House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was alberta.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Edmonton Centre (Alberta)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to represent the riding of Edmonton Centre. When I go door to door and I see a small pair of shoes or a bike outside, I ask people how the Canada child benefit is benefiting them. They tell me they do not have to choose anymore between food and rent. They say their kids are in music or a sports club.

I asked for the numbers. In April 2019 alone, 7,250 payments were made to 12,300 kids, with an average payment of $630. About $4.6 million is going to families in Edmonton Centre every month. That is transformative to their lives, to how they run their households, to the economy of Edmonton Centre and, in fact, to the economy of the city of Edmonton.

A magical thing happens across a country, including small communities, when we take the country from 13% poverty to 9%. The economy does better, communities are healthier, families are happier and everybody benefits. That is what this government has done.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment, as a first-term parliamentarian, to thank each of the hon. members who shared their remarks with us this evening, at the end of their distinguished parliamentary careers. There were many life lessons in those comments. There were many words of wisdom, a few funny stories and indeed things that I hope to be able to reflect on and learn from with multiple mandates in this chamber. However, as members know, that is up to our residents so I look forward to a vigorous campaign this summer and into the fall.

It is the great honour of my life to serve in this chamber and to represent the residents of Edmonton Centre. Therefore, tonight I would like to share my reflections on Bill C-97 and, more particularly, how this 2019 budget says very clearly that our government, budget 2019 and I are here for Edmonton.

I want to start with those people who paved the way for us. I want to start with the seniors and to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice that seniors have made to build up our communities, to build up our country and, in my case, to build up the city of Edmonton. I honour and respect the wealth of knowledge that they carry with them and the experience and the skills that they continue to contribute and that we want to see them contributing today.

In budget 2019, we recognize the contribution that seniors have made to Canada and we are returning the favour by investing in them. Budget 2019 would help to support their active participation in society, including through work, and would smooth the transition to retirement for seniors when they choose to leave the workforce. I have seen the very good work that the horizons program for seniors has done to reduce social isolation.

I can see the work that we have done to make sure that seniors are able to retain more of the income they now spend. Seniors asked me at the doors why we were clawing back some of the money that they make when they go to work at the Walmart or their kids' school. They asked why we were taking some of that money and we listened. The Minister of Employment, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of Seniors were very clear. Now seniors will not pay tax on the first $5,000, it is not going to be clawed back from their GIS and 50% of the next $10,000 will also be exempt. That is $7,500 on the $15,000 that seniors make that will now be in their pockets.

Unfortunately, some seniors are penalized. When they try to keep working, they see significant cuts to their benefits. That is why we listened to seniors and changed the program.

As I mentioned, that is why we are making changes to the GIS allowance benefit. It would begin in the July 2020 to July 2021 benefit year.

Our government respects seniors. Seniors are respected in the budget. We listened to them and we took action.

On innovation and jobs, our government and I are building, together with western Canadians, a strong and competitive west by focusing on business development, innovation and community development. We have pledged to do that by increasing support to Western Economic Diversification Canada with a $100-million increase over three years to increase its programming across western Canada. That means more jobs and more investment in companies. It means more companies will be able to scale up in Edmonton, in Red Deer, in Calgary and across the west.

We have also provided $100 million to the Clean Resource Innovation Network that will help make Alberta's oil and gas even greener and even cleaner.

As members know, when tragedy strikes every second counts, and that makes helicopters an indispensable tool for getting people the care they need quickly and efficiently, which is especially true across such a vast region as western Canada. Since 1985, STARS air ambulance, known as Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service, has provided rapid and specialized emergency helicopter ambulance service to patients who are critically ill or injured in communities across Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta.

STARS has contributed to saving hundreds of lives and it has helped all of us in some of the worst tragedies: helping after the Pine Lake tornado in July 1999; saving people during the floods of Calgary in 2013; providing transportation away from the fires that swept through Fort McMurray in 2016; and, when the nation's heart sank at the Humboldt crash, helping get those survivors to safety.

Our government recognizes the vital role that STARS plays in delivering access to emergency care for the communities it serves. Our budget will put five new emergency medical helicopters in the air, with a $65-million allocation in budget 2019, making sure that STARS can renew half of its aging fleet and continue its life-saving work.

