House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was discrimination.


Minister of International TradePrivilegeGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to provide further comment on the question of privilege raised by the member for Essex concerning the government's treaty tabling policy. As I have previously stated, the matter raised refers to government policy and does not concern parliamentary procedure.

The treaty tabling policy that the member has referenced relates to governmental and departmental activities. As such, I submit that the issue does not fall under the purview of the House and is beyond the jurisdiction of the Speaker.

Furthermore, rulings made by the House consistently support this notion. Speaker Bosley, in his May 15, 1985 ruling, said, “I think it has been recognized many times in the House that a complaint about the actions or inactions of government departments cannot constitute a question of parliamentary privilege.”

Mr. Speaker, in his ruling on February 7, 2013, your predecessor stated, “It is beyond the purview of the Chair to intervene in departmental matters or to get involved in government processes, no matter how frustrating they may appear to be to the member.”

He further echoed this in his ruling of May 2, 2014, in response to a point of order regarding the very matter that is before us today. In that ruling, the Speaker referred to the treaty tabling policy and said, “It is clear to me that the policy in question belongs to the government and not the House. It is equally clear that it is not within the Speaker's authority to adjudicate on government policies or processes, and this includes determining whether the government is in compliance with its own policies.”

The member for Essex contends that her ability to properly discharge her parliamentary functions was impeded by the tabling timeline of CETA. The member opposite should know that in the acting legislation to implement the terms of the treaty, Parliament has no formal role in treaty processes. The tabling of the treaty helps members to prepare for debate on the enabling legislation. Therefore, I submit that the tabling of the treaty before the bill was introduced in no way affects the ability of the member to fully discharge her duties in scrutinizing the bill.

I would note that the bill was introduced on October 31 and has yet to be called for debate at second reading. Moreover, a technical briefing was provided to the member on November 2, and the text of the treaty itself has been publicly available online since February of this year. Furthermore, the committee, of which the member for Essex is a member, was briefed about CETA last March.

The government's policy on tabling of treaties provides that enabling legislation wait 21 days following the tabling of a treaty. Section 6.3 of the tabling of treaties policy provides for exceptions. An exception for CETA was granted.

We have seen exemptions granted by the government in the past. Under the previous government in the last Parliament, five exemptions were made for the amendments to the International Convention against Doping in Sport.

I would like to draw the attention of members of the House to the fact that in the previous Parliament, the NDP voted in favour of a free trade agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea in 2014, which was also subject to an exemption. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed on September 22, 2014, and the enabling legislation was introduced in the House the next day.

I submit that the matter raised by the member for Essex does not constitute a legitimate question of privilege. On the contrary, the tabling of the treaty in advance of the introduction of Bill C-30 will only serve to assist the member in fully scrutinizing the bill and exercising her parliamentary duties.

Minister of International TradePrivilegeGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his intervention on this question. We will get back to the House, I am sure, in the days following.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, be read the third time and passed.

Canadian Human Rights Act

November 18th, 2016 / 10:35 a.m.


Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, what often unifies our weakest moments, the moments when we inflict damage upon others, the moments that linger in our minds as regret long after they have happened, the moments that we later need to ask forgiveness for or make recompense for, is a failure to seek to grant compassion to others.

Few of us seek to be uncompassionate, yet, in our fragility, we often are. This is because compassion is a difficult thing. Compassion requires work. Compassion requires self-reflection. Compassion requires selflessness. Compassion requires humility. Compassion requires departure from dogmas that often define who we are. Compassion requires courage. Compassion requires empathy across cultural grounds, across religious views, across political ideology, and across the sins of others.

This is why most religious texts and teaching often weave consistent compassion as a thread through their teachings. This is because it is compassion that, in our worst moments, saves us.

Our charge as legislators is to seek and then to define a just and well-considered but ultimately compassionate course of action when a charge of inequality is levelled.

On our first charge, that of understanding, Bill C-16 seeks to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination.

It also seeks to amend the Criminal Code, to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression, and to clearly set out the evidence that an offence motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.

In short, the bill seeks to provide remedy for the inequality and discrimination that the trans community faces in Canada.

The bill, in various forms, has been debated in this House for years now. That said, it has only been in the last few years that the issue of equality for transgendered Canadians has become ingrained in the awareness of the Canadian public writ large.

