House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was communities.


Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Louise Charbonneau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Vancouver Centre for her heartfelt presentation.

I want to point out that in Trois-Rivières, there was a march in honour of Joyce Echaquan to mark the end of the inquest into what happened in Joliette. That attests to the sensibility of indigenous people.

Does my colleague believe that indigenous peoples should be consulted and be involved in decisions that will be made in cases similar to that of Kamloops?

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, absolutely. I think we need to give the assistance that is needed monetarily and in other ways, such as mental health, healing and support systems for families, to be able to go across the country and find out where there are other similar graves of lost children who never went home. We need to move forward to help. That is a thing we can do now, but I am speaking of some of the things within the reconciliation package and in this motion that ask for things to do, which would mean that we would be imposing things on indigenous communities that are not ready.

The indigenous peoples of Canada are not one amorphous mass of people. They are made up of different communities that have different first nations groups within them, which are ready to move forward at their own pace; bigger griefs, more griefs. They have a lot of things. We have to listen and work with them. That is what I am trying to say.

There is somebody called Geswanouth Slahoot, known as Chief Dan George. I will always remember what he had to say, when he stated that:

Many have been shamed of their Indian ways by scorn and ridicule. My culture is like a wounded deer that has crawled away into the forest to bleed and die alone.

The only thing that us is genuine love...a love that forgives the terrible sufferings your culture...[has imposed on us] when it swept over us like a wave...a beach...a love that forgets and lifts up its head and sees in your eyes [you, Canadians, in your eyes] an answering love of trust and acceptance...

I think that is what I was trying to talk about here. It is not about quick fixes or immediate things. It is not about us all grieving at this one moment and forgetting about it as we move on to something new. It is about that steady moving forward and it is about Canadians taking the guilt, the blame and the shame, to say that all of us, even if we were only born 10 years ago, have to carry that, to acknowledge it.

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I am joining the debate today from the unceded lands of the Wet’suwet’en people. It is an honour to be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg Centre.

Canadians have been shocked to learn the truth that indigenous people have been telling us for a long time. The validation of 215 unmarked burial sites near Kamloops has brought intense grief, despair and pain to indigenous people right across the country. My heart is with them today, especially the survivors of the residential schools that once stood in northwest B.C. at Lejac, Kitimat, Port Simpson and Lower Post. My heart is with them and their families.

I say “once stood”, but in Lower Post, a small village of the Daylu Dena just south of the B.C.-Yukon border, the residential school still stands. In fact, since the 1970s, this community has been forced to use the former residential school as its band office. I went there two winters ago and heard stories of how elders who suffered abuse in that building were forced to walk through its doors again and again to access basic services. Survivor Fred Lutz, who was the deputy chief at the time, took me to the basement and showed me the dark place behind the stairs. It is an image that will stay with me forever.

The Daylu Dena have been calling for the demolition and replacement of that building for years. It was good to hear just recently that in a few short weeks, it will finally be demolished. That is thanks to the leadership of people like Deputy Chief Harlan Schilling, former deputy chief Fred Lutz, their councils and others in their community. A new building will finally be built for the Daylu Dena. It is a long overdue step in the healing process and we have to ask ourselves why it took us so long.

I know a lot of non-indigenous people are feeling sad about the tragic discovery near Kamloops, but what I hear from indigenous people is that having us indulge in our sadness does not make the situation they face any better. What they want us to do, especially those of us in positions of power and influence, is to fight like hell for real action in this moment when people care about something they should have cared about a long time ago. That is where this motion comes from. We must act now.

How is it that six years later, so little progress has been made on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action? I remember when they came out in 2015: It was the year the Liberal government took power with a majority. How is it that by last year, 2020, there had only been significant progress on a quarter of the calls to action? How is it that so few of those calls have actually been completed?

