Bains Tables Motion on Mental Health in Canada
December 8, 2010
OTTAWA – Today Liberal Member of Parliament, the Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains, tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling on Parliament to create a Special Committee on Mental Health.
"Mental health disorders have an impact on nearly every Canadian," said Mr. Bains. "With one in five Canadians suffering from some form of mental illness in their life times the effects on Canadian society are significant."
Mr. Bains motion calls on Parliament to create an all party committee to look into how mental health is currently being addressed in Canada. The committee will then provide recommendations to Parliament on possible legislative and regulatory changes needed to improve Canada’s mental health system.
"The economic costs are staggering, with an estimated $51 billion in lost productivity in 2010," said Mr. Bains. "But even more important than the economic impact is the impact on Canadian families."
Today’s motion builds on the consultation that Mr. Bains had with both mental health professionals and front line workers. This past summer Mr. Bains hosted a Youth Mental Health Roundtable to see how the government could help in improving services.
"The effects of mental health disorders are especially felt by young people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians 15 to 24, yet only 1 in 5 children who need mental health services actually receive them," said Mr. Bains. "Getting these people the help they need will literally save lives".
It is estimated that for every dollar spent on mental health when the patient is young, $7 is saved in terms of future treatment costs.
Bains Calls Immigration Delays ‘Totally Unacceptable’
December 01, 2010
A the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee Liberal MP Navdeep Bains demanded answers for the unacceptably long wait times in both immigration and citizenship application processing times.
"The Conservative Government's processing delays are totally unacceptable," said Mr. Bains. "Canadians expect better from their Government."
The Committee heard that Canada’s Department of Citizenship and Immigration has routinely provided out of date and misleading data to clients.
"My office has been inundated by requests for updates on citizenship and immigration files. This is a direct response to the Government’s failure to provide accurate information," said Mr. Bains. "We heard today that the Auditor General found some cases where the timelines provided to clients were 5 years out of date."
Mr Bains went on to question the significant gap in service provided in different regions of the world. While the department has numerous offices abroad, there is no set standard for the length of processing times.
"It just shows how poor their resource management is when you see the Ghana office taking 86 months to process an economic class application and Italy taking only taking 29 months," said Mr. Bains. "This is a difference of almost 5 years depending on where you apply."
In addition to the problems at the Embassies, it was also confirmed that citizenship applications in Canada are now taking over 2 years to process.
"The Government's delay affects the ability of new Canadians to exercise their fundamental rights as citizens. Processing times in excess of 2 years are not only unfair but slow the integration of immigrants into Canadian society."
Bains Speaks on Global Entrepreneurship Week
November 15, 2010
Bains Speaks on Global Entrepreneurship Week
OTTAWA – Young entrepreneurs hold the key to our economic and social future according to Liberal Small Business Critic Navdeep Bains speaking on the occasion of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
“We need more young people to get into business” said Mr. Bains. “Small Business drives the Canadian economy and if we want to remain competitive and keep our high standard of living it’s the entrepreneurs who are going to lead us there”.
Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 15-21) was originally founded in 2008 by the Kauffman Foundation along with Enterprise UK and has quickly grown to include 10 million participants in 100 different countries. In Canada the week is organized in part by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
“Business is all about taking risks and young people have the energy, the creativity and the time to make it work. I applaud the efforts of all those involved in Global Entrepreneurship Week and look forward to meeting with many young business people throughout the coming weeks”.
Mr. Bains will be celebrating the week by meeting with young entrepreneurs and the organizers of Global Entrepreneurship Week at an event in Ottawa this evening. He has also organized a breakfast roundtable with young entrepreneurs and commerce students as part of a series of small business events he’s hosted since the return of Parliament in September.
Liberals urge government to listen to Canadians on census
Posted on 27 September 2010
As a group representing minority francophones tries to stop the Harper government from scrapping the long-form census in Federal Court today, Liberals are calling for the Conservative government to listen to them and end this needless court battle.
“Minority francophones are protesting Stephen Harper’s ‘I make the rules’ approach to governing,” said Liberal Critic for Official Languages Mauril Bélanger. “They were the first to decry the census decision, and have since been joined by more than 350 groups, including provincial and municipal governments. The Conservatives continue to stonewall in the face of this widespread opposition, showing just how out of touch they have become.”
The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada will be in the Federal Court today and tomorrow to ask the court to void the government’s long form census decision in order to keep it mandatory.
