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Remembrance Day

November 11, 2014 Comments off

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Friends,

Every year on Remembrance Day, Canadians are given an opportunity to honour the memory of our brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces as well as to thank the men and women who continue to wear the uniform with pride today.

This year marks many important world war milestones, including the 75th anniversary of Canada’s engagement in the Second World War,

and the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

These conflicts, as well as more recent missions, including in Afghanistan, will never be forgotten.

And this year in particular our thoughts are with the families of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent who both gave their lives recently in service to Canada.

Today, members of the Royal Canadian Air Force are engaged in an important mission in Iraq against the brutality of ISIL.

I encourage everyone in our community to join me in participating in a Remembrance Day ceremony including coming to our new Streetsville Village Square cenotaph this November 11th.

This will be to honour the fallen, commemorate the brave, and thank all members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their service.

Lest We Forget.

 

 

Protecting Canadians from Barbaric Cultural Practices

November 5, 2014 Comments off

November 5, 2014 — Ottawa — Today, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the tabling of legislation in the Senate, Bill S-7, that will strengthen Canadian laws to prevent barbaric cultural practices from happening on Canadian soil.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act: An Overview

The Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act demonstrates that Canada’s openness and generosity does not extend to early and forced marriage, polygamy or other types of barbaric cultural practices. Canada will not tolerate any type of violence against women or girls, including spousal abuse, violence in the name of so-called “honour”, or other, mostly gender-based violence. Those found guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada’s criminal laws.

To deliver on the Government’s commitment to standing up for victims of violence and abuse and to send a strong message to those in Canadaand those wishing to come to Canadathat such practices will not be tolerated on Canadian soil, the Government is proposing to amend five federal statutes:

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Address polygamy through the creation of a new polygamy-specific inadmissibility provision in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, meaning:

  • temporary residents and permanent residents who practise polygamy in Canada could be found inadmissible on that basis alone, without the need for a criminal conviction; and
  • if found to be inadmissible, the person could then be subject to removal.

Civil Marriage Act

Make amendments to the Civil Marriage Act to legislate across Canada two existing legal requirements for a valid marriage:

  • the requirement for free and enlightened consent (proposed section 2.1); and
  • the requirement for ending an existing marriage prior to entering another (proposed section 2.3).

These legal requirements currently exist in federal legislation that applies in the Province of Quebec only (sections 5 and 7 of the Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1) and in common law (court decisions) for residents of other provinces and territories.

The bill would also establish a new national minimum age for marriage of 16, below which no marriage could be contracted (proposed section 2.2). This legal requirement currently exists only in federal legislation that applies in the Province of Quebec (section 6 of the Federal Law–Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1). The common law (court decisions) applying to residents of other provinces and territories is sometimes interpreted as setting a minimum age of 14 for boys and 12 for girls, and historically sometimes as low as age 7. This proposed amendment would provide equal protection to all Canadian children by setting the minimum age to age 16 across Canada.

Additional legal protections for children between the new minimum age for marriage and the age of majority, set by the province or territory of residence at 18 or 19 years of age, are found in provincial and territorial marriage laws. These laws currently require parental consent (and in some instances also the consent of a judge) to ensure that the child fully understands the legal consequences of marriage in those exceptional circumstances where a child would be mature enough to marry. Canada’s Minister of Justice has asked his provincial and territorial counterparts to consider making complementary amendments to their marriage laws to ensure that children are uniformly protected by requiring a judge to make the proper inquiries, in addition to parental consent, in the case of any marriage involving a child between the age of 16 and the age of majority.

