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Results: 1 - 30 of 445
View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2021-06-22 12:41 [p.8958]
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Mr. Speaker, I know that the member comes from a part of our country that has contributed so much to Canada's economy and prosperity for years. If there was ever a time when Canada needed to do all that it can to strengthen our sectors, our producers and those who actually produce our energy, work our fields and grow our food, it is now.
I wonder if the hon. member would be willing to comment on the absolute need to have a government with a vision to bring the best out of Canadians. We have so much to offer to the world and those who want to do business with us. We have the most responsibly produced energy in the world. We have the best producers of food and agriculture. We can only increase our manufacturing capacity.
We have great opportunities that are missing. Would the hon. member like to comment on that? What are his thoughts?
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View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2021-06-21 14:08 [p.8843]
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Mr. Speaker, since 2015, I have been advocating for more affordable housing for my riding of Saint John—Rothesay. Housing is a basic human right that should be available to all. That is why for the fifth consecutive budget, we are making significant new investments in housing.
Budget 2021 proposes an additional $2.5 billion over seven years in new funding. Notably, we are extending the highly successful rapid housing initiative introduced by our government late last year, with an additional investment of $1.5 billion in 2021-22. Last week, I had the pleasure of being joined by Minister Hussen to announce a $1.3-million investment from the federal government to build the Unified Saint John Housing Co-operative’s Victoria Street building that includes 14 housing units primarily intended for low-income women, including women with children.
I want to thank all of those involved in this project for all of their hard work and their commitment to providing safe and affordable housing for those who need it most.
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View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2021-06-21 17:22 [p.8871]
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Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in relation to Bill C-205, an act to amend the Health of Animals Act.
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
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View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2021-06-18 11:10 [p.8765]
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Madam Speaker, there is an ancient writing that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The Liberal government clearly has a lack of vision for Canada.
On this side of the House, we see beyond our perils and speak to our potential. On this side of the House, we know the importance of our farmers and harvesters who supply our food and literally keep our land. On this side of the House, we recognize how vital our energy sector is. On this side of the House, we value our workers, entrepreneurs, transporters and builders, knowing they will be the key to our comeback. On this side of the House, we recognize the importance of our seniors, veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have both built and defended this great country. On this side of the House, we will offer Canadians a clear vision, so that when we get to that side of the House, Canadians will have a government that recognizes their potential and a government that will secure their future. On this side of the House, we believe in Canada and the story we have to tell: Our best chapters are yet ahead.
May God continue to keep our land glorious and free.
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View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2021-06-18 14:41 [p.8801]
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Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures.
Canadians have been hit very hard over the past year and a half because of the global pandemic, and many have lost jobs or had hours reduced. Some have had time off work to care for loved ones. Sectors, such as tourism and retail, have been hit especially hard.
After going years since the last budget, Canadians were hoping to see some leadership from the Liberal government, and perhaps a clear direction and a path forward as we move closer to putting the pandemic behind us. Instead, Canadians were presented with a budget that was big on promises and very low on substance. Instead of a concrete plan of investment, increased economic activity and a pathway toward economic recovery and reopening, Canadians were presented with a collection of the greatest hits of past Liberal promises, which have never been delivered on to this day. The government has been high on rhetoric and low on results. Canada has a great story to tell, and we should have a government that is willing to do the work to put Canada in a position to prosper as we transition out of the pandemic.
In the early weeks of the pandemic when Canadians were facing tremendous uncertainty, I took a drive through the beautiful riding of Tobique—Mactaquac in western New Brunswick. During the drive, I remember reflecting on what a difficult time Canadians were facing, some even more than others, and how many sectors were affected by the devastating effects of the pandemic. Some were fully shut down. Others were facing tremendous uncertainty. The headwinds of this unprecedented circumstance were truly overwhelming for many parts of the world, and Canada was no exception.
As I was driving through my riding that day in the spring of last year, something caught my eye, and it left a deep impression on me. I still reflect upon it to this day on occasion. I come from a large rural riding, a farming and agricultural riding, that plays a tremendous role in our local economy. Particularly, I come from potato-growing country. In fact, part of my riding is known as the french fry capital of the world, and I must confess that my physique sometimes portrays that. It is a bit of a weakness. We do have great potatoes, meat and beef in my riding.
This, in turn, drives many other sectors in our region, such as trucking and manufacturing, and our processing facilities. While much of our lives were shut down and despite the great uncertainty, fear and anxiety, some sectors kept going. even in the face of great uncertainty. They kept doing what they needed to do in the face of unprecedented obstacles.
