I think it is important for me to communicate directly with constituents about what is going on in Ottawa. Sometimes there are items that don’t get as much attention as they should and I am hoping this new column will allow me to keep you informed about things going on “Inside Parliament”.
One of those items is my Private Members Bill (C-311), which seeks to make Remembrance Day a Federal legal holiday by amending the Holidays Act. This will elevate the status of Remembrance Day in federal law and affirm Parliament’s commitment to this important day of solemn gratitude. However, it does not and cannot make a national holiday or change which days are non-working days, that is up to the provinces to decide for themselves. Bill C-311 passed second reading in the House and is currently being considered by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
Another important Bill now before the House is S-201, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act. This is a Senate Bill initially sponsored by NS Senator Jim Cowan. It seeks to prevent individuals from having to disclose genetic test results to employers, insurance companies, etc. Canada is the only major country without some kind of similar protection. As a member of the Justice Committee, I heard how people are not getting genetic testing that would help them make proper health decisions for fear that they would have to disclose the results and be declined insurance coverage. I am supporting this important Bill, and while the Government has concerns relating to its constitutionality because it could encroach on provincial jurisdiction, I am satisfied with the testimony I heard from constitutional experts at the Justice Committee, that it is a valid use of federal power and that it would very likely pass such a legal challenge.
I am looking forward to Budget 2017 which Finance Minister Bill Morneau will be presenting to the House sometime over the next few weeks. I am confident it will build on the excellent start in last year’s budget. I have strongly communicated West Nova’s priorities which are already being reflected in policy through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, and which I am confident will be furthered by Budget 2017.
Please contact me any time to let me know your thoughts or if I may be of assistance to you.
Colin Fraser is the Member of Parliament for West Nova and sits on the Veterans Affairs and Justice & Human Rights committees. Contact him at 1-866-280-5302 or Colin.Fraser@parl.gc.ca