I remember the first time that someone explained what gender identity and gender expression meant. I remember it clearly. It was right after I was elected in 2011. I remember being shocked at myself for not understanding this, given the level of severity that it means for me, as a legislator, not to get that. I think it is probably worth having that discussion here today to remind people.

“Sex refers to biological differences: chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs.” I am quoting from a paper from an Australian university.

Gender describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine. So while your sex as male or female is a biological fact that is the same in any culture, what that sex means in terms of your gender society can be quite different cross culturally. These 'gender roles' have an impact on the health of an individual. In sociological terms 'gender role' refers to the characteristics and behaviours that different cultures attribute to the sexes.

It is very important for us to understand this, because our understanding of gender roles and our notion of gender is in fact fluid.

I look at myself today. I am standing in the House of Commons. I am a cisgendered woman. Only a few decades ago, if I had stood here in pants advocating for my community, as a divorced woman, as a woman without children, I think about how I would have been perceived, and what my gender role would have been decades ago. I would not have had the right to stand here. Our rights are so precious, and they are so fragile, and if we legislators cannot acknowledge when inequality exists, and if we cannot rectify that, then we are doing something wrong.

My rights as a woman and my equality were won by those who came before me, who challenged the norms assigned to my gender by society, and who still challenge those norms today and ensure that those challenges are remedied by reflection in law: the right to vote, discrimination based on gender, sexual harassment, equal pay for equal work. There is so much more work to be done, yet I am so far ahead of where members in the trans community in Canada are.

The reality is that many people who do not conform to the gender roles associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. This is not a defect. This is not an illness. This is an expression of our uniqueness and of our humanity against what others in our society may pressure us to conform to be, and nobody in Canada or in the world should face discrimination for living his or her personal truth. As legislators, we need to understand and acknowledge that great discrimination does in fact occur because of this.

When I last spoke to this bill in 2013, I noted that the trans community in Canada had on frequent occasions experienced elevated levels of sexual violence committed against members of that community, frequent workplace discrimination and job loss based on gender, lack of clarity on health care provisions and sometimes access to health care, lack of clarity on processes related to obtaining identification documents, bullying in places of employment and educational institutions, discrimination in accessing housing accommodation, and numerous other incidents of discrimination. Most important, they lived every day with the consequences of these acts of non-compassion, of false assumptions that simply by virtue of their state they were sexually promiscuous or, more ludicrously, that they were criminal. In this, the trans community experiences very high rates of levels of both depression and suicide.

Since I made this argument in 2013, very frankly and very simply put, little progress has been made on righting many of these injustices. All we can do is ask for forgiveness and then act.

This weekend will mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance, so it is fitting to recount the following.

Suicide rates among the transgendered community are incredibly high. As published by Egale Canada, in 2010, 47% of trans youth in Ontario had thought about suicide and 19% had attempted suicide in the preceding year. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project, a worldwide initiative to uncover the atrocities committed against transgendered people worldwide, found that from January 2008 to April 2016, over 2,000 members of the trans community were tragically murdered, and those are only ones that were reported. The most frequent ways these innocent lives were taken were by shootings, stabbings, beatings, strangulations, and stonings. This report also shows that 576 of these transgendered people were killed and brutally murdered in the streets. These lives were lost because of intolerance, of bigotry, and of hate.

This is not something that just happens overseas or somewhere else, or something that we can turn a blind eye to in Canada. There are many instances of this in Canada. January Marie Lapuz of New Westminster, B.C. is just one of the examples of transgendered violence that we have come to know in Canada. January was a 26 year old who was considered an involved local activist, and whom people in her community called a bright light and a shining star. She was murdered in 2012. Stories like this are all too common for those in the transgendered community.

A recent study in 2014 found that in Ontario alone, 96% of the community had heard that trans people were not normal. Shockingly, the study also found that 76% of trans Ontarians worried that they would die young. They also found that members of the trans community had actively avoided public spaces out of fear. The project also found that two-thirds of trans Ontarians had avoided public spaces as they fear harassment, being perceived as trans, or being outed as trans. It is an irrefutable fact, one that we cannot ignore and one that we should not even be debating in this place, that the trans community faces challenges and barriers that most of us do not.

