Speech by Brad Butt, MP, Mississauga-Streetsville
September 16, 2014
Take Note Debate – Situation in Iraq
Mr. Speaker, Canada is deeply concerned by the recent increase in violence in Iraq and its humanitarian consequences.
Canada condemns, in the strongest terms, the targeting of civilians and religious minorities.
And we are deeply concerned by reports of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.
That is why we continue to call on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law.
In late August, I visited the cities of Erbil and Duhok, Iraq as part of an observer team sponsored by the Rev. Majed El Shafie and One Free World International.
We personally met with Internationally Displaced Persons – IDPs – on the ground in the UNHCR camps that have been established.
Mr. Speaker, their stories are heart-wrenching. We sat on the ground and in the tents of our fellow human beings and their plight is unbelievable.
This is an unspeakable tragedy for which there is no excuse.
And, the humanitarian situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate as armed clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, and government forces, drive displacement.
Since January, an estimated 1.7 million people have been displaced throughout the country, which represents one of the largest cases of internal displacement in the world.
Basic services, including health care and water infrastructure, are disrupted, resulting in acute humanitarian needs.
The intensity of fighting in ISIL-held areas has resulted in a security situation that does not allow humanitarian organizations to operate, and the persecution of minority groups, including Christians, Yazidis, Shabak and Turken Shia, is an ongoing concern.
Current displacement near the Kurdish region of Iraq has been only the latest development in a trend of large-scale displacements across Iraq that go back to the beginning of the year.
In early 2014, conflict displaced an estimated 475,000 people in Anbar province. Then in June, an estimated 571,000 people were displaced from Mosul. And in August, an additional 662,000 were displaced from the Sinjar area, when tens of thousands of Yazidis remained trapped for several days in dire humanitarian conditions.
The size and pace of displacement has overwhelmed local communities, including in Duhok Governorate, which is hosting more than 400,000 internally displaced persons.
We met with local officials in Duhok and are well aware of the needs. I know that Canada will help in providing assistance for housing and medical needs particularly as the winter season approaches.
On August 12, the United Nations declared the situation a “level 3” emergency, underlining the gravity of the crisis. As a result, the humanitarian response in accessible areas is being rapidly scaled up and humanitarian leadership will be bolstered.
Approximately 35 percent of the internally displaced Iraqis are living in vulnerable locations including schools, churches, mosques, and unfinished buildings.
We met with the largest group of IDPs in a half built school in Duhok the last day we were there.
There is a concern that the schools being used as shelter may not be able to reopen as scheduled, which means that 850,000 children will begin to fall behind with their education.
Mr. Speaker, Canada is actively working with partners to address children’s needs and to see what more it can do.
We are currently working through experienced partners such as Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help provide child-friendly environments for displaced children and to give them the psychosocial support they need.
We believe that, when adults fight, children’s education should not suffer, and the continued academic growth of children must be secured, even in the face of conflict.
The flows of IDPs also placed considerable strain on health structures, and many health facilities are overwhelmed with large caseloads.
In addition, food security is a growing concern in Central and Northern Iraq because normal supply routes have been interrupted by conflict and insecurity.
The next harvest is at risk in the areas affected by the conflict, and that accounts for nearly a third of Iraq’s wheat production.
Millions of Iraqis are likely to face food shortages later this year unless these challenges are resolved.
A key challenge for the humanitarian community continues to be the difficulty of being able to get into conflict areas to reach the people who need their help.
The sheer number of different locations people have fled to, as well as their mobility, adds a layer of complexity that makes matters even more difficult for humanitarian organizations.
Mr. Speaker, Canada is working through experienced humanitarian partners such as the United Nations humanitarian agencies, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, and non-governmental organizations to get life-saving assistance to those who need it.
To date Canada has provided more than $28 million in humanitarian assistance support to Iraq, of which $18.8 million will address needs from the conflict, and $9.6 million will be used to address the needs of Syrian refugees, who have sought refuge in Iraq due to the conflict in their home country. We work to provide support across a range of needs to ensure that there are no gaps.
