While in June we mark National Indigenous History Month, we do so at a somber time with the devastating news of the bodies of 215 children being found in unmarked graves near a former residential school in Kamloops. This is yet another reminder of the devastating legacy of residential schools, and I mourn alongside those who loved these children.
The Official Opposition has called on the government to take meaningful action on reconciliation, including by implementing Calls to Action 71 to 76 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report by Canada Day. In addition, to pass bills implementing parts of the Commission’s call to action such as Bill C-8, which is before this Parliament.
We need to fund investigations at all former residential schools in Canada where unmarked graves may exist, and we need to ensure that proper resources are allocated for communities to reinter, commemorate, and honour any individuals discovered during these investigations. In 2008, then Prime Minister Harper delivered a historic apology to former Residential School students, their families, and communities, and Canada’s Conservatives will continue to work to advance the work of the TRC.
With only a couple more weeks of Parliamentary work before the House of Commons rises for the summer, there is a lot of activity and I’ll touch on a couple of items.
Canadians were rightfully angered to hear that the former Liberal appointee Governor General would be receiving a generous pension and benefits for life after only a short term in office after being forced to resign in disgrace after a workplace review.
This generous pension for such a short term in office was something I heard a lot about from constituents in Kelowna-Lake Country and I was more than happy to second a Private Members Bill from my colleague MP Marilyn Gladu, to stop this from happening again in the future.
I also continue to hear concerns from many constituents on the government’s attempts to limit free speech through Bill C-10 which would make changes to the Broadcasting Act. It’s been suggested by experts that this bill could allow the CRTC to regulate what individuals can or cannot post and view online.
On June 4th, the government attempted to shut down debate on C-10 in the House of Commons by using a parliamentary procedure that hasn’t been seen in parliament for decades. Conservatives worked unapologetically to defend free speech and prevented this vote from occurring.
Conservative colleagues and I called for an emergency Trade Committee meeting to question the Trade Minister on the recent US announcement of their intention to double tariffs on softwood lumber from Canada. I questioned the Minister on what actions she has taken and received nothing more than evasive responses. Our committee meeting received national news coverage.
Because our Canada/US supply chains are so integrated, this could result in more uncertainty and less production in Canada, leading to even higher lumber prices here. The last Softwood Lumber agreement was negotiated by the Conservative government and expired in 2015. Trudeau promised in 2015 he would negotiate a new agreement within 100 days of forming government, which hasn’t happened. Since then, there have been 3 US administrations, and we’ve seen production and jobs go to the US.
With reopening, we can look forward to more activities, however, major events are still on hold such as our large Canada Day celebrations.
If you need any assistance with federal programs or have any thoughts to share, please feel free to reach out anytime. Stay well.