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Results: 4771 - 4784 of 4784
View Brad Trost Profile
View Brad Trost Profile
2015-12-08 17:54 [p.155]
Mr. Speaker, it is good to see you back in the chair.
I listened with interest to my hon. friend's questions. I have been hearing this theme from more than one Liberal member of Parliament, in their hostility—perhaps that is too strong a word—to the first-past-the-post system and their argument that it was clearly stated in the election campaign.
Interestingly enough, the Liberal candidate in my riding did not advertise that, nor were there any communications about that issue in the entire campaign. Perhaps it was different in the rest of the country.
As has been pointed out before, this is a major fundamental change the Liberals are proposing, whether it be a proportional system, a ranked ballot, etc. Would the hon. member be open to having a referendum on the major changes they are proposing once we have done the entirety of the study? If not, why not, for something this major and substantive?
Looking back, we have had a history of doing referendums and consulting the people. Would the Liberals be open to consulting the people about a major change to Canada's electoral system?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2015-12-07 14:50 [p.52]
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have my first question in this portfolio from that distinguished member.
When people need to be removed from Canada according to the law, one of the factors taken into consideration is whether that can be done safely. The most recent information available to us on Burundi indicates that removals cannot be done safely at the present time. Consequently, the Government of Canada has announced that the Canada Border Services Agency has imposed an administrative deferral on all removals from Canada to Burundi, effective immediately.
View Gerry Ritz Profile
Mr. Speaker, the newly minted Minister of International Trade continues to confuse Canadians with statements like: it is not her job to promote trade.
Of course, she is not ratifying the TPP until the Americans do. This deal has been years in discussion and is now the gold standard on environmental and labour chapters.
She claims to be pro-trade, so when will she stop stalling and sign this deal?
View Ralph Goodale Profile
Lib. (SK)
View Ralph Goodale Profile
2015-12-07 15:18 [p.56]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin this brief statement by first of all congratulating the member for Durham for becoming the official critic for Public Safety, and also the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke for assuming those same responsibilities for the NDP. I look forward to working with both of them in what I expect to be a constructive and cordial relationship.
I am pleased to inform the House that the government is taking action as a result of an important ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Nearly 11 months ago, in January 2015, in a case titled the Mounted Police Association of Ontario vs. Canada Attorney General, the Supreme Court found that certain federal legislation and regulations were unconstitutional in that they prevented the formation of an independent RCMP employee organization for labour relations purposes. As such, according to the Supreme Court, they contravene the “freedom of association” guarantees enshrined in section 2(d) of the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms.
The Court gave Canada 12 months—that is to January 16, 2016—to consider its options and to respond with a charter compliant labour relations framework.
Our government is acting as swiftly as possible to bring the law into compliance with what the Supreme Court said.
My colleague, the President of the Treasury Board, and I are announcing today that the government will introduce a bill early next year in order to create a new labour relations regime for members and reservists of the RCMP.
The proposed legislation would provide members and reservists with both representation and freedom of choice in labour relations matters that are independent of management. These are key requirements of the decision of the Supreme Court.
This past summer, a consultation process sought the views of RCMP regular members through a survey and a number of town hall sessions on the potential elements of a new labour relations framework. The members underlined the importance of having the freedom to choose for themselves who should represent them.
Other matters to be dealt with in the new legislation include binding arbitration as the mandatory dispute resolution process for bargaining purposes, with no right to strike; the requirement that the RCMP bargaining agent has the representation of RCMP members as its primary mandate; a single national bargaining unit for all RCMP regular members and reservists; the exclusion of commissioned officers and a process for the exclusion of other managerial positions from representation; and the preservation of the recourse mechanism in the RCMP act for issues regarding member conduct and discipline.
The bill that we intend to put forward would ensure that RCMP members can exercise their charter-protected right to engage in collective bargaining, by providing a labour relations regime that both complies with the judgment of the Supreme Court and at the same time reflects the policing operational environment of RCMP officers.
It is important to note that the negotiation of collective agreements is a charter right that has been enjoyed by other police officers in Canada for a long time. The government will uphold that right while recognizing the particular circumstances of the RCMP as the national police force.