What I observed that day last year left an imprint on me: I saw farmers once again, in the spring, going out into their fields to plant seed in the ground. They did not know what the market would be like and they were not sure about the demand, but they got up and went to sow seed into the soil. They kept doing what they knew they could do, and entrusted things they were not sure about to what would come and who could be trusted to take care of them.
Through faith, through hard work and through pure tenacity, many farmers in my region faced the headwinds of uncertainty head-on, and I drew inspiration from that. I thought that if the farmers can keep doing what they know is right to do in the face of uncertainty, all of us as Canadians can draw inspiration from that and keep doing the things we know are right to do, even though we are not sure what the ultimate outcome may be.
I am glad to report that in my region several sectors kept going. Truckers kept moving their goods, farmers kept planting their seeds and the processors kept processing. The demand for food has remained.
I think this has taught us all a significant lesson that we need to reflect upon: Now is the time for Canada to be positioned to take advantage of a post-COVID world. Now is the time for Canada to make the decisions that state clearly that we believe in ourselves and we believe in our potential as a country to move past COVID-19. This is a time when we can show the strength and fortitude that I saw in the producers, truckers and first responders of my region and that we have seen throughout this entire country. Now is the time to build with the future in mind. Rather than continually speaking to the perils and the overwhelming challenges that we face, let us as parliamentarians and as a collective body in the House speak to our potential as a country.
The world wants to do business with Canada. The world likes Canada and the world sees our potential, and I think often more than what we may see in ourselves. We need the leadership here at home to say that Canada can become even more than what it has ever been. Canada can be positioned to thrive and prosper for generations to come if we make decisions to prioritize Canadian industry, Canadian entrepreneurship, Canadian technology, Canadian resources and Canadian know-how. Our greatest asset is our people, and the more we can empower our people and allow them to do what they do best, the more Canada will be positioned to thrive, grow and prosper on the other side of the pandemic.
I speak with faith and optimism because of what I have witnessed at home and what I have heard from across the country: Canadians rose to the occasion in the face of great uncertainty. What we need now is a government that will respond in kind and say that it trusts Canadians to do what only Canadians can do and in a way that only Canadians can do it, that is, rise to face the challenges of this moment.
Today I stand before the House with a great deal of gratitude in my heart for what I have witnessed in people and what I see in Canadians. I also stand before the House with a challenge for each of us. We should draw inspiration from those we work with, those we have witnessed on the front lines and those who have kept doing tremendous things when they were facing overwhelming odds and obstacles. I feel we can even draw inspiration from our very own coat of arms, which says, “They desire a better country.” That is in our coat of arms.
In this post-COVID time when we move beyond the pandemic and get to the other side of it, why not desire an even better country to hand to future generations? Let us make decisions to invest in our people and entrust our people, and make the decisions we need in order to secure our future in a way that will make Canada sustainable for generations to come.
How do we do that? We do it by maximizing the areas that we do and know so well, whether it is in agriculture, where we grow some of the best and finest foods in the world; in energy, where we have the most environmentally regulated and sustainable energy resources in the world and where we treat ethically the people who produce and work in its sectors; or in our technological fields, which are advanced. We have amazing potential, and I am speaking to it today.
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View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2021-06-18 14:52 [p.8802]
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Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his insight and perspective, but being wise, being good stewards, planning ahead and seeing around corners is the essence of leadership and good governance. We cannot just speak to where we are currently; we must speak to where we are heading. I find the current government puts too much emphasis on what is behind, what we have gone through already. We need to have the vision to see where we are going in order to traverse the uncertain waters we are in now. That takes away nothing from the horrific challenges that COVID has presented to the country, and is still having its effect on, but we must speak to the future.
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View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2021-06-18 14:53 [p.8802]
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Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague's question is a good one as it relates to the inadequate support that we have found for those who literally grow our food and keep our land. Our agriculture producers are the backbone of our economy and are essential to our food security. If this pandemic has revealed anything, it is the absolute need to prioritize our agriculture and food supply chains.
The current government has not. In fact, it has put priorities on so many things, but the one sector that seems to have been overlooked in many cases are those who actually grow and supply and literally keep our land in this time; that being, our farmers and our agricultural sector.
I agree with the hon. member. This must be an ongoing priority for the government and we must do everything we can to ensure that our food supply chains are secure and that proper investment is made into agriculture.
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View Richard Bragdon Profile
CPC (NB)
View Richard Bragdon Profile
2021-06-18 14:55 [p.8803]
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Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her passion for rural Canadians, and I share that passion.
We need to ensure that rural Canada remains and actually becomes a much greater priority for our governments. Our rural areas literally grow and produce so much of the food that we enjoy and require. Our rural areas oftentimes are the key manufacturers and developers of our natural resources. They are the ones that oftentimes house those who truck and ship our goods all over the world and throughout our continent. Our rural areas will be key in getting us to the other side of COVID-19.
