This week we join our friends in Canada’s Tamil-Canadian community in observing the fourth anniversary of the end of the decades-long civil war in Sri Lanka.
The Week of Remembrance is a time to remember the innocent who were killed or injured during the decade long civil war and to look towards a brighter future for the people of Sri Lanka.
Mississauga is home to a large and vibrant community of Sri Lankan Tamils. I have had the honor and pleasure of joining the community in my riding for many celebrations and events which have led me to better understand the proud culture and history of the Tamil people.
Most importantly to me and many other Canadians, the Tamil community has ensured that there is awareness in Canada and around the world about the horrors and violence that occurred during the Civil War. Although the war is over, the challenges facing civilians in Sri Lanka is still very concerning. However with community leadership around the world, like we see here in Mississauga, the Tamil community will overcome these challenges.
Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird continue to take a strong, principled stance in ensuring that the humanitarian challenges facing the Tamil community of Sri Lanka are resolved with the help of the world. Our Conservative caucus in Parliament includes many friends and supporters of the Tamil community and I am proud to count myself among them.
So on this solemn week, we remember those who were lost, but we also celebrate the hope and bright future that was born from this peace. I would like to extend my support to the Canadian Tamil community as we observe this Week of Remembrance.
VON Peel Community Support Services celebrated the official grand opening of its new Streetsville offices.
To read the fill article please click- VON Peel
From the outset of the conflict, Canada has actively supported multilateral efforts to address the conflict in Syria. This includes supporting ongoing political and security initiatives, while playing a leading role in meeting humanitarian needs. The Government of Canada will continue to closely collaborate with multilateral partners, in an effort to find a solution to end the violence in Syria, in order to allow for a transition to a stable, democratic, and pluralistic Syria.
The violence in Syria continues to take a terrible toll on the civilian population. Canadians are horrified by the ongoing violence in Syria, including the indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population. Despite the international outcry and numerous condemnations by the international community to end the violence, the conflict in Syria is worsening. Since the violence began, more than eighty thousand Syrians – most of them civilians — have lost their lives. Over 4.25 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes and communities. More than 6.8 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The influx of refugees fleeing Syria underscores the appalling impact of this conflict.
Canada has soundly condemned the Assad regime’s vicious and indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations. We continue to call upon the Government of Syria to immediately cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres.
Conscious of the danger, thousands of Syrians have chosen to flee their country and seek refuge outside its borders. Over 1.4 million individuals have fled to neighbouring countries: Turkey is hosting over 324,000 refugees; Lebanon is hosting over 455,000; Jordan is hosting over 448,000; Iraq is hosting over 142, 000, and Egypt over 62,000. We commend the governments of these countries for their generosity in welcoming those seeking safety. We recognize the burden that this places on them.
Canada stands with the Syrian people in their time of need. Canada, through CIDA, has provided humanitarian assistance to allow humanitarian organizations to provide urgent life-saving relief inside Syria and to those who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. This support is allowing humanitarian organizations to provide emergency food assistance, shelter, safe water, sanitation facilities, essential household items, emergency healthcare and other much-needed assistance to Syrians affected by the crisis. We will continue to work closely with our like-minded partners to address the humanitarian needs – both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.
For many of those remaining in Syria, the outlook is grim. Humanitarian organizations, most notably the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as United Nations Agencies are making every effort to meet the urgent lifesaving needs of those affected by the violence. However, these efforts continue to be obstructed. UN humanitarian relief efforts continue to be hampered by extreme insecurity and restrictions imposed by the Assad regime. Sadly, even humanitarian actors are not immune from the violence, and have paid with their lives in their efforts to provide relief to others.
Canada continues to call for full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need. Those in positions of power in Syria must move quickly to facilitate relief efforts. The Government of Canada, in cooperation with other international partners, will continue to press at every opportunity on this point.
Canada is deeply concerned by the threats to the safety and security faced by humanitarian workers in Syria. Already, the Secretary General of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and five Red Crescent volunteers have lost their lives in the line of duty. We pay tribute to their courage. Medical personnel, medical facilities and ambulances must not be targeted, and health-care personnel must be able to provide aid in safety and without hindrance. The Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems, for example, must be respected by all sides.
Canada continues to support the efforts of the international community to bring about an end to the violence.
Canada has financially supported the mission of the UN Joint Special Representative. We have repeatedly called on all parties to cooperate with and support the efforts of Joint Special Envoy Lahkdar Brahimi to end the bloodshed and facilitate an inclusive, Syrian-led political transition.
We urge the UN Security Council to adopt binding international sanctions against the Assad regime in order to increase pressure on Assad to immediately stop the violence and to end what is now becoming a humanitarian catastrophe. We continue to call on those countries with influence in Damascus to press the Assad regime to end the violence and work towards a peaceful political transition.
