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Results: 1 - 15 of 19
View Catherine McKenna Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Catherine McKenna Profile
2019-05-16 10:58 [p.27916]
Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. The reason municipalities are having challenges with sewage is that the previous government made no investments in waste water treatment facilities. We have made historic investments. I have seen it here in Ottawa, where we have made investments that are going to make a huge difference in making sure that we do not have untreated sewage. This is a top priority of mine, and we are working very hard as a government to make the investments that cities and municipalities need.
View Mona Fortier Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mona Fortier Profile
2018-09-18 14:09 [p.21486]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about investments in water and waste-water infrastructure that keep our environment and our communities clean and safe.
I want to talk about a project that our government has undertaken that will benefit the people of Ottawa—Vanier for years to come.
Our government supported the Vanier water and sewer renewal project as part of the clean water and waste-water fund. By doing this, our government is reducing the risk of flooding and is protecting the livelihood of nearby residents while supporting a clean economy. These investments are also important to the greater region as they help ensure that harmful substances and materials stay out of our waterways.
This project protects the health and well-being of residents and of local waterways and ecosystems, while creating middle-class jobs and supporting our city's economic development.
Our government understands that the economy and the environment work hand in hand.
View David McGuinty Profile
Lib. (ON)
View David McGuinty Profile
2018-06-05 19:26 [p.20301]
Madam Speaker, it is 2018. So much of the infrastructure we benefit from in this country was built perhaps 50 or maybe even 100 years ago. It is time to invest for the future.
Let us take, for example, light rail investments or transit investments in our major urban areas. The city of Montreal is now 53% of the population of Quebec. Gatineau, right across the river, is the fastest-growing city in Quebec. Metropolitan Toronto is pushing eight million people. We are increasingly becoming an urban country. There are merits to that. There are challenges to that. We are investing very heavily in light rail and transit systems with our provincial and municipal partners.
A second area we are investing very heavily in is water and waste-water systems. We are blessed with so much fresh water, one of the most precious resources we possess in this country, and we have an obligation to protect it. We have to reinvest in our water and waste-water systems to stop waste, because so many water systems are leaking so much water. We have to improve secondary and tertiary water-treatment systems. By the way, as we do that, we develop and implement technologies that can be sold all over the world.
In housing, we are talking about green housing. We are talking about housing that is affordable for our needy, for our veterans, and for our seniors. We are talking about energy efficiency when it comes to housing. We are making progress in infrastructure, not just because it has to be replaced but because it has to be replaced to higher energy efficiency standards and water standards.
It goes back to what I was saying earlier. That is the race. As we do more of that here in Canada, we can sell more technology, more know-how, and more products, and that is exactly how we have tied together these investments in infrastructure with our foreign global market opportunities.
View Harold Albrecht Profile
View Harold Albrecht Profile
2018-03-20 15:20 [p.17745]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague was very optimistic and glowing in his remarks about the budget. I was reading through some of the preamble in the introduction of the budget. It talks about our towns and cities being better, cleaner places to live, yet we know that just recently another 46 million litres of raw sewage was released into the St. Lawrence river from Quebec City. Earlier in the Liberals' mandate, eight billion litres of sewage went into the river. I do not see how we can say those are better, cleaner places to live.
The budget also states that Canadians are optimistic about the future, about owning their own homes. Recently, I have held a number of round tables both in my riding and in Sault Ste. Marie. Mortgage brokers, real estate agents, and homebuyers are not optimistic about being able to own a new home.
How can my colleague feel optimistic when some of the economic data that we see on the ground in our communities is so negative?
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
2018-03-20 15:51 [p.17750]
Madam Speaker, I cannot speak for previous governments and previous budgets, but I can say that we have seen investments in the environment. The government's commitment to the environment and the economy has been clear.
One example in terms of the environment being woven into this budget across sections is going back to the point about infrastructure. Waste-water systems in my community are a very important piece of environmental protection that I am proud our government is supporting.
View Don Rusnak Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Don Rusnak Profile
2017-12-05 18:39 [p.16056]
Mr. Speaker, as my colleague, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, reiterated, our government is proud of our commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are pleased to be here today discussing our support for Bill C-262.
In considering the elements of the proposal, it is imperative that we consider it within the context of where we are now and where we are going. We are in the midst of a number of ongoing processes and initiatives that will assist in the implementation of the UN declaration in Canada. In addition to the establishment of a process to review laws, policies, and operational practices relating to indigenous peoples, and the creation of permanent bilateral mechanisms with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council, a number of other initiatives are furthering our pursuit of a renewed nation-to-nation, Inuit-crown, and government-to-government relationship with indigenous peoples. For instance, the Government of Canada has undertaken a review of Canada's environmental assessment and regulatory processes, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, the Fisheries Act, the Navigation Protection Act, and the National Energy Board Act.
The United Nations declaration was, and continues to be, considered one of the key elements of these review processes. Indigenous peoples were engaged in all four reviews. The government is currently considering the wide range of recommendations from the review reports, including those on how best to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and involve them in decision-making processes.
Since 2015, we have been engaged in recognition of indigenous rights and self-determination discussions with indigenous groups to address their rights, interests, and needs, and enable greater self-determination. At last count, there were more than 50 such discussion tables under way, representing 300 indigenous communities and a population of more than 500,000 people. Additional rights and recognition tables are also being contemplated.
Discussions like these are contributing to the development of new relationships and approaches that are ultimately intended to support the actualization of self-determination and contribute to reconciliation. These discussions are also resulting in the co-development of section 35-related policy reforms. All of this work aligns with the UN declaration. Concrete action reflecting the minimum standards of the UN declaration has also been taken in a variety of policy and program areas, including economic development, housing, education, access to safe drinking water, and governance.
