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  • Her favourite word is post.

Liberal MP for Don Valley East (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 58% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg North.

I rise today to speak to the opposition day motion and put the record straight.

Our Prime Minister did indeed pledge to Canadians to do more to support our courageous and valiant veterans and their families.

In August 2015, he said:

For 10 years, Stephen Harper has been nickle-and-diming our veterans, lacking the respect and the support that Canadians have earned through service to country and that's something that we have to fix as a priority.

He promised that the government would ensure veterans received the respect, support, care, and economic opportunities they deserved and he tasked the Minister of Veterans Affairs to deliver on that promise. Our government acted right away.

In two years, our Liberal government has delivered on a number of measures to accomplish this. With Budget 2016, we enhanced the financial security of veterans and their families, putting more money into their pockets. This included increasing the disability award from a maximum of $310,000 to $360,000, which saw more money for 67,000 ill and injured veterans and increased income replacement from 75% to 90%.

Budget 2017 supported the health and well-being of veterans and families by investing in mental health supports, educational opportunities, and career transition services. These new and enhanced services are about to take effect.

April 1, will be the day that six new and two enhanced programs and services for veterans will go into effect: career transition services; the veterans' education and training benefit; the caregiver recognition benefit; a veteran and family well-being fund; a new veteran emergency fund; the end of time limits for vocational assistance for survivors; expanded access to military family resource centres for all veterans and their families; and a centre of excellence on post-traumatic stress disorder and related mental health conditions.

There is one unifying purpose of these initiatives, in fact, for everything Veterans Affairs Canada does, and that is the well-being of veterans, and their families as well. If a veteran cannot do well, the family does not do well either. Not only do these new programs add resources and services, they form an integrated, complete package that provides financial security and promotes and supports well-being of the veteran's whole life.

For example, as of April 1, all medically released veterans and their families will have access to the 32 military family resource centres across Canada. Up until now, the MFRCs have been available only to current members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families.

This independent organization provides a wide range of services, including community orientation, parenting workshops, child care, information and referral, employment and educational assistance, and a host of personal growth and development programs. Having access to these will help veterans manage their successful transition to post-service life and integrate into their new community.

The new caregiver recognition benefit recognizes the vital contributions of those who look after ill and injured veterans, with up to $1,000 per month, tax-free, paid directly to them.

Also, as of April 1, the one-year time limit for survivors, spouses, and common-law partners to apply for the rehabilitation services and vocational assistance program will no longer apply. This change removes unnecessary pressure and gives families more flexibility for getting the training they need while they are caring for ill and injured veterans.

For urgent, unforeseeable situations that might arise in the life of a veteran and their family, there is a new veterans emergency fund to help cover the costs of unexpected expenses.

For many Canadian Armed Forces members, finding meaningful employee will be key to establishing in life after service. While Canadian Armed Forces members have extensive training and skills tested under high pressure, finding a career to put these skills to use outside the military can sometimes be a challenge. The new career transition service will provide eligible veterans aptitude testing, training in job search skills, resumé writing and interview techniques, and other services they may need.

There is also new support for veterans who want further education or training. Those who have six years of service can receive up to $40,000 for college, university, or technical education. Those with 12 or more years of service can receive up to $80,000.

Another essential part of establishing a post-service life is physical and mental health. Over the past two years, our Liberal government has invested significantly in improving health support and services for veterans. We are investing $17.5 million over the next four years, and continuing with $9.2 million per year after that to establish a centre for excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions.

The government, under the leadership of the minister, is ensuring the department is committed to providing comprehensive, integrated, and consistent mental health care. The centre for excellence will therefore focus on research and development into new tools to support professional treatment of PTSD, and then transfer the knowledge to professionals across the country.

All the programs reinforce each other: physical and mental health services for the veteran and their family to support well-being; education support to help establish a new career after service; career transition services to help find meaningful employment; support for families, including money when they need it; recognition for caregivers; and counselling and support to help integrate into their new community. All can be tailored to meet a veteran's unique needs.

It is a journey this government continues with legislation that will fulfill the promise this government made in 2015 to restore the option of monthly payments for veterans with service-related illness or injury, an option taken away from veterans by the previous government. The pension for life option will become another integral part of the well-being package for veterans when it comes into force, and will substantially improve the financial benefits veterans receive.

Pension for life will represent an investment of nearly $3.6 billion in support of veterans, in addition to nearly $6 billion this government committed in the previous two budgets. This government has invested significant time and resources to ensure the men and women who have served our country receive the respect, support, and care they deserve.

