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Results: 1 - 15 of 154
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, some of my constituents have concerns. The government has been slowly lifting some of the pandemic requirements, and that includes what is going on in terms of travel. The government knew that and anticipated it. On its website, it has put out information for the public as well.
To that end, the government should have anticipated that travel would escalate, and therefore that demand for services would increase, both at the airport, with people passing through, and at passport offices. However, we have chaos going on, and people are lined up for very long times and cannot get through. At passport offices in my own riding of Vancouver East, people have to tent overnight to try to get service.
How come the government did not anticipate that and ensure that adequate resources and staffing were in place?
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, what is clear is that the Conservatives are ideologically driven, and the Conservative leadership candidate, the member for Carleton, has been on a path to try to discredit and politicize the Bank of Canada. That is clear as day.
The Conservatives do not have any trouble in trying to invoke their ideology into the Bank of Canada, but they are ready to criticize others in the manner in which they are. What is interesting is that this bill calls for another audit, for the Auditor General to audit the Bank of Canada. Of course, the Bank of Canada already has independent audits going on, in any event, yet when the Conservatives were in government, they did not actually want to fund the Auditor General to do his work.
When will the Conservatives step up and make sure that all the departments within government, including the Auditor General, are actually properly funded to do their jobs?
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, Putin's horrific actions in Ukraine are killing children, women and elders, and displacing millions of Ukrainians who are fleeing for safety.
Since 2017, the NDP has been calling for visa-free access for Ukrainians. It is unfortunate that this has not been put in place, as it would have been the most efficient way to get people to safety. Instead, the government opted for a visa process.
Canada's immigration backlog now exceeds two million people, with significant backlogs in every stream. The minister said that he was going to fix the problem, but the situation is actually getting worse, not better.
The promise of a two-week turnaround time in processing of the Canada Ukraine emergency travel visa is just fiction. In fact, Ukrainians could not even get an appointment to get their biometrics done in two weeks. Not only that, the minister announced an extended family reunification measure for Ukrainian nationals on March 3. It has been over two and a half months, and there is still no indication of when details of the family reunification PR program stream will be launched.
Aside from the issue of processing visas and travel documents, the government is now relying on Air Miles to help Ukrainians get to safety. I certainly hope that this does not replace what is absolutely essential, which are evacuation flights. If it does, it is clearly not a very reliable way to help Ukrainians get to safety. Not only that, but it will also not help those who need to leave now.
What will happen when there are no more Air Miles points available? How will Ukrainians know that they can access points? For booking flights, points are extremely limited as there are limited seats available for each flight. As such, it could be very difficult for Ukrainians fleeing Putin's war to get to safety.
Ukrainians in need of getting to safety are mired in red tape with delays in getting emergency visas. Now, they need to wait for Air Miles points to be available and hope that they can get a seat to get to Canada. Let us imagine that. The Liberal government needs to realize that this not a vacation for Ukrainian nationals. People are trying to get to safety. They are fleeing a war, and they are in a desperate situation. Canada should be partnering with Air Canada and organizing evacuation flights for Ukrainians.
Because the immigration stream made available to Ukrainians is a temporary visitor stream, concerns that they will not have the support they need are escalating. Even though the Prime Minister announced that there would be income support for them a month ago, so far there is no information on when or how they will be able to access the support. There is not even clarity on how much income support they would get or how long it would be made available to them. This cannot carry on. Also, children would not qualify for the Canada child benefit, yet we know that newcomers rely on that support to support their access to safe housing.
Provinces have said that they would help, but it is not enough. We need the federal government to bring forward a national program to address this issue and to ensure equitable access and support for all Ukrainian nationals.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, the government is very good at making announcements, but the reality is that it actually has not followed up. The parliamentary secretary just talked about the income support for Ukrainians. Where is it? How can people access it? Where is the information for people to obtain that support? I have constituents who are hosting Ukrainians and they do not know where they can get that support. It is simply not there, even though the announcement was made by the Prime Minister weeks ago. Talk is cheap. We need to actually act on it and put those programs in place.
Finally, it is absolutely essential that the government does not rob Peter to pay Paul, and that it ensures that refugees from other countries are also supported, so agencies and resettlement agencies are not stuck without the support that they need for all those other countries. They all deserve support. The government also needs to take action to ensure resettlement services agencies have the capacity to do this work.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of the motion put forward by my colleague, the member for Victoria.
