Happy Holidays and a Joyful New Year, Centennial!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and welcomed the new year with their loved ones, virtually or in person.

Thank you to all the community organizations who hosted festivals and charity drives to spread holiday cheer in Scarborough–Rouge Park. I would also like to express gratitude to our frontline workers, many of whom selflessly worked through Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve to keep us all safe.

Parliamentary Secretary

In December, I was honoured to have been asked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to serve as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable David Lametti. Being a human rights lawyer and firm advocate for social justice, I understand how the law ensures our general safety and protects our rights and freedoms as Canadians. At the same time, I recognize our legal system’s dark history and flaws, and remain committed to ending racism and systemic barriers in law.

This is a role of immense responsibility, one that has the potential to improve the lives of all Canadians. In Parliament, we are currently bringing forward Bill C-5, an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This legislation aims to end mandatory minimum sentences for certain non-violent crimes, and is an important step to address the disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous, Black, and racialized Canadians. I will also continue to engage and consult with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

I look forward to working with Minister David Lametti to advance justice, equality  and reconciliation in Canada. I am truly humbled by this opportunity and remain ever-grateful for the support and faith you have all placed in me.

PM’s Visit to Scarborough

Last month, Prime Minister Trudeau and I had the privilege to recognize Scarborough’s health-care workers for their tireless and critical efforts to keep Canadians healthy and safe as we brave the pandemic. From early mornings to long sleepless nights, the staff at Centenary Hospital truly exemplify what it means to serve the community.

We also had the chance to visit a child vaccine clinic, where we greeted and thanked children and their parents for doing their part. Our government is committed to securing the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters so that we can build a stronger health-care system and return to normal. If your children are between 5 to 11 years old, I encourage you to book a vaccine appointment for them at www.ScarbVaccine.ca

Economic and Fiscal Update

Last month’s Economic and Fiscal Update provided Canadians a transparent look at our national finances, with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland outlining our plans for a resilient recovery and ending the fight against COVID-19.

Even as more and more Canadians return to work, our government is proactively working to keep Canadians – and our recovery – safe from the Omicron variant. This includes securing pediatric vaccines, booster shots and rapid tests, while investing in new antiviral drugs and building ventilation. A further $4.5 billion will also be reserved for variant response.

To ensure those sick don’t have to choose between staying home and their paycheques, we will fight for 10 days of paid sick leave for workers in federally regulated businesses. Our government is also working to introduce the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which will provide $300 per week to those whose employment is interrupted by public health lockdowns. This pandemic has taught us that the best economic policy is a strong public health policy.