Report from Parliament Hill:
Part I: Spring parliamentary session comes to a close
Bob Nault, MP, Kenora Riding
Another parliamentary session has come to a close. It’s an exciting time of year as I get to focus on the most enjoyable part of being your Member of Parliament – spending time in the riding speaking with fellow Northerners about the issues that matter most. It was a productive spring session, having debated and passed 18 pieces of government legislation. When the current federal government came into power in 2015, our objective was to achieve real change, and we have done just that.
I believe that the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) has been a tremendous success to families. I am proud to say that the CCB has lifted almost 300,000 kids out of poverty across Canada. Last year, families in the Kenora riding alone received a total of more than $73 million in tax-free CCB payments. To keep up with the cost of living and give parents more money each month, the CCB payments will increase again on July 20, 2018.
Just this past March, I was pleased to announce one of the largest investments the North has ever seen: $1.6 billion for Wataynikaneyap Power to connect 16 remote First Nations in our riding to the power grid. Upon completion, this project will bring reliable, clean power, to these communities and cost-savings over the long term so they can focus on building a better future. It will bring about new economic development opportunities, create jobs and provide a better standard of living for its residents.
The Wataynikaneyap Power Project is just one of the ways in which we are connecting the North, which is essential to unlocking the true potential of the region. To see this through, we need to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to compete in the global economy. Since taking office, there have been investments in more than 26 community infrastructure projects, including the Red Lake and Kenora Airports, the Thomas Land Sr. Memorial Arena, and the Kenora Aerialettes Gymnastics Club.
One of the fundamental rights of being Canadian is having access to safe, clean drinking water. Since coming into office, the federal government has remained committed to ending long-term boil water advisories (BWA) and improving clean water wastewater facilities in First Nations and municipalities. More than 62 Clean Water Wastewater projects have been undertaken in our riding, including $11.6 million to end the boil water advisory in Slate Falls First Nation, and $8.8 million to end Canada’s longest standing boil water advisory in Neskantaga First Nation.
In August 2016, I announced an additional $850,000 a year in funding to Canada’s world-leading IISD Experimental Lakes Area, bringing their total annual budget to $3.6 million. The IISD Experimental Lakes Area is the only place in the world where scientists conduct whole-ecosystem experiments on near-pristine lakes in order to get results that cannot be obtained via single-variable laboratory research.
Recognizing the importance of our water ecosystems, $5.5 million has been allocated by the Department of the Environment and Climate Change Canada to undertake scientific studies in the Canadian portion of the Lake of the Woods Basin. Collaborations between the International Joint Commission, local stakeholders, such as the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, and other sources of scientific expertise will produce a new understanding to benefit the residents of the Lake of the Woods Basin. Their studies will also contribute to a larger body of knowledge, benefitting others facing similar water quality issues.
These are just some of our achievements to date. Next week, I’ll continue this theme by highlighting more of our accomplishments. I am looking forward to spending my summer travelling through the riding and hearing directly from Northerners. Together, we will continue to make Northwestern Ontario a truly special place to call home.