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Results: 1 - 15 of 221
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:32 [p.2089]
Mr. Speaker, my first question was about guaranteed liveable income or a universal basic income, so I thank the member for responding to that. I am happy to see support in the House, and perhaps we could have further discussions about what that could look like in Canada moving forward.
I have a question about equality across regions and provinces in accessing materials and supplies for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. There are concerns in New Brunswick that we do not have the public purse to acquire supplies directly at some of the high costs for things we are going to need moving forward.
Can the member comment on reassurances for some of the smaller provinces that are dealing with this issue as well?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:34 [p.2089]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to speak here today on this important issue.
We certainly are in unprecedented times. It is remarkable for me to be here today representing my own riding while also carrying the weight of those living in the ridings of my Green Party colleagues, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands and Nanaimo—Ladysmith. I have also been asked to share these comments on behalf of the independent member for Vancouver Granville.
I would first like to acknowledge that we are on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people. It is essential that we remember the historical and ongoing implications of those words and the responsibilities we bear toward indigenous communities across the nation, especially as we face this unprecedented crisis.
I know I am not alone in having made this bizarre trek to Ottawa to be present here for these proceedings. I made the 10-hour trip by car with my husband and two boys.
We stopped only to get gas and take a break. We followed all the recommended hygiene measures.
Of course, we did our best to entertain a toddler and a seven-year-old for 10 hours in the car. I think of the many families and households across the nation who are answering difficult questions from their children and trying to keep them entertained. I feel that too. I want to let the children of Canada know we love them and we are here for them too. We know this is a difficult time.
I would like to take this opportunity to also humbly thank many, many people: the front-line workers staffing our hospitals, stocking our grocery stores and keeping our communities safe; the businesses and educational institutions that are answering the call and mobilizing in a warlike effort to provide and manufacture and supplies that we need; Dr. Tam and her team for coordinating our public health response, as well as Dr. Bonnie Henry of B.C. for her incredible work; the tireless efforts of our cabinet ministers and their staff to coordinate a response to COVID-19 across government departments; and my colleagues here in this House and those practising social distancing at home for proving that in the face of a national crisis, we can and will work together for the people of this country.
We gather in these extraordinary times to pass extraordinary legislation. It will allow the federal government to reach out and help Canadians directly with their personal finances. It will allow help to reach the self-employed, small and medium-sized businesses and large corporations. I am very relieved that a compromise was found that allows us to pass this legislation today, albeit a bit later than we had hoped.
It is a fundamental principle of Westminster parliamentary democracy that Parliament controls the public purse. We cannot, even in a public health emergency, convey unprecedented powers without any oversight and without any criteria limiting those powers to any government, no matter how well-intentioned.
This is a defining moment for our country. I am prouder than ever before to be Canadian and to see the expedited response to this crisis. I am also so proud to be from New Brunswick. I commend Premier Higgs and chief medical officer Jennifer Russell for declaring a state of emergency. To the decision-makers of the neighbouring Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland, I commend them all for making the difficult decision to close provincial borders to further protect citizens. I thank them for their leadership.
We have now seen more than a week of social distancing, of closures and restrictions. It is now the time for all Canadians to comply and do our part to get us through this together. Effective suppression would mean fewer cases of coronavirus, a fighting chance for our health care system and the humans who run it, a reduction in the number of total fatalities and a reduction in collateral damage. As well, it would give us the time for infected, isolated and quarantined health care workers to get better and return to work.
Canada has been quick to respond so far. Inevitably there are lessons to be learned to ensure that we are better prepared for this type of disaster in the future.
I am here to work collaboratively with my colleagues in government, but I must also point out the ways we need to improve so that we can get this right for Canadians.
I am sure we are all in the same boat when it comes to the level of correspondence with our constituents over the past few weeks. We have been hearing a lot of concern. One thing the situation has made clear is the inequalities within our society. COVID-19 has amplified the challenges people are already facing.
I am thinking of the Canadians who are living in poverty, especially those who are homeless.
Working Canadians have been laid off or are facing reduced work hours, particularly at a time when they feel financially insecure. Older Canadians living on a fixed income are worried about their pensions and investments. Indigenous peoples are facing heightened challenges in their communities.