One of the key aspects of this budget, and even this government, is the hard work we do on behalf of all Canadians, including LGBTQ2 Canadians.

All Canadians deserve our respect, and that includes LGBTQ2 Canadians. That is why I am so delighted to state that in budget 2019 we have included, for the first time in the history of this country, an allocation of $20 million over two years for capacity-building and community-level work for LGBTQ2 service organizations in Canada. This means that community-based organizations that have been shut out and not able to apply to the federal government for anything, ever, will now have that opportunity, starting later this summer and into the new year.

I want to pause and thank the Minister of Finance and member of Parliament for Toronto Centre and his team for this historic investment in budget 2019. It did not have to be there, but it is there. I want to thank the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and MP for Peterborough—Kawartha and her team, because that is the department that will flow the money. I want to thank the LGBTQ2 Secretariat that resides in the Privy Council Office. Without its steadfast work, without its coordination, this would not be possible. I want to thank my own team. To each of them, I want to say that they have made history and they will change and save lives.

Why is the pan-Canadian suicide prevention service, money that we put aside for the national suicide prevention line, so important? It is $25 million over five years.

Earlier today, I was at something called Children First. It was a luncheon and colleagues from the other side of the aisle were also there. We each got paired up with a young person, and I was paired up with 11-year-old Ethan from PETES, an elementary school. We started chatting, in front of a hundred of his colleagues. I asked him what he likes to do. He said he was a video games guy; he likes to play, draw and dance. Then I asked him, “When you talk with your friends, what are some of the big things you want adults to fix?” He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Can you stop bullying? Can you stop people from hurting other people?” I asked if he knew someone who was bullied, and he said he was. It scared him. It ruined his life, and he was quiet for way too long. He became really depressed and had suicidal thoughts. This is an 11-year-old kid who was opening up to me in front of a hundred people at a luncheon today. He asked if we can do something to keep more kids safe.

He wanted to make sure that people would listen. He was not sure that if he told an adult, somebody would listen. The people we will employ on this pan-Canadian suicide prevention hotline will listen to people like Ethan, and that is why budget 2019 is going to make a difference in the lives of so many Canadians.

Turning to another pressing issue in Edmonton Centre, it is important that we do better for, with and by indigenous people, particularly urban indigenous communities. About 60% of indigenous people in Canada live in an urban setting, and Edmonton is home to Canada's second-largest indigenous population. That makes indigenous supports in urban settings a priority for me and for our government. We are investing in safe and culturally relevant community spaces, with $60 million over five years to support capital infrastructure in friendship centres.

With budget 2019, our government is on track to end boil water advisories in Canada by 2021. That affects first nations people whether they are in urban settings or across the country. I attended the Kehewin First Nation sod turning in February. By January 2020, that will be the last boil water advisory for any first nation in Alberta.

With the minute I have left, I want to talk about why an urban riding like mine needs infrastructure. We have the youngest city in the country, with an average age of 34, which is putting me on the other side of the young age now. When a city is that young and dynamic, we need infrastructure, like transit. We have invested almost $1 billion in the transit system that would go through my riding all the way to West Edmonton Mall and to Lewis Estates, so that parents can get home to their kids faster, so that young professionals can get to their activities after work, so that our dynamic economy can continue to grow.

In an urban riding like mine, we need to see commerce increase, and we need people to be able to get home to their families. Our government has listened. Our historic investments in infrastructure will continue, with $16 billion a year over the next nine years. That is improving lives. It is making things better. That is why, with budget 2019, our government and I are here for Edmonton.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the passion of the hon. colleague on this issue. I, too, and colleagues on this side, lament any time a daily or weekly goes under because of lack of revenues. One of the things we have learned and have heard loudly through committee work and through studies across the country us is that ad revenue that used to go to these dailies and weeklies for a dollar apiece now goes to online providers for pennies on the dollar. One cannot sustain a business model that does this.

Therefore, I agree there is more we can do. This is a start. These actions will make a difference. They will help to ensure that independent journalists can protect that independence and ensure Canadians can access media content that has a significant editorial component to it.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Madam Speaker, the hon. member's comments are double-plus bad. In the case of his messaging today, he is making a tempest out of a teapot.

