Mr. Speaker, dear parliamentary colleagues, I believe in a policy of inclusion and engagement.
In public life, I try to practice adaptation, reconciliation, obligation, understanding and compromise. I believe this is how we achieve lasting change, and today I would like to share some outcomes of this past term as a result.
Picture being on the west coast of Canada. In the Pacific northwest, salmon probably arrived first. Salmon best describe the co-evolution of human life with the natural world. They are the ultimate statement of being in this world together, which we all are.
In 2015, I was worried about the survival of the DFO lab on the waterfront in West Vancouver, because under the previous government, the property faced the very real possibility of being sold. Under the new name of the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre, which was just a name, we reached out to science partners, community leaders, the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam nations, and local DFO staff to create a vision for renewed investment and scientific research. Our ideas had to gain acceptance from the minister and staff at DFO as well as from Public Services and Procurement Canada to justify a long-term reinvestment.
For me, working with staff behind the scenes in two departments in Ottawa was very challenging. I was asking them to create a major culture shift, and they were amazing.
The following are absolute firsts in the history of DFO.
The Coastal Ocean Research Institute has moved 18 scientists into the lab who use the new lab space for research into ocean plastics. West Vancouver's Streamkeepers and multiple stewardship groups use the facility now all the time.
The West Vancouver School District developed a senior curriculum, and the first class will graduate this June with high school diplomas in environmental studies, having spent all year long accessing the ocean, the creeks, the waterfront and the DFO scientists who work at the lab.
Squamish Nation children and elders have returned home with their ocean-going canoes, and there is a lineup of partners wishing to work with the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre.
Ocean plastics, glass sponge reefs, underwater vessel noise, habitat loss, cetaceans, ocean warming and marine protected areas: We know now that solving complex environmental challenges takes off when the federal government opens up.
In the same spirit, I am particularly proud that our government honours the knowledge of local governments. Investment in infrastructure means equality for all Canadians through clean drinking water, waste water treatment, public transportation, secure housing and access to digital technology. The national agenda has benefited from the inclusion of local priorities.
In health, collaboration and research is fundamental. I chair the all-party juvenile diabetes caucus, which garnered a $15-million federal investment. Matched by a $15-million contribution from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a $30-million health research partnership formed between JDRF and the Canadian Institute for Health Research, which was another first.
It is also obvious when we are missing the spirit of understanding and compromise, perhaps most profoundly felt today in the disconnect between British Columbia and Alberta. Western Canada needs to stick together. We matter: for our innovation, our enterprise, our experimentalism and our strong environmentalism. The hope for our energy future lies with innovation by the clean tech sector. It lies with companies that understand that a price on pollution drives innovation, with indigenous communities that want to work together to transition Canada to a clean energy future and share in the ownership and management of resource companies, and with investors who are already moving us toward a low carbon future. No amount of yelling comes close to innovation and inclusion.
Obligation means that no one should be afraid to expose money laundering in Canada. The Pacific caucus stressed this to the minister in 2015, and early studies began. I am very pleased that Minister Eby, in B.C., is pursuing this and that our government is supportive.
Our housing strategy responds directly to the values of equality and inclusion, as does the Canada child benefit.
I have always and will always be working toward truth and reconciliation. For me, we should be more afraid of exclusion than inclusion.
Turning to global affairs, I would like to thank two ministers of foreign affairs who I have had the privilege of serving as parliamentary secretary.
In 2015, on the first day I met with minister Dion, he said three things: one, I must know my files; two, I must not let him down in the House of Commons; and three, I must tell him one thing I wanted to achieve, and he would support me.
I said I would like to work on women, peace and security. Women play a marginal role, at best, in bringing peace in international conflict situations. It is short-sighted in the extreme. The research is clear: when women are involved in peace-building, peace negotiations, peace talks and the implementation of peace processes, outcomes are better. Today, under the leadership of our current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada's foreign policy is a feminist foreign policy, as is our international development policy.
The Government of Canada is committed to improving opportunities for women in defence and for women in policing. The Government of Canada has just launched the equality fund to leverage the philanthropic community and the private sector to build gender equality.
I would like to thank and extend my gratitude to the current Minister of Foreign Affairs. She leads with considerable knowledge and experience, with pragmatism and with understanding.
I would also like to thank the former minister of international trade because he placed his trust in me. He credited his whole team with our successes, and he led an effort that built and broadened free trade agreements with Europe and the trans-Pacific region. We worked hard to engage around the world, and our negotiators kept inclusivity and accommodation top of mind.
There seems to be a belief that a member of Parliament cannot speak up or deviate from the party. I can think of some occasions when I deviated. When the Minister of Finance brought in tax reforms that were not popular at home, I told him that I, no doubt, would be very engaged in serious public consultations. Over that summer, and as a result of expert advice, we submitted 10 solutions, of which eight were accepted by the minister.
When it comes to transitioning away from open net pen fish farms on the coast of British Columbia, I voted against our government. Everyone knows that, and my work to transition to closed containment will be ongoing.
I respect the leadership of the Prime Minister. In my experience, he encourages differing views, especially when offered in the spirit of compromise and a better way.
It will not surprise members to know that I am deeply disturbed by the stultifying and soul-destroying House of Commons rules that stipulate that the House sit on Fridays every week, or until midnight, or all night long. This is not democratic. This is not even humane. We should all be here in the House of Commons as our best selves, energized, not sleep deprived; optimistic, not frustrated.
Finally, no MPs can give their very best without a great staff team. Stephanie, Deanna, Marjan, Lucie, Natasha, Rav, Diana, Alexandre and Morgan, and in global affairs, Jillian, Joshua, Jim, Kyna, Sher and Isabella, have all worked as an incredible team. Gruelling schedules, mountains of material, stressful conditions and multiple demands on their time somehow brought them together. I admire all of them. I thank them for the standard they have set for all we do.
As with most MPs, we have also been very pleased to support four interns over four summers, Marjan, Clio, Claire and Nicola. We throw them in the deep end and encourage them with every new ripple that comes along. May the four of them go on in their lives to ask: Who have I not included? What am I not seeing? Am I accommodating? Am I bringing a solution? If they do that, then Canada is in good hands, and they, and I, and those who hold the public trust in their daily work, will have been worthy of the office and the honour.
My heartfelt thanks to the people of West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for the opportunity to serve them and for our opportunity to serve Canada. My personal commitment to them will never end. I will see them at home. À bientôt.