In this issue 1
Consultations for the future of public health
Will EI be there when you need it?
Blocking the attempt to reopen abortion
3 In our community
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT // JEANNE-LE BER
Honouring involvement in the community
Parliamentary Bulletin • Autumn/Winter 2012
Consultations for the future of public health While Medicare was established to make sure Canadians have the quality health care they need regardless of their ability to pay, today there are growing disparities in health coverage across Canada. We need a change.
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have failed to improve public health care. Worse, they’re cutting $36-billion in funding—even before the Health Accords with the provinces come up for renegotiation in 2014.
Canadians deserve the best care in the world, and there is no reason they shouldn’t get it. There are affordable improvements we can make to Medicare, and New Democrats are committed to getting the job done.
In July 2012, provincial premiers agreed to a new plan with clear goals for health care innovation. But provinces will not be able to achieve these goals if the federal government doesn’t do its part.
committed to showing the same leadership and ensuring the sustainability of Canada’s healthcare system. That is why the NDP is organizFifty years ago, the party of ing public consultations on Tommy Douglas brought the future of free, universal We need a federal government Medicare to Canada. Today, healthcare in our country. After six years in government, that is willing to work with the the New Democrats remain CONTINUED PAGE 2
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provinces and territories, and ensure long-term investment to bring our health care system into the 21st century.
Will EI be there when you need it? Losing a job is a terrible blow program they’ve paid for any family. That’s why into. Canada has Employment Insurance—for peace of mind. 2 They ran up a $57-billion We pay into EI throughout surplus of EI premiums our working lives, and we collected from workexpect this safety net to be ers and employers, then there when we need it. deleted any record of it in their 2010 budget. But something has gone wrong. Under the Conserva- 3 In their 2012 omnibus tives, the majority of Canadibudget, they changed ans can no longer count on the rules again to cut you Employment Insurance. off EI unless you accept any job the Conservative cabinet deems “suitable.” The Conservative record on Even if that means abanEI: doning your career to take a low-wage job.And 1 They refused to fix EI rules that disqualify six if you don’t agree? You’ll in 10 Canadians from the lose your EI.
Employment Insurance was designed to help you build your career by finding a new job in your chosen field. But the Conservatives are ready to see teachers, nurses, tradespeople and other specialists leave their careers paths to take low-wage jobs. Forcing more people into low-wage jobs—or onto provincial welfare rolls—is no way to build the skilled and confident workforce Canada needs. That’s why the New Democrat economic plan puts Canadian workers first.
A message from Tyrone Benskin Dear friends and neighbours, Parliament is back in session, and I’m right back to work representing your interests in Ottawa. Unfortunately, the Harper government doesn’t always make it easy! One of the biggest issues right now is the tainted beef scandal. You’ve probably seen signs about the recall in grocery stores right here in Verdun and the Sud-Ouest. Conservative cuts in food safety inspections led directly to this fiasco. But rather than taking responsibility, they’ve pretended the system works fine. That’s not leadership. We have already made some gains so far this session. We took the Minister of Human Resources back to the drawing board on some of the most harmful changes to employment insurance. And we blocked the Conservatives’ underhanded attempt to reopen the abortion debate. (Many thanks to the hundreds of you who wrote to my office, making it clear that the right to choose is a basic value for Quebecers.) But it’s not enough to oppose: we are also proposing. We have launched a cross-Canada tour to consult the public on the future of our health care system. We proposed a pan-Canadian strategy for public transit. For my part, I’m proposing an income tax reform to recognize the realities of Canada’s artists. My job in Ottawa is to represent you. Don’t hesitate to contact my office to let me know your opinion on the issues of the day. Hearing from you helps me do my job better! Sincerely, Tyrone Benskin, MP On September 26, Tyrone Benskin voted against Motion M-312, which aimed to reopen the abortion debate. The NDP caucus voted unanimously against this backward motion.
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We want to work together with Canadians, health care professionals, and the provincial and territorial governments to determine what changes are needed to adapt our health care system to the 21st century. Among our ideas: • Reducing drug costs by improving the analysis of new drugs, reviewing how the Patented Medications Price Review Board establishes the price of new drugs, and ensuring that international trade agreements do not drive up drug costs.
with full compensation for Quebec. • Supporting the country’s 2 million natural caregivers by extending and improving access to the EI compassionate care benefit and providing a Caregiver Tax Benefit, modeled on the Child Disability Benefit. • Ensure the living conditions that support good health: decent income, proper food and housing, and a strong social safety net including secure pensions and accessible employment insurance. The NDP’s health tour will come to Jeanne-Le Ber this autumn. Keep your eyes open for the announcement of the date and time by press release and on my website and Facebook page.
•Working with the provinces and territories to ensure seamless transitions from hospital to home and longterm care by negotiating financial transfers to expand home care and long-term care services across the coun- ndp.ca/health try, with a right of withdrawal
Blocking the attempt to reopen abortion
Le Ber massively support women’s right to choose,” Mr. Benskin said. “I was proud to stand up for women’s rights with all my NDP colleagues. We will not allow the clock to be turned back.”
creation of a special House of Commons committee to study the definition of human being in the Criminal Code, an underhanded way of reopening the abortion debate. New Democrats have always fought for gen“My constituents in Jeanne- Motion M-312 called for the der equality and constantly
defended women’s right to abortion. 91 MPs, including the Minister for the Status of Women Rona Ambrose, supported the motion.
