As I write this update, we are all dealing with another wave of uncertainty and illness as the Omicron variant sparks a serious upswing in COVID-19 cases across Canada. As in previous COVID waves, we are seeing the impacts disproportionately affect underprivileged members of our communities. I will continue to fight for a pandemic response that counters the inequalities of this crisis and lays the groundwork for a more equal and brighter future for all Canadians.
This pandemic has been especially difficult for disabled Canadians. Many disabled Canadians relied on precarious work to make ends meet prior to COVID-19, and many others have had to remain in strict isolation and lost access to the services they need during this time.
It is clear that disabled people are not receiving the financial support they need to survive, and New Democrats are proposing a federal guaranteed livable income for disabled Canadians to address this immediately. We are calling on the Liberal government to stop blocking our efforts and instead work with us to ensure that disabled Canadians have a livable federal benefit.
I have watched with concern as housing prices and rents skyrocket in my riding over the past year. Far too many of my constituents are struggling to afford housing or living in precarious and unsafe conditions due to lack of access to housing. Many others are homeless. I am fighting for federal investments in housing, and I am particularly focused on co-op housing. The co-op housing model has worked very well for many people in our region but needs to be reinvigorated and expanded to address the current crisis.
Climate change has begun to seriously disrupt our lives in B.C. this year. From the heat dome in the summer to the floods this fall and a dangerous cold snap this December, I am very concerned about the well-being of my constituents. I will continue to work for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, investments in renewable energy, and a strong emergency response plan that takes into account the climate impacts we know are already locked in.
In Ottawa, I have been busy working on my critic portfolio areas in addition to the issues I have mentioned here. I re-submitted my bill from the previous parliament that would protect more people from intimate partner violence. I also re-submitted my bill that would remove self-harm from the Military Code of Conduct as a disciplinary offence and ensure that more Armed Forces Members can seek the mental health care they need. I was also proud to have been involved in the legislation banning conversion therapy that was passed in the House of Commons and Senate and granted Royal Assent this fall.
It was an honour to be re-elected to represent the people of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke in 2021, and I look forward to continuing this work in 2022, continuing to work on your behalf in the upcoming year.
– Randall Garrison is MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.