Criminal Code

Amend the Criminal Code to provide additional protections building on the proposed amendments to the Civil Marriage Act to prevent forced or underage marriages. The proposed amendments would:

  • amend the existing offence for a legally-authorized officiant who knowingly solemnizes a marriage contrary to provincial law (section 295) to clarify that this also includes a marriage that is contrary to federal law, including a forced marriage or a marriage under the age of 16this offence will be punishable by up to two years in prison;
  • create a new offence prohibiting the active and knowing participation in a forced marriage ceremony by any person, including parents or other family members of the person being forced to marry, or the performance of a forced marriage ceremony, whether or not the person is legally authorized to solemnize a marriage (proposed section 293.1)this offence will be punishable by a maximum of five years in prison;
  • create a new offence prohibiting the active and knowing participation in a marriage ceremony involving a person under the age of 16, by any person, including parents or other family members of the person who is underage, or the performance of an underage marriage ceremony, whether or not the person is legally authorized to solemnize a marriage (proposed section 293.2)this offence will be punishable by a maximum of five years in prison;
  • extend the existing offence of removing a child from Canada for the purpose of having certain offences committed abroad to include the removal of a child for the purpose of a forced marriage or a marriage under the age of 16 outside of Canada (proposed paragraph 273.3(1)(d))this offence will be punishable by a maximum of five years in prison; and
  • introduce a new peace bond that gives the court power to impose conditions on a person where there are reasonable grounds to fear that a forced marriage or a marriage under the age of 16 will otherwise occur (proposed section 810.02).

The Bill would also amend the Criminal Code to address concerns that the defence of provocation (section 232) has been raised in several so-called “honour” killing cases in Canada. These cases involved accused persons who killed their wife, sister or sister’s fiancé and alleged that the killing was motivated by their perception that the victims had brought “dishonour” to them or their family through their conduct or choices, taking into account their culture’s views about appropriate gender roles and behaviour.

The defence of provocation currently allows a person found to have committed murder (which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison and minimum parole ineligibility periods) to seek a conviction of manslaughter instead (with no minimum sentence unless a firearm is used) by arguing that the victim’s conduct provoked them to lose self-control and kill.

Currently, any conduct by the victimincluding insults and other forms of offensive behaviour that are lawfulcan potentially qualify as provocation if it is found to be sufficient to cause an ordinary person to lose self-control, the accused was not expecting it and the killing was sudden. The proposed amendment would limit the defence of provocation so that lawful conduct by the victim that might be perceived by the accused as an insult, or offend that person or their sense of family “honour” or reputation, cannot be used to reduce murder to manslaughter. Only conduct by the victim that amounts to a relatively serious criminal offence (i.e. an offence under the Criminal Code punishably by at least 5 years in prison) could be argued to be “provocation” for the purposes of the defence.

Consequential amendments

Consequential amendments resulting from the above-mentioned changes will also be made to the Prisons and Reformatories Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act to include references to the new peace bond.

Financial Literacy Month 2014

November 4, 2014 Comments off

Financial Literacy Month in Canada

  • November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada; the time for Canadians of all ages to enhance their financial know-how.
  • During Financial Literacy Month, all Canadians and organizations are encouraged to either host or take part in an activity designed to increase financial knowledge.
  • The Financial Literacy Month Calendar of Events provides Canadians with a list of the financial education activities and events taking place in November in their city and province as well as across the country.
  • Organizations are encouraged to submit their financial literacy activities and events slated for November 2014 in the Financial Literacy Month Calendar of Events.
  • Financial Literacy Resource Database: this year’s Financial Literacy Month will see FCAC launch an online database that will provide Canadians with a comprehensive list of financial literacy resources, events, tools and information.
  • Financial Literacy Month ‘selfie’ photo contest: an opportunity for Canadians of all ages to demonstrate how they use their financial savvy and to win prizes.
  • For more information about Financial Literacy Month in Canada, visit gc.ca/flm, like www.facebook.com/FLMcanada, follow @FCACan and join the conversation with #FLM2014 on Twitter.

Youth / Parents / Educators / Teachers

  • It’s never too early, or too late, to start teaching kids about money.
  • Teaching kids about money early in life will help them avoid making financial mistakes in the longer term.
  • By learning the basics of money management early, children and youth will know how to make the right decisions about spending and saving for the future. Good financial habits last a lifetime.
  • Understanding basic concepts such as budgeting and saving, how to manage credit and debt, and financial planning will provide students and youth with the tools they need to navigate the financial realities of adulthood.
  • How do your financial knowledge and skills measure up to other Canadians? Take our financial literacy self-asssessment quiz today to find out!
  • There are tools available to help youth and families better understand and manage their personal finances. Find the tools you need to improve your knowledge and skills to make better financial decisions in the Financial Literacy Resource Database.