As is appropriate, we are also consulting with those provinces and territories that have an RCMP police service agreement in place.
In closing, I want to thank the Supreme Court for its ruling and also thank all of the RCMP members who provided advice. The Government of Canada is obviously anxious to move this initiative forward as quickly as it can.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2015-12-07 15:48 [p.61]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have promised an increase of $80 million a year for veterans' education benefits. What are my colleague's concerns about the viability of this promise?
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2015-12-07 15:52 [p.61]
Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to be here today, representing the constituents of Yorkton—Melville in the 42nd Parliament of Canada. I am humbled and grateful for the confidence that they have placed in me.
I want to thank all of those who gave sacrificially of their time, talents, and treasures to support me through an open nomination in my election campaign.
I also want to thank Elections Canada for the stellar job it did in dealing with the challenges of new boundaries, new polls, new rules, and the magnificent turnout of Canadians at the advance polls on Thanksgiving weekend and on October 19.
I am thankful for my Christian faith that is the plumb line for how I seek to live and serve others, while also leaning very heavily on God's grace, love, and continual patience with me.
My husband, our parents, children, and grandchildren are committed to ensuring that I do not live in an Ottawa bubble.
The previous member of Parliament for Yorkton—Melville, Mr. Gary Breitkreutz, served both his riding and his country selflessly for 22 years. His tireless work to end the long-gun registry that failed to protect Canadians while penalizing law-abiding citizens was a resounding answer to the call of Canadians across the country for real change. His integrity, commitment to God, family, and his country is the example I hope to emulate. As I have said often to those who ask, I cannot fill his shoes, but I will definitely walk the same path.
As I travelled through the 43,272 square kilometres of my riding, hosting meet-and-greets, door knocking, and mainstreeting in 24 unique communities, I fell in love with our wide, creative skies, rolling fields, valleys, lakes, rivers, timberland, the wildlife, fresh air, and the warm, hospitable people.
Along with the rest of Saskatchewan, the riding of Yorkton—Melville is the bedrock of strong economic growth in Canada. We have world-class agriculture and agrifood producers, yet the growers in my riding were not even mentioned in the Speech from the Throne. Already, it appears that the government does not value our farmers. The government has placed the TPP on the back burner when it is vital to opening up significant markets for our producers to be able to compete on an ever-expanding world stage.
Yorkton—Melville's potash, timber and energy resources, our small and medium businesses, our innovators and manufactures all know that the Liberal carbon taxes and payroll taxes would hurt the productivity of the very people and industries from which true growth and prosperity come.
Greatly increased federal debt is the only promise we are sure of and even that the Liberal government has failed to define or cap.
The government said it would lift Canada out of debt and balance the books in 2019. The only thing its looming federal debt can guarantee is higher taxes for today's families and a higher debt burden left for our young people and their future children.
My riding of Yorkton—Melville is home to one of the highest percentages of seniors in Canada, wonderful people who have invested their lives in their communities and families and played a significant part in making Canada the strong and vibrant country it is recognized to be all over the world. Yet, they, too, are taken for granted by the throne speech. As history repeats itself, the unnecessary Liberal debt will once again mean an increase in costs in providing essential safety nets that only a healthy, stable economy can provide.
The hon. member for Sturgeon River—Parkland, the leader of the official opposition, entrusted me with the position of deputy critic for Veterans Affairs, and I am pleased to already be working alongside the shadow cabinet Veterans Affairs critic, the hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou.
How fitting that my first responsibility and privilege was to lay a wreath on Remembrance Day in my hometown of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan. That evening, I also attended the Yorkton Legion banquet to honour our veterans by bringing greetings on behalf of the Government of Canada. At that time, before being given this mandate, I assured them that they had my deepest gratitude, my prayers, my heart, and my ear.
I was pleased to hear that the government will do more to support veterans and their families. However, this single sentence in the throne speech gives no indication as to which of the 15 Liberal campaign promises made to Canada's veterans will be brought before the House or, in fact, made a government priority.