In 2013, after a review of the bill, I concluded the bill would only amount to symbolic action for the trans community. I was wrong. In the last three years, I have watched this community face bigotry, more discrimination, and becoming a flashpoint for fights that we should no longer be having in Canada.

It is for that reason that I believe it is time that Parliament passes the bill. It is clear to me, after watching provincial governments, employers, court cases, and the trans community itself struggling to rectify these injustices, that action cannot be taken to right these injustices without the bill passing.

Before it does, I want to talk about bathrooms. It is an unfortunate fact that in Canada rape occurs. Men go into women's bathrooms and rape them. That is a fact. That is why there are panic buttons in many bathrooms in university campuses across Canada. That is why we have laws to harshly and strongly punish the perpetrators of sexual violence. That is why we educate people on the effects of violence to try to deter them from doing so. That is why we have police. However, here is a horrifying statistic.

Jody Herman of UCLA's Williams Institute found in her study, conducted between 2008-09, that members of the transgendered community tended to be incredibly at risk in public restrooms. In her study, about 70% of the sample of transgendered people reported experiencing being denied access to restrooms, being harassed while using restrooms, and experiencing forms of physical assault. Additionally, this study showed that nearly 10% of the respondents reported to being physically assaulted in public restrooms.

Therefore, while some like to blame and insinuate that transgendered people are the predators in washrooms, research indicates that they instead are vulnerable in these public spaces. Making a value judgment that because people are trans they are likely to prey upon people in bathrooms is wrong.

The argument the bill would impede religious freedom is also wrong. Religious freedom cannot be discriminated on in Canada. We already have laws to that effect. Moreover, I believe that when we talk about compassion and about righting injustices, that is the reason most of us have faith to begin with. It is the act of charity and compassion that comes through religious belief and the belief in a higher good that sets us apart. The ability for us as Canadians to worship in that regard, to express that freedom, and live that truth should also be reflected in our laws.

I have also heard an argument against the bill that it will prevent parents from educating their children. The irony is that right now it is parents who educate our children on gender norms as it is. It is often our parents who reinforce what our role in society is to be based on our gender.

I do not see that changing, but the bill will open up the fact that we can be compassionate and we can look at how people can best contribute to our society by living out who they want to be. I cannot imagine a more beautiful expression of Canadian pluralism than that, of Canada becoming a place where we embrace uniqueness and diversity and also respect the rights of people to express their faith.

I also believe very firmly that the bill fits squarely in line with the principles of my political party. In our guiding principles it says:

The Conservative Party of Canada is founded on and will be guided by in its policy formation the following principles....A belief in the balance between fiscal accountability, progressive social policy and individual rights and responsibilities....The goal of building a national coalition of people who share these beliefs...The goal of developing this coalition, embracing our differences and respecting our traditions, yet honouring a concept of Canada as the greater sum of strong parts....A belief in the value and dignity of all human life....A belief in the equality of all Canadians.

This is why I am part of the Conservative Party of Canada and this is why I firmly believe in the capacity of our party to show Canadians that we are compassionate, that we do believe in equality and support it through legislation.

The white elephant in the room is that the bill will challenge deeply entrenched norms on how we need to behave. We should not fear that. We should embrace the fact that Canada is such a free and true nation that we value equality over dogma.

I want to thank the member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke for taking time to educate me and many other people in here, in a very quiet and patient way. I also want to commend my colleagues who may have different views on the bill, but who seek to be compassionate and reflect their views in respectful debate.

I especially want to thank the trans activists who have lived through this discrimination, through the upheaval of transition, through the upheaval of guilt or confusion over knowing their truth is something different than what society pressures them to be. While they have lived through that, they have had to sit through years of committee meetings, while their sexual behaviours have been questioned. They have stood up against intolerance and in doing so, they have sustained Canada's pluralism.

They deserve our thanks, and they also deserve an apology for when we have failed them in the past.

It is always a rare day when a Conservative member quotes a former NDP member, but I will do it today. I followed a speech by my former colleague, Megan Leslie, on this in 2013. I had the grave misfortune of following a Megan Leslie speech. She closed by saying this:

I was at a community event and a young person came up to me. I do not really remember it. I do not remember if this person was a young man or a young woman, blond or brunette, but this person came up to me, took my hand and opened it, put something in my hand and closed it up. Then they left.