Canada has enacted eleven rounds of strict economic sanctions against the Assad regime, and has expelled all remaining Syrian diplomats. We call on countries around the world to adopt equally strong measures against the Syrian regime, to ensure that it fulfills its commitments and immediately stops the senseless slaughter of its own people.
Canada has participated in all of the Friends of Syria Working Groups, and co-chaired a meeting of the International Working Group on Sanctions (Friends of the Syrian People). We will continue to exert pressure on the Syrian regime in order to further isolate Assad.
Canada is gravely concerned by recent allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria, and urges the Syrian government to grant unfettered access to the UN investigation team so that all sites of alleged use can be examined without further delay. Canada continues to work in close contact with our allies to monitor the situation in Syria.
We also recognize the threat posed to regional stability as the refugee population grows. NATO is gravely concerned about the situation in Syria and the potential for the conflict to spill over into the territory of Turkey, a NATO ally. At Turkey’s request, NATO agreed to deploy Patriot missile defence batteries in Turkey near the border with Syria. The Patriot deployment is purely for the defence and protection of the Turkish population against the threat of ballistic missiles.
The Government of Canada will continue to support multilateral efforts to end the needless suffering of Syrians affected by this crisis. We will work to ensure life-saving assistance reaches those who need it most.
The violence in Syria must end. A political solution to this crisis must be found. The people of Syria must be safe from oppression and attacks. Civilians denied the necessities of life must be provided with humanitarian assistance. The international community must redouble its efforts to pressure the Syrian regime to stop the violence against its own citizens, and Assad must step down in order to allow a democratic and pluralistic Syria to emerge.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
It gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today and speak to Bill C-60, an Act to implement certain measures contained in the Budget presented in this House on March 21, 2013, by the Minister of Finance.
Mr. Speaker this Bill is about continuing the important work of this government on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. This Bill will implement very important measures for all Canadians and I know will improve the lives of people across Canada and in my riding of Mississauga-Streetsville.
At the outset, I would like to re-quote some of the things that the Minister of Finance told this House on March 21st when he tabled Economic Action Plan 2013. He stated;
“Canada is in an enviable position among the world’s industrial economies. We have fared relatively better than most in the aftermath of the worst recession in a generation. As many of our allies and trading partners continue to struggle, we are well-placed to prosper. By sticking to the long view, by taking strong, decisive action whenever it has been required, we have grown stronger, even as many have weakened.”
He went on, “it is also clear to the world that Canada has picked the right path and the right plan. A responsible plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.”
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be a member of a government that is committed to a solid plan for the near and long term. I am proud of a Finance Minister and a Prime Minister that have put the economy first. But I am also immensely proud of Canadians who continue to work hard, do their best and make Canada the greatest country in the world.
Mr. Speaker this is no better shown than through community service and charitable giving. It has been my honour and privilege to serve on many community agencies in the City of Mississauga with passionate volunteers for more than three decades. I see the wonderful work that each and every one of them does and I see the tremendous generosity of people who donate to these vital organizations.
That is why I am delighted to see this Bill implement a new Super-Credit for first time donors to charitable organizations so that we may bring in thousands of new contributors to support these important services. Charitable giving promotes philanthropy and good citizenship while helping others when they need it most.
Mr. Speaker I had the distinct pleasure to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Peel Children’s Aid Society and Foundation and I am very pleased to see that this Bill allows certain adoption related expenses incurred before a child’s adoption file is opened to be eligible for the Adoption Expense Tax Credit. Our CAS system plays a very important role in adoption and any way we can help families with the costs of this is greatly appreciated.
I see as well Mr. Speaker, that there is good news in this Bill for veterans in that the Bill amends the War Veterans Allowance Act to ensure that veterans’ disability benefits are no longer deducted when calculating the war veteran allowance and the contributions for the Last Post Fund for funeral and burial services has been doubled.
Further, Mr. Speaker this Budget is very good news for our partners in the municipalities across Canada. Bill C-60 proposes to index the gas tax revenue that is sent to municipalities that they use for important transit and transportation infrastructure that suits local needs. Our last Budget made this transfer permanent – and this one ensures that the funding grows with inflation. This Government respects our towns and cities and works with them as true partners. I am certain that in my own City of Mississauga that these important funds will help our city continue to grow and provide needed transportation infrastructure for many years to come.
As a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills & Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities, I am very pleased to see that this Bill proposes changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program to ensure it operates within its original mandate – to permit the use of foreign workers, on a temporary basis, in certain sectors, where Canadians cannot fill those jobs and through a new registration and fee process, ensures ultimate accountability.