The proposals in Bill C-262, including the development of an action plan aimed at ensuring consistency between Canadian laws and the declaration, are consistent with this work and highlight the importance of providing opportunities for dialogue on what changes can be made to federal laws and policies to advance reconciliation in this country.
However, Bill C-262 will not, on its own, operationalize the United Nations declaration in Canadian law. What is required to do that is to move from dialogue to tackling real issues faced by indigenous communities across Canada. Let me take a moment to describe some of the concrete progress we are making.
For example, the Inuit-crown partnership committee is working together to identify and oversee the implementation of short, medium, and long-term initiatives and solutions for addressing the housing crisis in the Inuit territory. As part of this process, we are currently co-developing an Inuit Nunangat housing strategy. This approach recognizes the direct role of Inuit organizations and governments in addressing housing needs in Inuit communities, the need for long-term sustainable investments, as well as the importance of ongoing collaboration among Inuit, the federal government, and provincial and territorial governments.
First nations communities and the government are also working towards long-term solutions to improve on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure, ensure proper facility operation and maintenance, and strengthen capacity into the future. Since the commitment of $1.8 billion over five years for water and wastewater infrastructure in budget 2016, 348 projects have been completed, or are under way, or are planned to address and prevent long-term drinking water advisories now and into the future.
Together these projects will serve approximately 270,000 people in 275 first nation communities.
We are also working with indigenous people on the development of distinctions-based legislation to promote and revitalize Métis, Inuit, and first nations languages. In October this year, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs introduced Bill C-61, the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement act. This legislation would give effect to an agreement negotiated between Canada and the Anishinabek Nation that recognizes Anishinabek control over education for 23 participating first nation communities.
Each of these specific measures and initiatives play an important role in contributing to achieving the standards described in the UN declaration. However, there is more to do to get us where we are going.
The process of dissolving Indigenous and Northern Affairs to better align with the needs and rights of indigenous people is one such forward-looking measure. This shift to a new department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs coupled with the department of Indigenous Services will better support indigenous peoples in strengthening their own political, cultural, and economic institutions. In turn, this supports indigenous self-determination, reflected throughout the UN declaration. In this context, the approach proposed in Bill C-262 would continue to build on the progress that has already been made, and it deserves serious consideration by the committee.
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
2017-11-07 15:47 [p.15098]
Mr. Speaker, we decided that we were going to put a price on carbon pollution, to put a price on the things that we do not want. We decided to invest in green infrastructure. We wanted to ensure that we have communities, roadways, and bridges. We wanted to ensure that we have infrastructure that we can use now, and infrastructure that is sustainable into the future. Those are the investments we have been making in communities to allow us to meet the climate target.
Our government has made investments, as I mentioned, of over $700,000 in clean water and waste-water treatment in Whitby. It might not seem like a big deal, but we are ensuring that our communities are safe, that our water is safe. We are making investments that are sustainable and forward-looking.
These are the types of investments we have made through this particular piece of legislation.
We must keep in mind that it is not just about one component. It is about investing in skills and innovation. It is about investing in an innovation agenda that allows us continuously, with a dynamic approach, to look at climate change and at ways in which we can reduce our impacts on and footprints in the world.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Francis Drouin Profile
2017-06-02 12:00 [p.11949]
Mr. Speaker, Canadians know the importance of clean water and waste-water treatment to building healthy and sustainable communities. This is fundamental to the well-being of Canadian communities, and after years of underinvestment, these systems need significant investments. Can the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities update this House on the investments that the government is making in clean water and waste-water systems across Canada?
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2017-05-09 16:37 [p.10982]
Madam Speaker, the world is changing. Climate change poses serious environmental challenges. A growing number of Canadians, particularly our youth, fear they will never be able to enter the housing market. Growing concerns over the job market have Canadians anxious. These uncertainties mean new challenges for Canadians, but they also represent a source of opportunity to showcase Canadian creativity and innovation, economically, socially, and environmentally.
This is why I rise today in support of the government's proposed budget 2017, because this budget will prepare Canadians for the future, addressing economic, environmental, and social development for our country.
This budget looks to secure and improve upon the gains made in budget 2016, “Growing the Middle Class”. Canada has an economy that is strong, flexible, and full of potential. Canadians reflect this as entrepreneurs and as innovators who can adapt to changing markets as people concerned for our natural heritage and through our concern for each other.
This budget puts Canada on track to build a strong, innovative, and green economy, and improve our social support networks focusing on mental health and housing.
Budget 2017 provides Canadians and Canadian businesses with the tools necessary to continue the economic growth we are experiencing under our government. After many years of flat economic results, last year our economy grew by 1.4%. This year the OECD is predicting growth of 2.4%.
Accurate labour market data is essential in order to continue our growth trajectory. Budget 2017 commits $225 million over four years, and $75 million per year afterward, to support improved labour market information, skills development programs, and measurement of results in Canada. Knowing where our business is experiencing shortages and filling those gaps is essential as our economy grows and as people are now retiring from the workforce in greater numbers.
Knowing exactly what skills are in demand allows us to target the gaps in our economy. This also means addressing the needs of those struggling to join the middle class.
As it stands, Canadians on EI cannot access training programs. Preventing unemployed Canadians from accessing training programs is simply unacceptable. This is why the government is not only reversing this backward policy, but is investing an additional $900 million in training over six years. We need to prevent Canadians from needing EI in the first place, which is why we must address the serious problem of youth unemployment. Budget 2017 builds on budget 2016 to allow part-time students to apply for Canada student loan grants. This has increased grants by 50%. To further expand employment opportunities for young Canadians, budget 2017 also proposes an additional $395 million over three years for the youth employment strategy.
Investing in Canadians is a crucial step to building the economy of the 21st century, but governments must also strategically invest in industries where we can be a global leader. Clusters are dense areas of business activity that contain large and small companies, post-secondary institutions, and specialized talent and infrastructure. Budget 2017 commits to strategic investments in agricultural innovation, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, biosciences, and digital technology.