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View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
View René Arseneault Profile
2021-06-17 14:05 [p.8666]
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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that our borders are finally open, and we are really beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, after many months of discipline, sacrifice and patience.
This summer is the perfect time to come and discover the people in my region. I invite everyone to come and experience our indigenous, Acadian, Irish and Scottish cultures, and enjoy the festivals that will be taking place throughout my riding this summer.
Whether travelling solo or with family or friends, everyone is invited to come taste the beers crafted by our microbreweries, feel the salt winds of Chaleur Bay, and bask in the tranquility of our beautiful lakes. Enjoy the lull of the current carrying their kayak down our majestic rivers, or the thrill of a mountain bike ride on one of our woodland trails through the heart of the Appalachians.
We invite our beloved neighbours, friends and relatives to visit, or revisit, our beautiful riding of Madawaska—Restigouche.
I wish everyone a great summer. As La Sagouine would say, “v'nez nous ouère”. For those who do not speak Chiac, that means come and see us.
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View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
View John Williamson Profile
2021-06-16 14:04 [p.8519]
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Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate incoming Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on successfully forming a national government and to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for 12 years of service, during which he strengthened the many bonds between Canada and Israel.
I also want to congratulate the Israeli people on electing their new government, the culmination of a robust democratic process, which is the only one in the Middle East.
The Conservative Party will always support Israel, our ally in the fight against terror, and will work toward a future when all the region's people can vote to have their democratic preferences reflected in governments of their choosing, that is to say, elected by a free and fair democratic process in Israel as in Canada.
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View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2021-06-15 19:37 [p.8509]
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Mr. Speaker, this is to my hon. colleagues, my dear constituents and supporters, my hard-working team and my beloved family and friends.
I saw this day coming for many months, but I have been feeling somewhat sad about it.
For over five and a half years, I have had the privilege and honour to sit in this House and represent the good people of Miramichi—Grand Lake. I am very proud of what our government and I have been able to accomplish for our riding, but of course, there is still a long list of more things that need to be done. However, that will be passed on to our next Liberal MP from Miramichi—Grand Lake to pursue and deliver because today I wish to announce that I will not be the candidate for the next general federal election, but I will remain their MP until such a call is made.
It is always risky to thank people and acknowledge their work, because most of the time we end up forgetting people we really should have thanked. I hope that, if I forget anyone, they will forgive me. I will always be very grateful to them.
At this stage of my life, six years is really but a small portion of the time I have been up on my feet. Most of my life I have spent in my community with my family, building our business and being involved in local, provincial and national organizations.
The voice I brought to this House was not one of an acclaimed politician or one with tremendous legal or political science background, which I respect and admire, and such expertise is absolutely necessary in the House. No, my voice, which I believe is just as important, was one of rural, smart, hard-working people, including our vibrant indigenous communities.
I am glad that I was able to have it heard in so many different ways, such as with the privilege of sitting as a member of the fisheries and oceans committee and the agriculture standing committee, which I had the opportunity and honour to chair throughout my time as MP.
I was also able to have my voice heard in the many conversations and meetings with our cabinet ministers, my caucus colleagues and as chair of the New Brunswick caucus with my provincial colleagues.
Finally, I had the great privilege to have my voice heard by the right hon. Prime Minister, who I want to thank personally for putting his trust in me and for his strong support and confidence during my time as member of Parliament for Miramichi—Grand Lake. He made many visits to my riding in times of crisis to provide commitment and support, such as during the 2017 ice storm and the dark days of the payroll centre in my riding, but he also dropped in many times just to meet and have conversations with the people of Miramichi—Grand Lake.
Thank you so much, Prime Minister.Thank you for your guidance and for carrying us through this awful pandemic.
I must also recognize that I have learned and benefited so much from the many conversations and debates with all members of the House, whose friendships I will cherish always.
Our government accomplished some great things for our country and for my riding of Miramichi—Grand Lake. Even though there is still a lot more to do, our region experienced a great period of economic and social growth during my term.
I would like to list a few of those many accomplishments that we have been able to achieve in my riding. Of course, again, the payroll centre, which had just been opened by the previous government in my riding and, everyone will agree, was totally dysfunctional. We were able to secure and stabilize it with an additional 400 local federal jobs in my riding and proper investments to fix it and make it work.
Just a few of the many investments the government and I were able to secure are the refurbishing of the Minto town hall in my riding; Chipman water sewage treatment; the Chatham wharf; the new Napan Agricultural Show building; the new Miramichi Airport terminal; the auditorium, the hall dedicated to Lisa LeBlanc in my community of Rogersville; the roof for the Neguac Sportplex; the refurbishment of the Tom Donovan Arena in Renous; the new Anderson Bridge; the new water system for the the Village of Doaktown; an elementary school for our indigenous community of Elsipogtog; water and sewage for the villages of Neguac, Minto and Rogersville; and the renovation of Kouchibouguac National Park.
