Now that Parliament has recessed for the summer I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on some important legislation that has now become law.
At the end of the Parliamentary session it seems that there is always an influx of legislation that gets passed and sometimes the details of Bills passed are lost in the shuffle, our Government passed into law 25 pieces of legislation during the last session.
One key piece of legislation was Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act which will protect the integrity of our democracy by requiring voters to provide ID before voting, removing the risky practice of Vouching and empowers law enforcement with sharper teeth, a longer reach and a freer hand.
Another key piece of legislation that will become law is Bill C-24, Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act which will increase efficiency of the citizenship program in order to reduce backlogs, reinforce the values of citizenship by strengthening requirements and deterring citizenship of convenience; improve the tools we have to maintain program integrity and combat fraud; and promote Canadians interests by honouring those who serve Canada and protecting Canadians from foreign criminals and those who pose a threat to our national security.
Additionally my colleagues and I passed the Budget Bill, which will see unprecedented funding levels for Alberta. All major transfers to provinces and territories will grow from their current record levels representing a 56 per cent increase since 2005-06. For Alberta, total major transfers will total $52 billion in 2014-15 including $3.7 billion through the Canada Health Transfer which represents an increase of over 129 per cent since 2005-06 and $1.5 billion through the Canadian Social Transfer an increase of $878 million or almost 148 per cent since 2005-06.
In addition to the government legislation, we passed this session, several key private members’ bills were passed into law. Bill C-444 sponsored by Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen amends the Criminal Code of Canada with respect to personating a Peace Officer or Public Officer. C-444 establishes that personating a Peace Officer or Public Officer in order to commit another offence shall be considered by a court to be an aggravating circumstance; by changing this it allows judges to impose longer sentences up to respective maximums.
My colleague Parm Gill sponsored Bill C-394 Criminal Organization Recruitment is aimed at keeping our kids out of gangs and punishing those that try to recruit them into criminal organizations. Under this Bill someone that recruits a young person into a criminal enterprise will be facing a sentence up to five years in prison.
Our Government is focused on what matters most to Canadians, we are working hard to keep Canadians safe, pay lower taxes and provide long-term prosperity for all Canadians. We will continue to deliver on our commitments.
Veterans Emergency Transition Services
The Government of Canada is partnering with Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada to better deliver assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Through Veterans Affairs Canada’s At-Risk Veterans Outreach Initiative, VETS Canada will provide assistance to at-risk and homeless Veterans, and ensure help gets to those who need it. Services include immediate in-person, online, and telephone assistance to help Veterans in need of temporary shelter and access to Government of Canada programs and benefits.
VETS Canada’s team of volunteers includes still-serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces and still-serving and retired members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. These “boots on the ground” teams will help identify at-risk Veterans and accompany and/or refer them to VAC area offices, shelters, the Royal Canadian Legion, medical and substance abuse treatment programs, as well as provide peer support and coaching.
● A 12-month contract, valued at approximately $300,000, has been awarded to VETS Canada. It is a one-year contract, with two one-year options to extend the contract period to three years in total.
● VETS Canada works to support Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who are homeless or at risk.
● Veterans Affairs Canada has emergency funds to assist Veterans in meeting immediate emergency needs. At-risk Veterans can also access emergency funds from other sources, including the Royal Canadian Naval Benevolent Fund and the Canadian Forces Personnel Assistance Fund.
●·Through the VAC Assistance Service, Veterans can reach a professional counsellor at any time—24 hours a day, 365 days a year—by calling 1-800-268-7708.