Adults

  • Brushing up on the basics of money management, improving your financial habits, and knowing your rights and responsibilities in using financial products and services enables you to be a savvier and more confident financial consumer. It’s never too late!
  • How do your financial knowledge and skills measure up to other Canadians? Take our financial literacy self-asssessment quiz today to find out!
  • Find the tools you need to improve your knowledge and skills to make better financial decisions in the Financial Literacy Resource Database

 

Seniors

  • Whether you are planning your retirement or living it, ensure that your finances are in good shape to help you reach your financial goals.
  • You can keep your money and your financial identity safe by being aware of the risks and taking steps to protect yourself.
  • Budgeting, managing debt and speaking with a financial professional about your investments will ensure that your finances are in order and help you live worry-free while living in retirement.
  • How do your financial knowledge and skills measure up to other Canadians? Take our financial literacy self-asssessment quiz today to find out!
  • Find the tools you need to improve your knowledge and skills to make better financial decisions in the Financial Literacy Resource Database.

MP Brad Butt speaks in HOC on Veterans Week

November 3, 2014 Comments off

Mr. Speaker,

On this Veterans Week, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to pay tribute to Branch 139 of the Royal Canadian Legion – Streetsville Overseas Veterans Club.

Affectionately referred to as the Streetsville Legion, it was organized on November 11, 1925 to honour those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and peace.

Streetsville Legion provides unparalleled support to youth in army, air, sea and navy league cadets and has its doors always open to serve the wider Streetsville community.

On October 23rd, Executive members of the Legion joined me in a moving wreath laying ceremony at the Streetsville cenotaph for Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent.

I look forward to joining them this and every November 11th as we honour our brave women and men who served and continue to do so.

May their contributions always be appreciated and never been forgotten.

Lest We Forget.

MP Brad Butt Congratulates Leadership in Energy Efficiency 2014 ENERGY STAR® Winner

October 31, 2014 Comments off

October 31, 2014                                                                                               Mississauga, Ontario

On October 29, 2014, The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, congratulated eight organizations for winning the 2014 ENERGY STAR® Market Transformation Awards for advancing energy efficiency. This year’s recipients have excelled in offering Canadian consumers the most energy-efficient products available on the market, helping them save money. The awards are presented to utility providers, manufacturers, retailers, advocates and home builders who have shown leadership in manufacturing and promoting energy-efficient products. The recipients have promoted ENERGY STAR to consumers through various initiatives, such as retail rebate programs, promotional and social media campaigns, training and significantly increasing the sale of ENERGY STAR products. The 2014 ENERGY STAR winners are:

  • Manufacturer of the Year: Whirlpool Canada LP
  • Fenestration Manufacturer of the Year: Centennial Windows Ltd.
  • Retailer of the Year: The Home Depot Canada
  • Provincial Utility of the Year: Hydro-Québec
  • Regional Utility of the Year: Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro
  • ENERGY STAR Most Efficient Promotional Campaign of the Year: Vinyl Window Designs Ltd.
  • Promotional Campaign of the Year: Hydro-Québec
  • Advocate of the Year: The Ottawa Hospital
  • Sustained Excellence Award: Vinyl Window Designs Ltd.
  • Participant of the Year: Midhaven Homes
  • Promotional Campaign of the Year: Midhaven Homes

On October 31, 2014, Brad Butt, M.P., for Mississauga-Streetsville, presented Whirlpool Canada LP in Streetsville with an award plaque for Manufacturer of the Year. Whirlpool Canada LP markets and supplies home appliances in Canada. The company was founded in 1859 and is based in Mississauga.

Oct 31, 2014- MP Brad Butt gives Energy Star Award to Whirlpool Canada in Streetsville

ENERGY STAR has been administered in Canada since 2001 by Natural Resources Canada in full collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency. Since 2005, Canadians have had the option of choosing ENERGY STAR-qualified homes that are designed and built to achieve maximum energy efficiency, making it easy for consumers to save money and protect the environment.

