House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Notice of MotionWays and Means

11:05 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I have the honour to table a notice of a ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act and associated regulations.

Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

The House resumed from December 6 consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, at the end of debate today on the sub-amendment to the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, the question be deemed put and a recorded division be deemed requested and deferred to Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at the ordinary hour of daily adjournment.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Does the hon. member have the consent of the House to move the motion?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

(Motion agreed to)

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House for the first time.

Before I get into what will be a list of people I want to thank, I would like to reflect for a moment on when my wife and I flew here for the first time after the election for one of the orientation days. Although I had been to this chamber and to the chamber in Centre Block many times, it was an incredible experience to walk onto the floor of this House, the very epicentre of Canadian democracy, to see that so clearly demonstrated through the traditions represented, the desks, the very carpet, and all that that means. It truly is a humbling experience, the burden that all 338 of us have as we sit here representing people from across this country.

Danielle and I took a few moments and reflected on the significance of what that means in our nation's more than 150-year history. The phrase that kept coming to mind, which I repeated often throughout the election, was the short statement in section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867, regarding the House of Commons and making laws “for the Peace, Order, and good Government of Canada”.

Although it talks primarily about delegated authority, over these last seven to eight months I spent a lot of time campaigning and talking with Canadians, the people of Battle River—Crowfoot. I thought time and time again the prime reason we are here is to ensure that we have peace, order and good governance. Each and every one of us has that responsibility in representing our many constituents in the diverse regions that make up this country and that we all work toward that in the midst of what often will be differences, sometimes passionate differences, on policy items. As we work in a unique minority Parliament there has to be a level of working together to some degree, while we all strive for peace, order and good government.

I would be remiss if I did not list a few of the people I wish to thank. I will get to the people of Battle River—Crowfoot in a minute, but I first I need to thank my family.

My wife Danielle is an amazing life partner. I thank her for the support she has given over these last eight months in the adventure of a nomination campaign and now during the early months as a member of Parliament. I thank Danielle so much. I am also very proud of my two boys, Matthew and Emerson, who are excited that dad gets to now work in a castle. They are a little young to understand the dynamics of it, but they like the fact that I work in a castle.

I thank my dad, siblings, aunts and uncles. When one comes from a farming family, one has a real understanding of the significance of what family is in a situation like this, and I thank my family.

I want to especially mention my late grandfathers, Jim Hutchings and Felix Kurek, who, throughout their lives, were such an encouragement to me. They were both very different people, but they demonstrated so well what it is to be Canadian and all that it represents. My grandfather Felix had a career in the energy industry. My grandfather Jim was a career farmer and demonstrated well what it is to be Canadian.

I thank my campaign team. By the end of the campaign, we had more than 200 people who participated in the nomination and election campaigns. It was incredible to have all of these people involved in the democratic process, and I thank my campaign team.

I would also like to thank my office staff, some of whom I have worked with before and some of whom are new, for their hard work, support and effort, especially over these last weeks as I have been learning the ropes as a member of Parliament.

I want to also thank my predecessor Kevin Sorenson. Kevin demonstrated well what it is to be a strong representative with a principled voice for east central Alberta. He is a principled, good guy. I appreciate Kevin's friendship and his mentorship. I am glad that he is still quick to offer me advice, even though I am now the one sitting in the chamber and he is farming and taking some well-deserved rest.

I want to talk about the people of Battle River—Crowfoot, and my response to the throne speech and the amendment that our Conservative caucus has brought forward. They go hand in hand.

I am a fifth-generation farmer from the constituency of Battle River—Crowfoot. Over the last seven or eight months I have spoken to over 10,000 people who are faced with the reality of the country in which we live. I need to first thank them for the honour of representing them with a strong mandate in this House. I will be their voice in Parliament, making sure that the concerns, the issues and all that makes up Battle River—Crowfoot, that 52,000 square kilometres of east central Alberta, get represented in our capital. I take that seriously. I thank them again for this honour.

As I have travelled over these last eight months, and as I have continued connecting with the people in Battle River—Crowfoot since the election, I have heard a consistent message. They are frustrated and they are not content with our country's status. As a proud Canadian, that is difficult to hear.