The NDP motion calls for the government to stop using Canadian taxpayers’ money to subsidize oil and gas companies, and to instead reinvest that money into renewable energy and measures to help Canadians with the rising cost of living.
The motion could not have come at a more desperately needed time. This week, constituents in my riding are paying over $2 a litre for gas at the pump. Many of the people scraping together the necessary funds to pay for fuel are essential workers, small business owners, families with young children and people with mobility challenges who need to drive for their livelihoods or to access essential goods and services.
Canadian families are already struggling with sky-high housing costs and income precarity exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. Even before the rise in gas prices, people were living paycheque to paycheque and struggling to make ends meet. Retirees and people on fixed incomes have not seen a rise in income to account for the rise in living costs.
By glaring contrast, the oil and gas companies are making record profits, while being heavily subsidized by taxpayers’ money. This grossly unjust situation is a direct result of the government’s heavily misaligned priorities. The NDP motion calls on the government to fix this dire situation and place people and the planet before oil and gas company profits.
As Canadians are struggling more than ever, we are also faced with the most urgent crisis of our time: the climate change crisis. The most recent IPCC report states:
It is unequivocal that climate change has already disrupted human and natural systems.
It goes on to say:
Societal choices and actions implemented in the next decade determine the extent to which medium- and long-term pathways will deliver higher or lower climate resilient development.... Importantly climate resilient development prospects are increasingly limited if current greenhouse gas emissions do not rapidly decline, especially if 1.5°C global warming is exceeded in the near term.
A new climate update issued by the World Meteorological Organization pointed out that there is a fifty-fifty chance that the annual average global temperature will temporarily reach 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level for at least one of the next five years, and this likelihood is increasing with time.
Let us just think about that for one minute. They are saying that we are not going to meet our target. I should not need to remind anyone in this house of the importance of the 1.5° mark. Climate scientists have long established that holding global warming to 1.5° could limit the most dangerous and irreversible effects of climate change.
Our global temperatures have already risen by 1.1° since pre-industrial levels. We are already feeling the devastating effects of climate change. B.C., my province, has just experienced one of the most challenging years of extreme weather in recent memory, with a heat dome that shattered temperature records and killed hundreds of people, followed by weather bombs that destroyed critical infrastructure, livestock and agricultural lands with record precipitation and floods. For days, B.C. was cut off from the rest of Canada by rail and road because of the damages from the unprecedented floods.
Left unchecked, extreme weather connected to climate change will continue to wreak havoc on Canadian lives and livelihoods.
Around the globe, we are witnessing how climate change has caused substantial damage to terrestrial, freshwater and coastal and ocean marine ecosystems. We are seeing glaciers melt, mountains change and permafrost thaw in the Arctic ecosystem. Let us be clear: This is the result of human-induced climate change. That is why we must fight the climate crisis like we mean to win.
Despite the urgency of the climate crisis on our doorstep, Canada has failed to meet any of its climate targets to reduce carbon emissions over the past 40 years. In fact, not only has Canada repeatedly failed to meet its climate targets, Canada is also one of the few wealthy countries where carbon emissions continue to rise. Industrialized and wealthy nations are responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world, but the effects of climate change impact developing nations and indigenous peoples the hardest.
Climate justice is justice, period. Continuing to subsidize oil and gas companies while delaying the economic and infrastructure overhaul and transition to green energy is the very opposite of climate leadership that Canadians and the world so desperately need. The new carbon capture tax credit is, in effect, a $2.6-billion subsidy to oil and gas disguised as a so-called climate solution by the Liberal government. It is the wrong path to take.
Earlier this year, more than 400 Canadian climate scientists and academics pleaded with the finance minister to scrap the plan to create the carbon capture tax credit. Professor Christina Hoicka, from the University of Victoria, stated that carbon capture is expensive and unproven in its effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Julia Levin, senior climate and energy program manager, stated that by relying on unproven “techno-fixes”, the government is “gambling with our lives.”
