• Post published:August 1, 2020
  • Reading time:7 mins read
  • Post category:At Home / In Ottawa

Jenica Atwin has been busy at work, listening to constituents and carrying their concerns to Ottawa. Here is a summary of what she has said on the floor at the House of Commons since the beginning of the pandemic. 

  • Response to COVID-19

We need to implement flexible systems that enable federal employees to work more closely with people in these uncertain times. (July 22nd, 2020)

My mind is constantly on those I know are still slipping through the cracks of our COVID relief initiatives: the not-for-profits, charities and church groups, which for one reason or another find themselves ineligible for the wage subsidy program despite the critical services they provide in our communities; the cleaners and cashiers who have been left out of the essential workers’ wage top-up in New Brunswick; the dentists who are concerned about their practices moving forward and are finding barriers to pursuing PPE; the international students who still do not qualify for the student benefits and who have nowhere to go and no support; the pregnant women who still do not have adequate answers about their parental leave benefits in the weeks to come, and so many others. (May 26th, 2020) 

  • Vulnerable Canadians 

It is the responsibility of those with power to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are receiving the support they need. Many Canadians were already struggling to make ends meet, particularly because they could not access employment before COVID. For those relying on provincial social assistance programs, CPP or the disability benefit, their regular activities have been terribly interrupted by COVID. (July 21, 2020)

  • Climate crisis adaptation

The pandemic is forcing us to rethink the world we live in, from food security to our workspaces to the impacts of systemic racism. As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis, we must not forget that the climate crisis is also a health crisis, an economic crisis and a social crisis. They are intricately connected, and a response requires that we build resilient communities that will be ready to adapt. (July 21, 2020) 

  • Systemic racism

The cruel impact of systemic racism is not only felt through law enforcement; research, data and lived experiences have made it unequivocal. Racial discrimination immensely impacts the health of racialized and indigenous peoples. In some cases, it’s an issue of life or death. (June 18, 2020) 

  • Transphobia

Moreover, the intersection of gender and racism amplifies the consequences—for instance, the documented practice of forced sterilization of indigenous women; undiagnosed endometriosis, where symptoms were dismissed or ignored for years far more often for women of colour; and the persistence of transphobia in how the hospitals are caring for our 2SLGBTQ+ community. (June 18, 2020) 

  • People living with a disability

There are approximately six million people living with a disability in Canada. Before the pandemic, they were already struggling with inclusion, accessibility and poverty, and those issues have only been exacerbated. (June 18, 2020)

This government prides itself on growing the middle class, but we must not forget that the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. (June 16, 2020)

  • Indigenous rights

If we want a culture to not only survive but thrive, it must be an integral part of our environment. Indigenous names of spaces are a powerful way to inscribe the landscape with meaning and show reverence. (June 8, 2020) 

  • Firearms regulation

On May 1, while introducing new firearms regulations, the Minister of Public Safety said, “And if now is not the time, when is?” If now is not the time to put an end to racial profiling, when is? If now is not the time to rethink how the police intervene during a wellness check, when is? If now is not the time to end the patterns of dehumanization and violence that keep repeating themselves, when is? (June 8, 2020)

  • National Indigenous Day

We need each other now more than ever. May we come together in song and stories and in solidarity. We will remember those who are not among us. (June 8, 2020)

  • Police service

Across the country, we see that police service is, in the vast majority of cases, the biggest single line item of an operating budget. Police are responding to tens of thousands of mental health calls each year. Studies show that the percentage of police work police that involves social issues is ever-growing, while coincidentally, we are seeing the defunding of multiple critical social services. Something is wrong here, and it is costing people their lives. (June 8, 2020) 

  • Daycare center

There have been increased costs associated with daycares reopening. We need consider its affordability for Canadians across this country. If we want our economy to get back to work, we need daycares to be there for people and to be affordable. (May 26, 2020)

  • Tourism

Tourism is indeed a vital part of the Canadian economy. Before the pandemic, it represented more than $20 billion in revenue, millions of jobs and 3% of the GDP. However, now this sector and the people who make hospitality their career need our support more than ever. (May 26, 2020)

  • Older women

Older women represent a high proportion of residents in long-term care facilities. Having spent their lives caring for parents, children and often their partners, they find themselves needing care in nursing homes. Multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care homes in Canada have highlighted systemic gaps that senior and elderly women may face in such facilities, as well as the working conditions of the female-dominated ranks of nurses and personal support workers. (May 7, 2020)

  • Temporary foreign workers

We’re all very aware of the importance of temporary foreign workers and their role in ensuring our food sovereignty across this country. The pandemic has highlighted how we depend on their work. How are we protecting them? (May 7, 2020)

  • Mental health

We know that our essential workers right now are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety, on top of putting their own physical safety and health on the line. Most of these workers work in precarious jobs with no access to paid sick leave or vacation, and without any benefits to access mental health services.  (May 7, 2020) 

We are finding really creative examples to deal with this crisis. Let us keep it up. I urge us all to call neighbours, check in, do FaceTime with grandparents. We all have a responsibility here. Let us stay connected. Isolation can be a really difficult thing for each of us to face. (March 25, 2020)

  • Energy transition

We see that the cost of a barrel of oil is at less than a dollar. We’ve talked about this transition to move from fossil fuels potentially to renewable energy or what’s next for Canada. Well, it’s time for that plan. (April 28, 2020) 

  • Tax evasion

Canadian corporations avoided paying a reported $11.4 billion in tax in 2019 by using tax havens. The COVID pandemic brings to light the issues that were left in the shadows, things like the chronic underfunding of long-term care homes that led to terrible conditions for their residents and workers, and the lack of services for victims of domestic violence as another example. These are things that we need to fund with the public purse that our taxpayers contribute to. (April 28, 2020)