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October

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    MPndp
    It was a pleasure to spend some time with Alex Kovalenko, an intern from Ukraine working with my colleague Raymond Côté. Alex' grandfather and my father came from the same region in Ukraine. I wish all the Ukrainian interns the very best as they wind up their stay and hope they will always remember their Canadian experience
    Thu 12:32 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    With Rochelle Eisen of Cawston at the Parliamentary restaurant. Rochelle from Cawston is a member of the Canada Organic Trade Association which held a reception here in Ottawa. Thanks to them for inviting me and also for all their hard work to promote organic in Canada. Also had a chance to attend a reception hosted by Farm Credit Canada. A big thanks to Dale Johnston, Chair FCC Board of Directors for inviting me. [Photo L-R - Rochelle Eisen, me]
    Wed 9:53 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Open House at Selkirk College November 04
    Tue 10:58 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Had a chance to speak on the Canada-Korea Trade agreement yesterday. October 27th, 5 p.m. Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act http://openparliament.ca/debates/2014/10/27/alex-atamanenko-1/ ---------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned in her speech that we on this side tried to introduce some amendments at committee. I am not sure if I heard correctly, but I think she used the word “sabotage”, which did not quite make sense to me. One of the amendments we tried to introduce was to repeal the investor state dispute settlement from this agreement. I wonder if the member is aware that under NAFTA, there have been over 30 investor state claims against Canada at all levels of government, targeting public policy measures from bans on fracking to court rulings on drug patents, and that Canada has already paid out over $160 million to investors, either as a payout or for legal fees in trying to defend various legislation. I am wondering if she thinks it is right for our tax dollars to go toward paying corporations when they dispute various laws that are put into place for our benefit. October 27th, 6 p.m. Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act http://openparliament.ca/debates/2014/10/27/alex-atamanenko-2/ ---------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned mining, and I would like to reiterate what he said. We have some real success stories in the area that we serve. Certainly the mine in Princeton, the copper mine, is a success story. I have had a chance to visit it. It is a good corporate citizen. It would benefit, as would others, from the agreement. There are obviously good things in this agreement, and we are supporting it. I still cannot fathom this whole investor state mechanism that we and I keep referring to because of things that have happened in the past or are happening now. I would like my colleague to give us his thoughts on the following. This is a quotation from the CCPA Monitor: Lone Pine Resources, a Canadian firm registered in Delaware, is suing Canada for $250 million under NAFTA because Quebec's fracking moratorium is apparently an illegal barrier to its investment opportunities. Again, the decision will be made by paid arbitrators, not the courts. This is the kind of model that will be part of this agreement. I have asked my constituents and others whether they think a company should be able to sue the federal government because a province or a municipality or the federal government wants to enact laws in the interest of its citizens. They said no, it does not make any sense. I would like to get my hon. colleague's comments on that aspect of this agreement.
    Tue 9:40 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Sikh community in BC Southern Interior my best wishes for Diwali and a joyous new year. Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrates hope and inner strength and welcomes in the coming New Year. It is an opportunity to reflect on the past year, to look ahead and to make plans for the future with renewed optimism. People in this community, across the country and all over the world, will take this time to gather with family and friends to celebrate the victory of goodness in all of us. I believe every Canadian can share in the hope for the future that Diwali represents. Around the world, our multicultural nation is a beacon of hope. We pride ourselves on our openness and continually strive to build an inclusive society. As Diwali brings in another new year let us all remember to draw upon the good that can be found in all of us.
    Oct 24, 2014 1:52 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Thought I would share my reflections on yesterday's tragedy. While we were in our weekly caucus meeting we heard loud noises. A security guard rushed into our meeting and told us to hit the floor. We did so while tables were stacked against another door. Shortly thereafter, security came and escorted us through an underground tunnel to another building, East Block, where we spent the day locked down in a meeting room with armed guards. Around 12:30 we were escorted out to a bus and taken by motorized police escort to the Foreign Affairs building where our names and addresses were recorded. Throughout the day we were not sure if there were other shooters in the area and at the time, were told that one was on the roof. It is my hope that security tightens up on Parliament Hill, there is no 'overkill' or over reaction and that Parliament will remain accessible to the public. Certainly, we should wait for police reports before deciding what actions need to be taken.