It is not easy for Canadians living in rural areas to access health care services.
Permanent residents and other newcomers worrying about family abroad are trying to get home amidst travel cancellations. Our charities and not-for-profit organizations are losing their donor base right now and really need our support. We must also stay vigilant against those who want to profit from this crisis, and they are out there.
We are facing this giant together, but from very different vantage points. Almost a million people have applied for employment insurance. Our Green Party has been proposing a guaranteed livable income for Canadians for years, and if we had a GLI in place now, we would easily be able to ramp up payments to people facing layoffs and reduced hours without clogging the phone lines of Service Canada and scaring people who are afraid in their unique situations, leaving them without support. The government measures announced are now taking time to roll out because we lack the infrastructure to quickly disseminate direct payments to Canadians. We need to have a closer look at this issue.
It is also clear to me that if we had already made much-needed improvements to our health care system in areas that have been advocated by professionals, such as improved infrastructure, preventive health care and pharmacare, we would be much better situated to address the needs of Canadians in this COVID-19 crisis.
Best estimates of what lies ahead vary widely. We can all agree that the more we are able to maintain social distancing among those who are asymptomatic and maintain isolation for those who have symptoms, the greater our chances are of getting through COVID-19 without overwhelming the system. The extent to which individual Canadians and businesses can follow the advice provided depends on the extent of their financial ability to do so. People have to be in a financially secure position in order to take the public health advice.
When we talk about the economic impacts, it seems we have left some things out.
We have discussed a few of them here today. Renters, both residential and commercial, need measures to protect them from landlords who are not passing along the goodwill of the banks or who do not have the goodwill of their bank. New Brunswick and a few other provinces have made it illegal to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent. These measures are good, but they need to be standardized across the country.
We must do more for the small and medium-sized businesses that keep our economy moving.
As Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says of the wage subsidies, “It's the right measure, but it's the wrong amount.”
Our assistance measures for businesses are being dwarfed by steps taken or being contemplated elsewhere. For example, in Denmark the government is offering up to 75% of wages, with the maximum payout per employee 10 times higher than the current offering in Canada. As well, there seems to be nothing for unincorporated businesses that have employees. This is a big concern.
New Brunswick is allowing small businesses to defer WorkSafe New Brunswick premiums for three months. The federal government could do the same for EI, CPP and HST.
These are trying times, but we do see examples of hope all across the country. I have seen jingle-dress dancers standing out in their yards dancing for all of our collective healing. I know that we have seen churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship adapting to a new reality and being steadfast in their support of spirituality and faith, which we need now more than ever.
These are emotional times for citizens as well, and we also must consider their mental health. We should get outside if we can, but we must maintain our social distancing. We can go for the online museum tours. Online zoo tours are happening. I have seen people making badminton nets out of tape. We can play Hide the Potato.
I have also seen people making Portugese-style or Quebec-style tortillas.
We are finding really creative examples to deal with this crisis. Let us keep it up. I urge us all to call neighbours, check in, do FaceTime with grandparents. We all have a responsibility here. Let us stay connected. Isolation can be a really difficult thing for each of us to face.
Many of us are setting an example by operating from home as well, and we can continue to play a leadership role here by exploring digital options for the work we do here in the House. Let us continue to have that conversation.
Today means passing this motion to ensure Canadians have the financial resources they need to make ends meet while we rigorously follow the advice of public health experts. We will get through this if we stick together, even if that means standing apart.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:44 [p.2091]
Mr. Speaker, I come from rural New Brunswick, where we have faced issues with high-speed Internet access for quite some time. I know that people are trying to work from home or trying to do Zoom conferencing and find ways to communicate in this new reality that we are facing, and it is creating difficulties. We have not been able to communicate through phone calls with our staff members or other colleagues in Parliament. We need to look at what these services can provide to our rural communities as well as all of Canada with this new reality that we face.
