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My Week in Ottawa: Oct 5-9

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

Monday October 5th

Over the weekend, Annamie Paul was elected the new leader of the Green Party of Canada.

On Monday morning I attended a press conference with Annamie Paul and Elizabeth May. It was a great opportunity for our new leader to share our vision and priorities.

I also gave an interview for an article in the Hill Times (paywall) about Canada’s trade negotiations with the United Kingdom. I have been calling for greater transparency in our trade agreements for a long time. It is unacceptable that Canadians, and the parliamentarians who represent them, can only get involved in a debate about the merits of a trade agreement once it has been completed and signed.

Unfortunately, despite promising to notify the House of Commons upon the beginning of any new trade negotiations, the government chose not to notify parliamentarians as it entered trade talks with the UK.

In the House of Commons I presented a petition that was put forward by Annamie Paul, our new Green Party leader. The petition recognizes Canada’s history of enslavement, racial segregation, and marginalization, and calls on the government to proclaim August 1st as Emancipation Day.

Debate then resumed in the House of Commons on the Speech from the Throne. I spoke about several issues that people with disabilities have been facing. The government needs to stop dragging its heels and provide more support to people with disabilities.

In the evening I had the chance to follow up on my question to the government about implementing a wealth tax. Millions of Canadians lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Canada’s 20 richest billionaires increased their wealth by $37 billion during the first six months of the pandemic.

Tuesday October 6th

In the morning I presented a parliamentary petition to the House of Commons. This petition calls on the government of Canada to request that Israel permanently end the blockade on Gaza, as well as vote at the United Nations in line with international law and human rights for Palestinians.

Annamie Paul and Elizabeth May then held a press conference to announce that the Green MPs had reached a consensus decision to vote against the Speech from the Throne. At the same time, I was in the House of Commons giving my own response to the Speech from the Throne.

I voted against the Speech from the Throne because the government isn’t doing enough to protect Canadians. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to take real action on climate change and create a more equal country.

During Question Period I asked the government to ban fracking in Canada. I was disappointed by the response I received from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

In the evening the House of Commons voted on the Speech from the Throne. As announced earlier in the day, I voted against the Speech with my Green colleagues.

Wednesday October 7th

On Wednesday I travelled back from Ottawa to Nanaimo. With the arrival of virtual voting, I can now participate virtually in all House of Commons proceedings safely from Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Thursday October 8th

On Thursday the House of Commons continued its debate on Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code. This bill would require judges to participate in continuing education on matters related to sexual assault law.

I gave a speech in Parliament about the importance of sexual assault education for judges. I also spoke about how much more work we need to do to reform our justice system. The reality is that cases involving Indigenous women and girls are not given due process in Canada. There are many outstanding murder cases that have not been properly investigated by law enforcement.

I shared a story from our community about Lisa Marie Young. Lisa Marie Young disappeared 18 years ago. The RCMP did not take this case seriously, making numerous mistakes and failing to act on important tips and suspects. They did not even conduct a ground search until two and a half months after Lisa Marie Young went missing, despite the fact that friends and family reported her disappearance immediately.

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry has called for a task force to look into outstanding murder cases. I challenged the government to heed those calls immediately.

Friday October 9th

On Friday the House of Commons debated Bill C-7 to make changes to Canada’s laws about medical assistance in dying. I attended this debate but did not have an opportunity to speak in Parliament.

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