    Oct 23, 2014 9:45 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Oct 21, 2014 10:42 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    “It was a pleasure to see Doug Stoddart, CEO of Nelson & District Credit Union in Ottawa. I would like to congratulate Doug on his election to the Board of Directors of the World Council of Credit Unions. He is one of two Canadians on this International Board – quite an achievement – Well done, Doug!
    Oct 21, 2014 10:12 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Oct 21, 2014 10:02 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Here is my column that was issued today.
    Oct 21, 2014 9:42 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    I sincerely hope that the School District 20 Trustees will support the continuing efforts of the Blueberry Creek Community School by ensuring that the building continues to serve the citizens of Castlegar. I stand behind the endeavours to maintain this importunt cultural hub.
    Oct 21, 2014 9:41 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    I was proud to offer solidarity to postal workers on the Hill today. We need to continue pushing back against the loss of home delivery. Photo: with Ian Anderson, President Ottawa local 580 CUPW
    Oct 20, 2014 1:46 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Thanks to Rebecca McDonnell for inviting me to participate in the Castlegar Community Food and Gardening Forum. This is a timely, worthwhile and important endeavor.
    Oct 17, 2014 4:10 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    A big thanks to Dan Wack, President of Nelson Retired Teachers' Association for inviting me to a lucheon meeting last Thursday. It was a pleasure to meet Paul Boscariol, President of Nelson Teachers' Association who gave us an update on the state of affairs after the strike.
    Oct 17, 2014 4:06 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 17, 2014 BIRD WATCHERS ARE NOT CRIMINALS OTTAWA – The NDP is concerned that instead of going after tax cheats, the Conservatives are using Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) resources to intimidate a law-abiding nature group. A group of bird watchers from Southern Ontario received a letter from the CRA ordering them to refrain from undertaking partisan activities with the implicit threat that future audits were a possibility. “The timing simply doesn't pass the smell test – the CRA letter arrived just days after this bird watching club wrote directly to two ministers, expressing their concern about the impact of government-approved chemicals on vulnerable bee colonies,” said NDP National Revenue critic, Murray Rankin (Victoria). “The Conservatives’ attack on anyone who questions their short-sighted policies is ridiculous. It is also deeply disturbing,” said Rankin. – 30 –
    Oct 17, 2014 9:36 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    NDP STATEMENT ON WORLD FOOD DAY Official Opposition Agriculture critic Malcolm Allen (Welland) made the following statement on World Food Day: “Ensuring that Canadians have healthy, affordable food is a national priority. Close to 850,000 Canadians visit a food bank every month and over 1 million children in Canada experience food insecurity. Without a comprehensive food policy, Canada lags behind our peers on the world stage. New Democrats are providing the federal leadership that connects Canadians from farm to fork. We understand that food matters. This is why we released our vision for a pan-Canadian food strategy that connects food security, health, agriculture and the environment. Working with the provinces and territories, we laid out a ten-point plan to strengthen our food system. This includes improving incomes so that every family can afford a healthy meal; implementing a whole of government approach to reduce reliance on food banks; strengthening our food safety system; protecting children from food advertising; and ensuring that local agriculture is sustainable for generations to come. The theme of this year’s World Food Day is Feeding the world, caring for the earth, emphasizing that we can feed the world while ensuring that we respect the environment. By working together to raise awareness around the issues at the root of poverty and hunger, we can ensure that everyone eats well and our food system is stronger for the generations that follow us. ” For more information on our Pan-Canadian Food Strategy please visit: http://malcolmallen.ndp.ca/farm-to-fork
    Oct 16, 2014 10:11 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    While in Kaslo last Saturday I dropped into the Langham Theatre Centre to congratulate them on their 40th Anniversary. A big thanks to Sheila Falle for taking the time to talk to me. Well done Kaslo!
    Oct 15, 2014 2:00 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    A big thank you to Fire Chief Douglas Yee for inviting me to the official opening of theKaslo Emergency Services Centre. Congratualtions to the Town of Kaslo as well as the RDCK and all others who made this project possible. What a tremendous achievement! [Photo L-R: me, former Chief John Matthews, firefighter Tania Seafort]
    Oct 15, 2014 1:59 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Hope to see this petition shared widely.