Quick Facts

  • ENERGY STAR®is the mark of high-efficiency products in Canada. The familiar symbol makes it easy to identify the best energy performers on the market.
  • In a 2013 survey, 88 percent of Canadians identified ENERGY STAR as being the most helpful information source for energy efficiency in the marketplace.
  • To date, the ENERGY STAR Program in Canada has more than 2,000 participating organizations — including new home builders — and over 65 product categories.
  • The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Scorecard noted that Canada significantly improved in its overall energy-efficiency ranking over the last two years, increasing our rating by over 30 percent. Similarly, the International Energy Agency ranked Canada second for its rate of energy-efficiency improvements between 1990 and 2010.

2015 Immigration Levels Plan

October 31, 2014 Comments off

On October 31st, 2014, our Government tabled the 2015 Immigration Levels Plan. As a part of the Levels Plan, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister announced improvements to the Caregiver program. The improvements to the Caregiver Program will allow for:

  • Faster processing.
  • Faster family reunification.
  • Better careers options for caregivers.
  • Better protection against abuse.

2015 Immigration Levels Plan

  • Canada’s annual levels plan ensures immigration programs are addressing economic and labour market needs.
  • The Government of Canada is planning to welcome between 260,000-285,000 new permanent residents in 2015 which represents an increase of approximately 19,000 admissions compared to 2014.
  • Increased levels allows the government to respond their long term strategy of supporting economic growth by addressing labour and skills shortages and helping to ensure labour force growth.
  • By increasing immigration levels, the government is ensuring it is prepared for the launch of Canada’s new application management system, Express Entry.
  • The 2015 levels plan reaffirms the government’s commitment of addressing backlogs and wait-times, while balancing the economic, humanitarian and family reunification goals of immigration.

http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=898829&_ga=1.244554572.879711697.1408736587

Improvements to the Caregiver Program

  • We value the contributions caregivers make to Canadian families and our economy.
  • Our government’s improvements provide faster, safer and better opportunities for caregivers across Canada.
  • Our government has listened to the concerns of caregivers across Canada and we are taking action to improve the Caregiver Program.
  • Improvements will ensure caregivers are no longer subjected to abusive work environments, are provided with more career options which will ensure a successful integration into Canadian society and are being reunited with their families more quickly.
  • With our changes, the Caregiver Program will be expanded to provide more pathways for permanent residency which will ensure caregivers have more career options and are positioned for success in the Canadian labour market.
  • Caregivers will no longer be required to live in the home of their employer which will prevent abuse and put an end to what some call modern-day slavery.
  • Aggressive action will be taken to reduce backlogs and improve processing times which will help families reunite more quickly.
  • Our government values the important contributions of caregivers and is committed to protecting the integrity of the Caregiver Program, improving processing times and reducing backlogs.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

October 31, 2014 Comments off

NAFTA – Fast Facts

History

  • The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), signed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush, came into effect on January 1, 1994.
  • The NAFTA was built on the success of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and provided a compliment to Canada’s efforts through the WTO agreements by making deeper commitments in some key areas.
  • With the signing of the NAFTA, the world’s largest free trade area was formed. The Agreement has brought economic growth and rising standards of living for people in all three countries.
  • The NAFTA, being the first comprehensive trade agreement of its type, has set a valuable example of the benefits of trade liberalization for the rest of the world.
  • In the event of a dispute, the NAFTA directs the governments concerned to seek to resolve their differences amicably through the NAFTA’s Committees and Working Groups or other consultations. If no mutually acceptable solution is found, the NAFTA provides for dispute settlement procedures. One of the principle elements of the NAFTA is the establishment of a clear set of rules for dealing with the settlement of disputes. The NAFTA was the first agreement to afford cross-border investors an impartial legal tribunal to address differences.
  • Under the NAFTA, tariffs on all covered goods traded between Canada and Mexico were eliminated in 2008. Tariffs on covered goods traded between Canada and the United States became duty free on January 1, 1989, in accordance with the CUSFTA which was carried forward under NAFTA.

