In 2016, I had the opportunity to speak in the House of Commons about Canadians who were concerned with our country’s arms sales to countries with a record of human rights abuses. I called on the federal government to form a multi-party standing committee with the ability to summon witnesses to review Canada’s export rules and arms treaties “with laser-like focus.” Read my speech in its entirety.
Over the past four years in the House of Commons, I have been honoured to support my colleague MP Hélène Laverdière and her tireless work in the House of Commons as NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs.
Throughout my first term, I have written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on behalf of my constituents regarding issues such as: working with the French government to locate the remains of fallen Canadian soldiers on Vimy Ridge; the detention of Palestinian children; and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
In 2017, I felt an ardent need to speak out against US President Trump’s Muslim ban, saying: “Now, more than ever, we need to stand united against the hatred, racism, and xenophobia that has become so prevalent. As your Member of Parliament, there is no compromise for me on this issue – I completely and utterly denounce the actions of President Trump.” Read my full statement.
When I was the NDP’s Justice Critic, I also spoke about the problems with the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement. Read what I said.
In 2018, I wrote a column in the Lake Cowichan Gazette outlining my concerns regarding the new Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. My principal concerns with the deal are the labour standards and human rights track records with some member countries. There are compelling testimonials about forced labour camps in Vietnam, and in the case of Brunei, there are laws that punish homosexuality with death by stoning. Read my full article.
In February, I was pleased to introduce Private Member’s Bill C-431 in the House of Commons, which will amend the investment policies, standards and procedures of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) to ensure that they are in line with ethical practices and labour, human, and environmental rights’ considerations.
Many of our pension funds have been invested in companies with questionable track records, including weapons manufacturers, private prisons in detaining refugee migrants in the US, the oil and gas sector which is contributing to climate change, and some with serious human and labour rights transgressions.
Successfully passing this bill will ensure that the CPPIB is bound by statutory rules not to invest in any company or entity that runs contrary to values that Canadians hold dear.
In October, I look forward to renewing my commitment to using all diplomatic and political means to protect human rights and help those facing persecution, including refugees, women, minorities, and victims of acts of genocide.