Blog Post Feb 28th

I had another interesting week in Ottawa with many meetings and events.  I had the pleasure of hearing Bill Gates speak about the foundation he set up with his wife Melinda.  His message of helping others is one that I hope all parliamentarians take to heart. 

At Citizenship and Immigration Committee we had the pleasure of hearing from witnesses for the study on Economic Prosperity through Settlement Services.  The committee heard from Nooralhooda Hussein, Project Coordinator of the London and Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership and Mohamed Al-Adeimi, Coordinator of the Newcomer Settlement Services the South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre.   It was great opportunity for the committee to hear from these Londoners who shared their knowledge and expertise.   We also heard from the President of Colleges and Institutes Canada.  All the testimony we heard will help with the committee’s report that will likely be tabled in the house in the late spring. 

I also had an opportunity to meet with several organizations about my private member’s bill, C-282 that calls for the removal of the GST from feminine hygiene products.  This bill, which I introduced in 2011, has recently garnered considerable attention.  If you wish to learn more about the campaign you can visit:  https://www.change.org/p/no-tax-on-tampons-a-campaign-to-remove-the-gst-charged-on-menstruation-products-sign-the-petition

I was also pleased to speak in the House about the importance of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  The festival has been an important part of my life and many other Canadians through its distinct cultural and economic contributions to Stratford, southwestern Ontario and Canada since its inception in 1953.

Finally this week saw debate in the House and committee over C-51, the Conservative government’s new anti-terrorism legislation.  The Prime Minister is telling Canadians they need to choose between their security and their rights — that safety and freedom are mutually exclusive. Instead of putting forward concrete measures to make Canadians safer and protect our freedoms, Conservatives have put politics over principle and introduced a bill that is sweeping, dangerously vague, and likely ineffective.  Stephen Harper has tried to limit debate and ram through this piece of risky legislation, and while Justin Trudeau has given the Conservatives carte blanche, our NDP team are standing up to them in the House and Committee.  New Democrats are calling for more study on C-51, and are urging the government not to railroad this bill through. Instead, we need to hear from experts and others concerned about this bill at committee. We urge the Liberals to reconsider their decision to support the bill unconditionally and hope that all parties will agree to practical amendments to strengthen oversight and protect Canadians’ freedoms.