Lethbridge Herald Column - August 2011
August 5, 2011
However, the one thing that was never pointed out was how honored I would feel following in the footsteps of Canada’s greatest leaders while walking through the halls of our parliament buildings or sitting in the House of Commons where generations of prime ministers and legislatures have made decisions which have formed our nation. During the past few months I have been humbled by the opportunities afforded me as your representative including speaking in the House, voting on legislation, being in the presence of royalty and witnessing our prime minister inducted as an honorary aboriginal chief, to name a few.
It was with pride that I observed Prime Minister Harper inducted as an honorary member of the Kainai Chieftainship by the Blood Tribe of Alberta. A tribute requested by Blood Tribe Chief Charles Weasel Head in response to the prime minister’s heartfelt apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools in 2008. Having close ties to the Blood community, I fully understand and appreciate the importance of that apology and what it meant to them, so observing the traditional ceremony was a personally touching event.
It was also an honour to watch Master Cpl. Melissa Whitegrass, a proud member of the Blood Tribe and our Canadian Forces who had served in Afghanistan, play an active role in the ceremony.
- The sod turning for the city’s new Community Performing Arts Centre, in which the federal government has invested $3 million through the Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund.
- Ribbon cutting ceremonies at the North Lethbridge Sports Park Picnic Shelter/Playground and the Nicholas Sheran Leisure Centre, where the federal government made contributions of $538,000 and $500,000 respectively, showcased how our investments in projects serve the community’s greater good.
- Launch of the new ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative, a $97-million program investing in research, development and demonstration projects for clean energy technologies that will create high-quality jobs for Canadians.
- Creation of Shared Services Canada, which will streamline and consolidate government IT services, to transform and get better value for money from IT services across the federal government.
- Reintroducing and passing The Fair and Efficient Criminal Trials bill — legislation that will ensure our justice system has the tools it needs when faced with mega-trials, during the final day of the House sitting.
- Reintroducing legislation to crack down on human smugglers. Our Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act will stop those who seek to take advantage of our generous immigration system, and abuse our fair and welcoming nature for financial gain.
- Creation of the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards to recognize the enormous contribution volunteers make to Canada. The Government of Canada has also expressed its interest in looking to innovative charities and forward-thinking private-sector companies to partner on new approaches to many social challenges.
Over the next week I will be in Ottawa preparing for the fall return of parliament and my committee responsibilities. Once back in the riding I will continue my meeting and community parade schedule.
Government of Canada News
Ambassador Bennett Offers Condolences on the Death of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East
It is with sadness that I learned today of the death of His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East. As head of the Apostolic See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon from 1976 until his death on March 26, His Holiness led the Assyrian Church of the East through a period of hardship and change. Through his advocacy for the Assyrian community, and in his efforts to promote ecumenism and unity with other churches, His Holiness will be remembered both as a great pastor to his people and as a strong advocate for religious freedom.
New Appointment to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Announced
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced that Christopher J. McNeil will join the Veterans Review and Appeal Board
Minister Nicholson Meets with U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to Discuss International Security
The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today met with Philip Hammond, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, to discuss issues of national security and the current threat posed by extremist jihadism.