I acknowledge that there is still much to do to improve the new veterans charter.
The minister is likely aware that under the last minority Liberal government, in 2005, the then minister of veterans affairs was in the process of bringing about the new veterans charter to better meet the needs of the next generation of young veterans when it appeared that government would fall. Realizing that all the work done would be lost, that minister and the leadership on both sides of the House met and agreed that it was too important for the future service to our veterans to not bring the new veterans charter into being.
All sides worked together, and as a result the first, second and third readings took place in a matter of seven minutes and were unanimously passed by the House. The Senate then met with the stakeholders and after a 12-hour meeting, the bill passed that same evening. The next day, it received royal assent. This was a historic event of which we can all be very proud. Shortly afterwards, the government fell and the new Conservative government began the task of implementing a challenging new direction for Veterans Affairs.
Many initiatives and significant funds have been allocated to the new veterans charter and the transformation agenda, which is the strategic plan of the department intended to help anticipate the changes related to the decline in the number of traditional veterans and a greater focus on younger veterans of modern day conflicts. One was the implementation of improved mental health services for our veterans by creating a network of 25-plus front-line mental health clinics across Canada, and 31 integrated personnel support centres. The challenge has been to find enough qualified health services individuals to meet the need.
I applaud the current Liberal government's desire to continue to fully implement these recommendations on mental health services for veterans.
As well, under the previous Conservative government, the minister brought Veterans Affairs into relationship and consultation with injured soldiers while they were still under the Department of National Defence, encouraging an overlapping of services to better meet the needs of our wounded soldiers while waiting in limbo to know if they would continue their services or be discharged. I look forward to the current government improving even more upon this co-operative environment, strengthening partnership between National Defence and VAC.
However, as I met with veterans in communities throughout my riding over the past year, I heard the same concerns voiced over and over again. Now it seems that these concerns are about to come to pass, concerns for the needs of our armed forces under the new Liberal government.
My veterans recall the destruction of support for our special forces, ill-equipped combat troops sent to Afghanistan in green rather than desert fatigues as a result of the previous Liberal government's massive cuts to the Department of National Defence.
The veterans of Yorkton—Melville will be watching closely to see if the Liberal promises made will be promises kept. My question on their behalf is this. What will those promises cost Canadians and will the Liberals ensure that they will not be implemented on the backs of our current armed forces?
If there is one thing I am confident in, it is that veterans of Canada care very deeply about our future veterans, the men and women serving our country now. Our Canadian rights and freedoms, our Canadian privileges and responsibilities, all come from a price paid by those willing to face death and life-altering trauma and tragedy.
The veterans serve our country, and they deserve appreciation, respect and to be understood. They and their families deserve to be cared for.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2015-12-07 16:01 [p.63]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member as well.
This is a file that is so important across our country, especially in the circumstances that our entire world finds itself in. The care for these people who invest so much in our safety has to be paramount.
I look forward to hearing what the budget brings forward and reviewing it with my colleagues. My hope and desire is that this is something on which we will be able to work together.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2015-12-07 16:03 [p.63]
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question, and I congratulate him as well.
Free trade is very important to my riding, as well, and to the people who are involved in agriculture there. We have the challenge in this country of being very large, having large regions, and having needs right across the country. The responsibility of a federal government is to do what is best overall for Canada. Unfortunately, at times, one region will succeed where another one possibly may not, so I was pleased to see that compensation placed in there right away to ensure that those who are going to find it hard to make this transition have the support they need to be able to do the things that they need to do in business to become successful.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2015-12-07 16:05 [p.64]
Mr. Speaker, yes, I am concerned. That is a thread that went throughout what I had to say. We all want to see the lives of our veterans taken care of, and those of their families as well. However, the process we have faced to date has been challenging in that it is a huge file with a huge number of responsibilities that require systematic organization so that veterans are served in the best way possible. There is an extensive amount of red tape that has really frustrated a lot of them.
I do look forward to challenging and encouraging the government in anything it does put forward, to not be piecemeal but to produce something that will end up being profitable for our veterans in the long term.