A portion of this motion would require the government to accelerate implementation of the TRC calls to action related to investigating the deaths and disappearances of children at residential schools. We have heard much about that in this debate. The indigenous people I have spoken with over the past week overwhelmingly want the truth. They want to know where the other burial sites are and how many children are there. They want to know where their loved ones are. I was infuriated to learn that in 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asked the Harper government for $1.5 million to search residential school properties. Shamefully, those funds were denied. What would indigenous communities know today if that money had been granted 12 years ago?

The call to find all the lost children echoes what I have heard from the families of women and girls who have gone missing and have been murdered along the Highway of Tears in northwest B.C. where I live. I have been honoured to work alongside Brenda and Matilda Wilson, whose beloved Ramona was found murdered along Highway 16 near Smithers in 1996. We worked together to get better public transit along that highway, but what they want more than anything is to know the truth about what happened to Ramona. Twenty-five years later, they keep encouraging the RCMP's E-PANA division to continue its investigation and not stop until they finally know what happened. The families whose children were taken from them and never came home want and deserve the truth too, which is why investing resources and expertise in the residential school investigations is vital. “Truth” comes before “reconciliation” for a reason.

The other parts of this motion are important and deserve mention too. St. Anne's Indian Residential School is a long way from where I live in northwest B.C., but its story illustrates clearly the contrast between the government's carefully scripted performative gestures and its relentless denial of basic justice. I will not pretend to know the details of the St. Anne's issue as well as the member for Timmins—James Bay does, but reading about the government's fight against survivors is nothing short of enraging.

How can the federal government explain its department withholding key person-of-interest documents that would have helped justly resolve survivors' claims? How is it that the government continues to spend millions of dollars in its effort to minimize its responsibilities as a result of the Human Rights Tribunal ruling on indigenous kids in care?

In its 2016 ruling, the tribunal was crystal clear that services for indigenous children were being underfunded, and that as a result more kids were being taken away from their families. The government is fighting that ruling in court. It is arguing that because the discrimination was systemic, individuals harmed should not be entitled to compensation. The system that facilitated this harm was designed by people, and those people worked for our government. It is both astounding and infuriating. If this motion passes, I hope the government will obey the will of Parliament and call off its lawyers. The people affected by this discrimination deserve no less.

What both the St. Anne's case and the case involving indigenous child welfare show is that Canada's shameful treatment of indigenous people continues today. As one person said, it is not a chapter in our history: it is the entire plot of the book. The people in this place have the power to change it if we have the courage.

Last weekend, my friend Dolores told me that people were gathering at Lejac. It is located west of Prince George near Fraser Lake, about two hours from where I live, so I hopped in my vehicle and I drove out. Lejac is the site of the former Lejac Residential School, to which so many indigenous kids were taken from communities stretching from Prince George to Hazelton. The former school site is situated on a hill overlooking Fraser Lake. It is part of the territory of the Nadleh people.

On New Year's Day in 1937, four Nadleh boys between eight and nine years old escaped from the Lejac school. Allen Willie, Andrew Paul, Maurice Justin, and Johnny Michael set out to walk seven miles to their Nadleh home. They were found frozen to death on the ice of the lake just a mile short of their destination. It is just one of the hundreds of stories of heartbreaking loss stemming from that place.

As I drove up to the site of the former school last weekend, I was struck by how many people had travelled on short notice to be there together that day to share their collective grief, to drum and dance, to honour the survivors still among them, and to stand in solidarity with the families of the children whose remains were found only a few days earlier. I was struck by their resilience and their strength.

Most of all, I will remember Lheidli T’enneh singer Kym Gouchie calling all the children present into the centre of the circle. She taught them the actions for a kids' song that she wrote. As she sang, they followed along, touching their toes and reaching for the sky and singing out the words, and the instructions got faster and faster and the children's laughter rose. Dozens of indigenous kids laughing and dancing on the exact same ground where that horrible school once stood was an expression of joy in a week with so much pain. I will remember that hopeful sight for a long time and it makes me more determined than ever to fight for the justice that the motion before us represents.