The bandwidth just cannot handle what we are currently seeing. There is a surge of people binge-watching Netflix or whatever for entertainment purposes, and then there is certainly our work at home that we will need to be doing for who knows how long. We also need to ensure that everyone has access to those crucial connections to the people they love. I hope that we will continue to have these conversations in the House.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:46 [p.2091]
Mr. Speaker, as a mom of a seven-year-old, I have seen that the seven-year-old understands more than the two-year-old about what is happening. He chats with his friends on his headset when he is playing video games to entertain himself during this time, and I have heard him ask his friends if they are worried about the coronavirus and if they are scared. I wait to hear what the response is and how he might handle that question, and I hear him reassuring his friends and saying that it is okay, that we are going to get through this and that there are people trying to help.
That would be my message. It is that even the kids know how hard everyone is working toward this common goal of fighting COVID-19 as a nation. That is what it is going to take to really get us over that peak: staying together, understanding how important it is to heed the warnings of public health and ensuring that we do stay connected.
My other message would be to change the narrative a bit about the social distancing. Let us focus on the physical distancing with social connection, because that is so crucial right now. We really need to protect that.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-25 5:48 [p.2092]
Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question.
I have been asked by the media and some of my constituents about some of the comments that are floating around about perhaps bailing out the oil and gas industry or other corporations that are involved in different sectors.
My response is that we should first look after the individual Canadians, the workers. They certainly do need jobs to go back to. We just need to be really careful about the future that we are planning.
My hon. colleague from the Bloc mentioned that an economic crisis sets the stage for what is to come, so this is the time for us to make really bold changes to what we want to see in our future here in Canada. I think those bold changes include looking at expanding other sectors.
Of course, I am very supportive of things like renewable energy and other ways that we can maximize our energy output and still have Canadians feel that we have a great role to play on the global stage, but I feel we need to be careful about where we place our investments, understand how the markets are fluctuating and understand what that looks like moving forward in response to COVID-19.
We need to be cautious, but we need to focus first and foremost on the workers and the individual Canadians who need money in their pockets now.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-13 10:14 [p.2062]
Madam Speaker, I am seeking the unanimous consent of the House to speak.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-13 10:14 [p.2063]
Madam Speaker, I will not take long, but as this is a unanimous consent motion, I want to put on the record that the Green Party caucus consents. These are not normal times.
We are thinking of our friends in the House who are now at risk from the virus. We are thinking of our country. We are thinking of Ms. Grégoire Trudeau and we wish her a speedy recovery. This epidemic affects everyone, all of our loved ones, friends and constituents.
We cannot tell moment to moment what lies ahead with the spread of COVID-19. I want to express thanks to the Canadian public health authorities at every level and in my own province, particularly B.C. public health officer Bonnie Henry, who has been handling what was quite clearly spreading, and the British Columbia minister of health Adrian Dix and others who have taken strong precautionary action.
I have confidence in our health authorities. I have confidence in Canadians. We gather in groups, and goodness knows, as members of Parliament, we gather in groups and travel on airplanes. It is incumbent upon us to accept that we have to stop our work in this place. Hopefully it is only for five weeks, so we again can take on the business of the nation. I think it is fair to say that as much as we travel on airplanes, we do not want to find, when history looks at what happened with COVID-19 in Canada, that members of Parliament were vectors of disease. We need to take on board our responsibilities.
Therefore, I join with all colleagues in thanking our health authorities for their diligence and the Minister of Health. We are blessed to live in a country with responsible government that does not try to make up the science as it goes along.
The Green Party consents to the adjournment and looks forward to seeing everyone again in this place, and in good health.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 10:27 [p.1979]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for the privilege of speaking today. I would like to thank the minister for her words and powerful statement and my colleagues for their words.
Ladies, life-givers, we make miracles and we are miracles. Today we celebrate sisterhood, the matriarchs, the clan mothers. We all have our own journeys. For me, I felt the most connected to my womanhood when I became a mother. I am a mom of two little boys, who see their mom working hard for Canada and giving a lot of time and attention to our citizens.
From the moment I announced my candidacy to taking my seat here in the House of Commons, the number one question I was asked is how I do it. What is it like balancing the demands of parliamentary life with the responsibilities of motherhood? The answer, as one might expect, is that it is difficult.
I know that seeing strong women in important positions makes them stronger, more balanced individuals with respect for all people of all genders. Even in saying this, I know it will not be that easy for us to set an example every day to be consistent and innovative in our approach to supporting women and creating opportunities for them all over the world.
