Madam Speaker, I will sharing my time today with the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
I am honoured to rise today in the House of Commons for the first time during debate to have the opportunity to represent the amazing people from all corners of Kanata—Carleton. I would first like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people. My gratitude, my awe of this institution and my commitment to affecting positive change for Canadians have never been stronger.
My sincere congratulations to you, Madam Speaker, and to all of my colleagues on their election.
I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to the constituents who voted for me and put their faith in me to represent them in the House of Commons. This is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. I am here because of them and their trust in me. For that I thank them sincerely.
I would also like to thank every constituent who voted and those who took the time to write to me to share their concerns or to speak to me over the last number of months.
Campaigns are made possible by countless volunteers, and I am incredibly grateful for the efforts of those who knocked on doors with me, kept the campaign office running smoothly or helped organize our volunteers.
I am always amazed at these incredible people who dedicate so much of their time and resources to an election campaign.
I would like to thank all my volunteers.
I would like to thank my husband Tim, the man behind the scenes and my rock, for being the incredible partner that he is and for being the dad that he is to our girls. I could never in a million years take this on without him.
Of course, there are my daughters. They are my greatest achievement and I feel truly blessed. My girls are everything and they are the reason I do what I do. I want to thank them, Riley, Ryan and Brynn, for the hugs and kind words when mommy needs them. They are incredible young ladies, and I cannot wait to see what the world has in store for them.
I want to thank my dad Bob and his partner Kim, a.k.a. chief sign installer. They are the biggest cheerleaders and are grandparents extraordinaire.
I do not have enough words to share to thank my sister Melissa for all she does for me and the girls.
Although my mom Jean is far away, her support and encouragement are felt daily. I am so grateful.
I have been fortunate to have political leaders who encouraged me to run. First, I would like to thank Marianne Wilkinson, who was the first mayor and then city councillor for Kanata, for encouraging me to run municipally. Second, I would like to thank former MP of Kanata—Carleton Karen McCrimmon, whose hard work and determination have served our community so well and whose friendship I value tremendously.
Last, I would like to acknowledge the impact that my late grandmother has had on me. She was a force to be reckoned with. She had a huge heart and a determination to help others. These are lessons that she passed on to me and I will always cherish them.
Today I would like to discuss some of the key points in the throne speech that I believe matter most to the people of Kanata—Carleton.
Kanata—Carleton is a diverse riding, with a vibrant suburban centre in Kanata, beautiful villages in Carp and Dunrobin, scenic communities along the river in Constance Bay and Buckham's Bay, the lovely village of Fitzroy Harbour and amazing green space all the way out to West Carleton. The diversity of our area brings promise, but it also brings challenges. These last 21 months have been very difficult times for so many in our country and in my community. With the many restrictions we have faced throughout the pandemic, the residents in Kanata—Carleton were fortunate to be able to turn to our beautiful green spaces, walking paths and trails to remain active. I am incredibly grateful for this green space and access to nature.
Our government has introduced targeted COVID supports for those who need it most and will continue to do that throughout the pandemic.
Our economy has proven itself to be incredibly resilient. Although we must acknowledge that businesses have suffered throughout the pandemic, some have thrived. I have watched small businesses, from local coffee shops to large corporations in our technology park, innovate and change the way they operate to keep their employees and their communities safe. Local outdoor markets, like the Carp Farmers' Market and the Kanata Farmers' Market, have become places where people can come to shop and socially distance. Residents have not shied away from difficulty, but rather have used it to innovate for a brighter future.
We are truly a country of innovators and I am incredibly proud of the innovation happening in my community, in the Kanata North technology park and beyond. Digital transformation and automation are impacting every sector of our economy. This is a huge opportunity and one in which Canada can lead in many areas. I look no further than the farming industry to realize our potential. The Ottawa Smart Farm, the groundbreaking agritech playground run by Invest Ottawa, is leading.
Canada is so fortunate. We have the natural resources, the talent and the creative spirit to help not just Canada but the world to address the climate crisis. We cannot hesitate to take bold climate action. Extreme weather events are on the rise. In the past five years, Kanata—Carleton has experienced both a tornado and a flood, with devastating effects. We must act quickly. I know the innovators in my community will be tapped in the coming month and years to support our government commitment to tackle climate change. I know those who rise to the occasion will undoubtedly thrive.
Investing in public transit is key, and I am thankful for our government's commitment to funding clean, electric light rail in addition to an autonomous vehicle shuttle pilot for a last-mile solution in Kanata—Carleton. We need to ensure that investments in clean mobility solutions happen now to minimize our current and future carbon footprint.
It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has walked back the decades of progress made in labour force participation by women. Once again, it has been predominantly women who have stepped away from their paid work to take on more of the load for child care and elder care as a result of lockdowns and school closures. We must reverse this trend. I have no doubt that our government's plan to introduce affordable, quality child care will have tremendous impact and unlock the economic opportunity of more women participating in the workforce. Although Ontario has not yet committed, I remain committed to seeing this work through to the end. I know the moms and dads in Kanata—Carleton will be much better off because of it
Kanata—Carleton, like Canada itself, is a very diverse community. Sadly, there is an alarming increase in experiences of hate and racism. Like our government, I am committed to combatting hate and racism. I look forward to the renewal of the government's anti-racism strategy as well as the necessary and important work to combat online hate, which sadly we know has continued to grow.
We must also acknowledge Canada's role on the world stage. Canada must continue to engage with international partners. We have learned a lot through this pandemic, including how small the world really is.
We must continue to strive for gender equality. As a mom of three daughters, as a politician in the House dominated by men, and as a former executive in our technology sector, we have a long way to go. I am proud of the commitments our government has made, but I acknowledge more work has to be done.
I am fiercely proud to be Canadian.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: I am extremely proud to be Canadian.