Canadians want action on climate change they are frustrated by the inability of Canada to develop a credible path forward. For years, governments that have mouthed platitudes about reducing greenhouse gas emissions while making no credible efforts to meet our international obligations.
Canada has the second-highest drug costs in the world after the United States, and drugs represent the fastest growing category of health expenditure. The Trudeau government's trade deal with Europe will only add to the problem. Pharmacare is a health issue, a class issue and an issue of fairness.
One thing I have learned from my cross-Canada tour is that once you get outside of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Ottawa, it ain't sunny ways. More and more Canadians are feeling that the system is rigged against them. And one of the most disturbing economic indicators is the rising number of working poor.
In an age when other national governments are beginning to wrestle with the growing inequities in our global economies, Justin Trudeau has emerged as the ultimate trickle-down cheerleader. He believes that if you look after those at the top of the economic food chain everyone will somehow make do.
While Liberals continue with their failed Bobby McFerrin "Don't worry be happy" economic mantra, the data paints a different picture. In 2009 the number of Canadians who considered themselves working class or poor was 29 per cent. That number has since jumped to a stunning 44 per cent.
Justin Trudeau is perpetuating a myth about the middle class. In reality, it has devolved into a new working class that is both white collar and blue collar - a world defined by massive levels of student debt, sky-high housing prices and the perpetual cycle of short-term contract work without benefits.
The idea that the prime minister can get away with tiptoeing around Trump's attack on international law and human rights isn't going to cut it. As much as Canada has economic interests, we have moral interests. And this isn't simply a question of values. This is also a matter of standing up for Canada's vital interests.
On October 21, 1974, 13-year-old Charlie Hunter and his friends headed out to go skating on the lake beside St. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany, Ontario. As they chased each other on the ice of the lake, a partially blind student Joseph Koostachin fell through into the cold water. Charlie came to his aid and pulled Joseph to safety. But in doing so, Charlie slipped under the ice.
John Kioke told the boys in the dorm that he was going home. Like the other children, he had been taken from his parents the previous fall. Staying with his family hadn't been an option. If he hadn't been compliant the police would have been sent to forcibly take him away to St. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany. But John Kioke was traumatized by life at the residential school. He wanted to see his mother. He was going to run away to see his parents in Attawapiskat. But their village was 100 kilometres north where the Attawapiskat River flowed into James Bay. He was only 14 years old.
The state of emergency was declared on Oct. 28, 2011, by Attawapiskat's new chief, Theresa Spence. I had known her through her work on council. She didn't strike me as a firebrand or overly political. She was worried that, as the arctic winter descended on the community, people in these makeshift quarters could die. Days turned into weeks, and the temperature kept dropping. Officials from the regional office of Aboriginal Affairs spoke with the community about advancing some money to repair some of the condemned houses, but there was no offer to help get the families out of the tents and shacks.
You don't ignore a mandate from the Supreme Court. But that seems to be the initial response from the Conservative government to the recent Carter decision on assisted suicide. The Supreme Court has given the government one year to draft legislation and yet after a short one-day debate in the House on the issue the Conservative response has been surprisingly laissez-faire. They have done nothing in response other than to have some back benchers complain that the court is being unreasonable and that the government needs more time.
Last week's Supreme Court decision has put the issue of assisted suicide square onto the government agenda. However, it would be a real loss for Canadians if Parliament does not look at the much broader issue of how we care for Canadians suffering from incurable illnesses. Over the last year I have had the fortune to meet with front line providers of palliative care across Canada. The question that needs to be asked is how can the Federal government respond to the spirit of the Supreme Court ruling unless it also deals with this patchwork of end of life services in this country?
Buried in a department performance report, we learned the shocking news of the failures of literacy and numeracy in First Nation schools. In the Ontario region, students who participated in provincial standardized testing in 2013-2014 ended up with an average literacy score of 21 per cent for boys and 32 per cent for girls. What are the results of educating children in a system that has been systematically underfunded for decades? Unless we are willing to break this cycle of underfunding and negligence, the question will need to be asked -- who will stand up to apologize to this generation of children who are being deliberately left behind?
We have all lost a family member or loved one. How those loved ones were treated in their final days -- whether through a holistic palliative service or while waiting for a bed in an emergency unit -- profoundly impacts how we approach this issue. This past spring the Parliament of Canada supported the New Democrat Motion 456 on establishing a pan-Canadian palliative care strategy. Across this country, palliative care is being delivered in a patchwork manner. Some regions have wonderful palliative services while other regions make do with volunteerism and fragmented service options.
Imagine what would happen if the Crown suppressed thousands of pages of police evidence from an important trial? It wouldn't take a legal expert to tell you there would be an immediate mistrial -- especially if the Crown also prepared a false evidence sheet that mislead the judges. And yet, this was done to the survivors of St. Anne's Residential School.
Twenty-four-year-old pilot Wilfred DeMarco was badly wounded and ordered his crew to bail out. He tried to keep the plane steady while they escaped. Jack Cole, Art Shannon and Jack Speers managed to bail to safety. Soon after, DeMarco's plane exploded into the mountain.
I came to the Qu'Appelle Valley for the filming of the video "Four Horses." It is a musical video project intended to shed light on this dark history. I thought I knew Canadian history. However, as I stood with guitar in hand on the grasslands I saw my country in a way I had never imagined. Not so long ago on these picturesque fields, Aboriginal children were suffering. This comes at a time when the Harper government are wrapping their political agenda in a revisionist history of redcoats, muskets and old white dudes decked out in muttonchops. Lost in this "Heritage Moment" notion of history are the voices of the Canadians who suffered so grievously when the treaties were broken.
If you want to know why the Conservative government has lost so much goodwill on the residential school apology, look no further than the treatment of the survivors of St. Anne's Residential School. In the dark annals of the residential schools, St. Anne's stands out as a particularly brutal symbol of torture, shame and abuse. Unfortunately, the Federal government is re-victimizing the survivors by deliberately monkey-wrenching a process that was supposed to finally bring closure.
This week's Deloitte audit on Senator Pamela Wallin has raised numerous questions about a troubling lack of accountability in the Senate. I am asking you, as the new Minister for Democratic Reform, to undertake a review of both residency requirements as well as the process through which potential Senators are vetted, in order to prevent problems like these from happening in the future. When the Senate and government of the day is unwilling to even address whether Senate appointees are eligible to sit, it serves to further erode any remaining confidence in the institution.
DeThank you for your letter of July 17 in which you respond to the failure of the Federal Government to fulfill its legal obligations to the survivors of St. Anne's Residential School. Of particular concern was government's breach of the Independent Assessment Process by failing to inform the claimants and adjudicators of the large body of police evidence and court transcripts that confirmed widespread criminal abuse at St. Anne's.