These actions will grow the economy and promote the livelihood of middle-class Canadians. Guelph can and will play a major role in these areas. This budget is almost written for Guelphites.
The environment is also a cornerstone of this budget. As this government has repeated many times, the economy and the environment go hand in hand. This is why budget 2017 proposes establishing centres for climate services. These centres will improve access to climate science and regional climate resilience centres. The centres will work with local, provincial, territorial, and indigenous partners. This will make it easier for governments, communities, and decision-makers, businesses and organizations to access data and information on climate science.
Investing in green public transit is also crucial. Budget 2017 commits $17 million to develop and implement heavy-duty vehicle retrofits. This plan also includes a carbon pricing program to incentivize innovation and efficiency. This move will reward creative and innovative businesses and raise much needed revenue for the provinces to spend. These investments will help Canada reach its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and ensure a safer, cleaner world for all Canadians.
This budget addresses systemic social problems which have often been ignored. Since forming government, we have lifted 18 long-term drinking water advisories in first nations in our first year. We are committed to eliminating all boil water advisories, working on solutions with our indigenous communities, researchers, training providers, and businesses. The benefit of our approach is that it is based on long-term planning initiated by first nations leaders, which is why budget 2017 follows through on the promises made in budget 2016 to commit $1.8 billion over five years. Of this, $275 million in targeted funding has already been allocated and 201 projects have already begun.
First nations communities are leading the development of these initiatives, informing the government and partners of what their communities need and want. We will get this done, and we will get it done right. The will is there, the capacity is growing, and people are truly committed to finding long-term solutions based on a new trust.
Addressing the mental health crisis among indigenous groups is also a priority for this government. The effects of depression and suicide, as well as other systemic health issues in indigenous communities, are widespread and unacceptable. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $828 million over the next five years to address the immediate health priorities of first nations and Inuit peoples.
Two areas of social concern addressed in this budget are health care and affordable housing. We are also investing $7 billion over 10 years to create 40,000 child care spaces. Mental health is an increasing concern for all Canadians and budget 2017 proposes to invest $11 billion over 10 years to support better home care and mental health initiatives. Budget 2017 also proposes to create a centre of excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions. The government has committed $17.5 million over four years and $9.2 million every year after. As the health minister has said, there is no health without mental health. Addressing the unique nature of mental health issues is long overdue.
Adequate and affordable housing is a general concern for all Canadians. That is why we are investing $11 billion in the national housing strategy, to develop a stock of affordable rental housing and other housing to improve the quality of life for Canadian residents. The CMHC will make upfront contributions to providers of affordable housing.
Budget 2017 offers genuine and innovative solutions to the challenges that face Canadians. Through strategic investments in the economy, the environment, and social programs, this budget follows through on the ambitious mandate Canadians gave the government in 2015.
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Lloyd Longfield Profile
2017-05-09 16:48 [p.10983]
Madam Speaker, the hon. member from out west has made an astute observation. I flew up to Dryden, Ontario, in January of this year to look at the training centre that is being established there. We know there is no point in spending money on infrastructure if there is nobody there to operate it, and operate it effectively. Part of our budget is focused on skills development and training within the first nations, as well as infrastructure investment. Hand in hand, those two investments will help us get to the clean water that our first nations brothers and sisters deserve.
View Neil Ellis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Neil Ellis Profile
2017-05-04 15:40 [p.10786]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-44, the budget implementation act.
I would first like to thank the hon. member for Fleetwood—Port Kells for sharing his time with me. He was a teenager when Canada celebrated its 100th birthday and I was a day away from my fifth birthday, so I can learn from the member and all that he has done for his great riding.
Bill C-44, the budget implementation act, and its unprecedented investments in infrastructure represent more than $180 billion over 12 years. Infrastructure, quite simply, is the providence of the most basic and necessary foundations of all our lives. There is a direct correlation between the condition of our travel and trade corridors, our roads, trade corridors, energy transmission, utility or public transit services, and our ability to thrive, excel, and innovate.
Budget 2016 sets the focus for the first phase of our government's plan to recapitalize and modernize our existing infrastructure assets. By keeping our foundational systems in the best possible repair, we are making it easier for Canadians to navigate their larger life ambitions, whether that is to protect and study our country's diverse environments, to develop our key resources, to build, manage, or expand on existing services, or to connect with friends and family in this immense and beautiful country we live in.
That is why I am so proud that budget 2017 ensures that our infrastructure, as a national foundation for the diverse and vibrant lives that Canadians lead, is strong. Budget 2016 initiated upgrades to long-neglected critical infrastructure. It also enabled us to sign bilateral agreements with all provinces and territories, as well as partner with indigenous and municipal stakeholders to plan and deliver infrastructure projects. Phase one of Canada's new infrastructure plan included $11.9 billion over five years that started in 2016.
Since November 2015, we have approved over 2,000 projects for a combined investment of over $21 billion. As part of the fall economic update, we are investing $81 billion over the next 11 years, starting in 2017-18. We have also proposed the creation of the Canada infrastructure bank, an arm's-length crown corporation, which would allow us to attract and mobilize private capital funding from world-leading institutional investors.
Funds held by the bank would be released to our provincial, territorial, and municipal partners after successful and innovative financial negotiations in order to supplement our wider public investment toward infrastructure projects. In doing so, our government is encouraging an innovative process of delivering key investments for our most vital sectors, including $3.4 billion for public transit, $5 billion for investments in water, waste-water, and green infrastructure that supports a clean growth economy, and $3.4 billion for social infrastructure that promotes affordable housing
As for public transit, we all know that when it is easier to reach our destinations, it increases our productivity in our workplaces and also the enjoyment of our leisure time. This is why budget 2017 has enabled us to approve 744 public transit projects for federal funding.