On the strategic economic front, my riding also benefited greatly from millions of dollars invested in our fishery sector with processing-plant upgrades, small craft harbours and stability funding for our fishers. There were millions of dollars of investment in our primary sector, in such areas as peat moss, the forestry sector, agriculture and also great investment in our summer and winter tourism industry.
On the social front, unprecedented investment in the Canada child benefit brings over $3 million to over 5,000 families in Miramichi—Grand Lake every month, along with our increased new horizon program and disability accessibility program to name a few. The doubling of the Canada summer job program, mental health investments, housing and immigration programs are all record high investments.
Although much remains to be done, our steady work with our first nations in housing, clean drinking water, language and culture teaching, and work on truth and reconciliation has made great strides. Of course, I am so proud of our unwavering commitment for the environment, whether it is our oceans protection plan, polluter-pay legislation and our plastic bans, and also our commitments to net-zero emissions by 2050. These measures will secure a livable planet for the next generation.
I also want to take the time to thank the mayors, council, businesses and local leaders from all communities in my riding for all their hard work and great co-operation.
I now want to take the opportunity to personally acknowledge and thank my office team: Ashley, Hannah, Roger, Bertrand, Christine, Marie‑Paule and Peggy, as well as my former staffer Josée and the late Louise.
I want to say a big thank you to them on behalf of myself and the people of Miramichi—Grand Lake who received absolutely professional service when they knocked on our door for help. I want my office staff to know that they helped a lot of people.
I also want to thank my campaign team and all my constituents in Miramichi—Grand Lake to whom I owe the privilege of serving in the House.
I also want to thank the House of Commons team from security to cafeteria workers, and from pages to all the support staff. I want them to know they are appreciated, indispensable and I really want to thank them from the heart. I have had great conversations with them and enjoyed my sidebars with security and everyone else. It was just great.
Finally, I want to thank the people who mean so much to me in my life and who have sacrificed a lot for me. To my daughter Vicky, her husband Gerard, my son Derek, and Sarah, and to my grandchildren Tristan, James and Joelle, I thank them and say, “pépère is back”. To my mom, my eight brothers and sisters and their extended family, I thank them for their support.
I also want to inform this House that I was not the only one serving the good people of Miramichi—Grand Lake. My wife Lise also accompanied me to so many events and took care of so many things for me so that I could do my job. She also served. Just a note to the Ethics Commissioner, she was not on the payroll, so it is fine. Her relentless work in keeping our family and business together is simply amazing. I can never thank her enough. She has been my rock, my safe harbour and my eternal love. I will say, and I hope she is okay with it, “I am back”.
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View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
View René Arseneault Profile
2021-06-14 14:03 [p.8329]
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Madam Speaker, today, I would like to recognize another young entrepreneur from my region, Sophie Nadeau Becker, who is 11 years old.
This young lady from Saint-Jacques is already business savvy. She recently launched her family micro-business, which makes and sells homemade treats and bandanas for dogs. Her business is called Ohlala... de Sophie.
Once a week, with her brother Félix's help, Sophie makes dog biscuits and sells them to local stores.
The business has expanded such that it has now more than 200 clients. The young entrepreneur is even looking for students to join her team this summer.
We admire our amazing young entrepreneurs, who continue to astound us and show us that the future of our economy is in good hands.
Let us encourage our youth to believe in their dreams; they may well come true.
In the meantime, I encourage the people of Madawaska—Restigouche to treat their furry four-legged friends to Ohlala... de Sophie products.
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2021-06-14 14:11 [p.8330]
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Mr. Speaker, the priority for Conservatives is getting Canada’s economy reopened and back on track. The Liberal government’s priority is ramming through Bill C-10, its Internet censorship bill.
I have heard from constituents across my riding who want to see this bill scrapped. New Brunswickers in Liberal-held ridings are frustrated by their MPs' failure to commit to opposing this bill, a bill that fundamentally would alter how the Internet would operate in Canada. Canadians are even more bewildered by how the government is so focused on Bill C-10 rather than pressing issues that impact their health and the economy.
I will not support Bill C-10, a bill that puts freedom of expression in peril. The government should listen to Canadians who are telling it to abandon this poorly thought-out bill that is focused on political power rather than protecting the freedom of speech that Canadians so rightly enjoy.
