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Results: 1 - 15 of 316
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 12:26 [p.2748]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister and my colleagues for their important words today. It is critical that we show solidarity and compassion in these dark times.
We have a thriving Lebanese community in Fredericton with roots that run deep. As I have been learning over the past few days, these roots indeed run across the country.
I would like to highlight our wonderful Atlantic Honorary Consulate to Lebanon, Consul Fares, who cares deeply about the connection to the homeland and Lebanese Canadians. My heart goes out to Consul Fares for his work in the months to come and to all of Lebanon as it confronts this unimaginable reality. We are with them as Canadians and as citizens of the globe. We send our deepest condolences. I call for justice for the families of victims, and for a peaceful and swift national recovery with adequate support from Canada.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 14:04 [p.2765]
Mr. Chair, my first question to the Minister of Health is very simple.
Is it the responsibility of the minister's department to uphold the Canada Health Act in all jurisdictions in Canada?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 14:04 [p.2765]
Mr. Chair, will the government intervene then to save Clinic 554 and, by this, ensure access to reproductive health and essential services to the LGBTQ2S+ community in New Brunswick?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 14:05 [p.2765]
Mr. Chair, the Minister of Public Safety said that he heard calls from families, survivors and advocates when he made the important announcement that the federal government was launching a full public inquiry into the Nova Scotia mass shooting. Families will get answers, communities will be able to heal and recommendations will be made, ensuring that such a tragedy will never happen again.
Can the minister also hear the voices of the families of Rodney Levi, Chantel Moore and Brady Francis? Can he hear the calls from the New Brunswick and British Columbia chiefs, the indigenous leaders and advocates, and launch a comprehensive, open and fully transparent inquiry into how the legal and law-enforcement systems have failed indigenous people in New Brunswick?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 14:06 [p.2765]
Mr. Chair, the pandemic has shaken to the core the very way that we, not too long ago, thought how to do business: walking into a store, trying and touching various items and shaking hands once a transaction is finalized. Businesses had to adapt to new ways of doing things, and fast.
The Fredericton economic development agencies group, in its effort to respond and advocate on behalf of all businesses, highlighted the need for businesses to obtain support and information on transitioning to or expanding e-commerce options. Does the government have a plan to support businesses to make this transition?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 14:07 [p.2765]
Mr. Chair, the last time the Official Languages Act went through a complete overhaul was 1988. I am practically the same age as this legislation. Linguistic minority communities across the country, organizational representatives and specialists have worked hard to contribute to the study, and the report and its recommendations were submitted to the government over a year ago now. I know the minister cares deeply about the vitality of official languages, but the longer the government drags its feet, the more hope fades with each passing day that anything will come of this file.
Can the minister confirm that the legislation will indeed be modernized during her present term of office?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 14:09 [p.2765]
Mr. Chair, I read the report following the review of systemic racism and oppression at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It is telling of the problems present in our society and how pervasive systemic racism and homophobia are when an institution that was created to promote respect for others and encourage reflection and dialogue fails its own mission. The report provides avenues for reparation. Every action toward inclusivity has the potential to lead to significant improvements in the lives of Canadians. There are some recommendations specifically with respect to the language used in communications.
My question is for the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth. Would the government be ready to adopt a gender-inclusive language, remove gender binaries and adopt an epicene style of writing in all of its internal and external communications, in English and in French?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 16:35 [p.2788]
Mr. Speaker, as a first-time MP, this has been quite the introduction into federal politics. I have received a quick schooling on what is truly important to the people in my riding, how things work in this government environment and the ways that I can contribute.
After the initial post-election excitement, the reality of setting up an office in Ottawa and the constituency set in. We got to work putting together a team to serve the people of Fredericton and represent Canadians.
We spent the five months following the election in a typical rhythm of Parliament before the pandemic took hold in our nation. We have now spent just as much time involved in the emergency public health, social and economic relief efforts associated with COVID-19.
As many members know, I am a teacher by trade. Teaching is not the traditional path to politics, but there is nothing traditional about this Parliament for me. I spent a decade teaching youth to have a critical lens, to stand up for what they believe in and to not accept injustice. I applied those lessons to my work here as an MP, and I am honoured to be able to share them with my colleagues in this venue.
Despite the change in career, I have kept my priorities and passions. I came here to create a better world for children and youth, and to create better communities for them to grow up in. In today's take-note debate, I want to talk about families, students, some of the realities of this pandemic experience and the ways we can keep moving forward to get through this together.
My family means everything to me, and they have been along for this intense journey. For us, the pandemic has meant months in intermittent isolation and a family bubble, days in the car to get here and back to New Brunswick, and only about eight hours, since March, that I have been without my two children, except for the hours I have spent sitting in this House. This is perhaps why I have one of the best attendance records.
If my colleagues did not catch the humour in that, they can rest assured that I love my children and they love me, but we are looking forward to our routines returning to normal. The point is, as a working mom, having no school or day care these past months has been like maternity leave without the leave. Full-time work while providing child supervision and care is simply not possible, especially with the added responsibilities of home schooling.
