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My Week in Parliament: May 3-7

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

Monday, May 3rd

My week started with a vote on a Conservative motion. The motion called on the government to ensure that every Canadian adult has access to a vaccine by the May long weekend. I voted against the motion, along with my caucus colleagues, because the timeline that this motion proposes is unrealistic.

In the afternoon, I presented an e-petition signed by 12,920 Canadians. The petition called on the government to work with the provinces and First Nations to immediately halt old-growth logging. It also called for increased funding to protect endangered old-growth ecosystems.

Later that day, I rose before the House of Commons to speak to Bill C-12: The Climate Accountability Act. Canada desperately needs a climate action bill that provides true accountability, but this bill is not what is going to get us there.

Bill C-12 fails on multiple fronts. It will not hold this government to account for emissions reductions or the next government or the government after that. The accountability does not start until 2030, and that accountability is weak at best. We need climate action and accountability now, not 10 years from now. These targets are completely inadequate and fail to address the urgency of the climate crisis.

We have less than 10 years to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to keep global warming to under 1.5° celsius. What Canada does matters. We are the ninth highest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet and the eleventh highest emitter of greenhouse gases per capita. We have the worst record of the G8. We cannot continue with projects like LNG Canada and the TransMountain pipeline. Some of the last remaining old-growth forests in the country are being cut down as I write this. This is not climate leadership. This is shameful.

The UK has a carbon budget law that binds governments to emissions targets. This is a true accountability measure that eliminates politics from climate action. Canada needs the same. The real obstacle is not the climate deniers, it is politicians who recognize the science but lack the courage to remove politics from climate action. The climate crisis is the defining struggle of our generation, and we need to start treating it as the crisis that it is. Bill C-12 does not meet the challenge.

Tuesday, May 4th

Women are experiencing some of the worst impacts of the housing affordability crisis. On Tuesday morning I spoke about that issue in parliament. The right to housing means every person has the right to a safe and secure home. Far too many women in Canada are denied that right. And poor women, racialized women, and women with disabilities face the greatest risks.

The second reading of Bill C-12, the climate accountability Act, took place on Tuesday. I voted against this bill, but it passed second reading and went on to the committee stage. I ran on the promise to push for serious climate action and hold the government to account. I shared my thoughts on C-12 in this blog post.

During the debate on sexual misconduct in the armed forces, I called for the Deschamps report and its recommendations to be fully implemented. People are not getting the support they need from the military or the RCMP when they bring their complaints forward. We need an independent body that investigates sexual misconduct in the military to ensure that these complaints get taken seriously.

Later that afternoon there was a debate in the House on Motion-62 for a federal dental care plan. I asked the Honourable Member from St. John’s East if he could speak about the health benefits of a universal dental care program. Adding dental care to our universal health care system is something that the Green Party has long supported. I am always pleased to see this issue raised in the House of Commons.

In the evening, I met with the chief and council of the Lyackson First Nation. I heard from them about the frustratingly slow process of trying to acquire land on Vancouver Island. The Lyackson First Nation needs land for housing, for a community center, and they do not want one more elder to die without a Lyackson cemetery to be buried in. Their leadership has been working on this critical issue for years.

I asked for their opinions on Bill C-15, the federal government’s UNDRIP legislation. I also gave them an update on my work, particularly in regards to the freighter anchorages which affect their territory and their fisheries. We also spoke about Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) as a way for Indigenous nations affected by the E&N Land Grant to assert their rights and responsibilities over some of the lands on southeast Vancouver Island.

Wednesday, May 5th

On Wednesday, the House voted on two items;

  1. A 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-228, an Act to establish a federal framework to reduce recidivism. I voted for this bill, and it was agreed to.

  2. An opposition motion to fire the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Katie Telford, for withholding information regarding sexual misconduct in the military. I voted against this motion and it did not pass. Ms. Telford testified that she was not aware of the information and thus did not withhold it. It was a politicized motion that was more focused on partisan attacks than solving the issue at hand.

I presented e-petition 3218 which called on the government to use an evidence-based approach to reduce violent crime. The petitioners also want ten percent of funding spent on police, courts, and prisons redirected toward local prevention programs.

In the evening, there was an emergency debate about the COVID-19 situation in Alberta. I raised the issue of provincial health transfer payments. Right now, demographics are not part of the equation when it comes to transfer payments. This system is unfair to provinces like British Columbia, which has a much older population because so many Canadians retire here.

I spoke about the inconsistency of federal and provincial messaging during the pandemic. I asked the government if they agree that we would be better off with a coordinated national response to the pandemic.

I also asserted the need for paid sick leave. The federal government needs to step up and lead the way on this issue. There have been COVID-19 outbreaks at large construction projects such as Site C, LNG Canada, and in the oil sands. These outbreaks put remote communities at unnecessary risk. I asked the government if they think these resource extraction projects should shut down while outbreaks are going on.

Thursday, May 6th

On Thursday morning, the House sat to debate Bill C-30, the Budget Implementation Act. I spoke about the profiteering that has happened throughout this pandemic. 47 billionaires have a quarter of a trillion dollars of Canadian wealth. They have gained $78 billion during this pandemic. I asked the Honourable Member for Elgin-Middlesex-London if she agrees with me that these people need to pay their fair share.

That evening, there was an emergency debate on the Line 5 pipeline shutdown. This pipeline had 15 spills between 1988 to 2012, resulting in 260,000 gallons of oil spilled. I spoke about the need for accountability when negligence leads to environmental destruction.

Later that day, I had a meeting with Randie Long, a lawyer representing Cuban families in Nanaimo. We discussed the need to build better and broader contacts between the Cuban legal system and the Canadian legal system. This is necessary to help Canadian families in Cuba, and Cuban families in Canada.

Friday, May 7th

On Friday, I presented two petitions:

The first called on the government to work with the provinces and First Nations to immediately halt old-growth logging. It also called for increased funding to protect endangered old-growth ecosystems.

The second called for bringing wellness care practices under the Canada Health Act.

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