I opened my hand and there was a tiny little note.

It said: Thanks for giving...[an eff] about trans people.

I think that is why we are here.

Megan was right. That is why we are here. We are also here because I believe in the capacity of my colleagues across party lines to be compassionate, to be strong, to stand up for Canada, and to stand for what is good, what is just, and what is beautiful.

Canadian Human Rights Act

10:55 a.m.


Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from across the way for what was a wonderful and impassioned discussion about the bill, about why it is so important, and to go through her journey about the bill.

The member has set out very clearly why it was so important that we have this legislation. What can the member suggest as ways we can reach out to people who are less comfortable, to try to bring them in, and to build that comfort?

The member has been through that journey, and there is a lot to learn about the next steps even after this legislation goes through.

Canadian Human Rights Act

10:55 a.m.


Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, in some ways, I really do not feel like that is a question I am qualified to answer. I am not a transgendered person. In a lot of ways, I would look to the transgendered community, recognizing the fact that this a burden to place on it, but to seek its advice on how best to communicate these issues and some of the challenges, process, and policy that impede the community's equality.

I would also simply suggest that we all seek to understand, with an open heart, without judgment, and without dogma, and build relationships rather than seek to discriminate.

Canadian Human Rights Act

10:55 a.m.


Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I really do want to thank the member for Calgary Nose Hill for her very insightful, passionate speech. She and I have had a lot of dialogue on this issue since we were both first elected. I have seen her come a long way in her understanding. It is quite admirable to see her talk about her journey before the rest of us in the House.

For me, what is different this time, and this is the third time the House has been here at this point, is the fact that partisanship has now been swept away. We are really talking about each member's understanding of this issue and his or her feelings on this issue. We certainly have, as the member for Calgary Nose Hill pointed out, a very large contingent in the Conservative caucus who will now be supporting this bill, along with the Liberals and the NDP. That is a sign of progress.

I want to emphasize something the member for Calgary Nose Hill mentioned and draw attention to it again. One of the ways we have made this progress is by trans people approaching their members of Parliament, talking to them about their lived experience, and asking for that representation. I want to ask the member for Calgary Nose Hill about her experience, meeting transgendered people and talking to them personally about their experiences.

Canadian Human Rights Act

10:55 a.m.


Michelle Rempel Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have been really blessed by the fact that I have had members of the trans community reach out to me and spend a lot of time with me, explaining in detail, simply humanizing the journey that they have gone through and where legislative gaps and policy fail them.

A fantastic trans woman in Calgary came into my office, after I was first elected in 2012. I will be honest. I had no idea what I was talking about, but sitting there with an open mind and open heart and somebody who is willing to look past a political stripe and seeking to educate was probably the most meaningful interaction we can have as a parliamentarian writ large. I thank her for that. I thank the many members who have continued to reach out to me who have been patient with my misunderstanding, or understanding.

However, I also want to comment briefly on how it is all right for positions to change and to be fluid over time, and that it does not necessarily mean that we are reneging on our principles or that we are changing the culture or values of a political party.

I ask members to indulge me. In May of this year, our party in Vancouver had a very respectful and positive discussion about removing the definition of “marriage” out of our party's policy declaration and, rightly so, many members of the LGBT community in Canada said, “Well, it's 10 years later. Way to catch up, guys.”

I think it is very powerful when, in the context of a political party, we can change a viewpoint such that people who might vote on party lines or might look to a political party to set the tone for what is acceptable in Canada can move that to a place where, now, all of our major political parties in Canada support this simply on principle.

I do not want to make this partisan but more to acknowledge that over time views can change. It happens on both sides of the aisle. I think that is very positive, and I want to thank activists writ large on any issue for their persistence in doing so.

Canadian Human Rights Act

11 a.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member will have about four and a half minutes remaining in the time for questions and comments when the House next returns to debate on the question.