While there has been much media fanfare about the TFW program, it is still a vital system for some areas of the country, and should be improved – not scrapped. Bill C-60 proposes a strengthened program with the proper check and balances as we move forward.
Mr. Speaker there is also new support for job-creators. Bill C-60 proposes changes to the mineral exploration tax credit, extending the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance rate for machinery and equipment and modernizes the General Preferential Tariff Regime for Developing Countries to help Canadian companies better compete with foreign firms.
It also provides over $70 million in tariff relief for families purchasing sports equipment or baby clothing.
Through this Budget Bill Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is renewing its commitment of fiscal transfers to the Provinces for equalization to March 2019 – providing them stability of funding.
Mr. Speaker, Bill C-60 makes a number of changes that continues Canada moving on the path of better jobs and greater prosperity. It sets an important tone of confidence and responsibility at times that are still cautious and fragile.
This is not the time to propose huge new tax increases on Canadians or wild spending sprees. We cannot play fast and loose with Canadians hard earned tax dollars and we cannot slag our trading partners and private sector.
As we move forward Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the implementation of the new Canada Job Grant with the provinces and employers, I look forward to the ten-year renewal of the Canada Building Fund with the provinces and municipalities, I look forward to the five-year renewal of the Affordable Housing Program and Homelessness Partnering Strategy, I look forward to the renewal of the Hiring Tax Credit for Canada’s job-creators, I look forward to new investments in innovation and technology and I look forward to Canada’s continued economic leadership at home and in the world.
Mr. Speaker, it is easy for members on the other side to criticize while offering no ideas of their own other than raise taxes and increase spending. This is not a plan for Canada. It is a recipe for disaster. As the Minister of Finance concluded on March 21st, “today we move this responsible plan forward – forward toward that bright future. With this plan, our government renews our commitment to Canadians. Our commitment to jobs. Our commitment to growth. Our commitment to long-term prosperity. For all Canadians.”
Remarks at the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association
Annual National Congress on Housing & Homelessness
Ottawa Marriot Hotel
May 1, 2013
Good morning everyone. Bon matin a tous et merci beaucoup pour l’invitation aujourd’hui.
I’d like to thank the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association for inviting me to participate in this important panel. I particularly appreciate it given the fact that prior to being elected as an MP two years ago tomorrow, I spent close to 20 years in the rental housing sector in the greater-Toronto area, the last 12 as the President of the Greater Toronto Apartment Association.
Housing solutions are not easy. This is a complicated issue. It’s complicated because we have a very diverse country and the housing needs and challenges are vastly different depending on where you live.
I would not for one minute suggest – as someone from the greater Toronto area – that a solution in Toronto works in PEI, Alberta or the North. And the opposite would also be true.
So my approach to the challenges of housing and homelessness vary as I look across this large country.
While the federal government should show leadership – I note that Economic Action Plan 2013 announced the five year renewal of the Affordable Housing Program and the Homelessness Partnering Initiative effective April 1, 2014 – it should not set the arbitrary rules. Housing solutions should be designed by provinces and local government to ensure both maximum benefit to taxpayers but also to the local needs being served.
Our government’s approach has been co-operative and consultative in this regard. HPI – which provides directly federal funding to excellent programs like Streets to Homes in Toronto – allows local priorities to be set to meet local needs.
Further, in Economic Action Plan 2013, the government committed and recognized the Housing First approach which has been a tremendous success through the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi program. I have been a direct witness to the clear results of this program which provided a rent supplement of $600/month plus support services for clients under the program to live in a privately owned apartment unit and seek treatment and support for their mental illness.
What we have also observed is that this stable housing helps to alleviate poverty, allow people to go back to school or secure employment knowing that they have a place to call home.
And although I respect housing jurisdiction of the provinces and municipalities, I do believe that many of the solutions around housing affordability and homelessness alleviation are best served through housing allowances and supports – direct help for people rather than bureaucracy.
Organizations like the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association have demonstrated their understanding of a range of housing solutions and options and you should be congratulated for that.
If I can put my “private sector housing hat” on again for just a moment, I was very impressed with the effort and collaboration I saw in Toronto through many agencies and just caring people gathering around a table to implement the At Home/Chez Soi program.
And so I look forward to our discussion and am pleased to be here both as an MP and as someone who is passionate about housing.
Brad Butt, MP, Mississauga-Streetsville
April 30, 2013
Last Friday I had the opportunity along with the Member for Mississauga South to visit Vita Centre – an organization dedicated to providing life affirming community support to all pregnant and parenting women in Peel Region.
Founded in 1991, the Centre has a specific focus on support, education and counselling for pregnant and parenting youth. Its first support home was located at 47 Queen Street South in Streetsville.
Greeted by Executive Director Deborah Thomson and several members of the Board, we toured their wonderful facilities in Mississauga and engaged with clients who attend their on-site school so they may also care for their child.