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View Wayne Long Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Wayne Long Profile
2021-06-11 12:03 [p.8282]
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Mr. Speaker, Canadians with a criminal record face barriers long after serving their sentence. For those just trying to get ahead, it became even more difficult when the Harper Conservative government created more barriers to accessing a pardon, such as by increasing the cost by 1,200%.
In 2018, this House agreed to adopt my motion for the public safety committee to study this problem, and the report found that having a pardon increases access to a job, education and stable housing, and makes communities safer by helping to end the cycle of crime.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety please give us an update on how the government is working—
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View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
View René Arseneault Profile
2021-06-07 14:02 [p.8013]
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Mr. Speaker, the ongoing pandemic has brought out the resourcefulness, creativity and determination of our entrepreneurs. I would like to share with the House the story of Stéphanie Bellavance, from Saint-Quentin.
Her hair salon had to close for two periods because COVID-19 cases were increasing in her area. Being a hairdresser for 16 years, she has not given up and instead has managed to diversify and expand her business.
Stéphanie wanted to expand her services by selling a new product, modified hair extensions exclusive to her salon. In addition, she developed an online coaching program about one of her passions, healthy living.
She rolled up her sleeves and followed online courses to develop and increase her business. Therefore, if in the future her business must close due to COVID-19, she will still be able to sell her product and offer online coaching.
To all the Stéphanie Bellavances in Canada, I say well done. I congratulate them for their perseverance and their contributions to our economy.
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-07 15:09 [p.8026]
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Mr. Speaker, the current generation of youth grew up acutely aware of the urgency to fight the climate crisis and the multitude of challenges facing our planet, from deforestation to environmental racism and pollution generated by plastic waste.
Youth around the world have united. Through their protests they are educating us, but most importantly, they are demanding action and they expect accountability. They want a glimpse of hope and the German High Court handed them a victory: It ordered the government to expand its plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and required lawmakers to make long-term climate commitments.
Will the government demonstrate that Canada is learning from this legal precedent and commit to achieving its 2030 climate goal? Will it formally recognize the rights of this generation and the next generation—
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-03 10:18 [p.7863]
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Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and present petition 432-01021. It is concerning all of our responsibility to address the climate crisis and to think about the generations to come.
Considering the last protected intact old-growth valley on Southern Vancouver Island, Fairy Creek, is slated for logging, along with the upper Walbran Valley and other remaining pockets of old growth, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada call upon the government to work with the provinces and first nations to immediately halt logging of endangered old-growth ecosystems; fund the long-term protection of old-growth ecosystems as a priority for Canada's climate action plan and reconciliation with indigenous peoples; support value-added forestry initiatives in partnership with first nations to ensure Canada's forestry industry is sustainable, and based on the harvesting of second- and third-growth forests; ban the export of raw logs and maximize resource use for local jobs; and ban the use of whole trees for wood pellet biofuel production.
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-03 11:27 [p.7875]
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Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned that residential schools were designed, in large part, to erase indigenous cultures and I would argue they were also designed to erase indigenous peoples themselves. I point to Dr. Peter Bryce's infamous book, The Story of a National Crime. When I think about justice, I think about the fact that we have survivors who are still alive, and therefore there will be perpetrators who are also still alive.
What is the government doing to bring those people to justice?
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View René Arseneault Profile
Lib. (NB)
View René Arseneault Profile
2021-06-03 14:10 [p.7898]
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Mr. Speaker, the young people of Madawaska—Restigouche are certainly inspiring.
A 12-year-old young man from my riding decided to start a business. With the help of his family, Malik Duguay started a company called Hogwork's. He makes and sells magic wands inspired by the Harry Potter universe. He sculpts the wands himself, paints them and adds details. He also adds copper and metal detailing, depending on the order. The company continues to grow, year after year, and is now doing so well that Malik has made over 200 magic wands that have been sold to customers around the world. His fondest dream is for his company to grow even bigger. Given his perseverance, I have no doubt that he will succeed.
On June 9, Malik will be receive the Leaders de demain award for future leaders.
Anyone who would like to experience a little magic during this pandemic can buy a wand on the Hogwork's website or Facebook page.
Congratulations, Malik, and good luck with this venture.
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View Pat Finnigan Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Pat Finnigan Profile
2021-06-03 15:06 [p.7909]
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Mr. Speaker, we know how crucial rail transportation is for communities across the country, including in my riding, with VIA Rail's Ocean passenger train, which links Halifax to Montreal and the rest of the country. With the pandemic, many passenger rail routes, including this one, have been suspended.
Can the minister update this House on future plans to bring back this important and indispensable public transit system for our region?
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-03 19:41 [p.7948]
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Madam Speaker, it is important for me today to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-8 from the unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik.