Earlier this year, the group filed a complaint with the Official Languages Commissioner arguing the Harper government’s cut to the census violates the Official Languages Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Francophone groups were also forced to take the government to court over its decision to scrap the Court Challenges Program.
“Canadians should not have to constantly go to court to force this government to respect their rights,” said Liberal Critic for Industry, Science and Technology Marc Garneau. “Time and again, Stephen Harper puts his party’s ideological agenda ahead of what Canadians need, while stomping on their basic rights as citizens.
“It’s time to bring sense back to the census. The Liberal Party is on the side of groups like the Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada in their fight against the census decision, and do everything we can to reverse it – starting with our motion in the House of Commons,” he said.
The Liberal motion, to be debated tomorrow, calls on the Conservative government to reinstate the mandatory long-form census and amend the Statistics Act in order to remove the threat of jail time for people who do not fill out the long-form census.
“Canadians rely on the federal government for a multitude of services, and they expect our federal government to make wise decisions based on sound information,” concluded Mr. Garneau
Liberals demand answers on short-changed funding for new Canadians
Ottawa – Now that the Conservatives have finally admitted to holding back more than $180 million of promised settlement and integration funding for newcomers to Canada, Liberals are calling on Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to explain why he has short-changed new Canadians.
“The Conservative government has failed to deliver almost $200 million of critical funding to help newcomers settle in Canada, calling into question their commitment to the success of new Canadians,” said Liberal Citizenship and Immigration Critic Maurizio Bevilacqua. “I am calling on Mr. Kenney to account to Parliament for these shortfalls and discrepancies.”
Just a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Kenney’s officials were forced to admit to holding back $80 million from the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement and now they have admitted that $183 million of promised settlement funding under this agreement was never invested in the first place.
“This funding is needed to address the immigrant success gap,” said Mr. Bevilacqua. “Minister Kenney needs to explain what really happened to the promised funding for settlement and integration services and where it was spent instead.”
Under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, signed in November of 2005 between the previous Liberal government and Ontario, the federal government committed to investing $920 million over five years for settlement and integration support for newcomers. The federal government retained exclusive authority to manage this money, but this week the Conservatives were forced to admit that $183 million of that committed funding has been held back in recent years.
Last week, Minister Kenney announced more than half a billion dollars of ‘new’ money for refugee reform that was not mentioned in the federal budget only weeks before.
“There is a growing immigrant success gap in this country just as we face a demographic tidal wave with our ageing population and shrinking skilled labour force,” said Mr. Bevilacqua. “These challenges are too important , Minister Kenney still hasn’t explained where the funding for his new refugee reforms are coming from and what will be cut to find it.”
“These latest revelations have raised serious credibility questions,” Mr. Bevilacqua concluded. “This lack of transparency and accountability around the spending of public funds cannot be allowed to continue.”
Liberals are working to strengthen small business
Even with the Olympics in full swing, Liberals are still hard at work today hosting a small business summit in Mississauga to examine what can be done to help small businesses create jobs now and into the future.
“Small business drives the Canadian economy, yet Mr. Harper has decided to raise payroll taxes and kill jobs at a critical point in our recovery,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who is participating in today’s event. “The Liberal Party has a different approach – we want to look for ways to lower EI premiums for those who are trying to create jobs, as part of a long-term vision for sustainable job creation.”
Job creation proposals put forward by the Liberals include EI premium rebates for businesses that hire young Canadians, who suffer double the unemployment than the national average.
Today’s summit features two panels looking at both short- and long-term barriers to growth and job creation. Panelists include the presidents of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Venture Capital Association and Sheridan College.
The president of ACE Canada, a charitable organization that mentors young entrepreneurs, is participating in recognition of the disproportionate effect the recession has had on youth employment. Rounding out the group are representatives of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Canada-China Business Council, speaking to the importance of growing our global markets.
A newly released report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business predicts that the Conservative government’s planned increase in EI premiums “could cost Canadians 200,000 jobs in the short term and reduce wages by 1.5 per cent over the longer term.”
Liberal Small Business Critic and Summit Host Navdeep Bains, who is hosting today’s forum, said Canadians want their government focused on creating jobs, not killing them.
“We expect to hear some good ideas today that we can take to our Canada at 150 Conference in Montreal and consider as part of our party platform,” said Mr. Bains, who also serves as Chair of Platform Development for the Liberal Party.