Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for St. Catharines.
We remain today in unprecedented times. Families and loved ones mourn the deaths of over one million people around the world as a result of the coronavirus, with over 34 million people having been infected.
COVID-19 has created monumental challenges and constraints that continue to evolve, challenges that relate first and foremost to public health and safety, but extend to income security, our economic future and the way we interact as human beings on this shared planet.
There are three major crises that we are called upon to address and resolve in our communities and around the world:
The first is the COVID pandemic itself. Infection rates are climbing and many countries, including Canada, are finding themselves in a second wave. It is crucial that all of us continue to work together to defeat this pandemic. Basic fundamental protocols like physical distancing, handwashing and wearing masks in public remain at the very core of effective solutions. As individuals and businesses continue to face the economic effects of COVID-19, financial supports that will allow them to weather the pandemic are critical to our economic recovery.
Second, the need to address climate change has never been more important as manifestations progressively increase in the form of more erratic weather patterns, floods and wildfires, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and rapidly eroding biodiversity. The climate crisis runs parallel to COVID-19 and action cannot be postponed. The Government of Canada is focused on progressive investments in a green economy to support a transition to reduced GHG emissions to meet and exceed the Paris targets and agenda 2030 and to shift to renewable energy sources under our legislatively established net-zero threshold by 2050. We are on track to ban single-use plastics by 2021 and to protect 30% of our land and oceans by 2030.
Third, the fight for inclusion faces new challenges and requires sustained commitments and action in our communities and around the world. Systemic anti-Black and anti-indigenous racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred, division and violence persist.
The killing of George Floyd and, in Mississauga, Ejaz Choudry at the hands of police and the death of Joyce Echaquan in a Quebec hospital following a chorus of racial slurs are only three of the most atrocious cases we have witnessed in 2020. There are many others.
I am also concerned about gender equality, inclusion of the LGBTQ2S+ community, persons with disabilities, veterans, seniors and youth. The fight for inclusion cannot stop until everyone has an equal voice, and our government is committed to action but we will need help from all Canadians.
Let me elaborate briefly on these three priorities.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it remains particularly important to protect the most vulnerable individuals and populations, those among us who are most severely impacted. They include seniors in long-term care homes, women and children fleeing gender-based violence, the homeless and persons with disabilities, pre-conditions and rare diseases.
To protect Canadians in the face of a sharp rise in infections, our government will continue to support provinces and territories in increasing their testing capacity. To meet this critical challenge quickly, we are making the required investments and will create a federal testing assistance response team.
In the throne speech, our government has committed to establishing national standards for long-term care. It remains focused on the elimination of chronic homelessness and will increase investments in rapid housing developments in the short term. We will also bring forward a disability inclusion plan and a rare disease strategy to help Canadians save money on high-cost drugs.
As the coronavirus continues to severely impact national and global economies, the Government of Canada will ensure that individuals and businesses remain financially supported throughout the course of the pandemic. We will deliver targeted financial support directly to those businesses forced to temporarily shut down as a result of local public health decisions.
Some sectors have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The Government of Canada is committed to further support travel and tourism, hospitality and cultural industries like the performing arts. Community leaders in my riding of Mississauga—Lakeshore have emphasized the increasingly important role that the arts play in these uncertain times. The arts provide an opportunity to cope with isolation and hardship and they are at the very core of who we are as human beings. Their positive contributions to the fabric of our culture cannot be overstated.
Our community also recognizes the urgent need for a green recovery and the importance of job creation through climate action. Climate action is central to our government's plan to create one million jobs. Fifty-two percent of Mississauga's emissions come from buildings and 30% of its carbon footprint comes from the transportation sector.
We are committed to creating well-paying jobs connected to the retrofitting of homes and buildings, supporting more public and active transit options and making zero-emissions vehicles more affordable in order to reach net zero by 2050. Our government is also investing in mitigating the impact of climate-related disasters, like floods and wildfires, to make communities more resilient.
Systemic racism is a lived reality for far too many and it is clearer now than ever that we each have an important role in overcoming this ugly and unacceptable reality. Our government is committed to moving forward on a path of reconciliation with Canada's first peoples. We will accelerate work on a national action plan, work to co-develop a legislative framework for first nations policing and move forward on RCMP reforms.
We are taking important steps to fight anti-Black racism and other forms of racism with the release of Canada's anti-racism strategy for 2019-22, and the creation of an anti-racism secretariat. We will continue to support and empower Black Canadians through economic investments, such as Black entrepreneurship program.
Pandemics know no borders and COVID-19 in this regard is no exception. By pushing more people into extreme poverty, driving up food insecurity and threatening refugee populations with increased risk of infection, the coronavirus has exacerbated living conditions of the most vulnerable. Our response to the pandemic is only as strong as our ability to protect them here at home and around the world.
We cannot solve any one of these crises in isolation, but instead local and international efforts must reinforce one another. Many organizations in our community are providing important services. I would like to thank their leadership teams, advocates and volunteers.
Interim Place and Armagh House provide a safe space for women and children fleeing violence. The Compass food bank and ISNA Canada food bank provide access to food and hygiene products for those in need. Indwell launched a new affordable housing project. The local BIAs in Lakeview, Clarkson and Port Credit support our small businesses.
The Mississauga Arts Council assists performing artists with online transition and the Mississauga-Lakeshore Constituency Youth Council and Mississauga Seniors' Council are providing important perspectives on the pandemic response.
For Our Kids, Climate Impact Fund, Peel Community Climate Council and others advocate for a green and just recovery. Many businesses have reinvented themselves in order to meet new needs, like the Como Foundation that provides COVID-19 lip-reading masks for the hard of hearing community.
At the international level, we see equally dedicated leadership. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, is leading and coordinating the international health response to COVID-19. Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, leads efforts to protect refugee populations. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, continues to speak out on human rights violations as the pandemic poses additional threats to vulnerable populations.
David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, leads the global fight against hunger. Tuula Yrjölä. OIC and Secretary General Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, works to prevent conflicts and build peace.
I thank them, their colleagues and international and local partners for their service.
A few weeks ago, I spoke with Olivia Allen, a remarkable 11-year-old student in our community who has demonstrated brilliantly that young people are not leaders of tomorrow but indeed of today. By asking the difficult questions and the right questions, Olivia is already contributing to work to build a brighter future.
There is only one planet and only one humanity. We must connect local and international efforts and work together to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and promote inclusion. We must each do our part to build a better world. Our shared collective future depends on it.