Canada’s funding is helping to meet the health, shelter, water and sanitation, protection and food needs of affected Iraqis, as well as relief supplies, and camp construction through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
We are also addressing the protection and education needs of displaced children and those whose schools are being used as emergency collective shelters.
For example, our funding is helping to support mobile health clinics through Plan Canada, as well as providing medical supplies through the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Canadian Red Cross is currently looking to determine what more can be done.
Our humanitarian partners provide very specific assistance, such as transportation to areas of safety, or child-friendly spaces, and take steps to ensure that particularly vulnerable people, such as the disabled, the elderly, and children, have access to life-sustaining services.
On August 28, a first planeload of humanitarian relief supplies was deployed from our warehouse in the International Humanitarian City in Dubai, to Erbil. It contained kitchen sets, jerry cans, tents, blankets, hygiene kits and mosquito nets.
And, we anticipate that the second planeload of $365,000 in humanitarian relief supplies will be sent very soon.
Although the current UN Emergency Appeal is fully funded, it is anticipated that further funding will be needed, and for a significantly greater amount.
Mr. Speaker, Canada is currently the fifth largest donor in response to the crisis. And it is worth noting that we are also the fifth largest donor to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, which has provided more than US $10.8 million in response to the Iraq crisis.
We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that emergency humanitarian assistance is provided to Iraqi civilians in need.
And Canadian officials will continue to monitor the situation closely and assess the security and humanitarian challenges facing the Iraqi people.
We met as well with our Ambassador to Iraq Bruno Saccamoni and I am pleased to report that our people on the ground are well aware of the needs and are playing a very important role. Further, we have development staff on the ground in Northern Iraq, and will soon finance a series of development initiatives to help communities maintain basic services such as education, water supply and waste management, in response to the recent flow of IDPs coming into the country.
Mr. Speaker, it was a profoundly moving experience for me as a Member of this House to visit Iraq and meet with the victims of these ISIL attacks. May God continue to bless them all and may we all pray for peace and better days ahead.
Streetsville Village Square
MISSISSAUGA – After $3 million and months of on-and-off construction, Streetsville Village Square is back in action.
The revamped public space is now a breath of fresh air with a covered stage, sound system and new lighting for residents and visitors to enjoy.
A focal point of the area is the fully restored cenotaph, which was repaired with $100,000 in funding from the federal government.
Speaking at the soft re-opening of the square on Saturday (Sept. 13), Mayor Hazel McCallion told the crowd that the war memorial is sacred and the redevelopment was carried out with that in mind.
“In the plan (the architect) recognized that (the cenotaph) would be set aside and given special attention and recognition,” said McCallion, adding that it always bothered her when people used the spot for skateboarding or sitting down to eat ice cream.
McCallion also apologized to the businesses surrounding the square for the hiccups during the two-year redevelopment process, which had to be reeled back because the initial contract was “way above budget.” Once that was cancelled and another contractor was signed on, there were additional delays when the ground was dug up.
“When you dig up any part of Mississauga that’s in existence for a while, you find problems…some things went ahead without permits many, many years ago,” she said.
McCallion also touched on how the re-opening of the square held a special place in her heart as she previously served as mayor of Streetsville from 1970-1973.
“(Streetsville has been) a major part of Sam’s (her late-husband) and my life. I just love the area,” she said.
Ward 11 councillor George Carlson said the idea to revamp Streetsville Village Square has been in the making for nearly eight years and he hoped the square will bolster the local economy as well as generate dozens of jobs.
“We’re no longer a village that makes bricks anymore, we don’t seem to have much in the way of mill work…but we do seem to have something other people don’t have and that’s a heritage village that we need to take advantage of,” he said.