Nunavut Land Use PlanStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Hunter Tootoo Independent Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, the government's goal of generating a sustainable economy while protecting the environment is also the goal of the most recent draft Nunavut land use plan. The government's continued collaboration with the Nunavut Planning Commission on this draft will help fulfill the government's mandate to strengthen the relationship with indigenous people and honour its obligation under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

Last April, the planning partners, including Canada, were informed of and agreed upon an extended January 13 deadline to submit their final written input on this draft. However, not all federal departments have made their submission a priority. Full engagement from these departments will ensure a complete and sufficient land use plan that works for all those involved. With the deadline fast approaching, I strongly encourage the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to take the lead and ensure input from all federal departments is submitted before the January 13 deadline.

AmiciStatements By Members

11 a.m.


William Amos Liberal Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Amici, a Canadian charity that sends kids from low-income families to overnight summer camps.

Established in 1966 by staff members at Kilcoo Camp, a magical place that nourished my growth from boy to man, Amici has provided children with over 1,500 unforgettable summer experiences. Along with its 40 partner camps, Amici shares a common belief in the life-changing power of summer camp, a belief that less privileged kids deserve a summer experience to help them develop their character, tenacity, and resilience in an iconic Canadian wilderness setting.

When I think of summer camp, I see the smiles of lifelong friends. I feel the triumph over conquered fears. I recall learning who I am and who I aspire to be. Leadership and self-confidence are earned and developed over time, and Amici commits to sending a child to camp for as long as they are old enough to attend. Many Amici campers are then hired on as counsellors.

My thanks to Amici for 50 years of life-changing experience, “Rip, ram, razzle, scram”.

Students of Edmonton ManningStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, I went to school last week, more than one school in fact. I met with students at seven schools in my riding: St. John Bosco School, Overlanders School, Homesteader School, Belvedere School, John D. Bracco School, Sifton School, and St. Elizabeth Seton School. They were different schools and different grades, but the students had one thing in common. They wanted to learn about Parliament and the role of an MP. They want to be engaged citizens of the country. They cannot wait to be old enough to vote.

I was impressed by their enthusiasm and their thirst for knowledge. I told them that when I came back to Ottawa I would tell my colleagues in the House of Commons about my experiences, and that the students of Edmonton Manning are the best in the country. Promise made, promise kept.

Employees of the House of CommonsStatements By Members

11 a.m.


David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the work of the people who keep this institution running. Without them, we would not be able to do our work as parliamentarians.

Their work sometimes goes unnoticed. They pick up the trash, do housekeeping, move our furniture, get rooms ready, deliver and manage our mail. The Parliamentary Protective Service and the House of Commons Corporate Security Office protect us. We have pages, guides, analysts, clerks, the Hansard team, translators, interpreters, the maintenance team, carpenters, and financial services and materials management people. We have locksmiths, photographers and multimedia services, drivers, caterers, and food service staff, and probably many other members of teams we are not even aware of. I take my hat off to our many assistants here and in our ridings.

There are 338 MPs and 105 senators, but more than 4,000 people work here. Without them, Parliament would simply cease to operate.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you and your team.

Young ResearchersStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday over 1,700 young Canadian scientists sent an open letter to the Prime Minister expressing their concern that recent government decisions have not been based on science. The letter stated:

Hundreds of scholars have decried weak Canadian environmental assessments and regulatory reviews and cautioned about the risks involved in large-scale energy projects. Environmental and health tragedies (e.g. Calgary floods; Mount Polley dam, asbestos) show that incompletely evaluated or mitigated risks have real consequences for Canadians, our environment, and the legacy we leave future generations.

These scientists have obviously lost faith in the government's ability or commitment to make transparent decisions informed by the best available evidence. They simply ask that the government act on science, that it assess cumulative impacts, and that it prevent conflict of interest through full public disclosure. They, and all other young Canadians, will have to live with the consequences of this government's decisions.

Handsworth Secondary SchoolStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week I was welcomed to Handsworth Secondary School in North Vancouver, where I had the opportunity to talk to Grade 11 social studies students about the issue of climate change. As MPs, we all know that one of our greatest responsibilities is to work to ensure a secure future for our children and Canada's youth. As I stood in front of 200 students at Handsworth, in the high school that is attended by my two teenaged daughters, this responsibility felt very real. Through my discussions with these students, it was clear to me that the issue of climate change is of critical importance to students. The concern they feel for their future was evident in their questions, their comments, and the ideas they brought forward as to what we can and should be doing to address climate change.

