My Blog for December 4, 2016

Dear Constituents,

I apologize for not keeping up with consistent blog posts over the last several weeks.  It has been quite a busy time in Parliament, and my new responsibilities and duties on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights have provided a fair amount of new work.

The week following my last blog post on November 4th was a constituency week back in the riding, and I took the opportunity to visit several high schools throughout the riding to talk to students about Parliament and the work Members of Parliament are responsible for.  It was a rewarding experience to connect with youth and spark their engagement with politics at the federal level.

My work on the Justice Committee has been very interesting over the last few weeks.  We’ve been studying a bill that originated in the Senate: Bill S-201, which was sponsored by Senator James Cowan.  S-201 seeks to prevent genetic discrimination by placing prohibitions and punishments on any attempts to use, coerce, or require a genetic test without the express permission of the person involved.  The bill uses the federal criminal law power to protect individuals from the fear that their genetic tests will be used against them in their employment, a contract, or to prevent service of any kind.  Protecting against this kind of discrimination is vitally important because genetic testing is the next major leap forward in personalized health care.  Several physicians, including representatives from the Canadian Medical Association, testified that they knew of patients have forgone genetic tests because of their fear of discrimination.

The Liberal government under Justin Trudeau produced two major disappointments last week.  On December 1st, the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) released its highly-anticipated report that was the culmination of months of consultations in communities across Canada.  The Green Party, Bloc Quebecois, Conservatives, and NDP reached a compromise and recommended that the government move to a proportional system and allow for a referendum for Canadians to decide on the matter.  Despite the Liberals’ promise to make “2015 the last election held under first-past-the-post,” the Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions is now seems to be backtracking from that commitment.  The Liberals seem to be doing everything they can to ignore the committee’s recommendations, and are using tactics of delay and obfuscation to make sure they don’t have to honour their promise.

The other major disappointment, which was a major betrayal to British Columbians, was the announcement in favour of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.  This project will see a nearly seven-fold increase in tanker traffic in the Burard Inlet, and it will continue to export diluted bitumen instead of a value-added product.  The Liberals promised a renewed environmental review process for major project such as Kinder Morgan, and they have yet to explain how Canada will meet its greenhouse gas reduction obligations under the Paris Accord.  As your Member of Parliament, I will continue to stand for investing in a renewable and clean energy future.