Back to Ottawa!
After a busy week in Hamilton after Thanksgiving, MPs were back in Ottawa this week to perform their regular Parliamentary duties.
Among much else, MPs began their first day back by holding an emergency session on climate change in the wake of the release of a UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showing the real and profound risk we face if we don’t take action. Both my government and myself understand this risk and we are working hard to make sure that Canada reaches its emissions targets. As we lower our greenhouse gas emissions, we are also creating thousands of good-paying jobs for Canadians through investments in green infrastructure and technology, public transportation, and innovation projects.
Canada’s unemployment rate continues to fall. In September alone, 63,000 new jobs were created, bringing the unemployment rate down to 5.9%. In Hamilton, our employment rate sits at one of the lowest rates in the entire country at 5.2%. With this being said, we still have a lot of work to do. We need to make sure our seniors who no longer work are able to retire in dignity and to ensure that pensioners are being treated fairly. While there are no easy solutions to these challenges, I will keep using my role as a member of Canada’s governing party to keep our government aware of the issues that Hamiltonians face.
Supporting seniors is a priority for our government. While I know that there is still more to be done, we have seen real, concrete improvement in the lives of seniors since our government took office just a few years ago.
Since taking office, our government has enhanced the Canada Pension Plan, lowered the age of eligibility for Old Age Security benefits from 67 to 65, and boosted the Guaranteed Income Supplement by nearly $1,000 a year for vulnerable seniors. We improved EI caregiver benefits to make it easier for Canadians to take a leave from work in order to care for a family member in need. We have also committed $6 billion in funding to provinces for better home care, including palliative care, and taken steps to create safer, more accessible, and affordable housing, so more Canadians, including seniors, have a comfortable place to call home.
In Hamilton East – Stoney Creek, 2,780 seniors benefited from the Guaranteed Income Supplement top-up last year alone!
It is so important that our government provide seniors with the support that they need. In less than 20 years, Canada’s seniors will represent almost a quarter of our population. The new Minister of Seniors, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, who is also from Hamilton, is leading our government’s efforts to better understand the needs of Canadian seniors and make sure they get the support they need.
This Monday marked World Students Day. It was not only a chance for us to be thankful for the education system and opportunities that we are lucky to have in Canada, but also to remember what our government can do to support both our youth and adults get the skills and training they need.
We’ve created thousands of new work and co-op opportunities for students, including double the number of jobs created through Canada Summer Jobs from 35,000 under the Harper Conservatives to now almost 70,000. We’ve also expanded the Canada Student Grants program to make returning to school more affordable for Canadians, as well as reformed the EI system so that people who find themselves out of work can go back to school without losing their benefits.
Hearing from Our Veterans!
Along with the Status of Women Committee, the Veterans Affairs Committee is one of the two House of Commons standing committees that I have been appointed to sit on. Earlier this week, members of the House of Common’s standing committee on Veterans Affairs had a chance to hear from National Defence Ombudsman Gary Walbourne. Members of the committee from all parties joined together to give Ombudsman Walbourne a standing ovation to thank him for his many years of service advocating for veterans, their families, and Canadian Armed Forces members.
On Sunday I will be joining the committee as we travel to Yellowknife where we will be meeting with the Canadian Rangers and continuing our study on the needs and issues specific to Indigenous veterans.
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about what I’ve been up to. If you ever have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-662-4763.
Have a great weekend and make sure to vote on Monday to choose your local representatives (Trustee, City Councillor, and Mayor). Having served in municipal politics as mayor and councilor, I know how important strong local government is. Now, as Member of Parliament, I look forward to working with the all of representatives that Hamiltonians elect!