Commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

In late September, I was honoured to join a tree-planting and circle of reflection commemorating the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Together with Minister Steven Guilbeault, St. Malachy Catholic School students and local community leaders, we honoured residential school survivors and remembered the children who never made it home.

Residential schools forcibly separated at least 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children from their families and communities, and subjected them to abuse as they sought to systematically remove their cultures, languages and identity.

As we reflect on the immense suffering caused both then and today, let us also honour the survivors’ unwavering thirst for justice, and determination to rebuild what was lost. I join all Canadians in recognizing our historical responsibility to seek truth, ensure accountability and walk the shared path of reconciliation.

Doubling GST Credit

I am pleased to report that our legislation to double the Goods and Services Tax Credit for six months received Royal Assent on October 18. Eligible Canadians who already receive the GST Credit will automatically receive their payments in early November.

This is the first of three measures to help Canadians with the rising cost of living without fuelling inflation. Over the coming weeks, our government will work to pass Bill C-31, which will provide Canada Dental Benefit payments for children under 12 and a one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit.

Work Hours for International Students

Canada is committed to attracting the best and brightest from around the world while also growing our economy. That is why we are temporarily lifting the 20-hour-per-week cap on eligible international students working off-campus from November 15, 2022, to December 31, 2023.

This measure will give Canada’s nearly 500,000 international students a greater opportunity to gain valuable work experience while addressing the labour shortages needed to sustain Canada’s post-pandemic growth. While eligible students are welcome to take advantage of this, I encourage all students to maintain a healthy balance between work, life and school.

Rebuilding After Hurricane Fiona

In the wake of Hurricane Fiona, Atlantic Canadians and Quebecers have remained resilient as they rebuild their homes and help communities of all sizes get back on their feet. As one of Canada’s strongest storms, Hurricane Fiona claimed homes, shops, piers, infrastructure and, most tragically, life. We will continue to support the long-term recovery of the region through the newly created $300 million Hurricane Fiona Recovery Fund, and the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangement.

As always, we are moved by the kindness and generosity shown by Canadians donating to the Canadian Red Cross. This reminds us of the sheer power of nature, the determination of Canadians, and, most importantly, the need to continue taking action on climate change.

Honouring Our Soldiers

As we mark Remembrance Day in November, I join all of you in honouring the men and women who served and continue to serve our country in times of war, conflict and peace. Serving is no easy task and our soldiers continue to do it with professionalism and courage.

Residents reached out to me regarding a proposed condo development on land near Juno Beach, Normandy – where thousands of Canadian soldiers landed on D-Day and where many paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of France.

Canada has secured the long-term protection of Juno Beach by jointly purchasing the land with the French Government and the town of Courseulles-sur-Mer. May Juno Beach forever remain a living memorial to the heroism and sacrifice of Canadians.

I want to thank our soldiers, past and present, for representing the best of what it means to be Canadian. Lest we forget.