I urge every member in this place to vote for this. After the flags go back up and the news media moves on, let us show indigenous people that we still hear them and are willing to act.

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I have listened to many members on all sides of the House talk about this very important issue.

In the north end of Winnipeg, whether it is this issue or the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls over the last many years, there are daily reminders. I am thinking of red ribbons, and now the hearts with “215” on windows. This has touched Canadians in a very traumatic way. For me, it is a time when we might want to reflect, and renew our commitment to move as quickly as we can on the issue of reconciliation.

Could the member provide his thoughts on how important it is that we depoliticize and try to unify and move forward in a constructive, positive fashion of reconciliation?

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, the imperative is that we act now.

Those of us in this place should not have to take the next two weeks to reflect. We should know the truth that is represented in the calls for justice and the calls to action. Right now, we have a moment when the country is asking for immediate action and indigenous people are asking for immediate action.

In putting forward this motion, our party is attempting to bring focus to those calls. These are things people have been requesting for a long time. I implore the hon. parliamentary secretary to vote for this motion alongside us. That is what depoliticizing this issue looks like. It looks like unity, and sends that message to indigenous people across the country.

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Alex Ruff Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be supporting the motion today.

I think there is a lot more tragic news that we are likely to discover as we continue to investigate. I would like to quote Duncan Campbell Scott, the 1909 appointed superintendent of Indian education, who said in 1910:

I can safely say that barely half of the children in our Indian schools survive to take advantage of the education we are offering them.

Duck Lake Indian Agent MacArthur later added:

The children “catch the disease … in a building … burdened with Tuberculosis Bacilli”.

Unfortunately, I think we are going to find more tragic situations in the coming days and weeks. We need to get to the bottom of this and do what we can to help in the healing process.

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I agree wholeheartedly with the member's comments, and I thank him for his support for this motion.

The quote he read mentioned the educational aspect of these schools, but as so many other members have mentioned, these were not places of education. The Lejac Residential School that I mentioned in my speech had the students digging potatoes and clearing the land. It was forced labour.

We need to very accurately portray the intention behind these schools and the horrible things that happened, and not give any more credence to the suggestion that these were places of education.

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very moving speech. I spent some time yesterday paying my respects at the centennial flame, right here on Parliament Hill, where people have come to leave plush toys, children's shoes and messages.

One of the people there told me how much they had suffered in their lifetime with the loss of friends, family and people from their indigenous community, but that the loss of those 215 children was what hurt the most.

How would my colleague like the government to respond to people like that individual, through either words or actions? What would he like the government to do?

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, we have such a clear roadmap before us, not just in the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission but also in the calls for justice in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls final report.

We need to ensure the full implementation of all of those calls to action and all of those calls for justice. This motion, I believe, is a first step. It is something we could do in this moment when the eyes of the country are turned to this issue and when there is a chance we could make real progress. We could have the government call off its lawyers, and we could see real resources and a concerted focus placed on finding the other unmarked burial sites across Canada.

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his beautiful speech.

I want to start out today by sending my sincere solidarity to all the survivors, families and communities that were shaken once again by the discovery at the Kamloops residential school, particularly the Tk’emlúps te Secwe´pemc First Nation. I lift them them up today and every day.

The TRC reported that at least 40% to 60% of all children who attended the schools died, and sometimes, as I indicated yesterday, according to Mary-Ellen Kelm, as a result of purposely exposing children to infections such as TB, spreading the disease throughout the school population. Murray Sinclair, who chaired the TRC, has indicated that he believes the death count could be much higher due to the schools' poor burial records, as many as 25,000. These are burial grounds that we know about, but the current government has failed to act to bring our loved ones home.

On calls to action 71 to 76 of the TRC report, former lead commissioner Murray Sinclair has indicated there has been no action. Once again, it was left up to indigenous peoples to find our own loved ones.