Mississauga-Streetsville MP Brad Butt added: “I know it took some time and there were some bumps along the road, but there is an old cliché that says, ‘Some things are just worth the wait,’ and this clearly is an example of something that was well worth the wait.”
An official opening of the public space is slated for next spring.
OTTAWA, September 11, 2014
Today, Brad Butt, M.P. for Mississauga-Streetsville, issued a statement encouraging Canadians to participate in charitable activities and community service across Canada:
“On this day in 2001, the world looked on in horror as our neighbours in the United States suffered one of the most shocking terrorist acts in history. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost, including 24 Canadians, and the world would never be the same.
“As Canadians, we rallied to the sides of our American friends, opened our hearts and homes, and helped them to recover. There is no better example than the small community of Gander, Newfoundland, which took in so many thousands of stranded travelers and provided them with food, shelter and compassion.
“In memory of that tragic day, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a call to action. He asked us all to come together through charitable activities and community service, in order to remember the lives that were lost and to pay tribute to the great courage and sacrifice of so many during those events.
“As Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville, I know the dedication of the citizens of our great city of Mississauga. It is inspiring to see both individuals and groups come together in our community in support of common and meaningful causes.
“Today, we thank all volunteers who give of their time, put their skills to work, demonstrate acts of kindness and compassion, and willingly make sacrifices to better the lives of others. The dedicated volunteers of Mississauga inspire us to rise to the occasion and join them in such meaningful work.”
On Wednesday, September 10th, 2014, Brad Butt, Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville, co-hosted a Crime and Justice Town Hall meeting with MP Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.
The Town Hall meeting focused on four key pieces of legislation; Bill C-13: Cyberbullying, Bill C-26: Tougher Penalties for Child Predators and Bill, Bill C-32: Victims Bill of Rights and C-36: Response to Bedford. If you missed it here is the presentation:
Bill C-13 will:
- Amend the Criminal Code to prohibit the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
- Impose a maximum penalty of five years for the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
- Allow a judge to order the removal of an intimate image from websites.
- Allow a judge to impose restrictions for a specific time on the use of the Internet for the person convicted.
- Modernize existing investigative powers to enable police to more efficiently and effectively obtain electronic evidence that exists on the Internet or other technologies.
Beyond amendments to the criminal code our Government understands that additional measures need to be put in place in order to protect communities and educate Canadians on the possible harmful effects of cyberbullying.
Introduced in the House of Commons on 26 February 2014, this bill amends the provisions of the Criminal Code that deal with sexual offences committed against children and young persons by increasing the mandatory minimum penalties and maximum penalties for such offences. Bill C-26 also makes the following changes to the law:
-It increases maximum penalties for violations by child sexual offenders of prohibition orders, probation orders and peace bonds.
-It requires courts to impose consecutive sentences on offenders who commit sexual offences against more than one child.
-It amends the Canada Evidence Act 2 to ensure that spouses of accused persons can be called as witnesses for the prosecution in child pornography cases.
-It amends the Sex Offender Information Registration Act 3 to increase the reporting obligations of sex offenders who travel outside Canada.
-Child Sex Offender Registry. It enacts the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database Act to establish a publicly accessible database that contains information with respect to persons who are found guilty of sexual offences against children and who pose a high risk of committing crimes of a sexual nature.
- Right to information: Victims would have the right to general information about the criminal justice system and available victim services and programs, as well as specific information about the progress of the case, including information relating to the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of the person who harmed them.
- Victims will no longer be treated as “just another witness.”
- Rights to protection: Victims would have the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, to have reasonable and necessary measures to protect them from intimidation and retaliation, and to request their identity be protected from public disclosure.
- Right to participation: Victims would have a right to convey their views about decisions to be made by criminal justice professionals and have them considered at various stages of the criminal justice process, and to present a victim impact statement.
- Right to restitution: Victims would have the right to have the court consider making a restitution order for all offences for which there are easy-to-calculate financial losses.
