Blog Post March 13th

It has been yet another busy week on the Hill. On Monday evening I had the pleasure of attending an event in support of our national public broadcaster called CBC, I Care! Funding for the CBC/Radio-Canada has been drastically cut over consecutive governments, beginning with the biggest cuts by the Liberals in 1995 and continuing through the Conservative governments that followed. Our national broadcaster is a gem that should be cherished and nurtured. It unites Canadians and is the conduit by which our national identity is forged and shared.

On Tuesday I was shocked to hear Stephen Harper declare in the House during Question Period that the Muslim culture is anti-woman. There has been enough inflammatory language from both the PM and the Liberal leader on this topic. It is totally inappropriate. It is especially irresponsible and undignified from a Canadian Prime Minister. We as New Democrats try to make sure our language respects everyone’s rights and freedoms in Canada. It is the role of any politician to bring people together, not to divide, to make people feel more secure in this country, not less.

I was able to ask questions in the House this week: The first was on the issue of employment and the closure of the Kellogg’s plant in our riding. We cannot protect, nor create, the good paying jobs that support families and local economies by simply handing out "blank cheque" corporate tax welfare. The loss of Kellogg's was yet another blow not only to the London area, but to the Canadian middle class. This cannot continue, but it is also clear the Conservatives have no plan.

My second question centred on the very questionable ethics of the Prime Minister supporting the excessive and allegedly fraudulent travel claims of Saskatchewan Senator Pamela Wallin whose own staff said she lives in Toronto.

And my third question in the House was on the lack of respect Veterans with amputations receive in receiving services, to the point of having to prove on a yearly basis that they’ve lost a limb. We can and should do better.

This week in Citizenship and Immigration Committee we heard from witnesses for our study on Settlement Services.  Testimony was given from organizations in Toronto and British Columbia as well as Engineers Canada and BioTalent Canada.  This week the committee also heard from department officials on the supplementary estimates. This was an opportunity for committee members to ask questions about changes to the department of Citizenship and Immigration budget in the last few months. 

Thursday, a group of young women from Concordia University drove from Montreal to film an interview with me on my private member’s bill C -282 that calls for abolishing the federal sales tax on feminine hygiene products. 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

On Thursday evening I was fortunate enough to attend the Northeast Community Conversations Group’s “Five Generations, One Future: Exploring Intergenerational Issues” discussion. Bringing older and younger people together is also an important way to support understanding and respect between generations.

On Saturday I will be attending the public demonstration in opposition to Bill C-51. Public pressure to defeat this legislation is mounting as Canadians become aware of just how dangerous it could be to their privacy and their civil liberities. Saturday evening I will be attending the Military Family Resource Centre’s Volunteer Appreciation Night, to thank those who support the families of our Armed Forces while our troops are serving our nation.

Next week is a week in the constituency as the House is not sitting. I am looking forward to being at home and in the London-Fanshawe community for the week. I wish you a restful and happy weekend.