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Results: 1 - 15 of 366
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present a petition calling on us to address the underlying causes of forced migration, including armed conflict, climate change and persecution.
Canadians are asking us to do more by supporting grassroots organizations that promote peace, democracy and human rights and investing more in diplomatic and peaceful solutions to armed conflicts.
This may be the last time I rise in the House. There is no greater honour for me than to take this final opportunity to present this petition.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, I will likely have a chance to speak in the House again, but since this is my last official member's statement, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to a number of people.
I want to thank all of the members of the big parliamentary family, including my colleagues, the staff, the pages and the press. I will miss you.
I want to thank the community groups and organizations in my riding for their creativity and their commitment to making Laurier—Sainte-Marie a place where everyone is able to live a good life.
I thank my team, Jean-François, Ariane, Christine and Marianne, and everyone else who has come through my office. I thank Jennifer Pedersen, Lili and Roxane. Good luck, Roxane.
I sincerely thank the people of Laurier—Sainte-Marie for their trust, their kindness and for inspiring me.
Finally, I want to thank my husband, Germain Bélanger. We have been together for over 40 years and he is the wind beneath my wings.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by over 15,000 citizens and residents of Canada.
This petition points out that the closure of our embassy in Tehran and the expulsion of Iraqi diplomats had a serious impact on the consular services offered to Iranians living in Canada. There is no one to help them on the ground.
It has also had a negative impact on Iranian citizens who want to visit Canada and cannot access visa services, as well as on Canadian citizens who get into trouble in Iran and do not get the best consular service they can get. They remind us that our European allies, notably the United Kingdom, did renew links with Iran after the adoption of the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The petitioners ask the Canadian government to be true to its commitment and re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, which would enable us to reopen an embassy in Tehran and have Iranian representatives in Ottawa.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by dozens of citizens. I know that a number of similar petitions have been signed by thousands of citizens from coast to coast to coast.
The signatories note that Canada has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child but that many of the government's policies do not uphold those rights for everyone equally.
I would like to share just two examples. The housing first benefit takes only adults into account. It does not take children, who are often those in the greatest need, into account. The child benefit is not distributed equally either.
There are other examples, but, essentially, what the petitioners want the government to do is fix programs that do not uphold the the principle of equal rights for all children. They want the government to ensure that no child is excluded and that all children can achieve their full potential.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, our “say the right thing and do nothing about it” government is at it again.
Three years ago, the then foreign affairs minister, Stéphane Dion, was at an event sponsored by my colleague from Windsor—Tecumseh, where he announced with great fanfare that Canada would be signing the optional protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. That was in 2016. It is now 2019, and there has been no progress on that front.
Will the government at long last walk the talk and ratify the protocol, or is it only for show, as usual?
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Madam Speaker, women are in prison in Saudi Arabia simply for having peacefully defended their rights. They have been subjected to sexual abuse and torture. Those responsible must be sanctioned.
Will the government issue individual sanctions against those who are responsible for the torture of Loujain al-Hathloul and the other women detainees, or will it continue to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia, putting profits ahead of human rights?
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Madam Speaker, the Environment Canada report released this week is extremely worrisome. Canada is warming at twice the global average, and things are even worse in the north.
Meanwhile, the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development confirmed what we already know: the government is not doing enough to combat climate change. We also learned this week that the Liberals took $50 million from a green fund to subsidize the oil industry.
The government cannot keep acting as though nothing is happening. It cannot keep subsidizing the oil industry. It cannot claim to be a champion of the environment and then buy a pipeline with taxpayer money instead of investing heavily in the economy of the future. The environment must be our top priority. Talk is not enough. We need action.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Madam Speaker, this week, nine men were executed in Egypt after a grossly unfair trial.
These executions reflect the serious worsening of the human rights situation in Egypt, where the government is cracking down on human rights activists, journalists, members of the LGBTQ community and basically anyone who dares to publicly criticize Egypt's military dictatorship.
When will the minister break her silence and exert pressure on Egyptian authorities to uphold human rights and the rule of law?
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Madam Speaker, I will begin where my colleague across the aisle left off and say that, yes, in principle, there are good intentions in the idea of limiting funding from foreign entities to third parties.
We are all concerned about foreign interference in our elections, in our democratic systems, here in Canada and basically around the world. We have seen some rather troubling front-page headlines recently. This interference is a direct attack on our democracy, our democratic systems. We must take notice and come up with solutions to avoid it. Obviously, funding leaves the door wide open to interference.
Let me be clear. We in the NDP fully support the idea of limiting foreign contributions to third parties. However, we are very concerned that this bill will not meet that objective.
There are a number of problems. Some have talked about problems implementing what the bill proposes. There are many such problems. There are extraterritorial issues here, which are significant and complex, so yes, there will be implementation problems.
That said, the thing that concerns me the most is the major loopholes in this bill. It essentially talks about contributions for election advertising purposes. Why only advertising? That is a loophole, because a third party could receive money and divert it for other purposes. The third party could take a foreign contribution that was meant for a specific purpose and use it for advertising instead. By limiting the focus to advertising, the bill undermines the primary objective, which is to combat foreign influence.