    Oct 15, 2014 11:11 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    October 10, 2014 STATEMENT BY THE NDP ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY OTTAWA — Official Opposition Health Critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East) made the following statement to mark World Mental Health Day: “On World Mental Health Day, New Democrats stand in solidarity with Canadians affected by mental illness. We also salute their loved ones who stand by them and provide important support during difficult times. Mental health issues affect over six million Canadians. However, due to discrimination and stigma far too many people face this reality in isolation, silence and shame. Nearly 4,000 Canadians die by suicide every year and it is the most common cause of death for people aged 15 to 24. New Democrats recognise the importance of ensuring that Canadians who are living with mental illness have access to the supports they need. We remain committed to working with the provinces, First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments to implement a mental health strategy in line with recommendations from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. We want to see real leadership on mental health, working with communities to fight stigma and foster recovery, ensure better access to treatment, and reduce the disparities in supports and services across the country.” -30-
    Oct 10, 2014 10:23 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    It was a pleasure to host Jane and David Barker from Rossland today. I hope they enjoy their stay in Ottawa as they visit Jane's daughter Sheila Matthen and her partner Hasan Aswat. Sheila works with my colleague Peggy Nash. [Photo L-R: Dave Barker, me, Jane Barker]
    Oct 09, 2014 2:18 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    October 09 , 2014 NEW CONSERVATIVE HIRING CREDIT INEFFECTIVE, WASTEFUL: PBO OTTAWA – The Conservatives’ proposed Hiring Credit is an expensive, ineffective giveaway to corporations that should be scrapped, the NDP said today. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Conservative Hiring Credit will create – at most – 800 jobs, at a cost of $550,000 per new job. “Time and again, we’ve seen Liberals and Conservatives misuse EI funds that belong to workers and employers,” said Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley), NDP Finance critic. “Now Conservatives are using these funds for a credit that won’t even do what it’s supposed to – create more jobs for Canadians.” The PBO report reveals that due to the Conservatives’ rate freeze and cuts to benefits, the surplus in the EI Account will be nearly $3 billion in 2015. Meanwhile, access to EI benefits is at an historic low. Fewer than 4 in 10 unemployed Canadians currently qualify for benefits. “Workers pay premiums so that EI is there for them in times of need,” added Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières), NDP critic for Employment Insurance. “Instead of funding a wasteful tax credit, Conservatives should be using the surplus in the EI Account to fix EI so that it works for all Canadians.” New Democrats have called for job creation measures to be funded from general revenues instead of EI funds. – 30 –
    Oct 09, 2014 9:48 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    It appears the link to this column that I posted earlier did not work. I hope this works for everyone.
    Oct 08, 2014 2:38 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Here is my speech in the House on the Iraq motion. October 7th, 4:05 p.m. Military Contribution Against ISIL http://openparliament.ca/debates/2014/10/7/alex-atamanenko-1/ ---------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to share this time with my hon. colleague, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. As the Leader of the Opposition stated in this House: There is no more important decision that we make in the House, no more sacred trust for a Prime Minister, than sending young Canadian women and men to fight and risk making the ultimate sacrifice in a foreign war. As a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I believe that the deployment of troops into combat has to be a very last resort, the ultimate decision, when everything else has failed. Afghanistan took a heavy toll on Canadians as a result of a former Liberal government's decision to send our troops into combat in 2005. There has been a lot of discussion as to why we did this. Some say it was to appease the Americans for our lack of support in Iraq. Others say it was to test equipment and combat readiness. The list goes on. This mission was prolonged by the current Conservative government, and according to an article in the Vancouver Sun on October 3, the Afghan Islamist insurgency is not defeated and there is no peace. In addition, sadly, our veterans have not received the necessary help they need, not to mention the 160 who lost their lives. As a result of the western bombing campaign in Libya, there is now a patchwork of warring factions. Many of our allies to topple Gaddafi in 2011 are now fighting for the Islamic state, and North Africa has been destabilized. The terror unleashed today in Iraq is a direct result of the wrong-headed