Let us look at the billions of dollars existing in the media industry. Revenues have gone down from $5.5 billion in 2008 to $3.2 billion in 2016, and the member on the other side is worried about a $50 million fund that somehow will revolutionize the balance in the media.

He talked about this somehow favouring Liberal candidates in the next election. Right up to the last election, 74% of all Canadian dailies called for the Harper government to be re-elected, three times more than how it was polling. More than 50% of the population was interested in supporting it. That kind of imbalance is exactly what the member is accusing us of doing, and the Conservatives lived it. We are here to ensure that the independence of journalists is taken seriously.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Madam Speaker, the opportunity to provide insight on how the government values a healthy democracy through a free and independent press is why I am here today. Voices must be heard in a democracy: diverse, dissenting and dynamic voices. Those of us who have a seat in this place must speak up for the voiceless, even when said voice sounds like it could use a little TLC.

No one will dispute that a healthy democracy requires a solid, independent news media industry, and we all agree that with today's technology Canadians now consume information differently and through various media forms. Many readers are changing their consumption habits and getting information online.

If we look at the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, 65% of Canadians worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon. These are the new realities we face here in the House and as a government, and the advent of fake news has prompted our government to act to ensure that our democracy remains well served by informed and reliable journalism.

The support measures we developed ensure that Canada will continue to have an active, professional, reliable and independent press, and that, through responsible journalism, Canadians remain informed of the events that shape our country. As stated by the hon. Minister of Finance, “Whether it's holding governments to account or getting involved in a local cause, Canadians rely on the journalism industry to shine a light on what's important—and these measures will help the industry continue to do exactly that.”

Without these independent journalists, it is much easier for the opposition to peddle fake news stories, such as the ongoing attack ads using public funds, paid for by Doug Ford's government. That is why the Conservatives are vehemently disparaging journalists. However, unlike the Conservatives, our government is not afraid to be held to account by Canadians.

There was one scrum after budget 2019 where someone asked whether this fund would just make sure that the media says what the Liberals want it to say. The Minister of Finance was there, and I think his quip was “I would really like the media to say exactly what I want it to say, but that is not how an independent press works.” That is at the core of what we are doing here.

To this end, we announced a series of measures that, together, would provide support to the Canadian news system, which is crucial to our democracy. Two fundamental principles have guided us in developing these support measures. First, we choose to support the news in a way that is independent, because of all the principles that enshrine our democracy. In short, we fundamentally believe that journalists should not be afraid of their funding being cut simply because they disagree with us. Second, it must be based on the creation of original content.

The first of these measures was introduced in budget 2018, where the government emphasized its support of local news in communities presently underserved by Canadian news media organizations. In an era when fake news is ubiquitous, all Canadians deserve to have access to reliable information.

Let us take the issue of fake news head on. The Conservatives have been trying to sell a narrative recently that is completely false, related to recent government announcements. I want to take the time that I have to address these issues head on.

It is a fact that, on May 22, 2019, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism announced the launch of the local journalism initiative. This initiative, which allocates a total of $50 million over five years, supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada.

It is a fact that, to protect the independence of the press, seven not-for-profit organizations representing different segments of the news industry will administer the initiative. These organizations will hire additional journalists or undertake projects to give their news greater visibility in underserved communities, thus addressing the need for local civic journalism in underserved communities. The content produced through this initiative will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons licence so that Canadians can be better informed regardless of the platform on which they consume their news.

Other support measures were announced in budget 2019, and the government proposed three new initiatives to support Canadian journalism: allowing not-for-profit news organizations to receive charitable donations and issue official donation receipts; creating a new, refundable labour tax credit for qualifying news organizations; and creating a temporary, non-refundable tax credit for subscriptions to Canadian digital news media.

It is a fact that an independent panel of experts will make recommendations on the eligibility criteria for the tax measures so that they are efficient, transparent and fair.