This government listened when military and veteran families, advocates, and communities raised concerns about the benefits and programs they were receiving. We listened, we heard them, and we responded with a comprehensive plan to restore and enhance benefits with plans and services designed to make lives better for our veterans and their families.

World Interfaith Harmony Week February 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the first week of February, designated by the UN General Assembly as the World Interfaith Harmony Week, is celebrating its eighth year.

In Toronto, the city gave a proclamation designating February 1 to 7 as WIHW week. The WIHW Toronto's theme for 2018 is “The Promise of Inclusion”, where people of all faith groups of goodwill are coming together through dialogue, music, culture, and art to show the world that peace and harmony can exist irrespective of faith, culture, or creed. This is truly a reflection of what a cosmopolitan society should be: accepting difference and seeking to actively understand it.

I encourage all Canadians to attend any of the WIHW events in their communities and to spread the message of “Love of the Good” and “Love of the Neighbour”.

Aga Khan December 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, December 13 marks the 81st birthday of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan.

Since 1957, the Aga Khan has been deeply engaged in enhancing the quality of life of the most vulnerable populations, while emphasizing the need to promote the rights of women and girls, respect the environment, and encourage peace, prosperity, and tolerance.

The Aga Khan has invested over $500 million in Canada, including in the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, lsmaili Centres in Vancouver and Toronto, the Aga Khan Park in Toronto, and the Aga Khan Garden in Edmonton.

Canada is grateful for these contributions that enhance its ethos of pluralism. As we travel to different countries, we hear the resounding thanks to His Highness for making the lives of people better, safer, more just, and sustainable

Happy Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and a happy new year to all.

Interparliamentary Delegations November 29th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the CPA, respecting its participation at the Executive Committee Meeting held in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, from April 23 to 27, 2017.

Attack in Egypt November 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, today Canadians woke up to truly horrifying news from Egypt. A bomb and gun attack on a mosque in northern Sinai has left at least 180 people dead and dozens more injured. This callous and appalling attack took place just as prayers at the mosque were ending.

All members of the House can agree that worshippers should always feel safe to practise their religion. Nobody should fear for their lives. We offer our sincere condolences to those mourning the loss of family members and friends. We also send our wishes for a full recovery to those who were injured.

We want the people of Egypt to know that Canadians stand with them during this terrible time. Such violence can never be tolerated.

Global Pluralism Award November 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on November 15, three dynamic individuals from three different continents were the recipients of the first Global Pluralism Award. As well, there were honorary recipients from seven additional countries.

The award recognizes these exemplary world leaders who have responded creatively to the challenges of diversity. They have shown that difference is not a threat but an opportunity that should be embraced.

The award ceremony was presided by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Right Hon. Beverley McLachlin. The winners were selected by an independent, international jury, chaired by the Right Hon. Joe Clark, former prime minister of Canada. Each recipient is awarded $50,000 to further his or her work in support of pluralism. As the recipients stated, “You have put pluralism on the world stage and given us the momentum to carry out our work.”

I congratulate them all.

Indigenous Affairs October 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year, the Prime Minister, along with a number of ministers of the crown, travelled to Iqaluit to launch the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, with the leadership from Inuit Nunangat.

The committee's intent is to advance the shared priorities of Inuit and the Government of Canada, including the high incidence of tuberculosis in the Inuit population.

Can the Minister of Indigenous Services update the House on the work that has been accomplished so far by the Inuit-Crown partnership committee?

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a legitimate question. Yes, the Carter commission took seven years. The issue at the moment, as I see it, is that the more we extend the consultation, the more confusion will come up, because everyone is giving his or her spin on it. Let us not give the spin. Let parliamentarians look at the bill in-depth, debate it, and say, “Here is the right thing.” A small and medium-sized enterprise makes $73,000, not what the opposition members are saying would be impacted.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the tax system has not changed in 45 years. It is high time we changed it. It is high time we recognized the different ways people utilize private Canadian corporations. At the moment, there are 1.8 million of them, and the number is rising. Why is it rising? Is it for people to park their income? If that is the case, then we should look at it, because it really benefits those corporations and those individuals in reducing their tax rate. We have to be mindful that we do not have the haves and the have-nots and we do not have such a large diversification that people are not benefiting from economic growth.

Business of Supply October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question shows that there is a lot of confusion. I have had lots of conversations with managing partners. I am an FCPA, and I belong to some accounting firms, the partners of which came to me.

This is a proposal. This will go through the legislative process. It will change. Let us not create hyperbole or speculate. We have to trust that we as MPs will vote to ensure that there are no unintended consequences.