I would like to thank the students of Handsworth for reminding me that our young people are very much engaged, are eager to be part of taking on the challenges posed by climate change, and are looking to us for leadership and action.

Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—BrockStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been a very exciting few weeks my riding.

Today, I am proud to recognize and congratulate a number of constituents and organizations, doing some outstanding work. Rhonda Barnet, from Steelworks Design Inc. in Cavan Monaghan, was elected chair of the Canadian Association of Manufacturers and Exporters, and she is the first female chair of the organization. Woodville's James Barker Band is continuing its success with a number of engagements, including a contract with Universal Music Canada. Lindsay's All Flaws In Progress was nominated for video of the year, produced by Josh Wood, at this year's Covenant Awards. Lindsay's The Strumbellas, fresh off gold and platinum records, is performing in front of huge crowds on its current world tour. Cavan's Emma McCamus earned a basketball scholarship to Central Connecticut University. The Cannington Figure Skating Club is now officially debt-free thanks to the hard work of its volunteers. Lastly, the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre in Haliburton is hosting the Canadian national pond hockey tournament again this year.

Please join me in congratulating these fantastic people and organizations.

Louis Riel DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, in celebration of Louis Riel Day, I had the privilege of attending the very first raising of the Métis flag on Parliament Hill.

Louis Riel was elected to this place three times but was never able to take his seat. Like Louis Riel himself, the raising of the Métis flag here on Parliament Hill is a powerful symbol of Métis history, strength of spirit, and cultural pride. He was a defender of the fundamental values that Canadians hold dear, including equality and social justice. All Canadians, whether they are Métis or not, can be proud of what Louis Riel accomplished.

Our government is committed to reconciliation with the Métis people, and we are coming together in partnership with the Métis nation, and the provinces and territories, to work with the Métis people on how they want to exercise their rights and advance long-term reconciliation.

Burlington Veterans CommemorationsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the opportunity to participate in Burlington's commemorations to honour our veterans.

Today, I would like to thank the members in my community who made this week special for those who have served. I want to thank the Burlington legion, the Burl/Oak Naval Veterans, and some of the amazing individuals who give generously to honour our veterans: Kristin Courtney, who organizes a veterans luncheon every year in Halton; Bill Reid the “Singing Veteran”, who shares his songs of war with the commuters at Burlington GO stations, and who for almost three decades has provided services at retirement homes for the veterans who are not able to attend the official events; and the Grade 12 drama students at M.M. Robinson High School, who each year write and direct a play on Remembrance Day, and who deserved a standing ovation as their story was heart-wrenching, honest, and passionate, and truly honoured the veterans who were present.

We must take a moment every day to think of our Canadian men and women who have served and who are currently serving. Our veterans serve our country with bravery, honour, and dignity. I want to thank them for protecting the values we cherish and making our world a safer place.

Fred KingStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay homage to one of our own. Fred King of Kaleden, B.C. was a former World War II veteran and a retired member of Parliament.

Fred was a kind, caring man who gave back greatly to his community in many different ways that extended well beyond his time in Ottawa. From his time spent as a member of Parliament, Fred was a voice for farmers and agriculture. He also travelled much of Europe to ensure better collaboration between Canada and our NATO allies. He worked quietly to secure passage of persecuted religious minorities from Communist dictatorships. In his riding he was most proud of the work he performed securing federally owned lands that could be used for Okanagan College's Penticton campus. Fred was a strong believer and supporter in our youth, and the importance of upgrading skills and education.

What I most admired about Fred was his sincere willingness to always help others, many who were complete strangers, never asking anything in return, only a desire to try and bring happiness and help to those who were in need. It is a privilege to consider Fred both a mentor of mine and a friend, and to recognize his contributions and service for the betterment of others.

Fred now joins the love of his life, Audrey, who passed away a few years ago. May they both rest in peace.

Cambridge Santa Claus ParadeStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Bryan May Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my swearing in as the member of Parliament for Cambridge and North Dumfries, and I am proud to stand here today representing the fine people of my riding. I am humbled and honoured by their support and the support of my family, Kristin, James, and Kennedy May.