I am thrilled that my local riding, the Bay of Quinte, has received over $1.4 million for transit in the city of Belleville, $169,000 for Quinte West, and $22,000 for Prince Edward County, respectively. I was proud to read in today's paper that transit in the city of Belleville is up about 10% this year already. It proves that these investments build our economy and create better lives for the people who live there.
This federal funding will enable upgrades and expansion of existing transit services across the Bay of Quinte region. These investments will generate feasibility studies on existing transit usage, modernization of vehicle storage facilities, creation of additional bus shelters, and expansion of coverage as well as the transit services offered. Across Canada, 132 transit systems will receive similar funding to help build and connect public transit across our communities. By offering more reliable, accessible, and connected public transit options, we are allowing our communities to lessen their ecological footprint, but simultaneously take larger steps toward improving the ways we live, move, and work.
I will now turn to the clean water and waste-water fund. We all know that when we can trust our sources of water or the practices associated with processing all the residential, commercial, and industrial forms of waste that we make, we are able to rest easier knowing that our health and safety are not in question. This is why budget 2017 has set aside funding to expand 219 waste-water systems and to rehabilitate another 328. Few of us like to think of what exactly is hidden, treated, and recycled through these systems, but none of us can ignore the importance of these crucial arteries of infrastructure. Without proper sewer, air venting, and water intake mechanisms in place, we are unable to deal practically or safely with the most basic aspects of human life.
Notable projects include the Bragg Creek flood mitigation in Alberta, and the sanitary servicing to reduce phosphorus to Lake Simcoe-Royal Oak, Bay, Cottage in Barrie, Ontario. This reminds us all that our rural, remote, and urban communities need clean water for their residents, for their agriculture, commercial, and industrial processes, and especially for emergency services like firefighting. These projects and others can encourage efficient water use and assist the key gatekeepers of our rivers, streams, and watersheds and waterways to provide safe water intake and treatment for all Canadians.
Regarding green technologies, all across Canada other projects that generate the use or development of clean and sustainable products or services have also received funding as part of our wider initiative to build safe, inclusive, and sustainable communities. With the support of a low-carbon green economy, projects like upgrades to the Red Rock waste system treatment plant in Red Rock, Ontario, illustrate the success of budget 2017 in supporting the acceleration and adaptability of our communities, whether urban, rural, or remote.
These projects are just a few of the strong examples of our plan to encourage intergovernmental stewardship of existing resources or energies and use of emerging technologies, and draw from multi-faceted expertise of Canadians going forward. We know that in order to generate and share the very best practices, ideas, and innovations in products, culture, or agricultural fare and connect with our fellow Canadians, whether locally or over long distances, we must ensure that our infrastructure is greener, accessible, and technologically equipped to offer the highest levels of service to our citizens, residents, and visitors. We owe this as much to ourselves as we do to our future generations. The stronger our infrastructure is, the stronger our own capacity to shape our future becomes.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2017-04-05 16:39 [p.10211]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to budget 2017. I want to address key parts of the budget that I know will have an important and lasting impact on my riding of Parkdale—High Park in Toronto.
Since October 2015, I have heard loud and clear from my constituents about the issues that matter to them most, and I know that this budget would go a long way toward addressing those issues.
I want to start with housing. I want to discuss our government's historic investment and plan to address affordable housing. One of the most important issues to residents in my riding is access to housing. Since being elected, I have heard about housing when canvassing at the doors of my constituents, in meetings at my office, and during visits to various co-ops in Parkdale—High Park. We have five such entities: Dufferin Grove, Swansea Village, Howard Park, Spencer Avenue, and the John Bruce Village.
In meetings with the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, I have also heard about the important need for housing, and in particular about the critical need to ensure affordable housing stocks in our cities.
Last week, on March 29, I held a standing-room-only town hall in my riding on this very issue. I heard first-hand from residents about the importance of our government resolving the affordable housing issue and about working with local partners, such as the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust, to make that happen.
I have heard these concerned citizens in my community, and I have responded by advocating, together with members of our Toronto caucus and our Ontario caucus, loudly, frequently, and with passion that we must get housing right. Why? It is because housing is foundational. What I mean by that is that if we address Canadians' housing needs, our residents will have better health and better educational and economic outcomes.
I am proud to say that advocacy on behalf of my constituents has produced results. What am I referring to? I am referring to budget 2017 and its historic investment of $11 billion this year alone in housing. On top of the base funding of $4 billion, this brings the total to $15 billion our government has committed over the past two years alone to the much-needed national housing strategy. This will mean access to more affordable housing for residents in Parkdale—High Park.
The $15 billion would include some of the following investments.
There would be $5 billion for the national housing fund to address critical housing issues and to prioritize support for vulnerable citizens. This is important, because the priority would be seniors, indigenous persons, survivors fleeing situations of domestic violence, people with disabilities, people dealing with mental health and addiction issues, and veterans.
There would be $3.2 billion dedicated to a renewal of federal and provincial partnerships on affordable housing. There would be $2.1 billion dedicated to expanding and extending the homelessness partnering strategy, and there would be $202 million dedicated to making federal lands available for affordable housing developments.
The next thing I want to discuss on budget 2017 is its impact on families and child care. I am a husband and a father of two young children. My riding of Parkdale—High Park is home to countless families just like mine. These families have reached out to me to laud our government for taking as one of our very first actions measures to cut taxes on Canada's middle class. They have also welcomed the Canada child benefit, a once-in-a-generation type of change that targets tax-free benefits, on a proportional scale, to those raising kids who need the help the most.
