Message From Tony
Taking responsibility and taking steps to do better
I was appalled to have learned that the Ukrainian WWII Veteran acknowledged in Parliament by the Speaker of the House, was in fact a man who fought with the Nazi army. I appreciate that the Speaker took full responsibility of his actions and for the harm caused by this egregious recognition. He has since resigned. Last Wednesday, the Prime Minister issued an apology on behalf of Parliament.
The September 22 event was a joint session of Parliament with members of The Senate, The House of Commons, guests, and dignitaries. We collectively came together to honour President Zelensky. Members and guests were unaware of the Speaker’s intentions and unaware of the history of the individual he subsequently singled out. I certainly regret that this recognition took place, and I am confident that my parliamentary colleagues share those sentiments.
In the days to come, a new Speaker will be elected by all members of The House of Commons. I hope and believe that processes will be reviewed and procedures put in place to safeguard against this ever happening again. I fully recognize the pain this has caused and the embarrassment to our country here at home and abroad.
Electing A New Speaker
The Speaker of the House is elected by all other MPs in the House of Commons after each general election or when a vacancy arises. Any MP, except ministers and party leaders, may stand for election as Speaker. The election is overseen by the Dean of the House, the MP with the longest unbroken record of service who is not a minister nor the holder of any office within the House. The Speaker is elected by a written secret ballot, and this next election will take place Tuesday, October 3, 2023.
Once elected, the Speaker is brought to the Speaker’s Chair at the front of the chamber. The Speaker’s Chair is an important symbol of the Speaker’s role and responsibilities as the chair of the chamber meetings.
I hope this gives you a better idea of how we choose this important individual, and how the Speaker’s role transcends party in managing the House of Commons. We take this election very seriously, and are confident that our new Speaker will fulfill his or her duties with honour and an appropriate level of care.
Commemorating National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Newmarket-Aurora
Last week, we commemorated the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation throughout Canada, including in Newmarket-Aurora.
I was honoured to attend events in the community like the Interactive Reflective Activity in Aurora, where I joined many others who demonstrated our commitment to never forgetting the children, and Newmarket’s National Truth and Reconciliation Day Event.
We remembered and reflected on the injustices faced by Indigenous Peoples and acknowledged the ongoing impacts of residential schools on survivors, their families, and communities.
National Truth and Reconciliation Day is an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the impact residential schools had on Indigenous People, and on the history of our nation. Every day, we must continue to learn about and reflect on the history of the residential school system. We all have a role to play on the journey toward reconciliation.
Building 30,000 More Apartments Per Year
Our government is focused on building more homes, faster. We are helping home builders by changing the financial equation.
We’re increasing the annual limit for Canada Mortgage Bonds from $40 billion to up to $60 billion. This will help build up to 30,000 more rental apartments per year and unlock low-cost financing for multi-unit rental construction.
To be eligible for low-cost financing, rental projects must have at least five rental units and can include apartment buildings, student housing, and senior residences.
By signaling to builders that they can rely on this additional financing, more projects will be able to move forward and increase the supply of rental apartments for Canadians.
Addressing Barriers to Menstrual Equity
Financial limitations, harmful social norms, and attitudes surrounding menstruation are some of the barriers to accessing menstrual products and educational materials. Menstrual equity would ensure equal and comprehensive access to menstrual products, as well as to education regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights.
We’re providing Food Banks Canada with $17.9 million to run a national pilot to address barriers related to affordability and stigma that some Canadians face when accessing menstrual products.
This pilot will test approaches to distributing free menstrual products to organizations that service diverse low-income populations across Canada and partner with several grassroots organizations that are already advancing menstrual equity.
Our government is committed to removing barriers and making it easier for Canadians to access menstrual products.
Supporting Small Businesses
We’ve heard from small businesses that continue to face challenging times. And we’re taking action to ensure that we’re providing relief through an empathetic and fiscally responsible approach.
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provided small businesses and not-for-profit organizations with hundreds of thousands of dollars in partially forgivable loans during the pandemic. We’ve made changes to CEBA to continue supporting businesses, like:
- Extending the repayment deadline for CEBA loans to qualify for partial loan forgiveness from December 31, 2023, to January 18, 2024.
- Businesses that already have the means to repay the loan can do so by January 18, 2024 to qualify for partial loan forgiveness of up to $20,000.
- Businesses will also be able to qualify for partial loan forgiveness until March 28, 2024, if they make a refinancing application with their financial institution by January 18, 2024.
- Businesses that cannot re-finance by March 28, 2024, or repay by the January 18, 2024 deadline will receive more time to pay the entire loan back. To accommodate this, we have extended the term loan repayment deadline by one additional year, to December 31, 2026.
In the recent years, we’ve implemented other measures through CEBA, like:
- Increasing CEBA from $40,000 to $60,000 and expanding eligibility criteria.
- Delivering the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to keep staff employed during COVID-19.
- Delivered the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
- Reached an agreement with major credit card companies to cut credit card transaction fees by up to 27 percent for most credit card accepting small businesses.
- Expanding the Canada Small Business Financing Program to make it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions.
Our government is committed to supporting small businesses and making it more affordable for entrepreneurs to do business.