House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Edmonton—St. Albert for his re-election. I enjoy the flights with him back and forth between Alberta and Ottawa on a regular basis.

Health care is the number one issue in the province of Alberta. Access to universal public health care is, of course, one of those necessarily public services. Many in Edmonton, as across Canada, still lack access to a family doctor. Recently, information has been revealed, allegations made by the former head of the Alberta health authority, that privileged access to doctors and specialized medical services may be being provided by the Alberta government. That, of course, would be a potential violation of the Canada Health Act.

Has the hon. member raised these issues and concerns, raised by his constituents in Edmonton, about these allegations and about the fact that there is lack of access to family physicians? Also, has he suggested that the Minister of Health ought to look into these allegations?

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

June 13th, 2011 / 12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Edmonton—Strathcona for her re-election to this House.

As the hon. member knows and as many members of this House know, I was a former member of the Alberta Legislature, serving Edmonton Calder from 2001-04, at about the time some of these allegations were made regarding privileged access to physicians.

I have seen no evidence that this has occurred. I certainly invite the hon. member or the hon. member of the Alberta Legislature who believes that this is the case to bring forward this evidence. At this point there are only unsubstantiated allegations.

Health care is certainly an issue for my constituents, as I am confident it is for hers. This government has given student loan relief to physicians and to nurses who are prepared to relocate to more remote parts of Canada where physicians and nurses are sadly lacking. I think that is an important first step to solving the health care crisis.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I want to welcome and congratulate my colleague from Edmonton—St. Albert on his victory of May 2.

The member did talk a little bit about the operating review. It is an important point because, as we have seen in New Brunswick, we have a significant export economy, especially to the U.S. Many of our small businesses have seen a dramatic increase in the Canadian dollar. Also, with the recession, they were forced to really trim their budgets. They were forced to really look at all their expenses and to find all the efficiencies they could in order to continue to make a profit or to minimize and allow them to get over this hump.

I would just ask my hon. friend to talk a little bit about this operating review and that governments, the federal government as well the provincial governments, have a responsibility to do the exact same thing that we asked small business to do.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would similarly congratulate my hon. colleague on his re-election to this House.

Canadians expect their government to operate similarly to the way households operate or the way small businesses operate. One must operate within one's means. One cannot structurally spend more than one takes in, whether it is a family with a wage earner or a business with revenue.

It is fine to incur deficits over the short-term. Certainly, given the economic downturn, we incurred some temporary stimulus funding deficits to kickstart the Canadian economy. However, that is not a long-term plan.

Canadians expect their government to act similarly to small business or families, to live within their means and to live within balanced budgets. That is the key to economic prosperity over the long-term.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour and privilege for me to rise in the House today to speak to our government's budget 2011.

Since this is my first speech in the 41st Parliament, I would like to thank the people of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell for the support they have shown me over the past five years and for the trust they placed in me by re-electing me on May 2. It is a great honour and a great pleasure to be their member of Parliament, and I will do my very best to stand up for their interests here in the House and within the government.

Regarding the budget, I would like to begin by noting the tremendous support we received from Canadians for our government's low tax plan that focuses on protecting existing jobs, creating new jobs, securing Canada's recovery from the global economic recession, and improving the well-being of Canadians over the long-term.

All around us we see the signs of economic recovery, yet our country is still at risk. This is why our government has once again brought Canadians a budget that protects and creates jobs while promoting strong, sustained and balanced growth.

The recent election gave Canadians the opportunity to voice their concerns. The priorities of the residents of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell are job creation, strong economic leadership as well as financial support for seniors, farmers, families and firefighters. I am pleased that the budget addresses all of these issues. I listened carefully to the people of my riding and I am happy that the budget proposes initiatives that will address their concerns.

Canadians are encouraged by the economic recovery we have experienced here in Canada, and by the strategies taken by our Conservative government to reduce spending and taxes.

We made a number of promises during the election and we are keeping these promises. For example, the newest measure in the budget, the four year phase-out of the taxpayer subsidy for political parties, will save taxpayers over $27 million per year.

We said we would cut this subsidy and we are cutting it. The winner is the taxpayer.

Also, our government plans to cut the deficit by almost two-thirds by 2013. The deficit will continue to decline to just $0.5 billion by 2015. Eliminating the deficit will allow us to continue paying down the debt and investing in the priorities of Canadians.

This will mean even lower taxes for families and a decline of our national debt by 2016.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that Canada will be one of only two group of seven countries expected to return to budget balance by 2016. We said that we would eliminate the deficit and eliminate it we will.