Bill C-427: Reflecting the realities of Canadian artists The culture industry is one of the biggest sectors of the Canadian economy. But during my long career as an independent artist, I have learned first-hand how unforgiving our tax system can be to those engaged in creative enterprise. Due to their often irregular hours and inconsistent incomes, artists are nearly always disadvantaged both by punitively high taxation during years of high earning
Tyrone Benskin, MP
and by being ineligible for a number of federal programs such as Employment Insurance (EI), the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and others. That’s why I proposed Bill C-427. It will begin to level the playing field by allowing Canadian artists to average their income over a period, achieving considerable tax savings over two to five years. This would follow the example of Quebec and of a number of foreign countries.
It will also exempt from taxa- the Union des artistes have tion a portion of the income endorsed it. derived from royalties and residuals. To find out more and to lend your support to this I am determined to enact initiative, please consult this modest measure prom- my website on the bill: ising greater fairness for tyronebenskin.npd.ca/c-427. Canada’s artists and their incredible contribution to our economy and society. My bill enjoys widespread support in the artistic community. Among others, the artist’s union ACTRA and
In our community
1 The Leucan Shaved Head Challenge at Atwater Market, a benefit for children with leukemia. 2 Public forum on social housing organized by Tyrone Benskin and Hélène LeBlanc (LaSalle—Émard) at CÉDA. 3 and 4 Neighbourhood parties for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. 5 Dinner for Multiculturalism Day and Canada Day organized by the Centre africain du développement et d’entraide. 6 Launch of the Coopérative jeunesse de service (CJS) de Verdun. 7 The community comes together to build a playground at Parc Jessie-Maxwell-Smith. 8 Planting trees on the banks of the Lachine Canal, with Hélène LeBlanc MP.
We want to hear from you In their 2012 omnibus budget, the Conservatives changed the rules for Employment Insurance again, to cut people off unless they accept any job the Conservative cabinet deems “suitable.” Even if that means abandoning your career to take a low-wage job. And if you don’t agree? You’ll lose the EI you paid into.
Have these changes affected you? Yes, I had to take a job I’m overqualified for or that’s outside my field. Yes, I had to take a job that doesn’t pay enough for me to live on. Yes, I had to take a job much farther away from where I live. No, but I’m worried they might. No, and I don’t think they will. How would they? With the government’s stringent conditions, I don’t qualify for EI to begin with—even though I’ve paid in my whole life.
I would like to receive electronic updates E-mail __________________________________________________ Name__________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________ Postal code_____________________________________________
Honouring involvement in the community Portage, a non-profit organization that helps people suffering from substance abuse-related problems to overcome their dependencies and live healthy, happy and productive lives, held a recognition ceremony on September 30 to celebrate the achievements of those completing its program. Portage’s Montreal offices are an important part of the Little Burgundy community. Warmest congratulations to the graduates for your persistence and commitment, and to the staff for their service, caring, and professionalism. portage.ca The Benedict Labre House, an independent Griffintown resource for the homeless, marked 60 years of service and compassion this September. The centre offers meals, showers, clothing, laundry, services, activities, and referrals for homeless men and women in a nonjudgmental and welcoming atmosphere, respecting the innate human dignity of each. Hats off to the staff and volunteers of Benedict Labre House. benedictlabre.org 308, rue Young The Jardin communautaire de l’allée des Tanneries is a community garden in the Tanneries Village neighbourhood in western Saint-Henri.
In the House
With 18 garden plots and plans for 15 more, it combines urban agriculture and access to healthy food with a friendly, inviting neighbourhood space. September 15 saw a collective clean-up and barbecue in the garden, in collaboration with Opération Montréal.NET and Pro-Vert Sud-Ouest. A great community initiative in Tanneries Village obnljcat.wordpress.com Southern ends of Rue Walnut and Rue Desnoyers, Saint-Henri The Concertation en développement social de Verdun (CDSV) is delighted by the success of the Semaine des déplacements actifs (active transport week), which took place September 17–23 in Verdun. During this week, numerous activites such as exploration walks, worksops, and surveys helped to paint a clearer picture of the transportation habits of Verdun residents and the problems they encounter in getting around. Based on these exchanges, a transportation portrait will shortly be created. And starting this winter, Verdun residents will be invited to take part in developing concrete proposals for promoting active transportation (walking and cycling) in Verdun. tinyurl.com/8hhk4ul
“If the aim of these changes in the program is to encourage people to work, then why do that through a process of threats as opposed to answering some of the issues that have been problematic with Service Canada and EI system accessibility? [...] Why is the government not making it easier, as opposed to penalizing people who are trying to use the EI system?” – Tyrone Benskin, MP Jeanne-Le Ber October 1, 2012
A new look Based on your comments, my parliamentary bulletin has gotten a new look. I hope you’ll find this new format attractive and easy to read. Don’t hesitate to send us any comments you may have about the new bulletin. We are currently looking for photos for our 2013 calendar! I invite amateur photographers to send me their best photos of scenes in the riding by e-mail at email@example.com. Please send highresolution JPEG files.
At your service My team is here to help you with any concerns you may have regarding federal services, such as immigration, employment insurance, Canada student loans, and federal pensions (CPP, OAS, and GRS). I am here to make sure your voice is heard in Parliament. Do not hesitate to write, telephone, or e-mail to let me know your opinions about the issues that affect our community.
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Tyrone Benskin Member of Parliament House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6