View Kevin Waugh Profile
View Kevin Waugh Profile
2015-12-07 17:18 [p.73]
Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to congratulate the member from Quebec for being elected to the House.
I come from a sports background, and he talked about the hon. member for Calgary Heritage cheering for one NHL team, and I am sure that he is cheering for another NHL team. As we know, in sports, when we win, we win. Now we hear that the Liberal Party is talking about bringing in electoral reform, where we can win, but we actually lose.
My question for the member is on what reform he proposes under this system that the Liberal Party wants to bring forth.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2015-12-07 17:53 [p.78]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the constituents of Saskatoon West for having put their faith in me to represent them and to ensure a strong voice for them in Parliament. It is a very high honour, and I am humbled by their support and faith in me to serve them to the best of my abilities over the coming four years.
I also wish to congratulate my colleagues in the House on their successful elections, and in particular extend a special congratulatory acknowledgement to those colleagues who, like me, are here in Parliament for the very first time. I want to thank my new colleagues from both sides of the House who have reached out to offer assistance and advice and a warm hand of friendship as we, new MPs, climb a very steep learning curve.
I also want to acknowledge and thank the House of Commons staff, the leadership in the Clerk's office, and especially those who staff the MP orientation centre. Open, generous, welcoming, and knowledgeable are the words that best describe my experience working with this dedicated group of public servants. I know I speak for all my colleagues, both new and returning, when I say we are very fortunate to work with such a dedicated and knowledgeable group of employees.
Like many in the House, I did not get elected on my own efforts. I worked hard of course, but I had the help of many people. If it were not for their efforts I would not be standing here today addressing the House.
I would like to make special note of my family; my partner Shelley, my daughters Annie and Vashti, my mom, my dad, my brother and sisters, all of whom contributed so much in so many ways so that I might have this opportunity to serve my community and my country.
The riding of Saskatoon West is a new urban riding. It is situated on Treaty 6 territory and the ancestral homelands of the Métis people. It is where I have lived, worked, and raised my family for over 30 years. It is a great community in many ways. It is vibrant, entrepreneurial, and diverse, with strong community leadership and people who care for one another and stand up against injustices, and many more attributes of what makes communities great.
Unfortunately, we also face many challenges and struggles. Many residents of Saskatoon West struggle because life is simply unaffordable. Saskatoon West has some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Saskatoon. We have health outcomes in some neighbourhoods that near those found in the third world. Many in my community did not see the benefits of the economic boom in Saskatchewan and many in my community have not recovered from the recession of 2008.
In my previous role as the CEO of the United Way, before becoming the MP for Saskatoon West, I saw first-hand the personal devastation of rising inequality in my neighbours, such as the impact of huge health disparities despite universal health care, including an increasing rate of HIV infection in stark contrast to lowering rates in other communities in Canada; unemployment rates for young people and aboriginal people three times the national average; one of the highest uses of food banks in Canada; more children living in poverty; a rising homelessness rate; and unaffordable housing for most, with working people with full-time jobs living at the Salvation Army because they cannot afford market housing.
Many of my neighbours in Saskatoon West wake up every day faced with making decisions between paying rent or buying food, between paying rent or buying medication.
My constituents did indeed vote for change. The change they wished to see was an open, transparent, and accountable government, a government that protected their rights and freedoms by repealing Bill C-51. They voted for one class of citizenship. They voted for keeping their mail home delivery and restoring it to those who have lost it. They voted for removing the barriers to entry into the middle class with affordable, accessible, high-quality child care so that they could participate in the economy and attend to their education.
My constituents voted to make life more affordable. They voted for a national pharmacare program so that they could afford to pay their rent and for their medications to stay healthy and well. My constituents voted for an opportunity to be included, and to enjoy a good quality of life, a home, an education, and an income to cover the basics of everyday life.
As the CEO of United Way, I, along with other local leaders and volunteers, have sat around community tables, co-operating with governments at all levels for many years, to make things better in our community. However, more often than not, we were thwarted in our efforts as we sat helplessly and watched all levels of government pass the buck on important issues, claiming that it was not their jurisdiction and that it was some other level of government that should take the lead and step up.
