staff at the centre are there to listen and provide support to members of the Canadian Armed Forces calling in 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter where they are in the world. Last October's annual report of the centre demonstrates the important work that they have done and continue to do to enhance victim support for members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
I would now like to turn to the legislation at hand and to highlight how Bill C-77 will give victims a voice and change our National Defence Act in four important ways.
First, like the civilian criminal justice system, it will enshrine important rights for victims. Second, it will seek harsher penalties for crimes motivated by bias, prejudice or hate toward gender identity or expression. Third, it will ensure that the specific circumstances of indigenous offenders are taken into account in the sentencing process. Fourth, it will reform the manner in which the chain of command administers summary trials.
Bill C-77 proposes the inclusion of a declaration of victims rights in the National Defence Act. The declaration mirrors the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which strengthens and guides how we support victims in the civilian criminal justice system.
Specifically, the bill would legislate four new victim rights within the military justice system. They are the right to information, the right to protection, the right to participation and the right to restitution.
In order to ensure that victims would be able to exercise these rights, they would be entitled to the support of a victim liaison officer, should they require it. These liaison officers will be able to explain how service offences are charged, dealt with and tried under the code of service discipline. They will help victims access information to which they are entitled, and they will remain available to assist the victim throughout their interaction with the military justice system. This would ensure that victims understand each stage of the process and how they can engage meaningfully throughout the process. The support that the victim liaison officer would offer will be comprehensive. It will be fair and it will always be offered in the spirit of preserving victims' dignity.
Bill C-77 also specifically addresses issues of gender-based prejudice and hatred in military service offences and infractions. The bill proposes harsher sentences and sanctions for service offences and infractions that are motivated by bias, prejudice or hate toward gender expression or identity.
Our men and women in uniform, and those who work and live alongside them, must feel welcomed and respected at all times. The Canadian Armed Forces has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. This amendment will better align the military justice system with that principle.
On that note, through programs such as the positive space initiative, the defence team has been working hard to help create inclusive work environments for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. I commend them for their work on this initiative, which provides training to ambassadors in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited community members who work with us every day.
The next change that I would like to focus on is how we propose to update the military justice system to better reflect the realities of historic injustices inflicted upon indigenous peoples.
In the civilian criminal justice system, the Criminal Code mandates that judges must carefully consider circumstances during sentencing. Specifically, for all offenders they must consider all available sanctions. This principle is to be applied with particular attention to the circumstances of indigenous offenders.
This particular bill is one that I am proud to support. As a member who represents a region with a military base and every day sees those who serve in uniform, I really believe that this legislation is helping to modernize and bring more transparency to the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada.
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