While we celebrate women who are in decision-making positions and we acknowledge that a lot of progress has been made in reducing the wage gap, the fact remains that there is still a lot of work to be done.
Despite women's increased participation in the workforce, they continue to spend much of their time doing unpaid labour. On average, women continue to be the predominant providers of care to children and to family members with mental or physical limitations related to age or chronic health conditions. This mostly invisible unpaid labour means that working Canadian women spend an additional 3.9 hours per day performing household chores and caring for children, among other things.
While women are fighting against inequality in the workplace, they are also dealing with social expectations surrounding gender.
On top of it all, feeling like imperfect mothers and imperfect workers, women blame themselves for not being able to manage it all. Mom guilt is real. However, we sitting in the House know that good public policy and structural supports play an important role in shaping the experience of working mothers. We in the House need to pay particular attention to how achieving this balance becomes all the more difficult for low-income women, trans women, women struggling with mental illness, women with disabilities and women of colour.
When we invest in social services like long-term care, health care, pharmacare, mental health care, universal affordable child care and in protecting reproductive rights, we also invest in women. We normalize women's issues and interests, we level the playing field and we bring women closer to gender parity. I see the women of Canada, and they are spectacular.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 12:40 [p.1999]
I heard him say split time. I am sure about that.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 13:15 [p.2004]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to hear the parliamentary secretary's speech, but I would be more pleased if it were clear that Liberal members will be voting in favour of the opposition motion in the business of supply today. It is very clear that the majority of members of Parliament have been sent to this place by constituents who want a national pharmacare plan. Constituents want it to conform to the report by Dr. Hoskins, which was commissioned in the last Parliament. They do not want to risk delay. We want to get it passed while this minority Parliament is in session.
Could the hon. parliamentary secretary inform the House whether the Liberals will support this motion so we get a pharmacare plan in place as quickly as possible?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-03-12 15:08 [p.2024]
Mr. Speaker, experts testified last month at the Veterans Affairs committee that treatments for family members of a former soldier were cut off or not approved and that there is a backlog of 18,330 cases.
The average wait time for applications is 32 weeks.
They also testified that there is a longer than average turnaround time for women and francophones.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs was tasked to ensure that the government lives up to its sacred obligation to our veterans and their families. I want to know when and how the government will start acting concretely on that commitment.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 15:34 [p.2027]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague and neighbour for her excellent speech.
I completely agree that we need a national pharmacare plan right now. I want to ask another question that is in line with the one asked by my friend from Vancouver Kingsway.
Does the member know if the Liberal caucus plans to vote in favour of the motion, or is it just her intention as a member to vote in favour of the motion?
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 16:47 [p.2039]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have an opportunity to discuss pharmacare today. To me it is clear the majority of members in this place are on side to see this motion pass. I certainly hope that is the case. It is the tone of the debate.
I want to ask my colleague this. As we go forward, we know that a national pharmacare plan and the bulk buying of drugs will bring down the price of these drugs for every Canadian. I wonder if we can also think about assuring that the drugs we register will do more good than harm.
I think the motion suggests it. I am very taken by the work of the UBC therapeutics initiative. It assesses the drug data package to make sure that we are resistant to big pharma deciding we need drugs that might have significant and dangerous side effects, to make sure we register the drugs and make them accessible to all Canadians, and to make sure they are the drugs that we need and will do more good than harm.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-03-12 17:12 [p.2043]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. With all due deference to my friend, I am sure at some point he will discuss pharmacare, but his discussion seems a little off topic so far.
View Paul Manly Profile
GP (BC)
View Paul Manly Profile
2020-03-12 17:33 [p.2046]
Madam Speaker, the Green Party supports this motion. It is a very good time to be moving toward universal pharmacare in our country. We know this will save our health care system money. We are the only country with a universal health care system that does not include universal pharmacare.
People who have chronic diseases and cannot afford their medicine end up with catastrophic medical issues. They end up in the hospital, which costs much more than if they had been able to get medicine provided to them through a universal single-payer pharmacare system.
We know that half the visits to emergency departments by seniors are related to them not taking the medication they need. Per capita, my riding has the largest population of people over the age of 75. Hospital officials will tell us that people need their medicines.
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