In my riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, people have benefited significantly from the first phases of Canada's economic action plan. Since 2006, I have had the pleasure of announcing more than $130 million in federal government investments to improve our infrastructure, strengthen the local economy and help community development.

This level of federal investment in Glengarry—Prescott—Russell is unprecedented and has never been seen before. This funding has enabled us to preserve and develop our cultural heritages, and helped support our local businesses. That is only the beginning.

Budget 2011 is focused on creating jobs. That is particularly important in a rural riding such as mine. If we want people to move their families into rural areas, we must ensure that there are jobs there for them. The job creators are businesses. During the election we said that we would take measures to keep business taxes low and to stimulate job growth. That is exactly what we are doing.

In particular, there are tax measures to encourage and financially reward small businesses that create new jobs. These measures will help our economy to grow and will add jobs to the over 540,000 new jobs already created since July 2009.

I spoke about benefits for firefighters, seniors and families. Our budget provides for specific measures to help these important groups in our community.

In my riding, there are many volunteer firefighters. Rural communities such as the ones I represent need volunteer firefighters. These men and women have taken on the responsibility of protecting the members of our communities and even risk their lives for others. It is important to recognize that firefighters and their families make huge sacrifices.

I am very proud that our budget contains a significant tax deduction for our volunteer firefighters. Our Conservative government is the first federal government to have included such a measure in its budget. We said we would deliver strong financial support to recognize the critical work done by our volunteer firefighters and that is what we are doing.

Like every riding across Canada, the strength of my riding rests with its families. With the rising costs of living it becomes increasingly difficult for parents to afford extracurricular activities that will help their children develop their creativity. We had already delivered a tax credit to support physical fitness among youth. However, I wanted to see a tax credit to encourage an appreciation of the arts among our youth.

My riding in particular has a unique culture, one based on the francophone culture, dance and traditional music, as evidenced by the large number of youth who participate in the Glengarry Highland Games every year. The arts play a unifying role in the community. The arts enrich our children's lives and prepare them to become leaders in society, a fact supported by the government through the children's arts tax credit.

The budget also provides good news for seniors. I have visited with seniors across Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, particularly during this past election. I know of their important contributions to our communities and to our country. However, these are difficult times. As I mentioned earlier, the cost of living is increasing.

The cost of gas, electricity and food has increased, making it difficult for seniors, many of whom are on a fixed income, to make ends meet. I am pleased that the budget provides for a substantial increase in the guaranteed income supplement. An additional $600 per year will be paid to single seniors and $840 to couples. This is the third increase by the Conservatives for seniors and, it should be mentioned, the largest increase in the guaranteed income supplement in the past 25 years.

Agriculture is another very important issue that affects the well-being of my riding's residents. As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, I worked closely with the farmers in my riding and throughout Canada. I am very honoured that the Prime Minister has again entrusted me with this very important role, and I would like all farmers to know that I will work closely with the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and my colleagues to ensure that their interests are well represented in this government.

I believe we have done excellent work over the past five years. Farmers are doing better now than they have in a very long time. This is under a Conservative government and Conservative agricultural policies.

As we move forward in 2011, I will continue to seek input from the farmers of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell and across Canada on what our future agricultural priorities should be. It is clear that we have tabled a budget that is good news for Canadians and Canada.

The 2011 budget was presented to Canadians in March, before the last election, and was one that they liked. We based our election campaign on this budget and Canadians evidently approved. On May 2, Canadians elected a strong, stable, majority Conservative government. I invite my colleagues opposite to support budget 2011, as Canadians have done.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on being re-elected. He spoke very compassionately about seniors and I want to bring up the issue of Alzheimer's disease and, more broadly, dementia, which really is the most significant critical health care issue we face.

Today, some 500,000 Canadians live with some form of dementia and the terrible impact of the illness on families is profound. The current cost is $15 billion and in 30 years we will be looking at a cost of $153 billion. I recognize there is money for neurological disorders in the budget, but I will ask a very specific question.

Where is the national or federal strategy to cope with the rising tide of dementia and why do existing federal programs, research funding, support and income assistance pale in comparison to the enormous and rapidly escalating health, economic and social impacts of this disease?

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has raised a very important point. This is something we take seriously in terms of medicare and medical services delivered throughout Canada.