These findings have left shockwaves of trauma, grief, hurt and betrayal throughout indigenous nations across the country, as a result of the violent genocide perpetrated against indigenous children and families simply for being who they were, for no other reason than to advance the government's economic agenda, behaviours that continue today. These violent acts were rooted in the violent dispossession of lands, eradicating our cultures and leaving us sometimes sheltered on our very own lands. This included attempting to assimilate our children to get us out of the way, which we are now finding out resulted in the deaths of thousands of children, a genocide.

Here we are again today fighting to get immediate resources and support from the government in order to, at the very least, provide families with closure as a result of this genocide. We are fighting with the federal government to stop fighting first nations kids in court and St. Anne's residential school survivors. This is a government that will not even acknowledge that what it committed and continues to commit against indigenous peoples in Canada is genocide. The hope of achieving some sort of justice and closure is waning.

Former commissioner Murray Sinclair stated:

I can hear not only the pain and the anguish, but also the anger that no one believed the stories they had told. I can also hear their sense that they have lost some hope that maybe those children that hadn't returned might still be found. They now know that may not happen.

These are the sacred lives of children exposed to acts of genocide who never returned home, which was a violent violation of human rights.

Let us not forget the parents. I have spoken before in this House about the countless stories from parents and the heartache they feel each September when their children were robbed once again and taken away to residential schools. There was no more laughter, play or joy. Imagine how their heartache grew when their children never returned home, never to hear the echoes of laughter and play, never to have closure, wondering where their babies were. These were cruel, violent acts of genocide, something the government refuses to acknowledge, continuing to leave it up for debate whether indigenous peoples experienced genocide in residential schools.

In fact, there is a class action lawsuit involving 101 first nations seeking reparations from the federal government for the impact of residential schools, and the federal government continues to deny any legal responsibility. In court filings, the government “admits the schools were meant to 'assimilate' Indigenous people, but denies the federal governments of that era 'sought to destroy the ability…to speak their Indigenous language or to lose the customs or traditions of their culture.'” This is a government that has made genocide denial a norm.

The truth needs to be honoured. The experience of parents needs to be honoured and lifted up. I wish to honour all parents and families today who lost loved ones as a result of genocide. We will fight to bring home their children, their siblings, their cousins, their aunties, their uncles, their sisters and brothers. The number of murdered and missing indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people is reported as a genocide in the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

Genocide continues, with no action from the federal government. There was an announcement today of releasing an action plan, but the implementation plan is still to come, with no release date in sight. This is something that Chief Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, has called “another delay, a tactic, and also delaying the funding resources that families of survivors need now. We have people today going missing and murdered. Things have got to change now.” She went on to state, “Canada’s genocidal legacy is going to continue because there's no change, real leadership, and real commitment. We just get the flowery reconciliation speeches that fall short in action.”

Pam Palmater, a professor from Ryerson University, stated, “That's code for we didn’t come up with a plan”, further noting that “[a] plan that doesn’t have concrete actions, clear timelines, and measurable outcomes is not acceptable”.

There is a growing distrust from indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people across this country, including NWAC, which has lost faith in the federal government and is done with its “toxic, dysfunctional” process. Instead, NWAC is planning to release its own national action plan, which President Lorraine Whitman said is one that “puts families, not politics, first.”

Let us not forget the millennium scoop and the fact that the government continues to break the law, failing to uphold the Human Rights Tribunal ruling to immediately stop racially discriminating against first nations children on reserve.

Canadian hero Cindy Blackstock has affirmed in The Tyee the following:

The federal government has repeatedly failed to adequately compensate 165,000 First Nations children and families whose childhoods—and lives—were stolen through government neglect....

What we know from the tribunal’s uncontested legal findings is that Canada’s non-compliance has been linked to the deaths of some children, harms to other children and unnecessary family separations of thousands of others. So it’s not unlike the types of things that children in residential schools faced. Canada is continuing that behaviour.