I have heard from many parents of the struggles and concerns of parenting in a pandemic. Parents in Canada need a break, especially parents of children with disabilities, autism or behavioural challenges who need educational assistance, resource teachers and guidance counsellors.
Children also need a break from their parents, especially the children who are perhaps experiencing neglect or abuse. Those children have been on my mind these past few months. Children need to hear from other adults, coaches and role models. Let us take this time to sincerely appreciate our early childhood education and public school systems and the people we rely on to make them work.
As a government, we must ensure that all parents, children, teachers and staff feel safe as they return to the classroom.
Families are stressed and apprehensive with a variety of tough choices ahead. I know there are innovative solutions and ideas out there, and I trust the government to assist provinces as they reopen schools with clear and cautious health advice.
I think also about the families separated by our border closure. Foreign national long-term partners and adult children remain unable to enter Canada to see their loved ones. These families have spent five months separated already. While enforcing two-week quarantines, we could lighten travel restrictions for students and immediate family, enabling them to return to their Canadian families and communities. These changes, coupled with the reminder that Canada is home to people from all over the world, would go a long way to combat the isolationism that has been known to breed contempt, which may already be being directed at the international students trickling into our country.
Fredericton is home to two university campuses and several colleges.
The international students who arrive in Fredericton each year are a critical component of our local communities. Having so few of them returning to us in person this year is a major loss. The universities in my home province have been announcing pandemic protocols for the coming semester. There are a lot of pressures on these institutions, but I cannot help but think of the impact on students.
On top of the anxieties the last five months have brought for all of us, they are facing the choice of continuing to take on personal student debt at a time when it is not clear what sort of economy they will graduate into. We will need the government, and likely the next government to come, to stand beside these students as they work to pay off the student debt incurred at this juncture in their lives.
Speaking of student debt, we are coming up on the end of the government's initiative to pause student loan repayment obligations for recent graduates. This will mean hundreds of dollars a month that these debt holders will need to begin paying again. This program should be extended for at least another six months, and we should start talking meaningfully about student debt forgiveness.
We need to support families, especially children, adolescents and young adults, during these uncertain times.
The public health emergency over the last months has been coupled with civil unrest and action. We have seen deaths in our streets, ongoing oppression and injustice. I think of the world that my children are inheriting, all children, the world that youth and students are inheriting across Canada. I look around, I watch the news and I read the comments on social media, which maybe I should not, because they lead me to shake my head. Our kids will have questions of all of this, and we had better have decent answers for them.
We must seize this opportunity and wield the responsibility we have as parliamentarians to address the prejudices that blind us: rampant systemic racism; hiding the many microaggressions and overt acts of racism present in our everyday lives; toxic masculinity that seeds silent acceptance of a rape culture, violence against women and girls and members of the LGBTQ2IA+ community; privilege that shrinks our world view, making invisible those living in poverty with insecure housing, with disabilities, fighting addictions and surviving trauma. We need to start seeing one another again and finding compassion for our neighbours.
Since being elected as a member of Parliament, I have been actively involved in calls for equality and systemic change. Recently, and in light of international and local tragedies, I have supported a call for a national Senate inquiry into wellness checks as a police response to mental health issues in Canada; I attended a healing walk for Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi; I made a public pledge to call out racism when I see it online or otherwise; I signed a petition calling for a review of systemic racism in police forces; I submitted a letter to you, Mr. Speaker, to address systemic racism in this institution; I have questioned the Minister of Health about actions on her mandate to address racism in the health care system; and I asked the Public Safety minister to declare his outrage and commit to protecting all black, indigenous and people of colour from racial injustice.
These are the promises I made to my youth, the ones that I worked with, my students. I taught them to be activists. If we see something is wrong, we do something about it. If someone's voice cannot be heard, we find ways to amplify it.
As I prepare to send my kids back to school, I have been reflecting on the immense responsibility our teachers will shoulder in this school year. They will balance public health protocols with school curricula and changing class composition. They too will face the questions of curious young minds about the world we live in. Their answers will be instrumental in shaping the minds of a coming generation of leaders.
Teachers need our support, our patience and our encouragement.
Just as our health care professionals have stepped up to respond to this pandemic, our teachers are being called to step up now to do the important work of helping to raise children, to educate them and to help them build resilience in the face of uncertainty. I thank them for their service, and I stand with Canadian families.
To the young thinkers and learners across this country, I am listening. Your leadership is essential as we face down our challenges, and we will get through this together. Please reach out at any time.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 16:45 [p.2790]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague so much for that very important question.
Absolutely, I have been hearing from my constituents on this same issue of parental and maternity benefits as a result of COVID.
There is a group that has gathered. There are parents across this country who are grappling with this question. When we had our daily or almost daily briefing calls with various government departments, I consistently asked that question day in and day out, and I was given that same response: “We're working on it. We're looking for the solution.”