For those raising children in my community, and communities around the country, our 2016 budget provided an initial $500 million for early learning and child care. Building on this, budget 2017 would invest an additional $7 billion to support the creation of high-quality child care spaces across Canada. This would mean up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces in this country. I know what this would mean for my riding of Parkdale—High Park. It would mean more options for parents who are fed up with signing up on literally dozens of child care waiting lists the moment they conceive a child. That is what it has come to in my riding and in ridings around this country.
What the budget means and what this investment would mean is a greater supply of much-needed day care spots so that more parents would be able to return to work and return to work sooner. This unprecedented investment would address the supply of spaces and help drive down costs by boosting the number of subsidized spots.
Budget 2017 would do more for families raising kids. We have also fulfilled our campaign commitment to introduce more flexibility and provide greater choice for parents on parental leave. These proposed changes would allow parents to choose to receive their current benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months, allowing them to spend more time with their kids in their early, tender years.
The third area I want to talk about is women and gender parity. The impact of budget 2017 on women would be profound. It is the first budget in Canada's history to include a gender statement. The statement shows the impact of programs, across government lines, on women. It reflects directly, in a clear and tangible manner, our commitment on this side of the House to ensure that the goal of gender equality permeates every single thing we do as a federal government.
On top of our historic child care investment, women deserve to feel safe, supported, and protected in our communities. I was proud to see $100.9 million allocated in budget 2017 to establishing a national strategy to address gender-based violence.
In the past, I have been involved, in my riding, with a shelter called The Redwood. It is a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. In my involvement with The Redwood, I have seen the amazing work being done in my community, but I have also seen first-hand the critical need for investments and resources to end gender-based violence. Budget 2017 is a start in moving toward that important goal.
Budget 2017 would also dedicate critical funding for women abroad. I am doubly proud that our government has endorsed the Dutch initiative. We would be dedicating $650 million in international aid to educating women and girls and to empowering women to maintain control over their reproductive rights. This aid, particularly at this point in time globally, is critical.
Fourth, I want to address the budget in terms of its impact on indigenous persons. The budget would serve the important objective of reconciliation, a goal of our government and of my constituents in Parkdale—High Park. It would build on the significant investments in budget 2016 of over $8 billion. The budget would continue our important work, making commitments to first nations, Inuit, and Métis that demonstrate a new nation-to-nation relationship.
What would the budget do? Budget 2017 commits to establishing a new fiscal relationship that would lift the 2% cap on annual funding increases. Budget 2017 would provide $225 million to provide access to affordable and culturally appropriate housing for indigenous peoples living off reserve. It would dedicate $300 million to the construction of housing in Canada's north, and $225 million on top of that would be dedicated to housing providers who serve indigenous peoples not living on reserves. We have also dedicated $828 million to improving health for first nation and Inuit people, including $305 million for the non-insured health benefits program.
Over the last year, we have lifted 18 long-term drinking water advisories in first nations communities, and we are on track to eliminate all such advisories by March 2021. We would be investing $4 billion to improve housing, water treatment systems, health care facilities, and community infrastructure, in partnership with first nations and Inuit.
Very importantly, mental health services for first nations and Inuit would get an injection of $204 million to improve mental health services, $118 million for mental health programming, and $86 million for the non-insured health benefits program.
In my remaining time I want to underscore the important initiatives in the budget that would help the most vulnerable. I am most proud of these provisions. I am talking about low-income families.
We would dedicate $13 million to provide affordable Internet access for low-income families.
Regarding refugees, I served as a parliamentary secretary for immigration. I was very proud to do so. I hear constantly from my constituents about having an open, compassionate, and welcoming system, one that is fair and accessible for all. We would improve that access by dedicating $62 million to legal aid for asylum seekers.
The budget would double the funds for the security infrastructure program. It would serve those people who are victims of hatred. In times of rising division and in a climate of hatred and bigotry, our government would commit hard dollars to protect those who want safety when they are worshipping.
The budget would also protect newcomers, in terms of their integration, by dedicating $27 million to foreign credential recognition.
Why am I standing here? It is because the budget addresses housing, indigenous persons, women and families, and vulnerable Canadians. I am proud to represent the residents of Parkdale—High Park in supporting the budget. I urge all members of the House to do the same.
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Matt DeCourcey Profile
2016-12-06 12:09 [p.7701]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question allows me to speak to the ongoing initiatives in New Brunswick supported by the federal government, particularly just down the road in Saint John. My hon. colleague from Saint John—Rothesay will say that the federal government is invested in researching, investigating, and finding solutions to lifting children out of poverty. We know that the Canada child benefit will help lift upwards of 300,000 children out of those vulnerable situations on its own, but there is much more that we can do, and starting from a place like Saint John, we are going to figure out how to do that.
My hon. colleague also asked about infrastructure. I did not have a chance to mention in my speech that this summer in New Brunswick alone, through combined federal and provincial funding, 51 projects for water and wastewater upgrades throughout the province were approved, for a total investment of $176 million to help improve essential services and the quality of life of communities. That is the type of long-term investment this government is focused on and that Canadians across the country, and certainly in Fredericton and New Brunswick, can count on for the foreseeable future.
View Bob Bratina Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bob Bratina Profile
2016-11-25 13:31 [p.7271]
That, in the opinion of the House: (a) the government should address the growing concerns of lead pipes and water quality in private residences across Canada by working with the provincial and territorial governments, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as Indigenous partners, to advocate and establish possible solutions to these issues; (b) the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities should undertake a study on “The Federal Government's role in lead pipe infrastructure in Canada”; and (c) the Committee should report to the House no later than December 1, 2017.
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to speak to the House about my motion requesting the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to undertake a study on the federal government's role in addressing the growing concern of lead pipes and water quality across Canada.