Eight associations representing Canadian journalists were invited to submit the name of a candidate to take part in the work of the independent panel of experts. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have taken issue with one of these associations and have been sharing false information that these associations will somehow be deciding who will receive funding. Fortunately, our government does not believe in such a draconian way of either sharing information or organizing a system meant to protect the independence of the media.

It is a fact that these associations were chosen because they represented the majority of Canadian news media publishers and journalists. the independent panel of experts will be able to consider the views of third parties, including industry stakeholders.

We know for a fact that these key measures will provide Canadians with more access to informed and reliable journalism.

The fact that the Conservatives are threatened by an independent panel of news media publishers and journalists is indicative of the kind of government they had under Mr. Harper and what kind of government they could be. It is the same kind of fear they had with scientists. It is the same kind they had with people of any sort of difference who might actually hold their feet to the fire. Our feet can be held to the fire and because of that, better is always possible.

Over the past week, there has been intense Conservative opposition to the appointment of Unifor to the local journalism panel. Unifor is an independent union that represents 12,000 media workers across the country. It will bring much-needed expertise to the panel on the integrity of news media, freedom of information and workers' rights.

Our government is committed to raising and improving labour standards and working conditions for all journalists across the country, while promoting free press.

We recognizes and value the importance of the independent press to a healthy democracy, and the addition of Unifor to the panel only strengthens that principle.

Let us make no mistake in assuming there is an easy fix after the deep cuts to media experienced under the Harper government, CBC alone, $150 million in cuts. The leader of the official opposition is already on record as saying hundreds of millions of dollars of cuts will come to the CBC should the Conservatives form government.

The Harper government also allocated extensive resources to monitor independent media outlets. Monitoring them is contradictory to the very independence of those media outlets. The previous government was obsessed with message control and engaged in widespread media monitoring. In contrast, our government has built an open relationship with the press.

The Canadian news media ecosystem is under tremendous pressure and that is why we take this issue seriously.

Let us look at the change of the media ecosystem since 2019.

Twenty per cent of daily and community newspapers have ceased their operations. This means that a total of 276 Canadian communities rely on alternative sources of information to obtain the news that is of concern to them. Also, we are not considering the many Canadian news media organizations that had to downsize and adapt their operations to remain in operation due to the drastic cuts of funding that has caused nearly irreversible damage.

In my time as a member of this place, the way the Edmonton media has covered stories has changed dramatically. I used to give an interview to the Edmonton Sun and an interview to the Edmonton Journal. Then about midway through their mandate, they said that I would just have to do one interview now. When I asked them why, they said that they have been consolidated. The Edmonton Sun and the Edmonton Journal are in the same offices now. Therefore, I just give quotes to one person and then the reporters take the different quotes they want to shape the story they want. That is the shape of things to come in the country, so it is time we acted.

Our government recognizes the vital and indispensable role that journalism plays in our country. That is why we will continue to protect the independence of journalists and why we are prepared to make the necessary investments and to take action to ensure Canadians continue to have access to informed and reliable news coverage that is necessary to ensure a democracy.

There used to be over 10,000 jobs in journalism, but most of them have been lost since 2007. Close to 250 daily newspapers have been affected. Some of them have had to close their doors and others have had to reduce the number of journalists that work for them. The government needs to act in this kind of situation and that is what we did.

That is exactly why we are taking these steps now.

TELUS Days of Giving May 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, yesterday members of the House, the other place and TELUS volunteers packed kits for kids' backpacks, filling them with school supplies as part of TELUS Days of Giving. Members will deliver these backpacks to schools in their ridings for children who may not have access to the supplies they need.

I will be giving these essential supplies to children in several schools in my riding of Edmonton Centre. The annual kits for kids event is part of TELUS' broader goal to be the most giving company in Canada. Over the past year, TELUS has contributed $150 million and one million volunteer hours, more than any other organization in the country.

I would like to thank my parliamentary colleagues for their participation and all of the volunteers across Canada taking part in the TELUS Days of Giving campaign. Together we make our communities better.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow we mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. We pause to reflect on the violence, discrimination and injustice that persist for LGBTQ2 Canadians and people around the world.

It is thanks to the work of Fondation Émergence that we have been celebrating this day for 16 years now. Every year, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia runs public anti-discrimination campaigns.