As my colleague knows, health falls predominantly under the responsibility of the provinces across Canada, but we as a Conservative government have announced our solid commitment to ensure that the provinces have the resources necessary to deliver health care, including the matter of which the member spoke. She quite rightly pointed out that we have addressed neurological disorders. We also work very closely with the provinces and groups that speak to us about particular plans and strategies to address these types of conditions.

I must enunciate that we did announce that we would continue to increase federal transfers to the provinces for health care to help situations as the member mentioned.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell on being re-elected for the third time in the House and for his hard work in the agricultural file. In my riding a very important sector is the agriculture community. He talked about seniors, small business, farmers, families, firefighters, and the list goes on. This is a comprehensive budget.

Would the hon. member expand a little more on the impact the budget will have on our agricultural community as we also help to expand additional markets to ensure we have a strong, stable supply of healthy foods not only nationally but around the world?

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for highlighting agriculture and the importance it plays not only in my riding but many ridings across Canada.

Our farmers are the salt of the earth. They work hard, pay their taxes and there are conditions under which they can succeed. As I mentioned in my speech, farmers are doing better now than they have in a very long time and that is thanks to the hard work of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and all colleagues in Parliament.

I was happy to see in the Speech from the Throne that our government has committed to increase farmers' access to international markets. When our farmers are able to sell their products into a larger international market, that is better for farmers. We also mentioned in the Speech from the Throne that we would defend supply management, while opening international markets to our farmers.

These two initiatives, coupled with all of the programming for farmers, will ensure that our farmers succeed in the future.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

I will start, Mr. Speaker, by congratulating you on your election. I also want to congratulate all my colleagues, members of the House, for their election to represent Canadians.

At this time I want to acknowledge and thank my family. My father, who is no longer with us, was one of my true mentors. I am always grateful for the values and work ethic he instilled in me. I thank my mom, brothers, extended family, of course, my partner, Steve, my two wonderful children and my inspiration to run in the last election, my three beautiful grandchildren, Jacob, Jessica and Emily. It is for their sakes that I chose to make this commitment. I know we have to build the kind of Canada in which our children and grandchildren can flourish.

What an honour it is today for me to rise in the House on behalf of the people of Newton—North Delta. Above all, I want to thank my constituents for the confidence they have placed in me. I will put their priorities front and centre every day.

I also want to acknowledge Sukh Dhaliwal for his five years of service to Newton—North Delta. We have different ideas about the country we want to build, but our commitment to social service is constant.

Communities like mine did not just choose a new member of Parliament on May 2, they sent a powerful message to Ottawa. We do not have to put up with the same old ways. Change is possible, we can choose something better, and that is exactly what they did. Four and a half million Canadians from every region rallied behind our New Democrat vision for a better Canada, where families come first and no one is left behind.

I humbly accept the mandate my constituents have given me. I accept their mandate to put families at the front of the line, ahead of the profitable banks, ahead of the big polluters and ahead of companies shipping good Canadian jobs out of the country. I accept their mandate to work constructively with all members of the House to get practical results. The challenges we highlighted in this election are very real for citizens in my community.

I have spoken with families that are being squeezed between caring for their children and caring for their elderly parents. They have seen their senior parents struggle to get by on a fixed income and have had to watch the very people who built our country struggle to meet their health care needs and other economic needs.

I have heard from students who are not only worried about the size of the debt they will have upon graduation, but are also worried that there will not be enough fair-paying jobs to help them get rid of the debt once they are employed. For example, when a young woman I met told me the size of her student debt, I was absolutely flabbergasted, and this is not a unique story. Her debt was higher than the mortgage I took out to buy my first house. That is the kind of struggle our young people face today.

I have talked with families that are seriously concerned that the pensions they have been paying into all their working lives may now be at risk due to privatization and the volatility of the stock market. We have all seen what happened south of the border.

Many of my constituents are puzzled when they see raw logs shipped out of our country, while sawmill jobs in Canada remain dormant. Whole communities are decimated. One only has to go through parts of B.C. to see this. However, this is not unique to B.C. I have seen these former well-paid mill workers now struggling to get by, the lucky ones, while working two or three part-time, low-paying jobs.

Almost all of my constituents, no matter their income, gender or ethnic background, want to see a strong, publicly funded health system in Canada. They want to see it enhanced. They do not want to see it privatized or rationed.

We have all heard about the Tim Hortons-style health care in British Columbia that forces people to be treated in a coffee shop rather than a hospital. Together, every one of us in the House must protect and improve a universal health care system, a gift from Tommy Douglas and other pioneers.