First, I want to recognize my fellow colleagues who supported this motion and have contributed to ongoing discussions regarding lead in drinking water. I have had the pleasure of speaking with members of Parliament across party lines and heard their statements of support and encouragement. It is my hope that these conversations will be taken back to their ridings to spread awareness of the issue and that they speak with their municipalities about solutions.
Lead is often considered a problem of the past. However, the recent state of emergency in Flint, Michigan has brought the issue back into the limelight and reinforced the terrible truth about lead in the human body, that there is no acceptable safe level.
When Flint made the switch from Lake Huron to the Flint River as its direct water source, it did not address the different chemistry of the source water. It turned out to be highly corrosive in releasing the lead contained in old lead pipes into household tap water. As a result, the water began eroding the water mains. That first caused iron to leach into the water, which residents first noticed because of its cloudy orange colouration. Worst of all, half the homes in Flint still contain lead service lines, so lead was also leaching into the drinking water at highly elevated levels.
While Flint is an extreme case, the danger still exists in Canada. In fact, here are some Canadian news headlines from this year alone indicating our own issues with lead pipes and water quality.
On January 27, CTV News reported that tens of thousands of Canadians still get their drinking water from lead pipes. On January 31, the National Post's headline was “Think what’s happening with Flint’s water supply can’t happen in Canada? Think again”. On February 27, the CBC reported residents living in homes in northern B.C. might be at risk of drinking water with elevated levels of lead. On February 28, a first nations reserve in northwestern Ontario declared a state of emergency after receiving a “do not consume” water advisory from Health Canada officials. That water had higher than normal lead levels. On March 4, an Edmonton woman told CBC News that lead pipes were prevalent and that she was poisoned by her tap water. An estimated 3,500 homes in Edmonton still have lead service lines. On March 11 of this year, CBC News reported that the Village of Pemberton, B.C. had issued a warning to residents that their tap water might have high levels of lead. This news came after water testing from 20 homes found lead levels as high as six times the maximum under Canadian guidelines. On May 5, CBC News reported that more than three years after provincial regulators flagged high lead concentrations in Brandon, Manitoba's drinking water, city officials had yet to change their treatment process to reduce lead exposure for its residents. On May 20 of this year, CBC News reported that data released by the City of Toronto showed that 13% of households that submitted water samples in a voluntary lead testing program over a six-year might be exposed to dangerous levels of the element in their drinking water. On June 8, CBC News reported that Montreal's plan for removing lead lines was far behind schedule, with only 11% of buildings addressed at a halfway point on a 20-year project. On September 2, CBC News reported that 43% of drinking water fountains and taps in Surrey, B.C. schools needed flushing. The report showed that 4% of taps and drinking fountains in Surrey were not safe.
Experts agree there are well over 200,000 homes across Canada with lead service lines. The exact numbers are difficult to estimate, as many cities are unaware of the number of households containing lead service lines. Homes constructed before 1960 are more likely to contain lead pipes, and since most of our cities were well established before 1950, the potential is significant.
The Canadian guideline for the maximum allowable concentration of lead in drinking water is 0.010 milligrams per litre, or 10 parts per billion. However Health Canada, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and other toxicity experts say that no amount of lead consumption is considered safe.
Health Canada's 2013 report “Final Human Health State of the Science Report on Lead” found that although the blood-lead levels of Canadians have declined over the past 30 years, severe health effects are occurring below the current Canadian maximum allowable concentration for consumption. The study indicates, “Additional measures to further reduce lead exposure among Canadians are warranted”.
Even small amounts of lead can have negative impacts on the brain, kidneys, and bones, with an increased risk of developing kidney disease, anemia, and osteoporosis. In adults, lead exposure can also result in high blood pressure and hypertension.
However, children under the age of six, especially newborn babies, incur the highest risks, as scientific research shows lead exposure measurably lowers IQ scores and is linked to behavioural issues such as delinquency and criminality. Newborn babies are particularly at risk due to the effects of lead consumption on brain development. If lead is present in a family's home, the lead intake in drinking water accounts for 10% to 20% of the infant's intake of lead, and in the case of infants feeding on formula, the lead intake rises approximately 40% to 60%.
In most cases, parents are likely unaware lead consumption and its effects are even occurring. Blood-lead concentrations, even below current Health Canada maximum acceptable concentrations, can diminish the volume of the developing brain. Bruce Lanphear, toxicity expert and professor at Simon Fraser University, has stated the two major types of behavioural problems linked to a damaged prefrontal cortex are anti-social behaviour, which can lead to criminal activity, and attention deficit disorder.
Various provincial acts set testing standards to measure chemicals in drinking water. In Ontario, the maximum allowable concentration for lead is the same as the Canadian standard at 10 milligrams per litre. Ontario's legislation also makes it mandatory for older day care centres and schools to be tested, but unfortunately, testing legislation is not the same in every province. In May 2016, British Columbia instated annual water quality testing for schools across the province when elevated levels of lead were recently found in four schools in Prince Rupert.
Toxicity experts such as Bruce Lanphear argue Canada is still far behind the United States when it comes to tracking lead levels and legislating safe conditions. For instance, blood tests that determine lead levels in citizens are routine in the United States, but rarely used across Canada. It's worth repeating, no level is considered safe and the effects are irreversible.
Understanding this evidence, our country needs to improve its communications strategy to ensure its citizens and elected officials understand the dangers of lead exposure and are aware of the importance of solutions for eliminating lead lines and lead concentrations.
Toxicity experts recommend two solutions for reducing lead in drinking water. The first solution is to encourage home and building owners to get rid of their lead service lines. As an example of this, the City of Hamilton has a lead pipe service replacement program, which offers a low-interest loan to home and building owners for replacing their lead pipes. This started when I was a downtown city councillor, and requested that more tests be done in older, high-needs neighbourhoods.