What is a nation, and what does it mean to be a Canadian citizen? Bill C-8 is an act to amend the Citizenship Act. The bill would change the oath of citizenship for newcomers to Canada to include recognition and affirmation of the treaty rights of first nations, Inuit and Métis people.
As I have proudly mentioned many times in this House, before I joined federal politics I was a teacher. When I think about this bill and the oath of citizenship, I think about what it teaches us about who we are and who we want to be.
In my time at Fredericton High School as a cultural transition coordinator for indigenous youth, I helped to run a native education centre. My role was to ensure that students were welcomed, supported, empowered and that they had access to the materials and resources they needed for success, often a tall order in a large institution.
I had the pleasure of working closely with the English as a second language department for newcomer students, who were in the same wing. My goal was to facilitate learning about indigenous culture and heritage with my students, but also with the wider school population and staff. I would create bulletin boards with information; spotlight incredible indigenous leaders, actors, artists, language keepers; visit classes or host professional development seminars.
It was not long before the ESL department requested that I come in and speak with their students, who were very curious about my role. I noticed that the “welcome to Canada” curriculum that the ESL teachers had been given represented indigenous peoples with a totem pole, a teepee and an inukshuk. Beyond these superficial symbolic images, there was no substance, no discussion of rights, of the peace and friendship treaties in our territory, of the different Wabanaki nations on the east coast, no highlight of the 15 communities in New Brunswick, nine Mi’kmaq and six Wolastoqiyik.
We started to hold group potlucks with traditional foods, sometimes in our space and sometimes in theirs. Beyond the cultural exchange, I noticed the bonds that the youth were making with one another and I noticed the pride in being a part of Canada's mosaic. We are strengthened by our diversity and it was beautiful to witness an exercise in community building. These students had more in common than they first believed. Many were subjected to prejudice, discrimination and racism. I also noticed that newcomer students began to open up more about their homelands or refugee experiences. They identified with the history of colonialism they were learning and they were excited by the indigenous cultural resurgence happening in local nations because of the hope it offered.
It is a rare opportunity to connect our desire to welcome newcomers with honesty about the sovereignty of indigenous nations. This is important work that we are undertaking.
We cannot ignore the reason why we are here tonight. It is to discuss Bill C-8 and to expedite its passage into Canadian law. However, this urgency comes from the horrific discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops residential school. It should not have taken this latest revelation of wrongdoing to prompt action. We have known the impact of residential schools in this country for decades, at least those of us who bothered to listen. The children have pushed the truth to the surface. No one can say they did not know. Newcomers to Canada will have to come to terms with these realizations as well, out of respect to the original inhabitants of this land, the ones who are still here and the ones who never came home.
The oath in call to action 94 is as follows:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.
Upholding this oath requires a further in-depth conversation about colonialism, the British Crown and its role in the atrocities of residential schools and ongoing oppression, about monies and Crown lands held in trust by Her Majesty the Queen on behalf of indigenous peoples.
As for the faithful observation of laws in Canada, including treaties, we have much work to do. Canadians have very little understanding of our treaty relationship. This became painfully obvious during the Mi’kmaq fishery dispute.
While we stand here today to hopefully unanimously pass Bill C-8, implementing call to action 94 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, call to action 93 has been stalled since June 2018, when the federal government said changes to the information kit for newcomers were close to completion. Can we have an update on this? Can we have a status report on all calls to action? This is what the survivors, those who are descendants of settlers, and certainly newcomers need from the government.
The Liberal government has completed an average of only two TRC calls to action per year since 2015. At this rate, it will take until 2062 to complete all 94. My children will likely have their own children by then. These are steps in the right direction, but I would like to share the reflections of a person from my riding.
This is what they said: “I'm hopeful that people will finally read the recommendations. Maybe finding more human bodies will wake people up to the notion that each of these recommendations addresses a specific concern. The onus should be on our government to explain why they are not adopting specific recommendations versus our current system of applauding them when they pick and choose off the list like it is.”
I appreciate this wisdom. The calls to action represent a package of reforms that create a road map for reconciliation. We must walk that road step by step, recommendation by recommendation. Rather than applause for hand-selecting the 11th and 12th recommendations to enshrine over a six-year period, we need to be seeing status reports on the implementation, demanding more accountability from the government when it falls short, when we all fall short.
I would like to read recommendations 71 to 76 today, as they relate so directly to the lost children in Kamloops and those across the nation who remain invisible. Under “Missing Children and Burial Information”, the calls to action are as follows:
71. We call upon all chief coroners and provincial vital statistics agencies that have not provided to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada their records on the deaths of Aboriginal children in the care of residential school authorities to make these documents available to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
72. We call upon the federal government to allocate sufficient resources to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to allow it to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register established by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
73. We call upon the federal government to work with churches, Aboriginal communities, and former residential school students to establish and maintain an online registry of residential school cemeteries, including, where possible, plot maps showing the location of deceased residential school children.