To make real change happen, we have to lead. Every level of government can play a role and has a role to play in the important issues that Canadians are facing, such as housing, poverty, and good health care. One way to lead is by example, ensuring that we do what we can in our own jurisdictional backyard, so to speak, and to set the bar high for others to follow.
One of those areas is the importance of a federal minimum wage. No efforts to lead on reducing poverty or growing the middle class will be successful without ensuring that we do all that we can within our jurisdiction. That is why an important government strategy to grow the middle class is a $15 federal minimum wage. A federal minimum wage will go a long way to ensuring that those 80,000 or more employed people working in federally regulated industries, such as transportation, telecommunications, and banking can afford the basics of life. It is the caring thing to do; it is the smart thing to do.
Entry into the middle class will be challenging for many in my constituency. Their entry into the middle class means removing barriers to getting and keeping employment and pursuing their education. One of the biggest barriers for my constituents is the lack of affordable and accessible child care. It is often the single biggest barrier for parents to securing employment or finishing their education. Affordable post-secondary education is one challenge. Even with more affordable education, many will be excluded because they cannot afford child care, and even if they can afford child care, they cannot find it; it is not there to be found.
To create more opportunities for young Canadians, especially those from low and middle-income families, means removing the barriers so that the opportunities can be accessed by everyone. That means a federal government that is willing to lead on not only creating new child care spaces in the short term, but making a commitment to all parents to finally, after 30 years, commit to universally accessible, affordable, and high-quality child care.
Communities across Canada have stepped up where governments have failed to provide the services needed for their communities to thrive, but there is only so much that communities can do on their own. They need governments to partner, to invest, and to help communities meet their challenges. Canadians know how to work together. I know that my constituents are looking forward, as I am, to a government that knows how to do that and do it well.
As a community leader in the non-profit sector for over 20 years, I know what it takes to work together. I know the hard work and the tenacity needed to work toward common goals. As the labour critic for the NDP, I look forward to working with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and my fellow critic in the official opposition, on these important issues to ensure that no one is left behind.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2015-12-07 18:04 [p.80]
Mr. Speaker, I offer my congratulations to the member.
Currently, there is no federal minimum wage. That is the first issue that needs to be challenged.
The second issue is to implement a federal minimum wage that allows those people in those jobs to afford the basics in life. In Saskatoon the actual living wage is $16.47 an hour. Many people who are living on minimum wage have more than one job. Although a minimum wage of $15 an hour would be a place to start, as is the case in Alberta, we need to first implement a federal minimum wage.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2015-12-07 18:06 [p.80]
Mr. Speaker, what I heard over and over on the campaign trail in Saskatoon West was that life was not affordable. No matter where I was in the riding, the three things I heard with respect to a younger family related to child care, transportation, and housing, and with respect to seniors it was medication, housing, and—unfortunately, I have forgotten the third one.
My point is that those two groups need investment in order to lift them out of poverty. Many people have a long way to go to get out of poverty in Saskatoon West. We need to lower the retirement age back to 65 and to increase the guaranteed income supplement. Those are important measures to help lift many people out of poverty.
Also, the issue that was often discussed with people on doorsteps was with respect to corporations paying more of their fair share, because if they paid a little more we could end child poverty.
View Sheri Benson Profile
View Sheri Benson Profile
2015-12-07 18:08 [p.80]
Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. member that I do believe there are many places where we can come together. Certainly, I know that is possible in my community.
One particular area in which I would like to see the Liberal government finally follow through is a promise that was first laid out to my community 30 years ago: universal, accessible, affordable child care. It is not enough to just put extra money into families who are already unable to afford food and rent. We have some of the highest child care rates in the country, so the ability is just not there for many people in Saskatoon West to then pay for child care so that they can access work and training. Even if they were able to afford child care, it is just not there. It is such a barrier to young people either getting back to school or getting a job. It is critical to moving forward, making life affordable, and improving the quality of life for people. That is one place I would like to see us working better together in the future.
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