The response I received was surprising. I was asked how much I wanted to spend because the more they test the more they would find. I replied that we should then test the blood of the children in those neighbourhoods. Over 700 children were tested, and 28% of them had higher than acceptable blood-lead levels.
The next step was to make it possible for residents to affordably remove the lead service lines on their property. A special low-interest loan program was started in 2010. That has given families of modest incomes the ability to get rid of their lead service lines. Hamilton had already begun a program to remove and replace lead pipes in 1993, which was prior to the loan program. As of October this year, we have replaced over 10,000 lead lines.
The second solution to reducing lead in drinking water is to treat the water to make it as corrosion-free as possible. In December 2015, Hamilton City Council decided to implement a corrosion control program, which reduces the potential for lead release into the drinking water and will be implemented in 2018. This involves adding a corrosion inhibitor called orthophosphate to the water supply, which creates a thin film layer on the inside of pipes to stop lead from leaching.
Unfortunately, many municipalities across Canada do not have a corrosion treatment program in place. In fact, according to the “Chief Drinking Water Inspector Annual Report 2014-2015”, there were only 20 Ontario cities undergoing corrosion control strategies at that time.
Additionally, many cities do not have a city lead pipe replacement program with a low-interest loan to assist owners with the cost of replacing lead service lines on their property. The beauty of the loan investment by the city is that it is constantly being replenished as payments are made so that new applications are continually improved, with the potential that eventually all lines could be replaced.
My hoped-for outcome of this motion, if passed, is that the committee study will bring forward concrete recommendations as to how the federal government can play a key role in guidance and advocacy for removing lead pipes and lead traces from drinking water. For instance, the committee could look at the federal government's role as an advisory body over eradication efforts for lead in drinking water.
From my research and discussions with experts, I believe eradicating lead from Canadian drinking water begins with a proactive approach to municipal lead service replacement programs. These programs could benefit from an inventory of lead service lines, annual replacement goals, and information briefings for residents.
Following pipe replacement initiatives, strengthening corrosion control treatments is another key factor for removing the presence of lead in our drinking water. These treatments should be reassessed regularly to determine if new scientific or environmental information warrants any changes or adjustments.
The committee could also review the possibility of the federal government's role in a public education mandate regarding lead toxicity. A public education mandate with specific outreach initiatives would be of great benefit, especially to neighbourhoods with older infrastructure and communities with young families.
I have engaged with water quality stakeholders, leading North American toxicity experts, and local residents, and have received very positive feedback on my motion.
My office is in the process of setting up additional meetings with key stakeholders, including first nations and indigenous organizations.
If Motion No. 69 goes to committee for study, members can hear directly from experts and stakeholders regarding lead pipes and water quality, and I will certainly pass along my recommendations for witnesses who can speak to these concerns.
Given the very positive conversations I have had with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and his office, I would be open to a friendly amendment to the motion to move the committee study ahead of the federal government's required actions.
Before closing, I want to highlight, again, three very important points that I hope members will take away today.
First, no amount of lead is considered safe and therefore our Canadian, provincial, and territorial standards for maximum allowable concentrations of lead should perhaps be reconsidered.
Second, many municipalities may not have an up-to-date inventory of lead service lines and pipe locations, and some municipalities are not effectively providing all solutions for lead reduction.
Finally, we need to increase public awareness about the adverse health effects caused by lead consumption.
Lead pipes were well-recognized as a cause of lead poisoning by the late 1800s in the United States and by the 1920s, many cities and towns were already prohibiting or restricting their use. However, the lead industry aggressively combatted this trend through various advertising and lobbying campaigns, which meant that some communities were still allowing lead installations as late as the 1980s.
We can no longer take a reactive approach to combatting lead pipes and drinking water situations. The time has come for the federal government to work together with its provincial, territorial, municipal, and indigenous partners to create a unified cross-country solution to eradicate these issues.
I hope I can count on the support of all my colleagues.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2016-10-31 15:31 [p.6346]
Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in the House in support of this budget, which would do so much good for so many people right across the country, from coast to coast to coast. It is indeed a privilege to speak about some of the benefits it would bestow, in particular, upon vulnerable populations of this country, populations that for a long time have been ignored. I say that because tax cuts, quite frankly, are not the only way to help these people, which seems to be all that we heard over the last 10 years.
In particular, I want to talk about the support that has been provided to families, specifically low-income families, with the child tax benefit. This motion in front of the House today tries specifically to lock in that support even further, not just this year but in the years going forward, to support those families as they seek to join the middle class or cement their places in the middle class.
Most important is that the House has managed to listen and understand that not every piece of legislation is letter-perfect and that when suggestions or improvements are put on the table, we respond in kind by embracing those ideas and making them better, because better is always possible. I am speaking specifically about indexing.
I would be remiss if I did not tell the Chair that I will be splitting my time with the member for Vancouver Centre. I neglected to say that off the top.
The second component is pensions and the guaranteed income supplement. We know that the most vulnerable people in our society are quite often women who, later in life, through no fault of their own, have found themselves in a position where they have not fully contributed to CPP and thus are not able to fully realize the benefits this country has bestowed on others, or where their partners have passed on and they are in very vulnerable situations.
The boost to the guaranteed income supplement is fundamental to lifting seniors and, in particular, elderly women out of poverty and into positions where their security, health, and their enjoyment of their later years of life are guaranteed by the additional support provided by this budget. These are two very specific groups, young families and single seniors, who quite often find themselves in the most marginalized of economic situations. This budget would address them directly.
Another group looking to this government for help is students. Support for students comes in many forms, but there are two specific measures contained within this budget document. One is the support provided to help students get into universities or colleges by providing support for tuition. These measures are taken specifically to reduce the cost burden of entry into post-secondary institutions, which give people the platform to succeed, thrive, and support themselves in this new economy.