Prosperity

  • Since 1994, NAFTA has generated economic growth and rising standards of living for the people of all three member countries. By strengthening the rules and procedures governing trade and investment throughout the continent, NAFTA has proven to be a solid foundation for building Canada’s future prosperity.
  • NAFTA has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on the Canadian economy. It has opened up new export opportunities, acted as a stimulus to build internationally competitive businesses, and helped attract significant foreign investment.
  • By any measure the NAFTA has been a success by serving as a basis to grow both trilateral and bilateral North American relationships and the results speak for themselves. Our integration helps maximize our capabilities and make our economies more innovative and competitive. In 1993, trilateral trade within the North American region was US$289 billion. In 2012, our total trilateral merchandise trade reached nearly US$1.1 trillion – an increase of nearly 3.7 times in US dollar terms.
  • Reflecting the prosperity and development of the region, the North American economy has more than doubled in size since 1994. The combined gross domestic product (GDP) for Canada, the U.S., and Mexico was US$19.2 trillion in 2012 up from nearly US$8.0 trillion in 1993.
  • Cooperation through the NAFTA has created a North America where Canadian, American and Mexican companies do more than make and sell things to each other, now, our companies increasingly make things together. For example, over half of Canadian manufacturing exports to the U.S. are intermediate exports.

Investment

  • The NAFTA’s provisions ensure greater certainty and stability for investment decisions by guaranteeing fair, transparent and non–discriminatory treatment of investors and their investments throughout the free trade area.
  • The NAFTA has contributed to enhancing Canada’s attractiveness to foreign investors while providing more opportunities for Canadians to invest in NAFTA partners’ economies. Investment is a key pillar of economic growth. In 2012, the stock of investment in Canada from U.S. was CA$326.5 billion, while Canada has invested CA$295 billion in our NAFTA partners.
  • Canada and the U.S. have one of the world’s largest investment relationships with a bilateral investment stock totaling almost CA$616.0 billion in 2012, according to Canadian statistics.
  • The stock of Canadian direct investment in Mexico has increased dramatically since NAFTA entered into force, reaching nearly $5.6 billion in 2012, up from only $530 million in 1993.

Tax Cuts and Increased Benefits for Canadian Families

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Today Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced new measures to help make life more affordable for Canadian families. 

  • Under the strong and dependable leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our Government is focused on helping hard-working Canadian families make ends meet, by making important priorities like child care and after-school sports more affordable.
  • Under this plan, every family with children will have more money in their pockets, to spend on their priorities as a family.
  • Our Government is fulfilling its promise to balance the federal budget. We are now in a position to fulfill our promise to help Canadian families balance theirs.
  • All families with children will benefit from the new measures introduced by our Government. The average tax relief and benefits for these families will be $1,140 in 2015.

 

The proposed new measures include:

  • The Family Tax Cut, a federal tax credit that will allow a higher-income spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket. The credit will provide tax relief – capped at $2,000 – for couples with children under the age of 18, effective for the 2014 tax year. Income splitting is helping seniors across the country, which is why the Government is now proposing similar relief for families.
  • Increasing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) for children under age six. As of January 1, 2015, parents will receive a benefit of $160 per month for each child under the age of six – up from $100 per month. In a year, parents will receive up to $1,920 per child.
  • Expanding the UCCB to children aged six through 17. As of January 1, 2015, under the expanded UCCB, parents will receive a benefit of $60 per month for children aged six through 17. In a year, parents will receive up to $720 per child.
  • Increasing the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits by $1,000, effective for the 2015 tax year. The maximum amounts that can be claimed will increase to $8,000 from $7,000 for children under age seven, to $5,000 from $4,000 for children aged seven through 16, and to $11,000 from $10,000 for children who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit.
  • Earlier this month, the Prime Minister announced our Government’s intention to double the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and make it refundable. The maximum amount of expenses that may be claimed under the credit will be doubled from its current limit to $1,000 for the 2014 tax year and subsequent tax years, and the credit will be made refundable effective for the 2015 and subsequent tax years.

Slain soldiers remembered in Streetsville

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Brad

Mississauga News

By Chris Clay

MISSISSAUGA — The Mississauga community came together this morning in Streetsville to remember two Canadian soldiers killed in separate incidents this week that were suspected terror attacks.

Dozens of people stood quietly at the Streetsville cenotaph as local MPs Brad Butt and Bob Dechert along with Senator Victor Oh and Ward 11 City Councillor George Carlson laid a wreath at its base.