This weekend, the people of Cambridge will line the sidewalks of Hespeler Road for the 44th annual Santa Claus parade. Every year, whether it is raining or snowing, and regardless of how cold it is, my constituents come out by the thousands to watch this extraordinary showcase of the schools, community organizations, businesses, and non-profits that make our community so great.

As I have the good fortune of having my office located on the parade route, I am proud to offer some holiday warmth for my constituents in the form of hot chocolate and candy canes.

This Saturday, I encourage all my constituents to come out to the Cambridge Santa Claus parade for some family fun and to stop by my office for some quick warmth. I will see them there.

HousingStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Kate Young Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the weather begins to chill, all Canadians should have a place to call home that is safe, warm, and affordable.

Last week I had the great pleasure of announcing 281 new affordable housing units in London and the surrounding area. One of the several facilities, including 77 Tecumseh Ave. West, located in London West, received $1.85 million for affordable housing units. Three of these facilities are designated for residents with mental health challenges. I had the privilege of taking a tour of this incredible facility with local representatives from all levels of government.

Our plan includes the doubling of current funding under the investment and affordable housing initiative, supporting affordable housing for seniors, and building and renovating shelters and transition houses for victims of family violence. Our government is developing a comprehensive national housing strategy that will chart the course for better housing, socio-economic, and environmental outcomes.

I will continue to deliver for the people of London West, and this government will continue to deliver on our campaign promises for the betterment of all Canadians.

MovemberStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, here is a quote from Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

This month is Movember, which highlights men's health by raising funds and educating Canadians about prostate cancer. It is predicted that by 2030, there will be 1.7 million men living with prostate cancer, but if it is detected early, the chance of survival beyond five years is 98%.

My father passed away from prostate cancer, but because he took the early steps to visit his doctors and get checked, his time with us was prolonged by an incredible 15 years.

Throughout the Movember campaign, mo bros an mo sisters have funded over 1,200 health projects. What started with 30 mustaches in 2003 has now expanded to five million. I encourage anyone who can grow a mustache to do so and also to become physically active whenever possible.

Finally, here is a quote from The Lorax, one, two, three, sport a moustache like me.

Human RightsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.


Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr Speaker, many of us are concerned by what looks like a spike in the number and severity of incidents targeting Canadian minorities with messages of exclusion, fear, and hate. Perhaps there have not been many. Perhaps recent events have amplified our sensitivity, but one is too many, and on this issue, it is never a bad time to be sensitive.

If those responsible feel somehow emboldened or encouraged by recent developments, we need to disabuse them of those notions. Nobody gets to do that, not in the Canada I have grown up in. By the way, that is a Canadian value, in case somebody was looking for one.

Speaking of examples, the hon. member for Edmonton Centre is as good as it gets. As the Prime Minister's new special advisor on LGBTQ2 issues, he is a passionate standard bearer for the Canadian values of respect and equality. Every vulnerable community will be encouraged and made stronger by his efforts, more so as we in this place endorse them.

HousingStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are so fortunate to live in Canada, where we aspire to be a nation that takes care of each other.

In Courtenay—Alberni, access to affordable housing has become an urgent and desperate matter. The situation is critical. People are living in unsafe derelict boats, in the bush, and on the streets.

In Port Alberni, a small city of only 17,000 people, more than half the residents can barely afford their rent, while the homeless shelter has only 12 beds. That shelter had to turn away more than 1,000 people last year, because it simply did not have room.

We are blessed to have compassionate organizations such as the Port Alberni Shelter Society, the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, Dawn to Dawn, and the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness.

These organizations need urgent resources from Ottawa to help lift people out of homelessness and restore the dignity and compassion they deserve.

Racism and Anti-SemitismStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.


Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the people of Ottawa stand united against the twin evils of racism and anti-Semitism. Over the last several days, a criminal has targeted peaceful Jews, Muslims, and Christians from the black community with hateful vandalism. We hope the police catch and the courts punish the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.

Prime Minister Laurier said, “Canada is free and freedom is its nationality”.

Our people are free to be who they are, free to believe what they want, free to worship how they choose, and free to do it all without fear. Racist vandalism is an attack on that freedom and on every Canadian. We stand in solidarity with its victims and renew our commitment to our freedom and the equality of all of our people.