The second is the support that would be provided through the doubling of the Canada summer jobs program. Additional measures contained in this budget would not only provide support for them to get into university but also keep young people in universities with access to good, quality summer jobs often related to their fields of study. That is good social policy that supports people with real work experience as they seek to get the skills they need to compete and thrive in the new economy as we embrace a new century.
The other component is EI reform. We know that not all cylinders in every economy fire at the same time and in the right way. We know that there are downturns in sectors from time to time, whether in the film and digital media sector in the city I represent, or folks in the oil patch out west, or folks on the coast who might be in the fishing industry. We know that EI has to be modelled around those employee groups to support them. We have taken steps in this budget to compress the time for the application of benefits and to make sure that benefits reach parts of the country that are most vulnerable, so that while help is on the way and being delivered, families do not go without, support exists, and is targeted for those sectors in a way that is very specific.
It is not a substitute for economic growth and it certainly is not a substitute for jobs, but we know that when Canadians fall on hard times, other Canadians need to support them. This bill would seek to change some of the dynamics around EI to make sure that folks who face that situation are not left behind as the economy moves forward in other parts of the country.
Also embedded in this budget are tax cuts and a series of tax reforms to make taxation fair. I think it was Richard Nixon who once said that taxes will never be popular, but they should be fair. This budget seeks to do just that, to make taxation a fairer proposition for Canadians so they are confident that the dollars sent to Ottawa are not being sent by one group at the expense of another, but that the tax burden is being shared based on the ability to pay. That is why taxes are focused on the top 1% and would provide tax relief measures to the middle class.
If we go through the budget document that is tabled in front of us, there are also measures being taken to tighten up the tax code, so that loopholes that used to be there are narrowed, if not eliminated. Doing so, again, would make the paying of taxes fair. It would give all Canadians confidence that those who have the ability to pay are being taxed fairly. It would give confidence that those who do not have the ability to pay and are in need of support are being taxed appropriately, if at all, and that supports are there for the unique circumstances across a broad range of issues that I have just discussed.
As we talk about the economic dynamics as a series of metrics, and its people as a series of demographic groups or folks fitting specific dynamics that challenge their economic reality, we also have to understand that the real goal of this budget is to do more than simply deal with the inequities. It is also to create an economy that is actually producing more, delivering more wealth to be redistributed, hiring more people, as the incentives are delivered to the private sector to help us build this country in partnership with the public sector and with the community.
The fundamentally most important part of this budget, from my perspective, is the investment in infrastructure that would deliver real housing to real people in real need right across this country, right across the full spectrum of housing needs that stretch across this country. That is whether they are folks living hard on the street through no fault of their own, who have fallen into chronic homelessness, all the way through to supportive housing and transitional housing, social housing, affordable housing, affordable rental housing. There are new programs to make sure that people gain access to the housing market, have their investments stabilized and protected, right through to the end, luxury and the private market affordability that is delivered to so many people.
The full spectrum of housing needs are spoken to in this budget. Most importantly, from my perspective, is that social and affordable housing are back on the federal agenda. It is back as a focus of interest for the national government. We are currently engaged with provinces and territories, and municipalities in particular, as well as aboriginal first nations, Métis, and Inuit groups, to make sure that housing is delivered right across this country, from coast to coast to coast, in a way that supports people as they seek to support their families.
This is the most important part of the budget from my perspective. It is certainly the reason I came to Ottawa. The reason I left city council and ran federally was to make sure that this housing program was re-established on a national level. I am extraordinarily proud to see the work being done by our ministers on these files. I am extraordinarily proud of the fact that the government is stepping in and stepping up, for the first time in my lifetime, in a way that is truly meaningful and will transition this country back into a situation where housing is no longer seen as a vulnerability, but one of the shining examples of how Canadians can pull together to make sure that all of us are adequately housed, adequately supported, and put in a position to thrive and succeed, despite some of the challenges we are delivered by fate.
The other component of this, which I think is just as important, are the transitions and changes we are making around transit and transportation funding. We have come through an extraordinary period of time, in which transit has not been properly funded by the previous government. We have seen projects picked out of the air, on fishing trips in the case of Toronto, where one project gets the funding, but a whole series of other projects are left behind.
We have seen, for the last two years, the cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Mississauga, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and St. John's not receive a penny of new infrastructure investment. That was because the previous government liked to announce money, loved handing out the big cheques, but never actually wrote out a cheque to be cashed. It could cut ribbons, but it could not cut cheques. As a result, we lost years of growth in the transit file due to the sort of showmanship that was on display. It certainly was not good urban support or an urban agenda, by any stretch of the imagination.
As a result, lots of cities, lots of communities, and in particular lots of families, were left behind, as trains went by, packed full, unsupported by the federal government, or as buses never arrived because the dollars did not arrive in those cities either.
Not only have we stepped up historically on transit, but we have also done something else which is critically important for cities right across this country. We withdrew the firewall between state of good repair and new projects. In other words, if money arrived or it was promised, if there was any money on the table, it was only for new projects and new services, which quite often generated operational costs for cities and municipalities.
What we have done is we have removed that firewall. We have allowed state of good repair and capital maintenance to be included in the capital repair budget of transit operators across the country, and, in doing that, we are building stronger transit systems while also supporting the growth of transit.
Finally, with regard to the green infrastructure, there is an old saying at city halls right across this country, “If you don't manage the water, the water will manage your town eventually anyways.” The green infrastructure funds around flood protection, clean water, and environmental adaptations to make sure that we embrace the next century with confidence rather than fear as a result of climate change have been made in this budget.
Together, all of those investments create an economy that partners with the private sector to deliver a new society, a new level of infrastructure, new capacity, and new strength in the Canadian economy. This is exactly the platform we intended to create. It is exactly what the budget motion would deliver. In doing so, we are going to create the context for people to succeed in this country. I am proud to support this budget.
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