Our Government responded to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Canada v. Bedford to ensure the Canada’s laws and the criminal justice system continue to address the significant harms that flow from prostitution to those engaged in prostitution and to other vulnerable persons, while protecting Canadian communities.
On Tuesday, September 9th, 2014, Brad Butt, Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Streetsville, hosted a roundtable on Bill C-24 with Costas Menegakis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, at the Peel Multicultural Centre. The roundtable was widely attended by local community organizations and local residents.
- Canada has a high naturalization rate: more than 85 percent of eligible permanent residents in Canada go on to become citizens.
- As a result of reforms to the Citizenship Act, applicants need to be physically present in Canada for a total of four out of their last six years. In addition, they need to be physically present in Canada for 183 days per year for at least four of those six years.
- The old citizenship fee did not reflect the actual processing cost. Changes ensure applicants are responsible for the actual processing cost.
- Under the new streamlined decision-making model, citizenship officers will decide all aspects of a citizenship application. Under the old model, obtaining citizenship was a three-step process that involved duplication of work.
- By 2015-2016, processing times will be one year and backlogs will be reduced by 80%.
- Since 2006, Canada has welcomed over 1,300,000 proud new Canadians. Citizenship and Immigration Canada received 333,860 citizenship applications in 2013, the highest volume ever.
Language and Residence Requirements
- The ability to communicate effectively in either French or English is a key factor in the success of newcomers to Canada. This has been borne out in a number of studies looking at the connection between language ability and successful integration into Canadian society.
- As a result of changes in Bill C-24, applicants now need to be physically present in Canada for a total of four out of their last six years. In addition, they would need to be physically present in Canada for 183 days per year for at least four of those six years.
- These changes to the Citizenship Act require applicants to file Canadian income taxes, if required under the Income Tax Act, in order to be eligible to apply for citizenship.
- Ongoing large-scale fraud investigations conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have identified more than 3,000 citizens and 5,000 permanent residents linked to major investigations—a majority of them related to residence.
- In addition, nearly 2,000 individuals linked to the citizenship fraud investigations have withdrawn their applications.
- The United States and Australia have a similar fast-track mechanism for members of the military as a way of honouring their service and addressing deployment challenges.
- Citizenship is being granted retroactively, dating back to January 1, 1947 (or April 1, 1949 for Newfoundland) or to the year of birth in the case of persons born after January 1, 1947 or April 1, 1949.
- People born or naturalized in Canada before 1947 who subsequently lost their British subject status and did not become citizens on January 1, 1947 are having citizenship automatically given to them.
- British subjects ordinarily resident in Canada prior to 1947 who did not become citizens on January 1, 1947 are having citizenship automatically given to them.
- Children born abroad in the first generation to any parent who was born, naturalized or British subjects ordinarily resident in Canada prior to 1947 are having citizenship automatically given to them.
Remarks at the Best Buddies Canada
Leadership & Development Conference
International Plaza Hotel, Toronto
September 6, 2014
by Brad Butt, MP, Mississauga-Streetsville
Good morning everyone/Bonjour a tous,
Merci beaucoup pour l’invitation aujourd’hui. Thank you very much for the kind invitation to join you again this year and to celebrate this wonderful organization and all of you as Best Buddies and supporters.
All of you are here today because you care about ensuring each and every person in this country has a chance to succeed and to be a full participating member of our community. You are here because you embrace the great Canadian value of volunteerism. More Canadians as a percentage of our population volunteer in their community than any other country in the world. This is something of which we should be immensely proud.
Volunteering and giving back promote an inclusive community – where people support one another and where we build better communities. Volunteering also gives us a sense of accomplishment and value – we know we are doing something positive and important and at the same time helping others out.
When I was an early teenager, I started to volunteer in my community. I found organizations I liked and where I believed in their cause. I was a founding member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee in Mississauga as an example – because the Mayor – Hazel McCallion, still Mayor today – believed that young people needed to have a voice at City Hall. That group still exists today – 30 years later and continues to provide valuable advice to Mississauga City Council.
