Message From Tony
Saturday September 30th will mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
When I took the Personal Pledge of Reconciliation, I made a commitment to learn about the history, the culture, and the challenges faced by Indigenous People living in Canada. Saturday September 30th is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities, and fulfills recommendation #80 of Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls for action.
September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day. It was started in 2013 by a remarkable and courageous woman – Phyllis Webstad. It is the story of a young child, wearing a new orange shirt given by her grandmother, to wear on her first day of school. On arrival, she was stripped of her new shirt by the Mission Oblates, making Phyllis’ story – and her shirt – symbolic of the stripping away of respect and culture, and the tragic story of residential schools.
Public commemoration of the painful history, and ongoing impacts of residential schools, is a vital component of the reconciliation process. I encourage all Canadians to show their support and respect in honouring the Indigenous children who were taken from their families and sent to these schools.
While September 30th is a day for reflection and commemoration, it is also a time to look towards the future in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for the generations of Indigenous children to come.
National Truth and Reconciliation Day is an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to a path forward on the road to truth and reconciliation. That path includes developing a deeper understanding of the impact residential schools had on Indigenous People, and on the history of our nation.
But we also need to work on a lasting relationship that respects the knowledge, the values, and the vision of Indigenous People. There is much to be learned. Our country can only benefit from a renewed relationship of truth, trust and love.
Tony in the House
In Newmarket-Aurora, the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system has helped over 3,200 children and their families.
In Question Period last week, I asked the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development, Jenna Sudds, to give Canadians an update on this system and what our next steps are.
To date, we’ve created thousands of new child care spaces and will continue to do so to save families hundreds of dollars.
Supporting the Middle Class
We are working to put more money back in the pockets of middle-class Canadians and remove barriers to build more homes, faster to drive down the cost of housing – and there’s more to do.
We’re taking several measures to support the middle class and people working hard to join it, including:
- Introducing legislation to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the construction of new apartment buildings for renters.
- Calling on provinces to match our rebate by removing the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on the construction of rental housing.
- Requiring local governments to end exclusionary zoning and encouraging building apartments near public transit to have their Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) applications approved.
- Extending the term loan repayment deadline of the Canada Emergency Business Account program by one year.
- Introducing a set of legislative amendments to the Competition Act to enhance competition across the Canadian economy, with a focus on the grocery sector.
We also met with the top-5 grocery CEOs to discuss tangible solutions to stabilize prices. They committed to coming back with concrete solutions by Thanksgiving. We made it clear that if they do not come up with solutions, we intend to move forward with new measures.
As global inflation and the cost of housing continue to impact Canadians, we are taking real action to make life more affordable and build an economy that works for everyone.
Everything You Need to Know about Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Bail reform)
The House is back in session, which means our government is working hard to implement legislation that will keep Canadians safe, grow our economy, and make life more affordable.
Bill C-48, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Bail Reform) is onto its second reading, so here are some facts about what this means:
- Through this bill, we are proposing targeted changes to the Criminal Code’s bail regime to address serious repeat violent offenders, whose offenses involve firearms, knives, bear spray, and other weapons.
- Bill C-48 also proposes changes at the bail stage to address the enhanced risks posed by intimate partner violence (IPV).
- This bill will require courts to consider an accused person’s history of convictions for violence, as well as community safety and security concerns, when making a bail decision.
- This bill is the product of collaboration with the provinces and territories and has benefitted from input from mayors, police, parliamentarians, as well as Indigenous leadership and the legal community.
- It is part of our broader strategy to ensure the safety of all Canadians.
In the last session, we completed the first reading of Bill C-48 in the House. Now, to receive Royal Assent and be enshrined into law, the bill must:
- Go through the second reading in the house for debate;
- Be referred to a committee to review and vote on the text through clause-by-clause consideration and input from potential witnesses;
- Go through the report stage, where members can propose motions to amend the text of the bill;
- Be debated on at the third reading with a focus on the final form of the bill; and,
- Be sent to the Senate to be considered.
Call for Proposals: Distress Line Equity Fund
By investing in mental health resources, we’re ensuring that all Canadians have access to suicide prevention and the tools and support they need.
We’ve launched the Distress Line Equity Fund, which will provide funding to not-for-profits, organizations, and other groups that provide crisis services via phone, text, or chat to the general public. This $8 million fund seeks to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion in the distress line sector to complement the 9-8-8 Suicide Crisis Helpline, being launched on November 30th, 2023.
Organizations can receive up to $250,000 to support:
- Staffing, training, or other human resources initiatives to increase your organization’s ability to serve diverse populations.
- Training in equity, inclusion, and cultural competency and safety.
- Enhancing your organization’s ability to provide services in other languages to serve diverse populations.
- Data collection and analysis to provide services in other languages to serve diverse populations.
- Data collection and analysis to understand trends and needs of populations served.
- Evaluation and revision of policies or processes that may serve as barriers to specific populations
I encourage all eligible organizations that provide a crisis line service to apply today.
Learn more about the application process and eligibility here.