We have heard a number of speeches from some of my colleagues that have touched on this, but the level of alienation that we are hearing about is real. I would urge members opposite to take seriously the fact that there are lifelong proud Canadians who feel their country is not serving them. That is a problem and something that needs to be acknowledged. Unfortunately, it was not acknowledged in the throne speech.

I have spoken with energy workers, people who have made a career in the oil and gas sector, who have given up hope. These people are proud of the work they do, including the world-class environmental standards that they work hard to preserve each and every day. They were not recognized. They need champions, yet unfortunately, the throne speech does not even acknowledge them.

I have spoken with the agricultural industry. As a fifth-generation farmer, I am proud of that legacy. Farmers are stewards of the land in Alberta's special areas, yet producers have faced devastating consequences. Let me outline what that might look like for a producer, a farmer. Farmers are facing a drop in the price of canola from $13 a bushel to $9 a bushel. That has a devastating impact on a farmer's bottom line in an industry that already has very slim margins. We did not see those issues addressed in the throne speech. However, the government seems to brag about its relationship on the international stage when it is literally being laughed at on late night television.

I talked to other business owners and people within my constituency. They are all so close to giving up hope. That is devastating for a proud Canadian, whether it be workers in manufacturing, or whether it be those teachers, nurses, doctors in our small communities. If they do not have strong communities, those institutions cannot thrive.

My speaking time is nearly done and I look forward to answering questions. I would simply conclude by saying once again that I am so honoured to be the member of Parliament for Battle River—Crowfoot. I thank God for this country. It is such an honour to be able to participate in this democratic process and all that it means for the future of Battle River—Crowfoot and this nation.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Terry Beech Liberal Burnaby North—Seymour, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Battle River—Crowfoot and welcome him to the House.

I heard him speak about energy workers, and certainly in my riding of Burnaby North—Seymour, I have talked about the plight of energy workers in Alberta. In fact, since my riding is at the end of the Trans Mountain pipeline that is starting construction, we can hear the pile-driving happening from my house. It is happening right now.

We have had over 500 days of protest in my riding over the last four years that I have been a member of Parliament. Now that TMX is under construction, will the member support meeting our climate change targets and support the other underlying issues that my constituents are concerned about? Will he support the oceans protection plan and support making sure we have a world-class oil spill response?

Most importantly, will the member support the residents of Burnaby Mountain, which is getting an expanded tank farm 600 metres from an elementary school, next to tens of thousands of students at SFU and a growing community at university?

As well, will the member support the Burnaby firefighters to make sure that the investments are made so that we have world-class facilities to keep those people safe?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to being able to answer the question, but I would premise it by saying this: I have constituents who are developing world-class spill response technology, yet they can't even get a meeting with the minister from the other side.

The Liberals talk about wanting to care about the environment when we have an energy industries and energy investment fleeing this country each and every day. Canada is a world leader in sustainable, environmentally friendly energy production. I see it every day. The people within my constituency are proud that they are on the cutting edge of that, yet the government has all but abandoned them.

I hope that pipeline gets built. Its terminus, I understand, is in the constituency of the member who asked the question. However, it needs to be understood that this pipeline is among the others that the Liberals have either abandoned or cancelled, or whatever the case may be. We even saw this morning an announcement that more energy investment, at first slated for Canada, is being used in the Gulf of Mexico. That is an abandonment of Canadian energy.

We need to make sure that we support the world-class industry that we have here in this country, including the environmental industry. I hope that pipeline gets built, but quite frankly, with the record of the members opposite, until oil starts flowing through it, I do not believe it for a second.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is talking about the problems farmers are having, such as poor harvests and falling prices. Our regions are experiencing these problems mainly because of the rather early snow this year. The first snowfall was about three weeks earlier than usual, which may be attributable to climate change.

Can my colleague recognize that an increase in the production of oil leads to an increase in greenhouse gases, which contributes to climate change? Can he admit that his party's demands, which involve giving priority to both oil transportation and production and to farmers, may be contradictory?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to being able to answer the question. In the member's constituency there are producers who are facing unpredictable weather patterns and whatnot that are affecting their yields, and the case is the same in many places across the country. We need to make sure that there are strong supports for our agricultural sectors.