She went on to further note, “It reinforces the responsibility that I and everyone else have to make sure the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action are actually implemented. And that the federal government stops fighting against the equity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children today, and stops fighting residential school survivors in court.”

The residential schools, the sixties scoop, the millennium scoop and MMIWG are a continuation of ongoing genocide. As Murray Sinclair stated in The Globe and Mail in 2018, “We would have been apprehended by the child-welfare system if it had been organized as it is today.”

I am asking all members of the House to support this motion, to listen to calls coming from indigenous peoples across this country and act now.

Opposition Motion—Action Toward Reconciliation with Indigenous PeoplesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member will have five minutes of questions and comments after the question period.

Alleged Use of Unparliamentary Language—Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

On Tuesday, I committed to come back to the House following a point of order raised by the member for Kingston and the Islands.

In his remarks, the member indicated that the member for New Brunswick Southwest, in a preamble to a question, was imputing motive upon another member of this House. I reviewed the Debates and I am of the view that the remarks in question did not meet the threshold needed to be considered as a personal attack or unparliamentary language. As indicated in my initial ruling, the question raised is one of debate and not a contravention to our rules.

That being said, I can only repeat myself and invite members to remain respectful and ensure that the language used not be construed as being derogatory toward another member. Remarks that are overly provocative can often create disorder and quickly fall in the category of unparliamentary language.

I thank the hon. members for their attention.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, this government's so-called “climate accountability act” is climate action theatre. I have heard MPs say that this piece of legislation is better than nothing, patting themselves on the back for making meaningless changes.

The Canada Energy Regulator has reported that Canada will miss its Paris Agreement targets because of the oil and gas sector. Billions of taxpayer dollars continue to flow into the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Subsidies for fracking and fracked gas continue to increase.

Yesterday, to mark Environment Week, I put forward Motion No. 90 calling for a national ban on gas fracking in Canada. Fracking is a climate killer. Continuing to support and expand the fracked gas industry is incompatible with combatting climate change, protecting fresh water, maintaining a healthy environment and respecting indigenous sovereignty, rights and title.

Canada needs to stop engaging in climate action theatre and implement a national ban on fracking.

ALS Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, June is ALS awareness month, a time when the ALS Society of Canada raises awareness and funds for research and support for those who suffer from this tragic disease.

About 3,000 Canadians are, at any one time, living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This rapidly progressing neurological disorder can strike anyone, young or old, regardless of age or socio-economic status. As the disease progresses, cost of care and equipment becomes exorbitant and is often borne by family members. The need for research and support to families is critical.

In memory of our late colleague, Mauril Bélanger, whose sudden and rapid demise from ALS affected this House profoundly, let us vow to increase resources dedicated to this disease. However, first, let us join the virtual Walk to End ALS on June 19.

Semiconductor ShortageStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Doug Shipley Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Madam Speaker, over the past 18 months, our economy has been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we have another looming crisis that threatens to drastically affect our economy and even shut down many Canadian production facilities.

There is a global shortage of precious and important semiconductors. I recently spoke with many local car dealerships that are having problems receiving new inventory due to this shortage. I have also been in discussion with Napoleon, a manufacturer of fireplaces and barbeques, which is headquartered and manufactures in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. Napoleon's shortage is so dire that, in approximately seven days, it will be out of inventory. Therefore, it may no longer be able to manufacture product and could potentially be forced to lay off hard-working Canadians. This semiconductor shortage has the potential to affect tens of thousands of supply chain, manufacturing and distribution jobs across Canada.

I have brought this serious and imminent matter up with the Liberal government. Now, we all need to cross party lines to work together and avert this looming crisis and keep hard-working Canadians producing great Canadian products.

Residential SchoolsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Madam Speaker, on June 4, in front of Surrey City Hall, the south Asian community will hold a candlelight vigil to remember the 215 indigenous children whose remains were found in Kamloops on the grounds of Canada’s largest former residential school. The vigil is one of hundreds happening across the country to show solidarity with all Indigenous communities in Canada.

