The Speech from the Throne delivered this past week by the Governor General outlines many significant wins for Canadians. Many of the commitments and directions conveyed in the Speech were the result of consultation and advocacy work by myself and my fellow Liberal caucus members. I really do see it reflecting and responding to the needs of Canadians, while signalling major progressive changes on the near horizon as we eventually emerge from this worldwide pandemic.
There is a sense in which I and others were hoping for even more bold measures for the future to be outlined in that Speech but the context shifted dramatically leading up to the Throne Speech. Whereas two weeks earlier COVID-19 had been relatively successfully held at bay and case numbers were dwindling, numbers began to shoot up sharply as the season changed and students began to return to school. It was clear that getting Canadians safely through this pandemic needed to be a continued priority.
Below, I outline some of substantive features of the recent Speech from the Throne that demonstrate again our Government is listening and responding to the needs of Canadians. These are all directions that I personally fought for and strongly advocated for as a member of the governing Liberal Party caucus. I always say it’s good to be ambitious and many of my constituents’ ambitions are reflected in this inspiring Speech from the Throne. I know that my constituents here in Whitby are ready for our government to lead us through an era of crisis, to overcome this pandemic and to take on transformative changes that will help Canada become stronger and more resilient. This challenging time will be defined in how we define it, it’s up to all of us! We can emerge from this stronger and more capable of taking on the biggest challenges of our time.
A National Standard for Long-term Care
Probably one of the biggest “wins” in the Speech from the Throne is the strong commitment our Government has made to developing a National Standard of Care for Long-term Care. One of my first official acts as the Member of Parliament for Whitby on the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) Standing Committee was to make a motion to study how we could improve Long-term Care. This includes building more facilities and having more highly qualified health care workers to ensure a higher standard of care. This motion seems like eons ago and was well before the current COVID-19 pandemic, which adds additional urgency. The Motion I put forward got Unanimous Consent, something I’ve learned is extremely challenging to achieve in Parliament.
Just prior to the pandemic, I hosted a consultation in my riding with Seniors whose perspectives I listened to and whose input my team and I summarized and wrote up into a briefing, which I subsequently presented to the Minister of Seniors, the Honourable Deb Schulte. One of the highest-level priorities was improving care for seniors, developing more affordable housing options and developing a strategy for developing the human resources necessary for ensuring that Senior Care of all types would have enough skilled workers to meet the demand.
In addition, I put forward a policy resolution on a National Standard for Long-term Care for the Liberal Caucus’ policy development process and worked with my fellow MPs to combine our similar resolutions into one stronger policy resolution, which could garner more support, and it was successful in being one of the highest priorities in that process.
I also wrote a letter to Minister Schulte and put out a public statement calling for our Government to prioritize a National Standard for Long-term Care as we move forward, given the many inadequacies in our current system that have been laid bare during this pandemic.
Lastly, in the lead up to the Throne Speech, I participated in consultations with the Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity to voice the need for the National Standard for Long-term Care to be a prominent feature in the Throne Speech.
Hearing the words spoken by the Governor General on this topic, echoing what I and others had advocated strongly for, was truly fulfilling, and now of course there is much work to be done to fulfill this commitment.
Climate action will be a cornerstone of our plan to support and create a million jobs across the country.
This is where the world is going. Global consumers and investors are demanding and rewarding climate action.
Canadians have the determination and ingenuity to rise to this challenge and global market opportunity.
We can create good jobs today and a globally competitive economy not just next year, but in 2030, 2040, and beyond.
Canadians also know climate change threatens our health, way of life, and planet. They want climate action now, and that is what the Government will continue to deliver.
The Government will immediately bring forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal. The Government will also legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
As part of its plan, the Government will:
- Create thousands of jobs retrofitting homes and buildings, cutting energy costs for Canadian families and businesses;
- Invest in reducing the impact of climate-related disasters, like floods and wildfires, to make communities safer and more resilient;
- Help deliver more transit and active transit options;
- And make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable while investing in more charging stations across the country.
Please let me know your thoughts on this measure from the Throne Speech. I take your feedback very seriously.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2020
Statement by Ryan Turnbull, MP for Whitby on Rent Assistance and Commercial Eviction Ban
WHITBY – Ryan Turnbull, joined by local business owners and community leaders, Member of Parliament for Whitby, made the following statement today:
“Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today.
“We gather today on the traditional territory of the Missisaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, which is covered by the Williams Treaties.
“The provincial government has put in place a commercial eviction ban to protect small businesses in the COVID-19 pandemic in the Protecting Small Business Act. I have heard from many small business owners in Whitby whose livelihoods are threatened by illegal evictions and many more who are worried about what happens when the commercial eviction ban is lifted at the end of this month.
This is not about party politics, but instead about working across party lines and orders of government to find solutions for the residents and business here in Whitby. Small business owners, their employees, their suppliers, and their families are all counting on us to help them during this pandemic.
“The federal and provincial governments worked together successfully to develop the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and I am calling on them to continue to work together, as I know they have been, to offer further rent support. I am also asking for the provincial government to extend the ban on commercial evictions until December 31st.
“The CECRA, or Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, is working. I have heard from businesses in Whitby who have benefited from this vital help. Landlords should be participating in this program, and it is in the interests of small business owners and landlords to keep businesses in our community thriving. I have personally called landlords multiple times to ensure that their voices and any concerns they have about the design of this program are heard.
“I have also written a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to advocate for this, and I’ve also, just yesterday, written a letter to Ontario’s Minister of Finance Rod Phillips which you can find on my website at TurnbullWhitby.ca.
“Small businesses, we all know, are at the heart of our economy. They are innovators, they’re job creators. More than ever, these small businesses will be vital to our building back better and ensuring that our economy bounces back successfully.
“I have launched a broad consultation on how we, in Whitby, can cultivate the most innovative ideas for building back a stronger, more resilient, more sustainable economy and I have committed to delivering those best ideas to the Prime Minister myself. I hope you’ll help me and lend your voices to the many chorus of voices in Whitby and across the country in looking forward to our economy recovery plan.
“Thank you very much.”
Local business owner, Benito Suppa of Durham Escape Rooms, added:
“COVID-19 has impacted everyone from business owners and families, to employees and landlords. The struggle for us is not being able to operate our business fully. Consumers and our guests have not been able to do things and there is still some consumer confidence lacking. We need to do things to ensure that business owners can continue operating as we navigate through COVID-19.”
Whitby Councillor Jo-Anne Drum added:
“Our small businesses are the heart of our community. I firmly believe the downtowns are the barometer of the community. Now is the time to all of us to band together to give a hand up to our small businesses and remove barriers. We need to make it a better journey for them in order succeed.”
For more information, please contact
Bryan Crockett, Office of Ryan Turnbull