Volunteering can come in both large and small ways. You can certainly join a large group like MYAC and work on dozens of different projects or you can do what you are doing today – giving of your time to one “buddy.” Volunteering is not measured by the quantity of your involvement but rather the quality.
By being a volunteer – certainly from my perspective – it greatly enhances your contacts both in the community at large and in business. There is an old cliché that “it’s who you know, not what you know” and in many ways this is very true. Not to downplay the importance of education and experience but many of the most successful people I know have made that success through their contacts they have met through community organizations for which they volunteered.
Volunteering also demonstrates to others that you have a strong sense of values and strong work ethic. As we all know volunteering is un-paid, not because it is “worthless” but because it is “priceless.” People in your future will look at the fact you volunteered and it will pay a dividend.
Along with joining MYAC, I also served as President of the Student Council in my high school and was very active in other school clubs. This involvement taught me some valuable things about my school, how to make it better, work with administration and teachers and promote community involvement and leadership. You will spend 8-10 years of your life in high school and college or university and you can make the most of that experience.
If you are not already involved in some way, give it some thought. School is more than books and classes – although that is important. School should be a fully rounded experience helping to create the future leaders of our country.
My last little piece of advice for you is never give up. You will experience ups and downs all of your life – and you must learn from all of these experiences.
I was elected a Member of Parliament in May 2011. It is an honour and privilege to serve my community in the House of Commons.
However, this was not my first election. I had actually run four times before and lost every time. I remember a reporter asking me after I had lost for the fourth time to explain this. I replied, “well – you can’t win them all!”
We shared a laugh but I have to tell you that although each and every one of those election losses was tough, I learned something from each one – and, I never gave up.
Friends, you can make this the most wonderful life you want it to be. You can be leaders and you can make a difference.
You and I live in the best country in the world and we have the Best Buddies.
I hope your experience through this wonderful organization shows you that we are an inclusive and respectful people, that we support each other and that we ensure that no one is left behind.
On behalf of all the Members of the Hose of Commons, the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada, thank you for your commitment today. We will be forever grateful for your compassion, caring and your giving back.
Trip to Armenia, Turkey & Kurdistan (Iraq)
One Free World International
August 24 – September 1, 2014
Brad Butt, MP, Mississauga-Streetsville and two other Conservative MPs joined a delegation of One Free World International – a Canadian based human rights organization – for a trip to Armenia, Turkey and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The purpose of the trip was to meet with officials on the ongoing Armenia-Turkey conflict and to see first-hand the effects of the ISIS attacks in Iraq on religious minorities.
August 24, 2014
The delegation left Toronto Pearson Airport for Moscow, Russia where we changed planes and headed to Yerevan, Armenia where we arrived on the afternoon of August 25, 2014.
August 25, 2014
After arriving in Yerevan, Armenia we met with Dr. Hranush Hakobyan, Minister of the Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. There are close to 8 million Armenians living outside of the country that is only a population of 3 million itself. The meeting detailed the work they do on the Armenia genocide and in keeping the country’s attachment to these people.
The delegation then met with Mr. Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Armenia who provided a detailed update on the Armenia-Turkey relations and efforts to open the border between the two countries. There continues to be quite a bit of tension between the nations due to the outstanding genocide issue as well as problems with neighbouring country Azerbaijan.
August 26, 2014
We visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial where we paid tribute to the millions affected by this event in 1915, laid flowers and a wreath and toured the site and museum of archives accompanied by Mr. Hayk Demoyan, Director of the Museum of the Armenian Genocide.
The delegation then proceeded to the Armenian Parliament Building where we met with Mr. Galust Sahakyan, President of the National Assembly and members of the Armenia-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group.
The group then met with Mr. Artashes Emin, Honourary Consul General that provides consulate services to Canadians in Armenia.
We visited and toured the TUMO Centre – an advanced technology centre for youth aged 12-18 to explore various technologies as an after-school program. The Centre was donated by a businessman to help get Armenian children better technological skills.
The group then visited the Holy See of Ejmiatsin and toured the very historic buildings of the Armenian Church.
We attended a dinner hosted by members of the National Assembly that are part of the Armenia-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group.
August 27 & 28, 2014
Very early in the morning, we flew back to Moscow, Russia and got a connecting flight to Istanbul, Turkey. Due to the ongoing problems between Armenia and Turkey, there are no flights between the two countries.
The group met with Turkiye journalist Ceren Kenar who provided an excellent overview of the Armenia-Turkey conflict and the state of governance and politics in Turkey.
We then met with Professor Erhan Erkut, formerly a professor at the University of Alberta, on his perspectives of the Armenia-Turkey issue and the genocide issue. He also facilitates student exchange between Canada and Turkey and encouraged even greater numbers in the future benefitting both countries.
That night we attended a dinner hosted by Mr. Rusen Cetin, Chairman of Tureks and a member of the Canada-Turkey Business Council.
August 29, 2014
The delegation met with Dr. Yilmaz Arguden, Chair of the Canada-Turkey Business Council who detailed the trade and economic relationship between our two countries and opportunities for the future.
The group visited Kultur University where we met with Professor Dr. Mensur Akgun, Director of the Global Political Trends Centre who provided a very detailed assessment of the Turkey-Armenia conflict.
We then proceeded later that night to the airport to fly to Erbil, Iraq.
August 30, 2014
The delegation arrived in Erbil, Kurdistan (Iraq) and was met by Mr. Fahmi Mansoor, President of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council and members before proceeding to our hotel.
We then visited with Archbishop Bashar Warda of the Chaldean Diocese of Erbil and toured the refugee camps they are hosting on their property and spoke with many of the international displaced persons (IDPs) living in the tents and buildings in the area.
The delegation met with His Excellency Bruno Saccamoni, Canadian Ambassador to Iraq and Jordon and officials to discuss the IDP issue and ongoing Canada-Iraq relations. The Ambassador noted that a Visa office is due to open in Erbil later in September.
The group then visited the largest IDP United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) camp in Erbil, housed primarily in an abandoned industrial building and surrounded by tents, that is supported by the Government of Canada through the World Food Program.
August 31, 2014
The delegation travelled for 2 ½ hours to visit the city of Duhok, Kurdistan which has the single largest number of IDPs as a result of the attacks of ISIS on religious minorities in Iraq. Duhok is approximately 70 km from the city of Mosul which is ground zero for ISIS in Iraq.
We met with Mr. Behzad Ali Adam, Deputy Governor of the Kurdistan Regional Government and several other parliamentarians including Dr. Nezar Ismet Taib, Director General of Health for Duhok on the health and medical needs of the IDPs.
The group, accompanied by Yazidi Leader Shekh Shamo Shekho, Chairman of the High Corporation of Cultural & Social Ialish Centre visited the IDP camp housed in many half-finished school buildings that have been temporarily converted to refugee housing. We spoke with many of the residents there about their plight and treatment at the hands of ISIS. They continue to suffer greatly with many having family members brutally killed in the attacks and others that have been unable to even locate family members.
We concluded our visit to Duhok with a meeting at the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council where they detailed the thousands of years history of their people in this region of Iraq that still face religious persecution to this day.
September 1, 2014
Myself and the Rev. Majed El Shafie, Founder and President of One Free World International, flew from Erbil, Iraq to Istanbul Turkey, to Frankfurt, Germany and then to Toronto home.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to our hosts One Free World International and the many on the ground agencies in Armenia, Turkey and Kurdistan that provided such great hospitality and support. This was an important mission in advancing reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey as well as being a witness for the current genocide taking place against religious minorities at the hands of ISIS.
No public taxpayer money was expended for this trip.