This terrible tragedy has touched us all. Regardless of race, religion, geography or cultural background, we are all mourning these innocent souls who were subjected to appalling abuse under the residential school system. Canadians are standing united in support of a different future for indigenous peoples.

National Indigenous History MonthStatements By Members

June 3rd, 2021 / 2 p.m.


Sylvie Bérubé Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Madam Speaker, June is National Indigenous History Month.

This year, the theme can be no other. It is heart-wrenching. It is about the children. Children like the 215 whose remains were found buried anonymously, without respect and without compassion at the residential school in Kamloops; children torn from their families, culture and land; children who were mistreated and whose identity, pride and dignity were taken away; children who had to endure residential schools for almost two centuries of racism; children like the missing and murdered girls for whom justice still has not been done two years to the day after the final report of the national inquiry was released.

We owe it to these children to ensure that National Indigenous History Month is not just a commemoration. We owe them respect, justice, equality and reconciliation, nation to nation. It is our duty.

Women's RightsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Soraya Martinez Ferrada Liberal Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a woman, I could not stay silent about what happened yesterday in the House, when 81 official opposition members voted in favour of a bill to restrict a woman's right to make decisions about her own body. That number represents a majority of official opposition members.

This debate is closed. Women fought too hard for these rights, and we cannot go backwards. The official opposition has introduced bills undermining women's fundamental rights seven times since 2007. That is appalling.

How can women's rights be challenged over and over? On behalf of all of the women who fought this battle and all those who will follow, including my 20-year-old daughter, we must denounce this irresponsible attempt to undermine a woman's right to choose.

As a member of a feminist and progressive party, I assure all women that our government will always stand up for women's right to choose and to make decisions about their own bodies.

HomelessnessStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege today to recognize Medicine Hat, Alberta in its historic, national achievement in reaching functional zero chronic homelessness. For Medicine Hat, functional zero means there were three or fewer individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in the community over three consecutive months.

Medicine Hat achieved this dynamic milestone by developing an effective data collection strategy, by creating strong community partnerships and by designing systems with engagement from people with lived experience. It continuously conducts reviews in order to improve systems and enjoy support from a very engaged community. Ending homelessness does not mean that people will never again be homeless. It means that systems are in place to ensure that any experience of homelessness is rare, brief and non-reoccurring. It is time we stop managing homelessness and begin ending it.

Let Medicine Hat be a living example that broken systems can be fixed and homelessness can be solved. To Robin, Jaime and the team from the Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, and everyone who has been part making this a reality, I say, “Well done.”

National Health and Fitness DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Adam van Koeverden Liberal Milton, ON

Mr. Speaker, like most Canadians, I have found it really tough to stay physically active over the last 15 months. Sport, physical activity and recreation are super important for our physical and mental health, but they also build communities and helps to maintain our connections and friendships. Being active is an essential part of Canadian life. However, it has been especially hard for kids and families.

That is why I was so excited to see $80 million over the next two years for Canada’s active recovery in budget 2021. These investments will remove barriers to participation, increase enrolment and help kick-start organized sport programs that are accessible to every Canadian.

This Saturday, June 5 is National Health and Fitness Day in Canada. It is a great chance for someone to set some goals for the summer or try some new activities with family. It is a great time for a healthy new habit.

I am challenging all of my MP colleagues to do something active this weekend, and encourage our communities to get moving as well. Post it on social media with #ShowUsYourMoves, #NHFD2021 or #BougeAvecNous. If anyone needs a few ideas, they can check out and have a healthy and active weekend.

Alexandra ParkStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Adam Vaughan Liberal Spadina—Fort York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about a community in my riding locally know as “AP”. It is often called Alex Park, but its proper name is Alexandra Park.

While Alex Park’s roots run deep, its branches reach the sky. The community boasts that it sends more of its kids per capita to post-secondary school than any other public housing project in Canada. A few years back it turned itself into a co-op housing community. The co-op is named for the man who had that vision of self-determination: Sonny Atkinson.