Advertising is one aspect, but there is so much more. There is the question of the definition of a foreign entity. The bill uses the definition from the Canada Elections Act. That definition includes individuals who are neither citizens nor permanent residents and corporations that do not carry on business in Canada. That is rather interesting. It is 2019. In 2019, there is no shortage of small companies all around us, but there is also the private sector and the vast number of multinationals. That means that if we exclude individuals only, then we leave the door open to multinationals and welcome them with open arms because they are not excluded. They can continue to make contributions to third parties for advertising during election campaigns. They are not covered by this bill.
That is very interesting because the Conservatives always seem to be fairly selective when we talk about defending democracy and election financing.
I listened to the speech given by my colleague who talked about the Tides Foundation and environmental organizations, which often address issues of global concern, since the environmental challenges we are facing are global challenges that know no borders.
Listening to my Conservative colleague's speech, I got the impression that he is really bothered by environmental groups and that he thinks we should stop letting them speak. Multinationals, however, should be able to keep doing what they are doing.
I find that rather ironic. I also find it ironic that the Conservatives are the ones who raised this concern about political financing when they are the ones who decided, at one point, that public funding for political parties was not a good idea.
They said that it was really not a good idea and that we should do away with it. I found that rather sad. When I was young, I would vote for the NDP in Quebec at a time when people did not really know much about the NDP yet. I would tell myself that the NDP would surely not win in my riding but at least the party I believed in would get a couple of bucks from my vote. The Conservatives preferred to do away with that practice.
Does that mean that there is no public funding for political parties? No. Public funding for political parties still exists because now, when I make a donation to a political party, I am entitled to a tax refund.
This tax credit is not a form of public financing, but it is for people who, like me, earn enough income to pay taxes. It is a fact that those who give the most money and who have the most money are the ones with the largest tax refunds. However, there are no subsidies for political donations for people who have very low incomes. They pay out of pocket.
I find it ironic to see the Conservatives rise in defence of Canadian democracy, when so many of the measures they took when they were in power only served to undermine it.
That said, as one of my colleagues suggested, I hope that we will be able to take a non-partisan approach to this. It would be so wonderful to avoid petty games on matters like electoral reform, democratic development and the preservation of our institutions.
However, it seems to me that this bill, which is difficult to implement and full of holes, is still quite partisan.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, today I would like to pay tribute to Lucia Kowaluk, a great Montrealer who passed away on February 1 at the age of 84.
Lucia was a social worker, an engaged citizen of Milton Park, a pacifist, an environmentalist and a feminist. She was a decades-long advocate for social housing and champion of the disenfranchised.
She helped found the Centre d'écologie urbaine de Montréal and a day centre for the homeless, and she fought to have the old Hôtel-Dieu hospital turned into social housing and a community hub. In 2014, she received the Order of Canada and was made a knight of the Ordre national du Québec.
In her memory, let us continue to support the wonderful project led by Communauté Saint-Urbain so that the Hôtel-Dieu site can become a healthy, inclusive and green community space for all Montrealers.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition in support of women of courage. The petitioners remind us that women's organizations play a key role in conflict prevention, that peace agreements have a 35% greater chance of lasting at least 15 years when women help draft them, and that we—officially, at least—have a so-called feminist foreign policy.
The petitioners also remind us that only 5% of funds dedicated to peace and security go to gender equality or women's empowerment and that we are very far from our international commitment of 0.7% in international assistance. Therefore, the petitioners ask that the government actually fund its feminist international policy, focus on support for grassroots organizations that is flexible and respects their needs, and increase its international assistance to reach its 0.7% commitment over the next 10 years.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, I am profoundly sad as I rise today to pay tribute to our colleague and friend Paul Dewar, who passed away yesterday.
Paul was a courageous man who was determined to build a better world for everyone. Paul was a strong, compassionate voice on topics like nuclear disarmament, human rights, peace and justice.
Paul dedicated his life to public service as a teacher, union leader and parliamentarian. Even in his last year, while battling cancer, he still poured his spirit into his legacy initiative to empower young Canadians, Youth Action Now.
We love Julia, Nathaniel and Jordan. Our entire New Democrat family grieves with them.
Let us heed Paul's final message to us:
...may we be bound together by joyous celebration of life. We are best when we love and when we are loved.Shine on like diamonds in the magic of this place.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, after Ms. Meng was arrested, did the government immediately make representations to the Chinese authorities explaining its actions or did it just calmly wait for the situation to blow up?
Mr. McCallum's departure is just the latest example of the government's lack of preparation. This chaos is unacceptable.
How can Canadians have confidence in a government that is flying by the seat of its pants when dealing with a global superpower?
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, with the holidays approaching, lots of people are expecting a gift from the Prime Minister, a by-election in Outremont.
In October, the Prime Minister decided that over 300,000 Canadians, including the citizens of Outremont, did not need a voice in Parliament. All people have the right to an elected representative to defend their interests. We have an outstanding candidate in Outremont, a friend of mine, Julia Sanchez. She is an extraordinary woman whose involvement internationally and on environmental issues I know well. Knowing what she has accomplished in those arenas, I know she will do an exceptional job of representing the people of Outremont and defending their interests.
This holiday season, the Prime Minister should give the people of Outremont the gift of a by-election so that Julia Sanchez can join the NDP caucus in Ottawa.
View Hélène Laverdière Profile
Mr. Speaker, since the vile murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Germany and many of our other allies have shown real leadership and stopped selling arms to the Saudi regime.
Meanwhile, in Canada, it has now been six weeks since the Prime Minister announced that the government was reviewing existing export permits to Saudi Arabia.
Once again, could the Prime Minister update the House on the status of this review?
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