Let me take a moment to describe how producers in this country are on the cutting edge of making sure that we have the most sustainable crop production in the world. That includes things like zero-till technology and genetics research that will ensure that our crops can grow in a variety of climates.

We are a country filled with innovators. Instead of being like, I think, all the other parties in this House, which support a carbon tax that punishes Canadians, let us support innovations that empower Canadians to find solutions that not only benefit us but truly change the world.

I would encourage the member opposite to be a part of literally helping to change the world and finding solutions that make a difference here in our country and around the world that will have a real environmental impact.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Before we go to the next presentation, I just want to compliment the hon. members for starting off well. I know that last week we had some questions that went a little long and I know that there is a lot to be said, but those who asked questions and those who answered stayed within about a minute and a half. It allows more people to get their questions and answers in, so I just want to start of with complimenting you for a good start.

Now we will resume debate. The hon. member for Don Valley North.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Han Dong Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Oakville North—Burlington.

It is my pleasure to rise today to deliver my maiden speech in this hon. House as the member of Parliament for Don Valley North and to speak in support of the Speech from the Throne.

I would like to begin by thanking the people of Don Valley North for placing their trust in me to be their voice in Ottawa. I am incredibly humbled by this great responsibility, and I will strive every day to ensure that the perspectives, concerns and diverse opinions and beliefs of my community are thoughtfully and comprehensively represented in this House.

Throughout this fall's campaign, just like all of my hon. colleagues, I had the chance to speak to residents through the breadth and width of my riding about issues they cared most about, from traffic congestion and community safety to housing affordability and providing more support for our seniors.

The residents of Don Valley North and Canadians from coast to coast to coast have made it very clear. They asked all of us in this House to work together to address the issues that matter most to them and their families, and they expect us to deliver results not soon, not down the road, but now. That is why I am proud of the ambitious agenda this government has presented to the House in the Speech from the Throne.

This government has set forward a plan to address the most pressing issues faced by us as a society today. These include fighting climate change, strengthening the middle class, walking the road of reconciliation, keeping Canadians safe and healthy and positioning our country for success on the international stage. Canadians have chosen to keep our country moving forward, and that is exactly what this government's plan will do.

While I stand in this House speaking of the mandate handed to us by the Canadian people, my mind turns immediately to an encounter I had on the campaign trail in Don Valley North. While knocking on doors on Van Horne Avenue, I met a young mother completing her final year of post-secondary studies. Although beaming with pride as she told me about her daughter and how much she has accomplished over the years in the face of adversity and challenges, I could see her eyes slowly begin to fill with tears. She told me about her anxieties with regard to the possibility of not being able to complete her studies because of recent cuts to the new OSAP funding by the current provincial government. She spoke about the skyrocketing costs of living and child care and her fears about the type of planet her children will inherit.

It is encounters like this that have brought me to public life, and indeed to this House.

My hon. colleagues will know that the fears and anxieties expressed by this young mother are not unique to my riding. Indeed, they are not unique to the people of Toronto, nor to Ontario, for that matter. They are concerns shared by many Canadians in every riding across this country.

Therefore, as we debate this ambitious plan set forward by the government, which directly addresses the concerns, hopes and aspirations of Canadians from across our country, I ask this hon. House to think about the people who sent us here.

As parliamentarians, we are presented with unique opportunities. We have been sent to Ottawa by our communities with the expectation that we will not only govern, but, more importantly, we will lead, and lead for them.

Future generations of Canadians will judge us not on the words delivered in this House today or tomorrow, but on how we addressed the defining challenges facing our generation.

As members of this hon. House, we have a clear mandate from the people, and that mandate demands action now.

On climate change, Canadians have demanded that we take immediate action to tackle the crisis head-on. That is why our government is committed to protecting the environment by setting a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, putting a price on pollution everywhere, protecting and conserving nature and reducing plastic pollution.

To address affordability and strengthen our middle class, we are taking action to invest in affordable housing and make it easier for more people to achieve the goal of home ownership.

We know that raising a family is expensive and saving for retirement is a challenge, and that is why we will make before-school and after-school programs and child care more affordable and accessible while also strengthening pensions for our seniors.