Even during the pandemic, Alex Park is rebuilding itself, adding new homes and new hope to the neighbourhood. The community centre is at the heart of AP and during COVID, it saw its young leaders rise to the challenge. It has built a bigger kitchen, turned spare rooms into a food bank, and delivered groceries to families in need, while delivering home-cooked meals to hundreds of seniors every day, every week and every month.

I would describe it as resilient, remarkable, beautiful and bold, caring and full of characters. It is an honour to be their MP and it is an honour to share their story with Canada through Parliament.

Fundraising in WallaceburgStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Lianne Rood Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 25, Seth Nottley, a 10-year-old boy from Port Lambton, suffered cardiac arrest on a playground. Seth suffers from a rare heart condition and he has been in hospital for treatment and recovery since his health emergency.

Even in the middle of lockdown, people and businesses in Wallaceburg stepped up to raise money to offset the expenses incurred by his family while in treatment. Several thousand dollars was raised by the community. Riverport Restaurant donated 50¢ from every breakfast and $1 from every dinner it served on April 8. Big Chief Drive-In donated the proceeds from cheeseburgers sold on April 27. Supported by other Wallaceburg businesses, the Sombra Township Optimist held an online auction to raise money. Students launched a Rice Krispies square fundraiser at Christ the King School.

On behalf of the community, I add my hopes and prayers for a speedy path to Seth's full recovery. Let us celebrate Wallaceburg people and businesses who stepped up even in lockdown. They truly understand do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Malik DuguayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


René Arseneault Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, the young people of Madawaska—Restigouche are certainly inspiring.

A 12-year-old young man from my riding decided to start a business. With the help of his family, Malik Duguay started a company called Hogwork's. He makes and sells magic wands inspired by the Harry Potter universe. He sculpts the wands himself, paints them and adds details. He also adds copper and metal detailing, depending on the order. The company continues to grow, year after year, and is now doing so well that Malik has made over 200 magic wands that have been sold to customers around the world. His fondest dream is for his company to grow even bigger. Given his perseverance, I have no doubt that he will succeed.

On June 9, Malik will be receive the Leaders de demain award for future leaders.

Anyone who would like to experience a little magic during this pandemic can buy a wand on the Hogwork's website or Facebook page.

Congratulations, Malik, and good luck with this venture.

Criminal CodeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jasraj Singh Hallan Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want everyone in this House to imagine being a child who is going through something traumatic and just wants to feel loved. Picture this child being approached by an older individual on Instagram who promises gifts and love. Now imagine this child being violated, groomed and sold into human trafficking by that same predator. According to, they saw an 81% increase from April to June 2020 of reports of youth who had been sexually exploited.

Last week, I introduced Bill C-304 to enforce harsher punishments for child grooming and exploitation. I have two young daughters and I want to see them and the rest of our youth grow up in a safe environment free from child groomers and predators.

I ask everyone in this House to support Bill C-304 so that we can put a stop to this evil.

High School Graduates in PortneufStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, ever since 2016, it has been my pleasure to give high school graduates certificates to mark this important milestone in their lives.

This year, graduation ceremonies are being modified or cancelled, but we still need to recognize our young people's achievement. I am particularly pleased to be able to continue this initiative this year by signing 810 certificates that bear the following message:

Graduation is an important milestone. This year in particular, you have developed unique skills that will serve you for the rest of your lives. I want to congratulate you on your resilience, your adaptability and your perseverance. Follow your dreams. The future is yours.

These certificates will be handed out to graduates of all high schools in Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier: Dollard-des-Ormeaux School, École secondaire Louis-Jobin, École secondaire de Saint-Marc, École secondaire Mont-Saint-Sacrement, the Séminaire Saint-François, École secondaire de Donnacona and the Pavillon Laure-Gaudreault at École Des Pionniers.

I want to sincerely congratulate all of the graduates and wish them a good summer.