Carbon capture projects exist at the demonstration level only, and have not successfully been deployed at the scale needed to make them part of a viable pathway to reach net-zero by 2050. More than 80% of the carbon capture projects attempted in the United States have ended in failure. Shell's Quest carbon capture facility near Edmonton is emitting more greenhouse gas than it captures.
Across the board, scientists are calling for the government to invest in proven climate solutions, including renewable energy, efficient affordable housing and the electrification of transportation as the way to go. The choices we make today will have a lasting impact on future generations.
It has long been my belief, and the NDP's belief, that a just transition must not only create a healthier environment, but also create better opportunities and improve affordability for Canadian workers and families. A just transition creates good jobs in the renewable energy sector and supports workers and communities in transitioning to jobs in this sector.
Canada could become a world leader in renewable energy development. Investing in energy-efficient home retrofits and affordable energy-efficient new homes, as well as investing in a robust electric public transit system, would make life more affordable for Canadians and reduce emissions. In other words, a just transition would help to build a stronger, resilient economy. It is an opportunity that any government that values people and the planet would jump on. Instead, Canada is spending 14 times more on financial support to the fossil-fuel sector than it does on renewable energy.
The Liberals promised a just transition act in 2019, but have failed to deliver and were recently rebuked by the Environment Commissioner for their lack of a plan to support workers and communities through the transition to a low-carbon economy. At the same time, oil and gas companies are making record profits, and Canadians are being decimated at the pump with record-high prices while the world is on the brink of a climate disaster.
The majority of Canadians are concerned about climate change and affordability as the cost of living continues to rise. If the Liberals eliminated the tax credits for oil and gas exploration and development right now, it would bring in almost $10 billion over the next four years. Instead—
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, instead of subsidizing very profitable big oil companies, the government can provide immediate relief to struggling Canadians by suspending the GST on residential energy bills, doubling the GST tax credit and increasing the Canada child benefit to all recipients by $500. That would be an immediate help for Canadians.
By the way, the oil and gas industry should be paying for the work that needs to be done to make the planet better. It is making record profits and can afford to do it. There is no good reason why the Canadian Liberal government continues to subsidize it. That money should be invested in people and renewable energy.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, I did not realize the member was a scientist. I did not realize we should trust someone who is frankly right in the pockets of big oil instead of the scientists who have brought forward the evidence. The last time I checked, I would rather trust the scientists than the Conservatives.
Let me say this on the issue of carbon capture. If that is the technology to be used, as the member suggests, why does the oil and gas industry not pay for it itself? Why does it need a subsidy from the Canadian government? I hope the member realizes that money should be invested in communities and Canadians who need that support and are being gouged right now at the pumps.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, on the issue of the NDP negotiating with the government on the supply and confidence agreement, we have advanced the notion to call on the government to end the oil and gas subsidies. We got a bit, only $9 million, in terms of a return, but of course the government went and gave a giant gift to the oil and gas sector. That does not mean to say we will not continue to strongly advocate for this and to call the government out whenever it steps in the wrong direction. That is why we have this motion on the floor today. I hope all members of the House will support it.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, the cornerstone of our democracy rests in people's ability to vote. We have heard from constituents over and over again. In particular, in my riding of Vancouver East, my constituents have consistently told me that they want to see a democratic system where every vote counts.
Prior to the 2015 election, the Prime Minister promised Canadians that would be the last first-past-the-post election that we would have. Of course, when the Liberals formed government, that was all but forgotten, even though the House had engaged in extensive work with regard to proportional representation.
I would like to ask the member for her thoughts about that. When the Prime Minister reneges on a promise like that, is the Prime Minister telling Canadians that they cannot trust what he promises? What damage does that do to our democratic system?
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Mr. Speaker, I was listening to the speech from the member, and it was perplexing to me to hear him suggest that the bill should be withdrawn and the heritage committee should study the matter. In fact, if this bill passes second reading, it would be referred to committee, where we would be able to call witnesses and ask questions pertaining to the bill. It is perplexing to me that he would want to effectively kill the bill with his amendment. The NDP supports this notion and has been calling for the government to equalize the web giants with small, local media outlets. This bill is a good start.
Why would the member want to kill the bill if he truly wanted to have a discussion about it and have witnesses presented on this issue?
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Mr. Speaker, today the media reported that Afghan interpreters who helped the Canadian military are being tortured and beaten by the Taliban while they wait for the government to get them to safety.