74. We call upon the federal government to work with the churches and Aboriginal community leaders to inform the families of children who died at residential schools of the child’s burial location, and to respond to families’ wishes for appropriate commemoration ceremonies and markers, and reburial in home communities where requested.
75. We call upon the federal government to work with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, churches, Aboriginal communities, former residential school students, and current landowners to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried. This is to include the provision of appropriate memorial ceremonies and commemorative markers to honour the deceased children.
76. We call upon the parties engaged in the work of documenting, maintaining, commemorating, and protecting residential school cemeteries to adopt strategies in accordance with the following principles:
i. The Aboriginal community most affected shall lead the development of such strategies.
ii. Information shall be sought from residential school Survivors and other Knowledge Keepers in the development of such strategies.
iii. Aboriginal protocols shall be respected before any potentially invasive technical inspection and investigation of a cemetery site.
We also need to provide the space to grieve. There was a collective sadness being felt across this country. This is the truth that comes before the reconciliation. We had to come to this point of reckoning to wake up those who were still sleeping. Now that we know, we cannot unknow. Enshrining acknowledgement of indigenous peoples into the newcomer citizenship oath asks us to never forget.
I support Bill C-8 and ask my colleagues in the Senate to agree. Let us get this done.
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-03 19:50 [p.7950]
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Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his recognition of the tough balance between work and life sometimes. My two children are with me in the office tonight. My oldest is in grade 3 and the revelation hit him pretty hard. It hit his classmates and community members hard too. Oromocto First Nation is where he is a band member. Members put children's shoes in the shape of a heart and lit it up at night. It is difficult to drive by, and it is difficult to have those conversations with our children.
My son has had an introduction to residential schools before, because his mom is very passionate about having him be proud of his heritage and having him learn the difficult road that his ancestors had to take. This is very much a sensitive issue for me. It hits close to home, and I do all I can to have these tough conversations. There are storybooks we can read that are appropriate for children, and if anyone would like to reach out, I have lots of recommendations that I can pass on.
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-03 19:52 [p.7950]
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Madam Speaker, yes, my son is adorable.
I respect the nation of Quebec. I respect the sovereignty and its individualized culture, and it is important to add that to the conversation as well. This is about respecting everyone's background, heritage and culture and coming to Canada and building a nation where we truly all belong, where we feel included and represented. I am very open to working with Bloc members to assure there are amendments they are comfortable with.
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-03 19:54 [p.7950]
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Madam Speaker, I was a bit more cynical about those calls to action, but the more I thought about it, the more I think it is so important to enshrine up front when that important learning is happening about coming to a new country, coming to Canada and what that means. To talk about the original inhabitants right out of the gate leads to what could be a future of reconciliation for all. It is an important step. I do not think we can trivialize it. Bill C-8 is important and I am proud to support it.
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View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Mr. Speaker, today, June 2, is Red Shirt Day, an annual event when people across Canada come together and wear red to show their support for persons who are living with disabilities.
An initiative of Easter Seals Canada, Red Shirt Day takes place each year on the Wednesday of National AccessAbility Week, which this year runs from May 30 to June 5. Wearing red today represents a pledge that we will help create a fully accessible and inclusive society by educating ourselves, by removing barriers, whether they are physical, social or systemic, and by honouring and valuing the contributions of people of all abilities, in all aspects of life in Canada.
I encourage my fellow parliamentarians and all Canadians to don something red today. They should be sure to share their photos when doing that on social media using #RedShirtDay or #EasterSeals.
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-02 18:53 [p.7857]
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Madam Speaker, today I am highlighting the question I asked on March 25 about the federal government's position regarding the Black civil servants lawsuits where claimants have courageously come forward to expose the wrongdoing and systemic discrimination they face throughout their careers.
In the weeks since I asked that question, we have learned that over the years some public servants were offered money to keep quiet and withdraw racial discrimination complaints. It is never easy to confront racism. It should be uncomfortable. We cannot ask people to push aside their injustice, to sweep things under the rug. This is gaslighting. We cannot ask them to be silent and we cannot be complicit with our own silence.
My goal tonight is not to place blame and to wag my finger, rather it is to better understand exactly what the government is doing to fight systemic racism. I wish to be a partner in this work. I wish to highlight the incredible voices from my riding and from the Maritimes that are changing the conversation and driving real actions in my home community.
We are now coming to a sudden realization that Canada has a problem with racism. People of colour, Black and indigenous peoples have been telling us for so long that our society, our institutions, our collective behaviours and biases continue to cause harm, even kill.