A number of Canadian Armed Forces veterans and members of the Royal Canadian Legion also paid their respects at the war memorial and honoured Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was shot and killed on Wednesday by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau while guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa, and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent who was struck and killed in a hit-and-run attack in Quebec earlier this week.

This morning, Butt said his thoughts since the incidents have been with the families of the slain soldiers.

“This has been a tough week for Canada,” said Butt, his voice thick with emotion. “We’ve lost some of our innocence this week. It’s unbelievable to think something like this could happen in a country like Canada.”

Both Butt and Dechert were in Ottawa at Parliament Hill for a Conservative caucus meeting when Zehaf-Bibeau burst into the Centre Block building through the front entrance, shot a security officer in the leg and then was shot and killed.

“We’re here today to honour two very special Canadians who gave their lives simply because they were wearing the uniform of the (Canadian) Armed Forces,” said Dechert. “We stand here resolved to remember their heroism in the face of these cowardly attacks.”

The ceremony seemed particularly poignant on a day when the body of Cpl. Cirillo was travelling back to his hometown of Hamilton along the Highway of Heroes.

There has been an outpouring of support from Canadians across the country for the two slain soldiers. It’s no different in Mississauga where flags all across the city are flying at half-mast out of respect for the two men.

A book of condolences has been set up in the Great Hall at the Civic Centre for Mississauga residents who wish to share their sorrow and thoughts. It will remain there untilnext Friday.

Carlson, meanwhile, was saddened to think that renovations to the cenotaph hadn’t even been completed and there was already a need to use it.

Jack Porter, a Royal Canadian Legion zone commander, said it was touching to see all the residents who turned out to pay their respects on such a somber occasion.

“It’s such a very sad day but I’m so proud to see what’s happening here in Streetsville,” said Porter.

MP Brad Butt speaks at Mississauga Rotary Club on World Polio Day

October 24, 2014 Comments off

Remarks to a Joint Meeting of the Mississauga Rotary Clubs

World Polio Day

October 24, 2014

by

Brad Butt, M.P., Mississauga-Streetsville

 

IMG_2601

Check Against Delivery

 

Fellow Rotarians, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today on World Polio Day as both a Rotarian and on behalf of the Government of Canada and the Minister of International Development the Hon. Christian Paradis.

I want to start by thanking Rotary International, the Rotary Foundation of Canada and all of the individual chapters across Canada for keeping polio eradication as your number one international development priority and for your excellent partnerships with the Government of Canada, the Gates Foundation and other NGOs on this life saving measure.

World Polio Day established was established by Rotary International over a decade ago and is held on October 24th in celebration of the birth of Dr. Jonas Salk, the man who led the first team to develop a vaccine against polio.

The development of the polio vaccine reduced polio worldwide by 99% with only Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan as the remaining polio endemic countries today. And although progress continues to be made in these areas, we have heard the news that in some regions polio may be making a comeback after most of us believed the battle was won.

While tremendous progress has been made since 1988, pockets of wild poliovirus remain, leaving unvaccinated children at risk of lifelong, irreversible paralysis. In light of continued polio outbreaks and funding shortages, the 65th World Health Assembly declared the completion of polio eradication a global public health programmatic emergency in May 2012, resulting in a global intensification of polio vaccination activities.

Canada remains committed to eradicating polio around the world and supports finishing the job as fast as possible.

Vaccinations are a key element of Canada’s leadership on maternal, newborn and child health, and Canada, through Prime Minister’s Muskoka Initiative, works to ensure every child is reached.

Canada remains concerned about the recent polio outbreaks and will continue to monitor the situation, however we remain confident that they will be contained.

Canada works with UNICEF and the World Health Organization, as well as with the Aga Khan Foundation and of course Rotary on this file.

Working with our partners through this Canada is leading the way to the eradication of Polio.

And Canada has been a long-term supporter of polio eradication.  It first included polio on the G8 agenda during its Presidency of the 2002 G8 Summit in Kananaskis.

Canada has disbursed over $472 million since 2000 and ranks as the 8th largest donor for the 1985-2014 period. Canada’s support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has contributed to the immunization of millions of children around the globe.

