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Results: 1 - 11 of 11
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Lib. (ON)
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2021-06-03 16:53 [p.7924]
Mr. Speaker, in the meetings that my hon. colleague has had with the community since this happened, what is he hearing from young people in particular, who no doubt see themselves in this tragedy? What are their needs? At a time when we have been going through and continue to go through COVID, the mental health of young people is at stake. With the number of admissions to hospitals and so forth being so high right now, what is he hearing from young people in the communities about what they need?
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Lib. (ON)
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2021-04-29 14:00 [p.6411]
Madam Speaker, the Tamil community in my riding of Toronto Centre and across Canada is excited to acknowledge the historic accomplishment of reaching $3 million in fundraising to establish a chair in Tamil studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. It is a first in Canada.
Generously supported by the SJV and EJ Chelvanayakam Charitable Foundation and more than 3,800 supporters from right around the world, including community organizations, private corporations, artists, village and alumni associations, the dream has become reality.
With more than 300,000 Tamils in Canada, we are home to the largest diaspora outside of the Indian subcontinent. It is a rich and storied culture.
I send special congratulations to the Canadian Tamil Congress, Tamil Chair Inc. and U of T Scarborough, which worked so hard on this. What a tremendous example of a grassroots effort and the power of what people can do when they work together.
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Lib. (ON)
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2021-04-21 14:23 [p.5910]
Mr. Speaker, he cried for his mother. He begged to breathe with a police officer's knee pressing on his neck. Minutes later he was gone, and everybody knew his name: George Floyd.
There were marches around the globe. A sea of people took to the streets, chanting “Black lives matter” and demanding justice. For anyone who ever questioned systemic racism, George Floyd was an answer. Even with the video captured from the cellphone of a brave 17-year-old girl, who chose to stop and record what the world would see, I was not sure what would happen. Would there be a guilty verdict?
Yes, on all three counts. I wept not tears of joy, but of relief and resolve. This is not an ending, it is a beginning. There is no joy. There is no complete justice. There is only work and we have much more to do.
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Lib. (ON)
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2021-02-25 14:11 [p.4549]
Mr. Speaker, this past week, Toronto Centre lost a beloved member of the St. James Town community, Dr. Francisco Portugal.
Dr. Portugal emigrated from Manila to Toronto in the 1970s where he completed his medical studies and opened his own clinic. He was known for his infectious smile and his willingness to help, a willingness that went way beyond his profession. He was a community worker, an entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Among his many notable achievements, Dr. Portugal advocated for Filipino caregivers in the 1980s. He was the former vice-president of the Filipino Centre Toronto and most recently founded CARP, which organizes medical professionals to bring health as well as dental care to those in need in the Philippines.
Toronto Centre has lost a legend who will be greatly missed by family, friends, patients and staff, but his legacy lives on. We thank Dr. Portugal for serving us so well.
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Lib. (ON)
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2021-02-03 14:53 [p.3954]
Mr. Speaker, as we mark the 25th celebration of Black History Month in Canada, we honour the legacy and contributions that Black Canadians have made to our country. We know anti-Black racism still exists in Canada, and many continue to face discrimination, hate and a lack of opportunity and resources.
Can the Prime Minister please update the House on the steps being taken to address systemic inequalities in Canada?
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Lib. (ON)
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2021-02-01 14:18 [p.3826]
Mr. Speaker, it is the first day of Black History Month. Twenty-five years ago, the Hon. Jean Augustine introduced a motion that was carried unanimously by the House of Commons to recognize February as Black History Month in Canada. I am here, a Black female MP, because Dr. Augustine blazed a trail. However, her journey was not easy and the challenges continue today. Social injustice, systemic racism and socio-economic inequality have scarred black communities. There is a call for justice and healing. Hate has no place.
This month is about honouring brilliant Black Canadians who contribute to every aspect of our country. It is also about looking forward. That means mentorship, opportunity and understanding, not just this month but every month. Let us celebrate, educate and advocate.
I wish everyone a happy Black History Month
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Lib. (ON)
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2021-01-27 15:01 [p.3634]
Mr. Speaker, today we observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the six million Jews and 11 million others who were murdered by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
Can the Prime Minister tell this House what our government is doing to combat anti-Semitism and honour the lives of those lost in the Holocaust?
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Lib. (ON)
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2020-12-08 18:19 [p.3183]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about Motion No. 36, which seeks to designate August 1 of every year as emancipation day in Canada.
Motion No. 36 acknowledges that the British Parliament abolished slavery in the British Empire as of August 1, 1834, and that slavery existed in British North America prior to its abolition. In fact, Olivier Le Jeune was recorded as the first enslaved African to live in New France in the 1600s. Olivier's birth name is not known as he was taken from Africa as a young child and eventually given the last name of the priest who purchased him.