People question why there is a shortage of doctors, while foreign trained doctors and health care professionals are forced to drive taxicabs for a living because the government appears powerless to integrate them into our medical system. I travelled in a cab with a doctor from another country who, while there, was teaching in a hospital. He could not understand why after five years he still could not get a placement to get his credentials in Canada.

I have talked to young working families who are finding it difficult, almost impossible, to balance their cost of living, runaway gas prices, the cost of housing, the cost of child care, care for their aging parents and service their huge student debts. Most are frustrated. Many have lost hope. Almost half have become cynical of government. They see government as representing the interests of big banks and big corporations and not representing their family interests. They cannot understand the continued tax breaks to big banks and oil companies, while they are losing jobs in those sectors.

Families in my riding cannot understand why they have to wait from 12 to 15 years to bring grandparents and parents into our country. They are worried that the government has not made those kinds of commitments to improve family reunification.

That is why the people of Newton—North Delta voted for change. I promise them that I will fight for that change every day and I will fight for their interests. I look forward to working with all members of the House on practical solutions that will make a difference in Newton—North Delta.

I trust that the Prime Minister will respect the mandate our team brings in to Parliament. Four and a half million Canadians voted New Democrat and they know exactly what they voted for. They voted to strengthen public pensions. They voted to improve public health care. They voted to help families make ends meet. They voted to grow our economy with new jobs and opportunities.

Canadians elected our most unified opposition in 31 years, 103 committed New Democrats from every region of the country, the strongest Quebec federalist result in a generation, with the largest percentage of women in Canada history, with the largest percentage of young people under 30 years of age, with representation from first nations and many of the cultural communities that make Canada so diverse and so strong. This is an official opposition that knows where it stands. Our mandate is crystal clear. We will put forward practical solutions for families. We will oppose the government when it is off-track. However, we will work together when we can get constructive results.

I am honoured to serve the people of Newton-—North Delta and I am honoured to serve with every member of the House. We will each bring different skills and priorities into this place and different ideas about what our country can be, but we can all choose to work together constructively, with respect for each other and for the people who sent us here. That is how my parents taught me to move in this world. It is certainly the example I want to cite, not only for the children I have taught, but for my own children and grandchildren. I will bring my best here every day.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the member's comments. The member brought up a lot of issues that are under provincial jurisdiction, issues like tuition rates and so forth. Perhaps she might want to take them up with her provincial representatives. These are set by provincial jurisdictions.

I heard something about the delivery of health care in British Columbia, again a provincial matter. She well knows that our government has increased the health transfers year over year, 6% per year compounded since 2006. We have also introduced new spending for things like Health Infoway and so forth. We have also provided additional funds to reduce wait times. All of these are critical things.

The NDP constantly comes out against businesses that seem to be successful in Canada. I really do not understand the attacks on Canadian industries, whether they are in the energy sector or financial sector, two particularly strong sectors in Canada that drive a much larger economy. We hear a lot about breaks being given to these corporations.

Could the hon. member indicate whether she is aware of how many billions of dollars in taxes that these companies contribute to Canada's tax system and how many jobs that these sectors provide for Canadians? Is she aware of how much in taxes that generates for the country and the contributions they make toward employment insurance and CPP? I am sure the member, having come out against these two important sectors, would be aware of those numbers.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely aware that education is a provincial issue. However, we all know the reason the fees are going up is that the provinces are in need of transfer funds from the federal government. It is when those transfer funds are increased that the provinces, together with the federal government, can help to keep a cap on tuition fees. Tuition fees are out of control. I have a young son who is going through university right now. I can tell members that the cost of textbooks is just horrendous. I can afford to support him but many parents cannot.

As for health care, it is exactly the same. We know that the health care accord is coming up for negotiations. However, it is also the transfer of funds from the federal government that helps to support the health care system in our provinces. We need to look at that and we need to ensure that we have systems in place that will stop the creeping of privatization into our health care system.

As far as tax breaks for corporations, the NDP's position has been very clear. We believe that we need to be competitive in our tax breaks but that the tax breaks need to go to smaller and middle-sized businesses because they are the ones that grow jobs that stay in our communities.

I have met with many people who have been laid off in the banking sector, despite the fact that we have given it billions of dollars. I ask that I be given evidence that the banking sector has grown jobs.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my colleague to the House.

I believe that health care will be one of the defining issues of the next four years. My constituents, like those across the country, want their health care system to be there when families need it most.

