Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege to say my final speech in this House.
How could I be leaving this fantastic job? I am the fourth member of my family to be a member of Parliament, the first woman and the first New Democrat. I have the best spouse and political partner, Howard. I have an amazing staff team. I have a family who is proud of me and supports me, so how could I be giving a farewell speech?
I feel like I have been able to achieve a lot in the three years I have been here.
Abandoned vessels is something I worked on for eight years before being elected here. I feel we have really made a lot of progress. I have been honoured to carry on former member of Parliament Jean Crowder's work. We really pushed the issue here, with the support of the transport minister and members of Parliament from the Atlantic.
Pay equity was another win. It was my motion, just weeks into this Parliament, that put equal pay for women on the government's agenda. It was not there before. Three years later, we almost have legislation. That is a huge win.
Also, with my fellow New Democrat MPs from Vancouver Island, we had the rules for infrastructure funding changed so that BC Ferries could apply for capital infrastructure for ferry improvements. That brought $62 million in improvements for coastal communities. We are very proud of that work.
With my staff team, I was also able to help bring millions of dollars of funding and hundreds of jobs into the riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith.
Also, a ruling was made with the Speaker's agreement to change the rules so the Speaker could recognize first nations leaders who appear in the public gallery in this House. That was a small thing, but a new thing.
As New Democrats, we also achieved some amazing things this year particularly. My colleague, whom I am so proud to serve with, the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, brought in legislation. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is something the whole country can be proud of. I am honoured to serve with him and appreciate his leadership.
My colleague from Vancouver Island, the member for Courtenay—Alberni, just in the past few months has had huge wins both on veterans funding and on the issue of marine plastics pollution. I am very proud of him.
There are other New Democrat fixes which we really hoped would pass in this House and which my colleagues proposed, such as, closed containment for salmon farms, an anti-poverty plan, right to housing, labelling GMOs, and pension reform. These are all progressive constructive proposals. Sadly, they were all voted down by the Liberal government. Nevertheless, those issues were raised.
I love my job as a member of Parliament. I am honoured to serve with this beautiful New Democrat caucus. I am proud that Jagmeet Singh is our leader, the first racialized leader of any political party in this country's history. I have been so honoured to serve in this historic building.
However, the environmental and housing crises my riding faces cannot wait until after the next federal election. I have been pushing for eight years for regulations to deal with marine oil spills, and bitumen spills in particular. The government has not changed the regulations. However, the B.C. NDP says that it will, and it is trying.
Affordable housing spending is largely pushed off until 2020 federally, but just this week in my riding, the B.C. NDP has moved 155 homeless people into modular housing. As well, it has just announced spending of $12 million for 120 new affordable housing units done with community organizations.
I fought to stop oil tanker transportation increases in my riding, which would risk tens of thousands of jobs we have on the coast already. I thought all we had to do was beat Harper, but it turns out the Liberals bought the pipeline. It is now the B.C. government which is working to stop that.
Climate change is the greatest crisis of our times. The Liberals adopted the Harper government's targets, and even the ombudsman says they will not meet them. Again, the action on the ground that is creating both jobs and climate change action is provincial. The NDP there is working the hardest to cut emissions and create jobs doing it.
I am inspired by the New Democrat and Green co-operative governing partnership, which is achieving results in British Columbia. In the referendum, I am really hoping voters choose to move away from the outdated first past the post system and into a proportional representation system to make every vote count. I am sorry it did not pass and was stopped by the government federally, but maybe we can make it happen provincially and inspire the rest of the country.
Finally, although I am proud to have advanced abandoned vessel solutions federally, we did not get the changes that New Democrats asked for dealing with the backlog, vessel recycling, and a turn-in program that has been done in Washington and Oregon. The B.C. NDP campaigned to do those things, so I can help in that regard to get this work finished.
I am honoured to have the endorsement of the Union of BC Municipalities, Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. They all endorsed the same solutions that the government voted down.
That the premier invited me to be part of his progressive government and stand for the nomination is a compliment to my staff team and my constituents who have worked hard to get real change on the agenda.
In my 15 years of elected office, I have drawn immeasurably on the wisdom of my colleagues from coastal communities and Islands Trust Council. The Snuneymuxw First Nation chief and council are very strong partners. Gabriola Island, my home, has continued lessons of sustainability and community action that continue to support and inform me.
I have learned so much working alongside Ladysmith's mayor, Aaron Stone, and John Elliott, the Stz'uminus First Nation chief. I want to recognize the collaborative work that they have done together and recommend it as a model for the rest of the country of what reconciliation and action really looks like.
We have a brand new mayor and a brand new council elected in Nanaimo, which has precipitated this by-election, but that creates a real opportunity for us in my hometown to be able to implement progressive solutions.
Good things are happening already. With a new government in place provincially, we have three new ambulances, 24 new paramedics, a new update which was sorely overdue for the intensive care unit at the hospital, affordable child care for 2,700 Nanaimo kids, ferry fares frozen on major routes and rolled back on minor routes so seniors can ride ferries for free. Great things are happening.
I am determined to keep serving the people of Nanaimo and amplify those opportunities that are before us. I am hoping that I am elected to this new provincial role in the new year. I will be drawing on the lessons learned in this building. I will keep the work going, building on what we have been able to do together as a community, building on what I have learned from people at home and from the abundant lessons here in this Parliament.
It is an exciting future ahead of us. I wish my colleagues in the House well. I say a big hello and that I am so looking forward to being home and working shoulder-to-shoulder with the people implementing real results on the ground right now.