Yesterday, our committee was told that 3,800 Afghans had their identities verified by National Defence, but only 900 of those have had their applications processed. No one knew or could advise what happened to the other 2,900 applications. Meanwhile, IRCC is in complete chaos and is asking GAC to resubmit those cases.
Can the minister confirm if IRCC has lost those urgent applications?
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, the member made a thoughtful speech. He is clearly thinking about how he should proceed here. With that being said, he raised the issue around tradition versus what should be done to ensure inclusive approaches in the House of Commons. This is a really important issue here from my perspective. I think inclusivity should absolutely be the way to go forward.
I was dismayed that the Bloc rejected the NDP amendment to ensure that we include indigenous people and we recognize them, recognize that this is their land that we do our work in. All of us who are non-indigenous people are settlers in this country. We should, in fact, recognize that. It is not about politics. In fact, this is our history and we must own it.
To that end, I would like to ask the member if he would agree that the proceedings should be changed to ensure that indigenous peoples are recognized in this very chamber.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, I rise today to follow up on the questions that I had brought to the government's attention and my concerns with its lack of action in ensuring that Afghans who are fleeing and hiding from the Taliban would be able to get to safety. I also raised with the government during this period that there are over 300 former Afghan interpreters whose families have been left behind. They have made an application and done a tremendous amount of work in guiding the government in bringing forward the necessary immigration measures to support their loved ones so that they can get to safety. Unfortunately, even with all of that guidance, the government has not been able to move forward in bringing their loved ones to Canada.
The problem rests with the government's inability to process these applications in an effective and efficient manner. The government is requiring individuals to provide documents that many of them would not have because they have had to burn them, because if they are found to have documentation that they are supporting or working with the Canadian military or have any links to the west, the minute the Taliban finds such documentation on them or in their residence, they would be targeted. This cannot be allowed to happen.
The Afghan interpreters have made these applications following the government's rules, and of those 300 applications, only 35% have been processed and 65% have yet to receive a G number. They have not received acknowledgement from the government. This is the reality. The urgency is getting grave. In fact, we found out yesterday at the Special Committee on Afghanistan that the Department of National Defence has submitted 3,800 applications that it has approved and vetted to Immigration, yet of those 3,800, only 900 have been processed. Some 2,900 are sitting somewhere and nobody knows where they are or what is happening with them.
In the meantime, we are getting media reports that Afghans who have supported the Canadian military are being hunted down by the Taliban. They have been tortured by the Taliban. That is the reality. There is such urgency in this situation that I really do not get what the government is doing. Liberals can get up every day and say what a great job they are doing, but the reality is that they are not doing a great job. There are so many family members who have been left behind and their lives are in danger every minute of the day as we speak. This cannot be allowed to happen.
I want know from the Minister of Immigration what is happening to those files. Why can IRCC not find them in the system? Global Affairs Canada has also made referrals to IRCC, and I am learning that those referrals that have been sent to IRCC have also vanished into thin air. In fact, IRCC is now asking the families of the representatives here in Canada to go back to GAC and ask it to resubmit those referrals. What on earth is going on with IRCC? Has it lost these files? Does it not realize that every minute of the day matters in the lives of these individuals and that we as Canadians owe these families to bring them to safety?
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, the Liberal government just does not get it.
It is not acting with the level of urgency that is required. It is not waiving the burdensome red tape that has been foisted on the families, asking them to fill out application forms, only to layer more application forms on them, even though all of that has been done. Even though the Department of National Defence has verified that these individuals have an enduring relationship with Canada, are at risk and have serviced Canada, the government cannot find the files that have been referred by the Department of National Defence or from GAC. How is this even possible?
Does the government not realize that, when it delays the processing and delays acting, it is putting lives at risk?
I am calling on the government to waive the documentation requirements and to immediately issue single travel journey documents so these Afghans could get to safety now.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are all hon. members here. I know that debates get heated from time to time, but it is entirely inappropriate for that member to refer to my colleague, the member for New Westminster—Burnaby, as a “lapdog”. It is entirely inappropriate to use that kind of language in the House and to refer to any hon. member in the House in that manner.
Madam Speaker, I seek your advice on how to proceed with the outrageous point of view offered by that member.
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