So far, the performative gestures from the government are accomplishing nothing. In just the last few weeks, I read the following headline: “RCMP is losing Indigenous officers—and some former Mounties blame racism in the ranks”.
The Nova Scotia government balked at paying for extra RCMP during the fisheries conflict where Mi'kmaq fishers were attacked, their possessions set on fire and their catches destroyed. The army strategies to promote diversity and inclusion were ineffective. Temporary migrant workers working in fields across the country helping to ensure our food sovereignty are working in unsanitary and dangerous conditions, living in overcrowded rooms, some sleeping on the floor.
Symbolism does not target the root cause of the problem. Canada must institute specific reparations and strategic actions with measurable outcomes. I know that my colleague will point to the implementation of the Anti-Racism Secretariat and I am thankful for that division and I am fully in appreciation for the minister and her commitment. However, this would be the time to let Canadians know about the concrete work being undertaken to dismantle systems of oppression. I would argue that there should be a full ministerial department dedicated to the mission of anti-racism.
Many Canadians do not even have a basic understanding of what racism is, how it operates, what gives it power. Some still debate its existence and shy away from comparison with our neighbours to the south. Our children must learn the critical thinking skills to ask tough questions, challenge narratives and deconstruct the lies that support white supremacy.
We are told that change is slow, that these things take time. As a suggestion, if I may, perhaps we could listen to the Black voices showing us the way right here, right now. The class-action lawsuit seeks long-term solutions to permanently address systemic racism and discrimination in the Public Service of Canada, which would undoubtedly create ripple effects across the communities. Damages include the wrongful failure to promote, intentional infliction of mental suffering, constructive dismissal, wrongful termination, negligence and in particular, violations of employment law, human rights law and charter breaches.
In the fulfillment of the goal of workplace equality, Canada has failed to correct the conditions of disadvantage and employment experienced by Black Canadians. Will the Anti-Racism Secretariat commit to addressing specific wrongs?
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-02 19:01 [p.7858]
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Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his efforts in these adjournment proceedings. It has been a busy night for him.
If members can tell, I am extremely passionate about anti-racism, and I come to this as a cis, white ally. I will never know the full extent of the pain inflicted upon indigenous peoples, Black peoples, people of colour or 2SLGBTQIA+, and I live, work and learn with this immense privilege.
During the past weeks we have been hearing the difficult testimony, trying to piece together the death of Joyce Echaquan. I will not repeat the myriad of insults flung at her by staff who were supposed to be caring for her while she was fighting for her life. Then, of course, there are the 215 little souls whose remains have finally been discovered. There are not enough words in the English language to account for such horrors.
These are not dark chapters in Canadian history. These realities are woven throughout the whole story, and the consequences continue to play out today. This is not about guilt. It is about responsibility.
Will the government stand up and recognize the immense responsibility we have in addressing racism in all its forms? Will it stand up for the Black civil servants? Will it stand up for Joyce and all the children who never came home from residential schools?
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View Jenica Atwin Profile
Lib. (NB)
View Jenica Atwin Profile
2021-06-01 10:07
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Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present petition 11279386 regarding the ongoing travesty of logging the last remaining old growth in Canada.
Whereas the climate crisis requires action by all levels of government and industry, old-growth forests provide immeasurable benefits, including carbon sequestration, biodiversity, culture, recreation, food and more. Of the remaining 2.7% of the original high-productivity, old-growth forests in British Columbia, 75% are still slated to be logged.
The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to work with the provinces and first nations to immediately halt logging of endangered old-growth ecosystems, fund the long-term protection of old-growth ecosystems as a priority for Canada's climate action plan and reconciliation with indigenous peoples, support value-added forestry initiatives in partnership with first nations to ensure Canada's forestry industry is sustainable and based on the harvesting of second- and third-growth forests, ban the export of raw logs and maximize resource use for local jobs, and ban the use of whole trees for wood pellet biofuel production.
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View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Mr. Speaker, I present a petition on behalf of my New Brunswick constituents calling for Parliament to end the abhorrent practice of sex-selective abortions in Canada. Abortions based on gender are currently legally permitted in Canada, yet there is a broad consensus to prohibit them as 84% of Canadians agree that sex-selective abortions should not be permitted.
I hope the House of Commons will reflect this consensus when we vote Wednesday on Bill C-233.
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View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Madam Speaker, I am not sure what that speech was. For a second I thought our parliamentary system had turned into the CCTV broadcast out of mainland China, where the member was going through a job application as a spokesperson.
My question for the member is simple. Is it her position that the Government of Canada is no more obliged to provide documents to Parliament than the Chinese government is to provide documents to the people in China? Is there no right of accountability in Canada during a pandemic?
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