Jenny's Member Statement: Calling on the federal government to decriminalize, cost share pandemic housing plan, have the Port stand down

On November 27, 2020, I stood in the House to call on the federal government for urgent help for our Van East community: 

"The Minister of Health said she has the highest regard for Dr. Patricia Daly, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Why then has the Minister refused to follow their sound advice and decriminalize simple drug possession to help save lives?

OPEN LETTER to Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

I am writing you today to request that your office undertake to address the delays and technical errors that my constituents are experiencing with the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), and the new temporary changes to Employment Insurance (EI).
I have heard from two different constituents who received the same error message, COV-26, while attempting to apply for the CRB. The error apparently appears because CRA deems that the applicants have an active EI claim within the last 52 weeks which prevents them from accessing the CRB. However, both my constituents have not received any EI benefits in the last 52 weeks. They applied for EI when the pandemic first started and were transitioned to CERB as that was the policy in place.

JOINT OPEN LETTER - MP Kwan, MLA Mark and Mayor Kennedy joint letter to the federal housing minister addressing Vancuver homelessness crisis

We have been facing a homelessness crisis in Vancouver for many years. The number of people experiencing homelessness in Vancouver more than tripled from 2002 to 2017. Since then, substantial investments in housing from the Province and the City have managed to stop those runaway increases, but the situation remains a crisis, especially with the added pressures of COVID-19. According to the preliminary data report from the 2020 homeless count in Metro Vancouver, 2,095 individuals were identified as homeless in the City of Vancouver, with 547 individuals completely unsheltered, and 105 people residing in emergency response shelters who would otherwise be unsheltered.
As your government has recognized in your Reaching Home strategy, homelessness has devastating impacts on the individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as the economic and social well-being of communities. And, like your government, we are committed to helping those who are homeless and share your belief that one homeless Canadian is one too many. However, it must be recognized the existing timeline and resources under the National Housing Strategy are deficient in meeting the urgent housing and homelessness crisis in our community.
Furthermore, in the midst of a global pandemic, the first public health directive issued by all levels of governments – and by governments worldwide – was for people to stay home, stay distanced, and practice aggressive hygiene measures. This is impossible for people who are homeless.

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister on delays in processing for family and spousal sponsorships

Could you please advise specifically innovation actions has been taken or are being planned, what budget and resources have been allocated within IRCC to employ these “innovative solutions” and what is the timetable for the implementation of these measures.
Finally, some of the individuals who are in the midst of the spousal sponsorship process have written me with their concerns that their letters or emails to the Minister, or even their participation in petition or social media campaigns to raise public awareness of the difficulties that they face are allegedly being logged as notes in IRCC’s Global Case Management System (GCMS). As one writer noted, “Our right to advocate peacefully is guaranteed by the Canadian constitution. Should these notes be held against spousal sponsorship applicants, or in any way hinder their application process, this would represent a serious and fundamental breach of our constitutional rights.” Could you please verify whether these correspondences or other communications are being logged in the GCMS, and if so for what reason. 

OPEN LETTER to housing minister on cost-sharing plan with BC provincial and municipal government urgently needed to address homelessness crisis

The homelessness crisis is not only an affront to human rights, but also poses an enormous national public health risk. This puts the individuals and the communities they live in at risk. Despite the undisputable importance of housing, I am deeply concerned that your government’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is woefully inadequate.
Based on the response to my order paper question submitted February 4th, 2020, it seems the largest component of the NHS, the National Housing Co-investment Fund (NHCF), has fallen short of expectations. I was shocked to learn that only 23 of 432 of submissions have finalized funding agreements. Even more troubling was the lack of funding outside of Ontario. Among these applications, over 50% of the finalized agreements were from Ontario and over 91% of the $1.47 billion in these agreements went to a single application in the City of Toronto.
Only 2 applications were finalized in British Columbia, which represents 0.05% of these funds. To say the least, this fails to recognize the housing crisis that has impacted Vancouver and communities in my riding particularly hard.

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister - Follow-up on immigration measures for Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan

As noted by the WSO, on March 25, 2020, ISIS-K terrorists attacked Gurdwara Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib in Kabul and murdered 25 Sikhs, including four-year-old Tania Kaur. At the funeral for the victims of this attack, a second attack was initiated involving the detonation of an explosive device. Earlier, in July 2018, the senior leadership of the Sikh and Afghan communities was assassinated in a suicide bombing that took 19 lives in Jalalabad. In June 2020, an Afghan Sikh, Nidan Singh Sachdeva, was abducted from a gurdwara and tortured for weeks. That was followed on July 17 by the abduction of 13-year-old Salmeet Kaur who was kidnapped from a Kabul gurdwara where she was living with her blind mother and younger brother. Salmeet’s father was killed in the March attack. ISIS-K has sworn to exterminate all Afghan Sikhs and Hindus if they do not leave Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Sikh and Hindu communities face a threat to their very existence. The minority communities which once numbered over 200,000 have now dwindled to less than 800, due to decades of persecution. Only those families remain that do not have the means to relocate elsewhere. The majority of the community is forced to reside in gurdwaras and face discrimination in accessing education, employment and housing. As ISIS-K continues to attack civilians and international troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan, Sikhs and Hindus are likely to face more violence.

OPEN LETTER to Minister of National Revenue on urgent support for PNE

As you are aware, this was an issue I initially brought to the attention of the House. I also wrote to various Ministers and raised it at a joint meeting with the Vancouver Mayor and other MPs and it was following this meeting that MP Fry and I sent the co-signed letter to you. As it relates to an organization that operates in my riding, I am wondering why I have not been included as part of these discussions. Your government has stated time and again that you want to work with all Members of Parliament to support the community through this pandemic. In the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, I hope you would be willing to include me in this conversation as this is a non-partisan matter. Kindly note that I am available any time to meet your schedule and look forward to your response. 

OPEN LETTER to Immigration Minister on long processing delay

I am writing to you to echo the concerns I’ve been hearing from families who are experiencing long delays for spousal sponsorship applications and urge for your government to adjust the program to allow conditions for spouses to obtain temporary resident visas as part of the spousal sponsorship application process.
Immigration is an exercise in nation building, and I have always seen family reunification as a pivotal component of Canada’s immigration system. During the last 5 years as the NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, I have heard far too many heart wrenching stories of how families are kept apart due to long delays in processing. Indeed, the issue of long delays in processing for permanent residence applications is a longstanding one and I share the concerns experienced by families who remain separated while they wait on the spousal sponsorship application process, which has worsened under COVID-19.

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