I am always looking for every opportunity to bring the voice of Kelowna-Lake Country to Ottawa, and one way to do this is by seconding of a Private Members Bill.
In this report, I want to highlight some of the legislation I've seconded in the House of Commons that can impact many in our community. And, as a reminder, I also tabled my own Private Members Bill, C-283 the “End the Revolving Door Act”, which aims to get mental health assessments and mental health and addiction recovery in federal penitentiaries.
A Saskatchewan Conservative MP’s bill, C-318, is a proposed law that seeks to provide equity to families of adoptive and intended (surrogate) parents.
While any new parent today will receive parental benefits, adoptive and intended parents do not receive maternity benefits and, therefore, fewer weeks of benefits. We rightfully recognize that time for attachment with a child is vital, and is needed for all parents. Forming a loving bond can come with extra challenges, especially when it has been estimated that most children adopted in Canada are over the age of 10 at the time of placement or, if the child has a disability or developmental challenges, who need extra care and attention.
If passed, C-318 will be inclusive to all parents and provide adoptive and intended parents the same benefits, in terms of both dollars and weeks, that non-adoptive parents receive through parental and maternity benefits.
I spoke about this legislation in the House of Commons and said how this bill is close to my heart, as I was adopted at birth.
A Nova Scotia Conservative MP’s bill, C-323, is proposed legislation seeking to exempt psychotherapy and mental health counseling services from GST. Under current law, counseling therapists and psychotherapists are the only regulated mental health service providers who must remit tax on their work.
It's no secret too many Canadians have their mental health needs unmet. According to Health Canada statistics, nearly one-quarter of Canadians over the age of 15 self-report having unmet mental health needs.
An Angus Reid poll showed 54% of Canadians said their mental health worsened over the past couple of years, so there are more people than ever who may be reaching out.
Government should not leave unfair and inequitable financial burdens upon those seeking help or those offering their services to help. This bill is one tool that could help.
Lastly, a B.C. Conservative MP’s bill, C-313—brought forth by a former Crown prosecutor—is a proposed law that seeks to reform our bail system by raising the floor on which an individual will be eligible for bail after committing a crime with a firearm when they were already prohibited from possessing one.
In the last eight years, we've seen a shocking rise in violent crime, with a doubling of gang-related homicides since 2019. In Toronto, just last year more than half the people charged with gun murders were out on bail at the time of the crime they were charged for.
Putting the burden on repeat violent offenders to justify why they should continue to walk the streets is a common sense thing to do. I know from the many responses to my recent bail reform questionnaire that this is an issue people in our community are passionately concerned with.
Improving the public safety of our communities is a basic responsibility of government and this bill could help better achieve that.
These are just a few pieces of legislation I'm working on with my colleagues from across the country on behalf of our community, and I always welcome your feedback.
If you need assistance with programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out, at 250-470-5075 or at [email protected].
Tracy Gray is the Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.