At the Global Vaccine Summit, held in Abu Dhabi on April 24-25, 2013, Canada re-iterated its support for polio eradication initiatives and pledged $250 million over six years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative Endgame Strategy.

Canada is currently a co-chair of the Polio Partner Group, a group of global stakeholders overseeing polio eradication in an effort to improve the effectiveness of the global response to polio.

The Government of Canada recently made a contribution of $20 million over 3 years to the Pakistan Polio Plus Initiative. This is a joint initiative between the Government of Canada, Rotary and Gates Foundation to engage Canadians in the global effort to eradicate polio in this country.

This past January, I visited Lahore, Pakistan and met with the front line workers with UNICEF that are working with the communities and its leaders on administering the polio vaccine. While challenges and stigmas remain, they are making great progress and reaching more children than ever before.

In a recent edition of The Rotarian, I noted the Five Reasons to Eradicate Polio. It Saves Lives, It’s Achievable, It’s a Good Investment, It Strengthens the System and It Sets the Stage.

Experts say if we choose to control polio rather than eradicate it, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed by the disease in the next 40 years.

We have the tools to end the disease and the means to reach all children. The new bivalent vaccine successfully targets the two remaining strains of polio in one dose.

An independent study published in the medical journal Vaccine estimates that the $9 billion global investment in a polio-free world will net an economic benefit of $40 billion to $50 billion over the next 20 years.

Rotary reports that your polio eradication efforts have established an active disease surveillance network in all countries that is supporting other health interventions, including measles vaccinations and the distribution of deworming tablets and bed nets.

And Rotary should be congratulated for the ability to reach all children with the polio vaccine as this is proof that you can succeed on your next major global health initiative.

The Rotarian magazine also reported the following about Canada.

“Canadian Rotarians have held several letter-writing campaigns to persuade Members of Parliament to support polio eradication. For a campaign in August, Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair and past RI president Wilfrid J. Wilkinson and international Polioplus Committee Chair Robert S. Scott, both from Canada, took the lead by writing to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. A copy of that letter went to every Rotarian in the country, along with another asking them to contact their own Member of Parliament. Within three days, Wilkinson heard back from Rotarians who had spoken with the Prime Minister or written friends in government positions to encourage them to spread the message. “That personal touch is what’s needed,” Wilkinson says.

In September, the Canadian government announced a contribution to the polio eradication effort at a side meeting during the United Nations General Assembly. The Canadian International Development Agency and the Bill & Melinda gates Foundation will each give to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative $1 for every $1 raised by Canadian Rotarians up to $1 million. Upon completion, the initiative will generate a total of $3 million. “The fundraising by the Rotarians allows them to ask for support from the Canadian public at large,” Wilkinson said. “The fact that the Government of Canada and the Gates Foundation are behind Rotary’s polio eradication efforts is a big plus and helps our overall awareness efforts.”

As most of you know, Prime Minister Stephen Harper received the Rotary Foundation Polio Eradication Champion Award on October 18, 2014 for his longstanding support and continued leadership in efforts to eliminate polio around the world. The Prime Minister accepted the award at a ceremony hosted by the Canadian Rotary Foundation in Toronto.

The Polio Eradication Champion Award is the highest honour the Rotary Foundation presents to heads of state, health agency leaders and others who have made significant contributions to the global polio eradication effort. The Rotary Foundation is an international organization that helps fund humanitarian activities, from local service projects to global initiatives. It undertakes worldwide Rotary campaigns such as eradicating polio and promoting peace. Rotarians and friends of Rotary support the Foundation’s work through voluntary contributions.

On behalf of Prime Minister Harper and the Government of Canada, I would like to thank Rotary for honouring him with this very prestigious award.

There is no question in my mind that the world – and Canada – would not be so heavily focussed on polio eradication if it were not for Rotary being its champion.

So on this World Polio Day let us be thankful for the tremendous work that has been done, the fact that we are this close to eradication, that we have great partners at home and around the world and that we are making a lifelong difference in the lives of millions of children around the world.

Makes you proud to be a Rotarian and proud to be Canadian.

May God continue to bless the great work of Rotary around the world and may God continue to bless Canada.