They run many successful programs including Growing as Parents; Me, My Baby, Our World; Peel Parenting Sponsorship and Vita Supper Connection.
Mississauga and Peel Region are better places because of Vita Centre. Their kind, loving and compassionate support of women, children and families is unparalleled in our community.
On April 30th, 2012, Our Government announced reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
The purpose of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is to help fill genuine and acute labour needs and our Government has been reviewing the program to ensure that goal is met and Canadian workers are never displaced.
Canada is experiencing significant skills shortages in many sectors and regions, and Canadians must always have first crack at job opportunities when they become available. Stemming from the ongoing review of the TFW Program, and as announced in Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government is introducing legislative, regulatory and administrative changes that will:
• effective immediately, require employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility;
• effective immediately, temporarily suspend the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion process;
• increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke Work Permits and Labour Market Opinions (LMOs) if the program is being misused;
• add questions to employer LMO applications to ensure that the TFW Program is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs;
• ensure employers who rely on temporary foreign workers have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time through the LMO process;
• introduce fees for employers for the processing of Labour Market Opinions and increase the fees for work permits so that the taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the costs; and
• restrict English and French as the only languages that can be identified as a job requirement.
As part of the ongoing review of the TFW Program, the Harper Government will hold cross-Canada consultations over the coming months with businesses, industry and trade organizations, unions and others on additional changes to the Program.
These reforms will help ensure the TFW Program is only used as intended – to fill acute skills shortages on a temporary basis.
The results of these changes will strengthen and improve the TFW Program to support our economic recovery and growth, and ensure that employers make greater efforts to hire Canadians before hiring temporary foreign workers. These reforms will ensure that the TFW Program, which is an important program to deal with acute skills shortages on a temporary basis, is used only as a last resort.
Primary agricultural occupations will be subject to the reform that will increase the Government’s authority to suspend and revoke Work Permits and Labour Market Opinions if they are being misused. The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream will be unaffected by the remaining reforms as there are proven acute labour shortages in this industry and the unfilled jobs are truly temporary.
On the occasion of the 71st annual National Volunteer Week (April 21-27), Brad Butt, member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville, congratulates the millions of Canadians who volunteer to help their communities across the country every year.
“During National Volunteer Week, I would like to thank the volunteers who give their time and effort to help build stronger communities,” said MP Brad Butt. “They each play a vital role in building a stronger Canada.”
Volunteerism is important in improving the quality of life of many Canadians, building social networks and improving intergenerational relations. According to the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, each year, more than 13 million Canadians volunteer over 2 billion hours of their time to charitable and not-for-profit organizations.
To further recognize the outstanding voluntary contributions made in Canada, the Government introduced the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards. Canadians can show appreciation for exceptional volunteers in their communities by nominating them for one of the 17 awards. The second call for nominations closed on April 15, 2013. More information about the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards, including the first award recipients, can be found at www.pm.gc.ca/awards or www.facebook.com/PrixduPMAwards.
National Volunteer Week is the largest celebration of citizen participation in Canada. The Government of Canada thanks the many Canadians who dedicate their skills and time to make this country a better place to live.
For more information on how you can participate in National Volunteer Week, please visit volunteer.ca.
On Tuesday, April 24th, 2013, the Conference Board of Canada released a report on the future of Canada Post.
The Conference Board projected that the relentless decline in mail volumes may lead to losses of close to $1 billion a year by 2020, and examines a number of options to help the Corporation address our financial losses.
Canada Post understands the important role it plays across the country. It must seriously consider all options put forward in the report to avoid becoming a drain on the taxpayers. In doing so, the Corporation must continue to meet its public policy obligations, such as serving every Canadian address, including those in rural and northern Canada.
Canada Post welcomes the report as the start of a conversation with all Canadians about how they feel regarding Canada Post’s future. Canada Post wants to engage as many Canadians as possible in this discussion. They are asking Canadians to offer their views so they can capture and analyze them. You can do so on canadapost.ca or by mail to:
THE FUTURE OF CANADA POST
2701 RIVERSIDE DR SUITE N0800
OTTAWA ON K1A 0B1
I hope you take the time to send in your views.
Streetsville Main Street Square Design Presentation
Hosted by the City of Mississauga
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Presentation at 7:00pm
Vic Johnson Community Centre
335 Church St. Mississauga
See first handwhat is being designated for the redevelopment of the historic Streetsville Square this Wednesday night. The plan will create an outdoor space that includes an energy efficient light and sound system, accessible features and will be the focal point in Streetsville for local events, festivals and celebrations.
For more information, please contact Randy Jamieson at (905) 615-3200 x 4133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.