Parliament Video: Jenny Makes The Case for Dental Care!

On February 5, 2020, I followed up on a question I had asked in Question Period on January 27th:

Jenny Kwan Vancouver East, BC

"Madam Speaker, Canadians sent a clear message to the government in November of 2019. They wanted the government to work across parties in the best interests of Canadians.

On December 9, 2019, the Minister of Finance announced his proposal to change the tax system for people making $140,000 or less. If the government proceeds with the changes as announced, it would cost Canadians a staggering $6 billion annually, yet 47% of Canadians will receive no benefit whatsoever from this tax change. Many of the people who will be left out are those who live in poverty and are in the greatest need.

New Democrats believe that there are better ways to invest these funds to get help to families who urgently need it, and we are proposing an alternative. If this tax cut were capped so that all benefits would go to those earning less than $90,000 a year, it would free up $1.6 billion from the government's projected cost to invest in other priorities, such as dental care.

According to estimates prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, providing dental coverage for uninsured families making less than $90,000 would cost $1.8 billion in the first year and approximately $830 million per year for every year after that. This program would give immediate help to 4.3 million people and save our health care system tens of millions of dollars every year.

Almost 20% of Canadians avoid the dentist every year because of the cost, and emergency room visits due to dental emergencies cost taxpayers at least $155 million annually. Often, these visits do not address underlying dental issues and are followed by return visits and ongoing pressures on our health care system. Also, I have met seniors who told me that they have had to blend their solid foods into liquid because they are unable to chew the food properly.

The program the NDP is proposing would save households at least $1,200 annually and still allow the government to push forward the proposed tax cut to families earning less than $90,000 a year. We believe that this is a constructive proposal that would make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Canadians, particularly the people who are in greatest need.

The government's intention was to have Parliament vote on its proposed tax changes on December 11, 2019, before Parliament adjourned for the holiday season. That vote was deferred after the NDP proposed the changes to it. New Democrats are still waiting for a response from the government on our proposal. We are encouraged by the mention of dental care in the throne speech as an idea to explore, and this proposal is a great opportunity to give meaning and action to those words and demonstrate a real commitment to helping Canadians who need relief now.

It is a chance for the Liberals to show Canadians that they are willing to work with the opposition in a minority government to deliver much-needed services to Canadians.

My question to the government is this: Will it be willing to work with the NDP to deliver dental services to seniors, children and families making $90,000 or less?"

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HANSARD: Foreign Interference and Alleged Reputational Harm to Members of Parliament

Outside this chamber, just yesterday, there were individuals shouting, questioning and jeering about who the traitors may be. Members of Parliament had to walk past these individuals on the members' way to the House to do their work. I believe we must find a way to disclose which MPs are knowingly, intentionally, wittingly or semi-wittingly engaging with foreign states or their proxies to undermine Canada's democratic processes and institutions. I believe this can be done in a way that does not compromise national security.

If there are no consequences for MPs who knowingly help foreign governments act against Canadian interests, we will continue to be an easy target. This will further erode the trust and faith Canadians have in our democratic processes. If allowed to continue, it will further impugn the integrity of the House. Revealing any member of Parliament, former or present, who is a willing participant in foreign interference activities would have the effect of deterring this kind of behaviour. Moreover, it would send a clear message to those foreign states that this cannot continue and that they will not be able to continue to use parliamentarians in this way. This will further reassure the public of the integrity of the House.

I strongly believe that the House should refer the matter to the procedure and House affairs committee. A possible way to deal with the issue would be for committee members to undergo the necessary security screening to examine the unredacted report and look into the allegations about parliamentarians who were “‘witting or semi-witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in our politics.” We could allow the named parliamentarians to be informed and to come before the committee as witnesses; we could then explore options on how to disclose the named parliamentarians without compromising national security or police investigations of the matter.

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