We have heard from the Conservatives that they are taking action and making way on wait times but if we actually look at a 2011 study from the Canadians Institutes of Health, it shows that wait times vary widely across provinces. If we look at cataract or knee surgeries, many patients wait longer than the recommended limit.

I wonder if the member would comment on hospital wait times?

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I also congratulate the member on her election.

I will tell members a bit about my riding. We have one hospital in the huge municipality of Surrey. The waiting lists are absolutely huge in that riding. Even though we have had a bit of an investment in the infrastructure, what we are finding in our hospital in Surrey is that there is a shortage of professionals. There is a shortage of doctors and nurses. My constituents wait longer than their Vancouver counterparts to get normal surgical procedures. If people need knee surgery, they can go to Vancouver and get it done in about a third of the time than the people can in Surrey. The discrepancy is huge and it needs to be addressed by improving it for everyone.

Financial Statement of the Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Isabelle Morin Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have risen in this House and it is a great honour for me to do so on behalf of my constituents, the people of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and Dorval.

I first want to thank my entire team who helped me get here today, especially my spouse, Didier Sacy, who helped me a lot during my campaign. I also want to thank the voters of my riding, which had been Liberal since 1962, for the confidence they placed in me on May 2. It was difficult for some voters, but they voted for change.

The voters in my riding wanted not only a new MP, but also change. They had had enough of the old ways of governing, the decisions that did not represent their interests and values, and the growing cynicism. The voters in my riding placed their confidence in me on May 2, and I and the entire New Democratic Party must respect that.

I will start by making families a priority above the most profitable banks and the interests of polluters, but especially above companies that send our jobs overseas. Families are the future. Families will provide us with the desired population pyramid, a demographic situation that will allow us to help our seniors, offer health care to everyone and live on a healthy planet.

Families should be the first people we help and encourage, starting with our seniors, those who worked their entire lives, contributed to our economy and built the society we live in today. I have spoken with Nortel retirees, many of whom live in my riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine. They lose sleep at night because they are worried about their income. Scandals like the one at Nortel were permitted by previous governments. We have to commit to amending federal bankruptcy legislation to ensure that pensioners and long-term disability recipients are at the top of the list of creditors when employers are placed under court protection or declare bankruptcy. Nothing in the budget suggests that the government will provide them with any help. The cost of living, the increased cost of food, housing and gas is becoming a burden for families. We absolutely must help them.

In my riding, voters have another concern, namely, the very small place that the Conservative budget has given to the development of the green economy. During the election campaign, the Conservative candidate for Lac-Saint-Louis, a former senator and now a senator once again, promised major federal investments in a new rail line between the West Island of Montreal—Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport—and downtown Montreal. This line would serve as a commuter train and a quick connection for visitors to our great city. It is one of the most important and popular issues for the voters in my riding and in west Montreal.

This project, which has been the subject of discussion for years, would have a very positive impact on the economy, employment, the environment and the daily lives of thousands of workers, students and travellers. However, the budget proposed by the Conservatives does not include a single penny for this project, despite the candidate's promises. The senator received a very nice gift following the election, but there are no gifts in this budget for the 500,000 residents of west Montreal who have been waiting for a long time for an effective transportation service that will help them reduce the amount of pollution they are producing and take them to downtown Montreal where most activities take place.

Many residents of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine are disappointed that Ottawa is subsidizing the major polluters instead of supporting a green economy. My constituents want assurances that their environment will be protected. They want the government to take measures to bring people together; not to divide them.

I hope I can count on the co-operation of all members of the House to adopt practical solutions that will make a real difference in the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and in Dorval. I am counting on our Prime Minister to respect the mandate that was given to him and I am counting on our team to allow us to accomplish our work in Parliament. It would not be fair if the ridings represented by Conservatives received more projects than the others. The people of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and Dorval hope to receive the same favours as the rest of Canada.

On May 2, the voters of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine were among the 4.5 million Canadians who voted for change, who voted to strengthen public pension plans, improve health care, help families make ends meet and ensure that our economy offers new jobs and new opportunities. They voted for a better Canada, with fewer scandals and injustices. By voting for change, Canadians have voted in the most united official opposition in the last 31 years. We have 103 members from across the country: women, young adults and members of the cultural communities that help strengthen Canada. It is a heterogeneous official opposition that reflects the faces of Canada.

I am very honoured to have been chosen by the people of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and Dorval. I am also honoured to have the opportunity to work with all the members of this House. Despite a few differences, we can work together for the good of Canadians, work together constructively as we respect others and their ideas. That is how I will work. I will do my very best every day to represent my riding as well as I can.