This year's campaign is “online violence has real-life consequences.” Almost three-quarters of LGBTQ2 individuals report they have been personally attacked or harassed online. That includes me and many of my queer friends and colleagues. This is unacceptable.

Canada's co-chairmanship with Chile for the Equal Rights Coalition is a commitment to ending these injustices. We thank Uruguay and the Netherlands for their foundational work.

As we pass the torch to Argentina and the United Kingdom, we say that persecution, hate and ignorance have no place in this world. We will stamp it out.

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, sometimes the law and the Criminal Code, as vast as it is, is a blunt instrument. Sometimes it shields people, and sometimes it means that they run into the law.

I wonder if the minister could share how he sees the law as a tool to protect vulnerable and minority populations in Canada.

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, I would like to say in English what I said in French, which is that the the directive the minister is talking about is important, and we have heard from witnesses that it is important because it is a step in the right direction. It says that the government needs to follow the science, that prosecutors need to follow the science, and that when somebody is undetectable, they are untransmittable and should not be charged or prosecuted for non-disclosure of HIV status.

Equally important is the fact that because it is federal jurisdiction, the directive applies to the territories. British Columbia and Ontario have since issued a similar directive to their Crowns. However, I think it is important that we work at the federal, provincial and territorial level to include and encourage other jurisdictions to issue similar policies and directives.

Also, it would be important for us to look into the justice department. We have section 159, and we have the vagrancy and bawdy house provisions in Bill C-75, and I am looking forward to seeing it come back from the Senate. Could the minister share with the House and the committee of the whole other accomplishments that the department has achieved to make the lives of LGBTQ2 Canadians better?

May 14th, 2019

Mr. Chair, I will take your comments to heart and continue in the same vein the committee of the whole has proceeded to this point.

I will be providing 10 minutes of remarks, followed by some questions.

I am very proud today to take the floor to share with Canadians some of our government's accomplishments in recognizing, promoting and protecting the equality rights of LGBTQ2 communities.

From the beginning of our government's mandate, we have demonstrated our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the hope that all Canadians can participate fully in Canadian society and be recognized as deserving of the same respect, deference and consideration. This commitment equally extends to members of the LGBTQ2 community.

Canadians expect their government to respect their human rights and to promote these rights. As the Minister of Foreign Affairs once stated in this very chamber, LGBTQ2 rights are human rights, and human rights have no borders. It is a commitment our government takes very seriously abroad and here at home.

ln budget 2017, the Government of Canada set aside $3.6 million over three years for the creation of the LGBTQ2 Secretariat within the Privy Council Office. The secretariat works with LGBTQ2 stakeholders across the country. This important work keeps our government informed about the challenging situations affecting LGBTQ2 Canadians and the potential solutions.

The secretariat also supports the integration of LGBTQ2 considerations in the day-to-day work of the federal government across all ministries. These efforts really help the government ensure that federal policies, programs and laws related to gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation are all within the same spirit and the same view to equality, inclusion and diversity.

ln November 2016, I was honoured to be appointed the Prime Minister's special adviser on LGBTQ2 issues. My role is to advise the Prime Minister on how to develop and coordinate the Government of Canada's LGBTQ2 policies and laws. This includes informing cabinet, parliamentarians and committees and engaging with LGBTQ2 organizations from across the country and around the world to promote equality, and listening to LGBTQ2 people and communities and identifying solutions to improve their lives.

In addition to the excellent work of the LGBTQ2 Secretariat, all ministries of our government have a responsibility to improve the lives of LGBTQ2 Canadians, and that includes the Department of Justice.

Early in our government's mandate, we also introduced and passed Bill C-16, an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. This bill conferred greater protection on members of LGBTQ2 communities who experience discrimination and even violence because of their gender identity or expression. Bill C-16 added gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination set out in the Canadian Human Rights Act. This law promotes the principle that all individuals should have an equal opportunity to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have, without being hindered by discriminatory practices.

Bill C-16 has also expanded hate crime offences in the Criminal Code to protect groups that are targeted because of their gender identity or gender expression.

