Mr. Speaker, I would like to share my time with the hon. member for Vancouver North.
I would like to start by congratulating you, Mr. Speaker, on your re-election to the Speaker's chair. Although I am new to this House, your reputation precedes you.
I would also like to thank the voters of Parkdale--High Park for giving me their confidence. I consider it a great honour to represent our community in the House of Commons. I look forward to working with the NDP caucus and across party lines to advance my constituents' interests in this great chamber.
I campaigned on a platform of championing Toronto's issues in Ottawa and I intend to do just that working with the mayor of Toronto, David Miller, who is a constituent.
I was pleased that the new government's first throne speech included mention of the environment, the creation of new child care spaces and the importance of public health care. These are important priorities to the people of Parkdale--High Park and indeed to all Torontonians.
I was also immensely proud to have been witness to the long overdue official apology to the Chinese Canadians whose families were subjected to the humiliation of the Chinese head tax. As Parkdale--High Park is home to many Ukrainian Canadians, we look to this Parliament to address their internment as well.
Other NDP priorities were also touched on in the throne speech, however briefly, such as electoral reform and the prevention of crime. In this caucus we support making every vote count and we recognize the importance of stemming violent crime.
The government re-emphasized its five priorities. While some of them deserve attention and merit, they all fall short and in some cases are plain wrong. The citizens of Toronto have more than five simple priorities and they cannot wait years for them to be addressed.
We have waited too long for a national public system of early learning and child care. After 13 long years of promises from the previous government, we were finally to see the modest beginning of such a system.
I say to the Prime Minister through you, Mr. Speaker, that the children of Toronto, the children of Canada, need child care now. Their families are counting on the choice in child care that can only be achieved when we create spaces that today's working families will be able to choose to take advantage of or not. Investing in early childhood education is a key part of kids getting a good start in life. I will be monitoring this vital issue for parents in my constituency and across Toronto.
Torontonians most of all want a city that is sustainable, fair, equitable and just. In short, they want a city they can be proud of and a country they can be proud of. It should and I believe it can be a great city that is a cultural and social centre, not only an economic engine that benefits the rest of the country through equalization measures, although we in Toronto recognize this importance, but a truly great international city. However, for Toronto the good to be more than a slogan, for it to become really true, we need the help of the federal government.
After years of empty promises, we had hoped to see the needs of cities like Toronto better addressed in the throne speech. Cities need a real plan and real funding for vital services like affordable housing, transit, services for newcomers and crime prevention. I want to work with the Minister of Transport to address these important challenges facing our city. We need to expand on the new deal for cities introduced in the last Parliament. I hope that this current Parliament will see the need to enshrine the funding agreements in legislation and give municipalities like Toronto a real seat at the table. A real deal for our municipalities requires a national housing strategy. We are the only industrialized country without such a plan and it is time to right this wrong.
Affordable housing is key to the health and quality of life for my constituents in Parkdale--High Park as it is for the rest of Toronto. While it may not make the new government's top five priorities, it is at the top of the list for many Torontonians as it is for me.
Also of great concern to the citizens of--