Celebrating Purim with family at the Temple Beth Am children’s carnival
Dear friends and neighbours,
I trust you are well and taking advantage of the recent opening up of opportunities as the Omicron 4th wave receded. I‘m grateful for the work of public health officials in Canada with our resulting relatively low COVID mortality rate. And our government’s support for people and hard-hit businesses through this pandemic has softened the blow of COVID-19 financially, with the economy coming back strongly, continuing to grow, and creating jobs.
Many of us have been seized with the horrific events unfolding in Ukraine with Russia’s deadly and illegal invasion. This past Tuesday, I interrupted my Ministerial visit to the Maritimes to return to the House of Commons in solidarity with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose powerful address to our assembly expressed gratitude to Canada for all we have done to defend Ukraine.
Our government recently announced a series of measures for quickly welcoming Ukrainians into Canada to join family members, or to live and work up to three years as temporary residents until it is safe to return home. My office has had inquiries from people eager to help those fleeing Ukraine. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is currently coordinating these efforts and offers of help. The Congress can be reached here, or by email at [email protected].
Another significant event since I last wrote you was the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. This followed three weeks of dangerous and illegal blockades disrupting the lives of Canadians, harming the economy, and endangering public safety in our nation’s capital. Invoking the Emergencies Act was not a decision taken lightly; local and provincial authorities clearly needed more tools to restore order and keep people safe. The Act’s added time-limited and Charter-compliant powers, including financial measures targeting convoy funding, were essential to law enforcement's success in ending these blockades across the country. All actions taken under this Act must be fully reviewed by a joint Parliamentary committee, and through a separate inquiry – which will begin shortly.
Canada’s last Ocean Strategy is now twenty years old! Although we have made huge strides since then – in ocean health, protection, innovation – we coastal British Columbians know all too well the oceans face continuing challenges. Last week I released a What We Heard Report: Engaging on Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy. This report gathered input from dozens of roundtable discussions involving thousands of participants from every coast, to inform the development of Canada’s Blue Economic Strategy. We need to redouble efforts to address challenges, even as we diversify and grow the ocean-based economy, while increasing ocean protected areas to 30% by 2030.
A healthy ocean is home to more abundant fish and marine life, and has more to give. A healthy ocean can absorb more greenhouse gas emissions. A healthy ocean is one that industry, workers and communities can rely on, and visitors can enjoy. I invite you to read the What We Heard Report if you’re interested in the project of reimagining Canada’s abundant blue future.
Canadian Paralympians inspire
Canada’s Paralympians returned home last week after a very strong performance in Beijing coming third in the overall standings with 25 medals! The pandemic posed many challenges to our athletes – just getting there was a feat for many – but they rose to the challenge. The games also became a rallying cry for peace with the arrival and participation of athletes from Ukraine who finished second behind China in overall medal count – congratulations to all medalists and participants!
In case you missed it
- On March 11th, Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez launched Support for Booksellers a new funding initiative to help increase online sales for Canadian authored books and get them into the hands of readers. Online Canadian book sales benefit the entire book industry, from authors to publishers to booksellers. Booksellers have until April 25th to apply.
- Applications are now being accepted for the Prime Minister’s Youth Council a unique platform for youth between 16 and 24. Council members influence policy by expressing themselves in their own voice and meeting with the Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and government officials on issues that matter to them and all Canadians. The deadline to apply is April 10th.
- Agreements have now been reached with 9 provinces and all three territories to provide $10-a-day licensed child care by 2026. Already, more than half of Canada’s provinces and territories have announced fee reductions, working towards cutting fees in half on average by the end of 2022!
- This month the Prime Minister launched The Canada Digital Adoption Program - a $4 Billion program to help small and medium-sized businesses grow, thrive and create jobs by helping digitize their operations.
- Last week, Minister of Housing Hussen announced funding for affordable housing projects in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Windsor, and London totaling 423 units. The previous week, he announced funding for a 164 unit project in Coquitlam.
- Happy Spring everyone! There are many celebrations and special days this month. Purim, St. Patrick’s Day, Nawruz, and Holi have recently passed. Today we mark the International Day of Forests and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Tomorrow is World Water Day, and Friday is both Greek Independence Day and the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
I do worry that February’s blockades and some Canadians’ responses to them, while ostensibly about unhappiness with COVID-19 vaccination mandates, revealed a growing and worrisome divide in Canada. We must work together to defend and strengthen our democracy and preserve national unity, centred around shared values and principles. As Andrew Parsons, International Paralympic Committee president, noted about the recent Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games: "Differences here did not divide us...Through this unity we have hope. Hopes for inclusion, hopes for harmony, and importantly hopes for peace. Humankind hopes to live in a world where dialogue prevails.'' Hear hear!
The Hon. Joyce Murray, P.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra