My Blog Post for June 21st, 2016

Dear Constituents,

I know I promised to make this a weekly blog while the House of Commons was in session, so I apologize for it being over two weeks now since the last entry. Much has happened in the previous two weeks, and the House now stands adjourned for the summer until our return on September 19th.

Upon my return to Ottawa from the weekend in the riding (see my blog entry from June 5th), it quickly became apparent that the Liberal government’s major goal was to see Bill C-14 receive Royal Assent before they adjourned for the summer. However, the question of when this would happen was very much in the air during the bill’s time in the Senate. Over the last two weeks the Senate seems to have found a renewed purpose, and Senators were enjoying being covered in the media for things other than scandal and RCMP investigations. Indeed, the Senate’s new independent streak and the lack of a Liberal caucus in the Red Chamber meant that the Liberal government in the Commons had little influence on C-14’s timeline.

The Senate ultimately decided to pass C-14 with a series of amendments, which meant it had to come back to the House of Commons for approval. After hearing from a number of constitutional experts, including the great Peter Hogg, who had declared the bill to be unconstitutional and out of line with the Supreme Court’s Carter ruling, the most significant Senate amendment was moved by Senator Serge Joyal, which removed the clause declaring that a "natural death had to be reasonably foreseeable." This was something my colleagues and I in the NDP had been working on during the bill’s progression in the House. Unfortunately, the Liberal government rejected this significant amendment in a vote against the NDP on Thursday, June 16th. For more information on Bill C-14 and its legislative journey through Parliament, you can click on this link. On Friday, June 17th, the Senate acknowledged the wishes of the democratically-elected House of Commons and approved the bill as amended so that it could proceed to Royal Assent by the Governor General. When it became clear that Bill C-14 was going to pass the Senate vote, the Liberal government moved a motion to adjourn for the summer. This is not the last of Bill C-14, as I feel that there is a very good chance the law will be challenged in our courts on constitutional grounds in the near future.

Now that the House has adjourned, I am looking forward to being back in the riding for the next three months and working hard for constituents’ issues over this summer. In addition to participating in many community events, I will be hosting several town hall forums in the next few months, including the Trans Pacific Partnership, climate change, and democratic reform. Please check this website and my Facebook Page for updates in the future.

We’ve had a great first session in the House of Commons; here are some of the things the NDP team has achieved over the last five months:

    1. Pay equity: The NDP succeeded in getting Parliament to recognize pay equity as a human right and the governments’ agreement to introduce pay equity legislation.
    2. Democratic reform: When talks to fix our electoral system were going nowhere, the NDP secured a fair process that represents all parties - giving every Canadian a voice at the table.
    3. Hard-hit workers:  The NDP helped pressure the government to extend EI benefits to Canadians in hard-hit regions in Western Canada.
    4. First Nations: The NDP successfully secured new investment in mental health services for First Nations communities and continued to champion the call of First Nation youth for government action.
    5. Charter rights: When the law on assisted dying was deemed unconstitutional by experts and courts across Canada, the NDP proposed clear solutions to fix it and protect Canadians’ rights.
    6. Good jobs: When the Liberals moved to allow the outsourcing of aerospace jobs by Air Canada, the NDP fought hard to keep good jobs in Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.
    7. Dairy farmers: The NDP fought for dairy producers by pushing to ban the unfair use of imported American milk proteins that cost Canadian farmers over $200 million a year.
    8. Marijuana: While the Liberals drag their feet on marijuana legalization, the NDP pushed to immediately decriminalize pot so that no Canadian is ever again burdened with a criminal record for personal use.
    9. Tax evasion: With revelations of widespread abuse of tax havens, the NDP put hardworking Canadians ahead of the wealthy and well-connected by spearheading parliamentary hearings and pushing for a public inquiry.
    10. Environment: New Democrats continue to demand Liberals keep their promise to fix environmental assessments so that Canadians can be heard, their concerns addressed and communities protected.

BONUS:

11.Trade: The NDP continues to oppose bad trade deals like the TPP that hurt Canadian jobs and innovation while selling out our healthcare, cultural industry and environment.