For me, this delay is quite disappointing. These people have been waiting. Some have already had their children and need to receive this benefit, so I was pleased this morning to hear the minister talk about retroactive pay, but that does not get people what they need in the interim. I am very concerned with how long this has taken, but I am also encouraged that finally we might see some action on this.
Here we are five months into the pandemic, and these parents have been waiting. Let us get money into the hands of parents now. Certainly, the retroactive payment is good to hear, but it is an issue that went on for far too long.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 16:48 [p.2790]
Mr. Speaker, certainly as a Green Party member, the environment is top of mind. It is the lens I use with all policy and questions, including social justice. It is all connected. For me it is a critical component of our recovery plan moving forward. However, the youth are already fired up. They are already active and engaged. This is something that fuels me and gives me the energy I need to do my work in the House.
My advice for him is to keep this up, not to lose optimism and hope. The solutions are out there. We are the leaders of today, not the leaders of tomorrow. Those voices are so critical to the work we do to inspire us and guide us.
As parliamentarians, it is our responsibility to be role models and to bring truth to the House, to not be divisive, to not get too bogged down in the weeds of what perhaps our personal ideologies may be, but be here to do the work we were sent here to do by our electorate.
I am going to talk about environmental issues, and it is not just because I am a Green. It is because I am a Canadian. It is because I am a mother and a teacher and those things are so important to me.
On the east coast, we have seen some different weather patterns. We have seen some changes. We have seen some of the hottest days on the record in our communities. People are very aware of these impacts. It is just a matter of empowering them to continue to do that work, to continue to be active and to continue to demonstrate or to do whatever they may feel is important. Social media is a great venue for that as well.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 16:51 [p.2791]
Mr. Speaker, as a former teacher, I feel that this is an incredibly important time. It is something we have never seen before, and I think initially teachers were looking for ways to engage. They wanted to be able to help more, but because of the restrictions and all of the measures to keep us safe they were not necessarily able to do that.
With the time that has passed, I think our teachers are really ready to get back into the classroom. We enjoy our summer breaks as best we can, but we always have that feeling in September when we cannot wait to get back to our students who mean so much to us. Teachers have been ready for months and months now, so I really feel they are going to take the bull by the horns on this. They will really take the initiative and do what needs to be done to keep our children safe, keep themselves safe, keep staff safe and also keep everyone's level of well-being in check.
What is really important to me about kids returning to school right now, outside of curriculum and the necessary things to move them through their grades, is that well-being: that social aspect of being with other people besides their family bubbles they have been stuck in for the last five months.
I believe teachers are well suited to do this and, as I have said, they have just been waiting to get involved and have their turn to serve citizens in this pandemic. I am so excited to see what they will do with this. When thrown a curveball, our education systems respond very well. I am so proud of the education system in New Brunswick in particular.
I note that we fared quite well in New Brunswick during the pandemic, and we do not face as much uncertainty as some of the other jurisdictions in Canada. I wish them well. I hope we go slow. I hope we are as cautious and as safe as we need to be, but I am so thankful for kids to go back to school. I hope I can support teachers within my riding to do that as safely and enjoyably as possible.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-08-12 16:53 [p.2791]
Mr. Speaker, I did not know my colleague had a teacher training background, but I should have guessed because we align on many things.
It is going to be different across jurisdictions, as I mentioned. I am a big fan of national standards. No matter where someone is in Canada, one should be able to receive the best practices we are seeing in other provinces or territories.
I have faith in our provincial systems and feel our job is to protect and support them, so I hope they are able to monitor and ensure they are reaching the same standards as other jurisdictions. We do not necessarily have those standards yet, so I would certainly be supportive of seeing those happen here in Canada.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-07-22 14:18 [p.2724]
Mr. Speaker, the member highlighted a lot of really critical pieces of how people have been dealing with COVID-19. You mentioned support for shelters, individuals, racialized minorities, mental health issues and you also mentioned federal-provincial-territorial collaboration. On that note, there was one thing I noticed that might have been missing from that discussion. I wonder if you could speak about whether or not you believe that safe, affordable housing is a right and whether you support a rent freeze as families and individuals navigate COVID-19.
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-07-22 15:23 [p.2733]
Madam Chair, I very much enjoyed the speech from the member for Edmonton Strathcona. I always do, so I appreciate her work and her efforts. The member has been discussing a very important aspect, which is universal basic income, and how that could have come to the rescue of so many more Canadians.
Why does the member think the Liberal government is resistant to that idea?
View Jenica Atwin Profile
GP (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2020-07-22 15:47 [p.2737]
Madam Chair, our chamber of commerce in Fredericton held a webinar with the Minister of Economic Development. She mentioned the process of dealing with COVID-19 as stopping the bleeding, sewing up the wound and then healing. I feel like we have done a pretty good job of stopping the bleeding. We have incredible programs in place now. We have made some tweaks and improvements, which is what I would call sewing up those wounds.
What does the member believe would be the best way to support this next stage of healing for which Canadians are looking?
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