To keep Canadians safe and healthy, our government is taking direct action to crack down on gun crime, banning military-style assault weapons and helping municipalities to ban handguns, should they choose to, while also ensuring that all Canadians have access to high-quality, affordable health care by working with the provinces, territories, professionals and academia to ensure all Canadians have access to a good primary care doctor.

We know that as a government and as parliamentarians, we are not alone in taking leadership to provide a better future for Canadians. Across the country, countless community organizations are working tirelessly in helping Canadians who need and deserve our support.

In my riding of Don Valley North, organizations like the Armenian Community Centre, the Iranian Women's Organization of Ontario, the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services, Working Women Community Centre, Toronto North Local Immigration Partnership and Flemingdon Health are offering crucial services to new Canadians.

ACCES Employment, The Centre for Education and Training, and Springboard Employment Services are providing help to Canadians in search of employment and new skills.

Willowdale Community Legal Services, Adventure Place, Community Information Fairview, North York Harvest Food Bank and religious and cultural organizations are providing professional and social services to our country.

I am incredibly proud of the work those organizations and so many more in Don Valley North are doing. I am honoured to work alongside them as their member of Parliament to ensure all members of our community have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Our constituents are looking to us to lead. They are looking to us to take decisive action to create a better Canada where everyone, regardless of race, religion, sex, age or country of origin, can and will succeed. I am proud to say that the ambitious plan put forward by this government does just that.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague across the aisle for his first speech.

He called for decisive action, and it is important that we have decisive action, but I was disheartened by the throne speech because it was a lot of words salad without a lot of action.

If we want to talk about climate change, it is clear that the current government's plan will not even meet its existing Paris targets, let alone the 2050 goals. We also know that the carbon tax is not an effective way of getting there. Europe has had one for 19 years and has only reduced its footprint by 8%.

Knowing that the government declared a climate emergency in June and that by now it ought to have some idea of what specific actions it will take, I would like to hear what those are.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Han Dong Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that in our platform and again in the throne speech, we heard that this government is committed to making a better future for our next generation, planting more trees and reducing emissions. We are the only party that put forward a very decisive action plan during the campaign to meet the 2050 goal.

We are on the right track, and I look across the floor for support from opposition parties. Together we can bring down emissions in this country.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, since this is the first time I rise in the House of Commons, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my constituents in Longueuil—Saint-Hubert for placing their trust in me. I hope that I will be able to live up to that trust in the coming years, the next one and a half or two and a half years, or the time that this parliament lasts.

Oil is the elephant in the room when it comes to everything that has happened and the throne speech. The word “oil” is never mentioned in the throne speech.

Over the past four years, the Liberal government invested $19 billion in various forms of assistance to the fossil fuel industry. Canada represents 0.5% of the world's population and produces 2% of the world's greenhouse gases.

On September 27, 2019, 500,000 people took to the streets of Montreal to call on the government to take clear, decisive action on climate change. I was there.

What practical measures does the Liberal government intend to take to deal with this issue in the coming years?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Han Dong Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that bringing down emissions and having a good green energy sector is a good economic case. Our track record has demonstrated that we can make this work.

Again, I look to those across the floor and to all parliamentarians. We need to stick together and implement actions right away to bring down emissions and improve our environment.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, one thing we find very vague in the throne speech is around the strengthening of pensions and support for seniors. The member mentioned this twice in his speech, which I find very encouraging. However, last week, the Minister of Seniors stated in the House that increases in OAS payments would be for people aged 75 and over. What is the reasoning for eliminating increases for people aged between 65 and 74 who need them just as much as other Canadians?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

December 9th, 2019 / 11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Han Dong Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, specifically, we have set out a plan to increase old age security for most Canadians in this country. Our government has also done quite a bit of work in the last four years to increase the GIS. Again, I look for support from all members when it comes to providing more help for seniors and making their living more affordable. We are on the right track to doing that.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, since this is my first opportunity to speak in this 43rd Parliament, I would like to start by congratulating you on your election as Speaker.

I would also like to thank the residents of Oakville North—Burlington for the confidence they have placed in me to represent them once again in this place. I would like to thank my son Fraser and his wife Taylor for their love and support, and my family, Jill, Rob and their son Bayley, as well as my incredible staff and campaign team, without whom I would not be here. I am incredibly proud of the work done over the last four years, and I am excited to continue that work in this new Parliament.

