NORTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC – Parliament is now on its summer break before it goes back in the fall.
Rachel Blaney represented the North Island-Powell River riding for the last four years, and she says they have been productive years.
Blaney is the vice-chair of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Committee, and she says she’s happy Bill C-92 passed and became law.
“It’s about Indigenous children in care. We know that Indigenous children in care are not given resource the same way that non-Indigenous children are being funded in care. This really was a bill that spoke to making sure that Indigenous communities had power over their children going into care, as opposed to not having that same power,” Blaney said.
She did say there were other things that didn’t go through like Bill C-262, which is designed to make sure Canada’s laws are in keeping with the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“That bill did go through the House of Commons, but it got stuck in the Senate and when the Senate rose, that bill died along with another bill I was supportive of, which is a National Food Day.”
“The elected officials in the House of Commons supported them and then they died in Senate. And I think that really lets us know as Canadians that we need to review how the Senate(?) works in Canada. It doesn’t seem right that the elected people that Canadians send to do work, they pass bills and then they get stuck in the Senate and they never see fruition.”
She says she feels she’s been able to represent the riding well.
“The federal NDP MPs that serve coastal communities, we all got together and we advocated really hard to allow BC Ferries to finally be able to apply for funding federally. I’m proud to say we’ve had over $60 million come into the riding for BC Ferries. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the cost went down, but it does mean that we were able to get the federal funding in and not have the costs go up for local people in our communities.”
“We’ve had $13 million come into the riding for housing. We still have a huge challenge with housing in our riding and that’s going to take a long time, but I’m really glad to see some significant amounts of money coming in to provide support for housing.”
She also introduced a private member’s bill, which would give seniors unable to file taxes on time a year’s grace period. This way, those who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement won’t lose it, which Blaney says has been difficult for many seniors.
She says the bill wasn’t passed in time, but she will be bringing it up again once Parliament comes back in the fall.
“We are going to continue to talk to the Minister (of Seniors) because we want to see this happen. It just doesn’t make sense that seniors – the most vulnerable seniors in Canada – lose their Guaranteed Income Supplement for up to four months.”
In all, Blaney says she’s proud of the work she was able to do.
“I want to acknowledge all the municipalities, regional districts, local organizations and businesses that have really helped me do my work. I think we’ve really embraced that collaborative approach.”