Unfortunately, in Canada, transgender people are at high risk of verbal or physical violence and sexual harassment. Given this high degree of violence or threatened violence, it is only fair that our criminal law specifically denounce violence committed against a person as a result of the person's gender identity or expression.

The Prime Minister's apology to LGBTQ2 communities was another significant milestone in recognizing LGBTQ2 communities and protecting them as equal members of Canadian society. On November 28, 2017, the Prime Minister delivered a formal apology in this very House to individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Canada.

The Prime Minister apologized specifically for the shameful LGBT purge, the historical unjust treatment of LGBTQ2 federal public servants, including those in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This discriminatory treatment resulted in the loss of livelihoods, dignity and even lives.

There was a time in this country when people could be charged, prosecuted and criminally convicted simply because of their sexual orientation. To address this grave injustice, this government introduced Bill C-66. Now records of convictions involving consensual sexual activity between same-sex partners of legal age can be destroyed.

We are hopeful that this change will provide some relief to the many LGBTQ2 Canadians for whom the pain, trauma and fear have been all too real for all too long a time. Such discrimination has no place in Canada today. With Bill C-66, we took responsibility for recognizing and rectifying this historic injustice.

Since the government is taking measures to rectify historic discrimination based on unfair laws and policies, it is taking steps to remove from the Criminal Code an anachronistic offence that was used to target consensual sexual activities between gay men.

Under section 159 of the Criminal Code, unmarried persons can consent to engage in anal intercourse at age 18. The age of consent for any other form of non-exploitative sexual activity is 16 years old. Section 159 makes an exception for consensual anal intercourse between married spouses if they are of the opposite sex, but not if they are of the same sex. This is discriminatory policy, and several appellate courts have found that this provision violates the equality rights guaranteed by section 15 of the charter. Repealing section 159, as Bill C-75 proposes to do, will prevent the laying of charges against people who engage in non-exploitative, consensual anal intercourse.

The Attorney General of Canada recently issued a directive on the prosecution of HIV non-disclosure cases for federal prosecutors, which applies in our territories.

Presently, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights is undertaking a study that deals with the issue of HIV criminalization. The committee has heard from numerous witnesses about the negative impacts, not just on people's lives but on the public health system, of criminalizing HIV non-disclosure. I look forward to the continued work of the justice committee and to its report, and I look forward to the government's responding in a robust way to this very serious issue.

Returning to the directive, I note it is based on current scientific evidence regarding the sexual transmission of HIV and applicable criminal laws, as clarified by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Mabior case. The directive recognizes that the non-disclosure of HIV is, first and foremost, a public health issue. It is also important to note that public health authorities have many tools at their disposal to ensure that people do not engage in reckless behaviour. Those tools would not require that such a provision be in the Criminal Code.

The Attorney General of Canada also issued a directive on the prosecution of HIV non-disclosure cases for federal prosecutors, which applies in our territories. It is important that we work with the provinces. Right now, Ontario and British Columbia have policies and directives, but there are several territories in Canada that do not have such a directive. The directive is based on current scientific evidence regarding sexual transmission of HIV and the applicable criminal law.

Today I have touched on only a few of the many actions our government has taken to advance the full recognition, protection and participation of our LGBTQ2 communities. Our government will continue to demonstrate its commitment to promoting an inclusive society that works for all Canadians.

Before I get to questions, it is important to note that when we open up committee to civil society organizations and hear witnesses from coast to coast to coast, we let people who are not within 15 minutes or even two hours of Ottawa know that this government is their government. We let them know that the House and our parliamentary committees are designed to understand the issues that matter to them. It is important that we continue to open our committees to a diversity of voices, such as indigenous voices, the voices of depressed and marginalized people, and the voices of the LGBTQ2 community.

The health committee is right now wrapping up a study that was unanimously accepted by all members, about the health indicators of LGBTQ2 people. Our health indicators for this group are only slightly above those for indigenous people.

We have a lot of work to do in this chamber. We have a lot of work to do in advancing legislation and a lot of work to do to make lives better for all Canadians.

Now I have a few questions for the minister.

Could the minister share with us why it is important for us to continue our work on the prosecutorial policy directive as it pertains to the prosecution of HIV disclosure?