During the campaign, I had many conversations with constituents about their expectations for this new Parliament. They, along with all Canadians, expect us to work together as parliamentarians to make sure that we build an economy that leaves no one behind, take decisive action on climate change, make life more affordable, continue down the road to reconciliation and ensure that the health and safety of Canadians remains our number one priority through action on gun control and universal national pharmacare. The throne speech affirmed our commitment to delivering on those priorities.

The residents of Oakville North—Burlington are passionate about green space, the environment and fighting climate change. During the campaign, I met with the group Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet and others who want to see us take urgent action to save the planet. Two weeks ago, I attended a climate strike in Burlington organized by Caleb Smolenaars, a student in my riding.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, which is why we are taking bold, decisive action. In my riding, we have made investments in Oakville Transit, Burlington Transit and GO Transit so that service can be improved and people can get home faster. We have also invested in the Crosstown Trail and other walking and cycling infrastructure. We are offering incentives to get more people to use zero-emission vehicles. I have long advocated for better cycling infrastructure. Cycling is the ultimate zero-emission vehicle, and I will continue to work with the government and stakeholders to further advance cycling.

While we have taken action by introducing a price on pollution, there is much more work to be done. We are setting a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, protecting and conserving nature and reducing plastic pollution. Not long ago I challenged local restaurants to stop using plastic straws, and today I am pleased that most restaurants have stopped serving plastic straws automatically. Halton has some of the safest drinking water in Canada, so there is no need for plastic water bottles, yet we still have much work to do to reduce our plastic use in our everyday lives.

In our last mandate, we took steps to foster a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples and deliver a better life for families and communities, but there remains much work to be done. We will take action to co-develop and introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We will continue our work on eliminating long-term drinking water advisories on reserve by 2021 and will co-develop legislation to ensure that indigenous peoples have access to high-quality and culturally relevant health care.

In 2012, I visited the hospital in Sioux Lookout, a partnership between federal, provincial, municipal and first nation governments. This hospital provides culturally appropriate treatment and care, hospice and long-term stay care and a wraparound continuum of care that ensures better health outcomes.

We must also address the recommendations of the report on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and continue to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. I am happy to see that in my community we are working with the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, indigenous knowledge keepers like Stephen Paquette and Sherry Saevil, and the Sheridan College Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support and Elijah Williams to advance reconciliation. Today, the Mississaugas of the Credit flag flies permanently at Oakville Town Hall. The Oakville Community Foundation and Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre are working with indigenous leaders to move us forward on the path to reconciliation.

As a government, the health and safety of Canadians is our number one priority. Thoughts and prayers are not enough when it comes to gun violence. In my role on the public safety committee during the last Parliament, I worked with my colleagues, as well as stakeholders like PolySeSouvient, the Coalition For Gun Control, Dr. Alan Drummond and emergency room physicians and many others to strengthen our firearms legislation. I am proud of my work on Bill C-71 last year to introduce amendments to protect those subjected to intimate partner violence.

During the election campaign, I was proud to run on our record of responsible firearms legislation and investments in law enforcement, border services, and programs that prevent young people from getting involved in guns and gangs. The action proposed in the throne speech to ban military-style assault weapons, like the one used at Polytechnique 30 years ago, is long overdue.

We are the only country that has universal health care that does not have pharmacare as part of it. As former parliamentary secretary to the minister of health, I was able to work with the minister to make significant changes that will see the cost of drugs reduced for Canadians. No one should have to decide between putting food on the table and taking medication.

We know that women are disproportionately impacted by the high cost of drugs because of the precarious nature of their work. I have heard stories of women who stopped taking beta blockers after a heart attack because they could not afford them and women who stay with an abusive partner simply for the drug plan that covers the expensive medications they need. This is unacceptable. That is why our move to a universal national pharmacare program is welcome news for Canadians.

Too many Canadians have been touched by cancer. Certainly one of the highlights of my first term was the $150-million investment the Canadian government will be making in the Terry Fox Research Institute to create the marathon of hope cancer centres with its partners. Through my volunteer work with the Terry Fox Foundation, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. David Malkin and his work at SickKids with Terry Fox PROFYLE.