The Slavery Abolition Act ended slavery in the British Empire on August 1, 1834, and thus also in Canada. However, the first colony in the British Empire to have anti-slavery legislation was Upper Canada, now Ontario. Unfortunately, the act against slavery of 1793 did not free a single slave. It was superseded by the Slavery Abolition Act.
To better understand the anti-slavery legislation of 1793, we have to remember Chloe Cooley. Chloe was a young Black woman who was enslaved in Fort Erie in the late 1700s. Her owner forced her onto a boat across the Niagara River into the United States to sell her. This incident is believed to have led to the passage of the legislation of 1793 in Upper Canada that prevented enslaved people from being imported into the province.
Although the Slavery Abolition Act stopped slavery in the British colonies, it did not end in the American southern states. Up to 40,000 African American slaves tried to escape from the American south to freedom in the northern states or to Canada.
The Underground Railroad appeared in this context. It was not a railroad at all, but a complex clandestine network of people, including Blacks, fellow enslaved persons, white and indigenous sympathizers, Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, farmers, Americans and Canadians alike, who organized safe houses that helped enslaved men, women and children in southern plantations reach freedom in the north.
Between 1850 and 1860 alone, up to 20,000 slaves reached Upper Canada. It became the main terminus of the Underground Railroad. Black Canadians helped build strong communities and contributed to the development of the provinces where they settled. Some lived in all-Black settlements such as Elgin, Buxton, Queen's Bush and the Dawn settlement near Dresden, Ontario, as well as Birchtown and Africville in Nova Scotia.
They cultivated the land, built homes and raised families. Black people established religious, educational, social and cultural institutions, political groups and community building organizations. Two newspapers were also founded: The Voice of the Fugitive by Mary and Henry Bibb and Mary Ann Shadd Cary's The Provincial Freeman, making Cary the first Black woman in North America to edit a newspaper.
Through the ages, Black Canadians encountered various forms of discrimination. They were often relegated to certain jobs and denied the right to live in certain places due to their race. Parents were forced to send their children to segregated schools that existed in parts of Ontario and Nova Scotia. This is what historians call “residential segregation”.
People of African descent have shaped Canada's heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s. However, the vital role of people of African descent has not always been viewed as such.
Inspired by these stories of courage and resilience, Black Canadians of a more recent past have made tremendous contributions to our society. Let me recall some notable figures such as Alberta's Violet King, Canada's first Black female lawyer; Gloria Baylis, who in 1965 won the first-ever case of employment-related racial discrimination in Canada and founded the Baylis Medical Company; Chatham, Ontario's Fergie Jenkins, one of the most talented pitchers to ever play in Major League Baseball, winning the Cy Young Award in 1971 and becoming the first Canadian inducted into the National Baseball National Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1991; and Édouard Anglade, the first Black and for several years the only Black officer on the police force in Montreal.
On a very personal note, growing up in Toronto and studying in history class in high school, I did not see my history. The history books did not include me. It was almost as if Black history was erased. All these years later, decades later, my 16-year-old daughter still does not have what I wanted. She does not see herself in the books that she studies.
I say to members today, Black history is Canadian history.
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Lib. (ON)
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2020-12-07 14:16 [p.3030]
Madam Speaker, I rise today as the newly elected member for the riding of Toronto Centre to thank the people who got me here: my family, my friends and my team, who supported and guided me, but most importantly, the people of Toronto Centre. Through the by-election campaign, they told me loud and clear that they were worried about navigating life through COVID-19. Would they and their community be okay? Would the small businesses they worked so hard to build survive?
A couple of months ago, I was a journalist. I had done that job for almost 30 years. I heard the stories of thousands of people across our country, and in doing so, I saw the need and I saw it up close: young people looking to belong and to find their way; indigenous people fighting for their rights; women wanting equality; and people of colour fighting to break through systemic barriers.
I heard and I reported on all of these things, but now I can do more than just listen. I can serve the people of my great constituency. It is the reason I am here, to be their voice and their advocate, and what an honour it is.
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Lib. (ON)
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2020-12-03 14:46 [p.2923]
Mr. Speaker, gun and gang violence is a lived reality for far too many people in Canada, including residents in my riding of Toronto Centre. I have heard concerns from constituents, many of them parents mourning their own children, that we need to provide essential resources for prevention, diversion and exit programs.
Can the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please update the House as to what additional measures our government will be providing to cities and marginalized communities to keep them safe from this violence?
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Lib. (ON)
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2020-11-25 15:08 [p.2416]
Mr. Speaker, I am immensely proud to rise in the House today to ask a question that is top of mind for my constituents in Toronto Centre, and I would say, indeed all Canadians who are deeply concerned about how we are going to address climate change and how we can retool our economy for the future.
Could the Prime Minister please update the House on how we can get to a cleaner future and a stronger economy?
Results: 1 - 11 of 11

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