Cancer remains the number one disease killer of children. During this term, I will honour children like Carson, Ayverie and Teagan, who were taken far too young by this horrible disease, and support the work of Helena's Hope to ensure that our platform commitment to fund childhood cancer research is honoured.

Oakville North—Burlington is an affluent community, but that does not mean there are not those who struggle to make ends meet or who live in poverty. We must make sure we have an economy that works for all Canadians, including the most marginalized.

Affordability is an issue in my community. I have had the pleasure of working with Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, which has said that our national housing strategy has been transformative for its work. Recently, Affordable Housing Halton held an event where Andrew Balahura from the Halton region talked about the work it is doing, with the help of our federal government, to support those who need a safe, affordable place to live. We must also ensure that young people can buy their first home. That is why the proposed changes to the first-time homebuyers program will make a difference in my riding.

Ford Motor Company of Canada's assembly plant and head office in Oakville are of vital importance to Oakville and the surrounding area. It will be critical to ensure its success, not just today but in the future. Small and medium-sized businesses are the drivers of our Canadian economy and we will continue to provide an environment for them to grow and create well-paying middle-class jobs.

Gender equality and ending gender-based violence remain a top priority for me personally and for our government. I have had the privilege of working with some incredible local and national organizations, like Halton Women's Place, SAVIS, CAGIS, Actua and many more. I look forward to continuing our work. I am pleased to be launching the young women in leadership program shortly, which my team and I developed three years ago to give young women career mentors in Halton. The number-one obstacle to the full participation of women in the workplace is the lack of affordable quality child care. Ensuring that women have access to child care continues to be a priority for our government.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Nairobi Summit, reaffirming Canada's commitment to the agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development. I heard time and again that other countries look to Canada's leadership when it comes to empowering women, ending gender-based violence and poverty, realizing gender equality and taking urgent and sustained action to realize sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women at home and abroad.

Canadians are expecting us to listen and collaborate on the many issues where there is common ground between us. It is a rare privilege to take a seat in this place, and one that I do not take for granted. I look forward to getting to work and I appreciate the opportunity to speak today.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly an honour to be back in the House of Commons regrouped and ready to go for another session.

The hon. member opposite just talked about the throne speech. Part of the throne speech was about “gun control”. The hon. member mentioned that it is time for stricter legislation and to move forward with putting in place greater gun control mechanisms. She said this was with the end goal of protecting Canadians and creating safe communities. I would agree with this end, but I fail to see legislative points that actually provide for it.

We know that firearms are being smuggled across the U.S. border illegally. We know that straw exchanges are being made, when firearms purchased by one individual are then illegally transferred to another. We know that gang violence and organized crime are out of control in places like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. I see nothing in the throne speech with regard to these elements, with regard to looking after our border and the safety and security of Canadians, with regard to making sure that straw purchases are not being made and with regard to reinforcing front-line policing and ensuring that gangs are taken off the streets. I see nothing with regard to harsher penalties, and I see nothing with regard to accountability.

Could the hon. member opposite comment on these observations?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for coming back to this place.

During the last four years we invested $500 million into Canadian border services, money that had been cut by the previous government, so we can ensure there is strict enforcement at the border.

We are also investing in law enforcement and in programs to prevent young people from joining gangs in the first place. It is money that is well received by municipalities like Toronto, which had asked for additional support.

The vast majority of Canadians supports our efforts to improve firearms legislation and ban handguns in municipalities, as well as ban military-style assault rifles.

I find it quite troubling when members opposite hold fundraisers that combine alcohol and guns. They do not look at the fact that women are being killed by their partners with firearms. In my riding of Oakville—North Burlington, there was a woman killed by her partner with a firearm not too long ago. We know that women are more at risk if there is a firearm in the home. We know that 80% of women in Atlantic Canada have said they would be less likely to come forward to report abuse if there were a firearm in the home.

I look forward to continuing our work on this important issue for Canadians.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, congratulations on being chosen for the prestigious and thankless position you now occupy.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles for choosing me to represent them.

I will keep this very brief. People toss the expression “climate emergency” around gratuitously, but to me, the climate emergency is very important and a very big deal. People have used the expression and will use it over and over in the House. I truly and sincerely hope that decisions about the environment are examined through the “climate emergency” lens to ensure the government walks the talk.