mission in 2003. According to Tom Engelhardt, in an article entitled “How America Made ISIS” on September 2, 2014: In the process, the U.S. effectively dismantled and destroyed state power in each of the three main countries in which it intervened, while ensuring the destabilization of neighboring countries and finally the region itself. Engelhardt goes on to state how the deaths that ran into the hundreds of thousands and the uprooting of millions of people proved to be “jihadist recruitment tools par excellence.” In other words, the U.S. destroyed the Iraqi state, supported the Shia who suppressed the Sunnis to create a welcome situation for ISIS. As our leader has stated: ...it is literally the same insurgent group that U.S. forces have been battling for over a decade. The question before us, therefore, is this. Will Canada be stuck in a prolonged war that we wisely avoided in 2003? We are entering into a bombing mission. Can we be certain that the civilian death toll will not increase? To date, the U.S. has not provided any information about civilian or combatant casualties and is denying on-the-ground reports that civilians are being killed or wounded. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, civilians are dying as a result of the bombing, and Human Rights Watch estimates that, on September 23 alone, 24 civilians were killed in air strikes. Peter Certo, editor of Foreign Policy In Focus, states in an article entitled “Here’s Everything Wrong with the White House’s War on the Islamic State”: War planners are predicting that the latest conflict could rage for three years or longer.... ...U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that IS presently poses no threat to the U.S. homeland. Further, he states: This plan won’t work.... ...you can’t bomb extremism out of existence. In Yemen and Pakistan, al Qaeda has not been destroyed and the drone attacks have recruited more terrorists. Many have said that bombing alone will not win this war. Therefore, some U.S. generals are calling for ground forces. Does this mean that Canada will be drawn into another Afghanistan? To my knowledge, there is no post-bombing plan. Will the Iraqi army, the Shiite militias, or the Kurds take up the call to consolidate control on the ground? In Syria, which rebel forces should the west co-operate with? Will arms delivered to moderate rebel forces wind up in the hands of ISIS? Will Assad triumph in Syria, thanks to U.S. air power? This is an extremely complex conflict into which we are being drawn. The more bombs fall, the more enemies we create. We are not even sure who our friends are. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have given cash to ISIL, and yet they are supposed to be our allies. We are rightly outraged by the atrocities committed by ISIL, yet as pointed out by CBC's Neil Macdonald in a post on September 29, the Congo war has left five million dead, and the west has hardly reacted to the atrocities committed by both government and rebel forces. It gets more confusing. We are reacting to the beheadings committed by ISIL, yet we remain silent when our ally, Saudi Arabia, has so far beheaded 46 people this year, some for sorcery. Can anyone imagine that? Bernard Trainor, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant general, stated the following in an article that was published in The Washington Post. It appeared as well in the September 26 edition of the National Post: The Islamic State presents a problem to be managed, not a war to be won.... The U.S. role should be limited to helping Kurdish forces and the new Baghdad government better organize to keep the pressure on, with U.S. airstrikes contingent on their progress.... The idea of destroying the Islamic State,...is nonsense.... The situation in Mesopotamia is a violent game of mistrust and self-interest. The Saudis despise the Iranians but will cut deals with them if doing so is in their interest. Iran will play any card necessary to achieve regional hegemony, while Turkey is coy about its own quest for pre-eminence. The Gulf states talk out of both sides of their mouths. Syrian dictator Bashar Assad uses the Islamic State to create problems for other rebels. Iraq plays at democracy as long as it can subjugate the Sunnis. Shiites and Sunnis fight each other while carrying on intramural warfare with their kinsmen. The double-dealing is almost endless. It doesn’t make sense to us, but it does to the players. After more than a decade of frustration and humiliation, the United States should have learned that the Middle East is no place for Wilsonianism on steroids. I believe it would be very prudent and in everybody's best interests to let the U.S. attempt to resolve this crisis, as General Trainor suggests. After all, it created this situation in the first place. Our energies and efforts would be much better spent on humanitarian aid. As we have seen in this debate, my party has presented some very concrete and workable suggestions as to how this could be accomplished. In other words, rather than spending something like $40,000 an hour per plane to fly bombing missions, would it not make sense to add this money to the $43 million already committed, justly and rightly, by the government? Thousands, if not millions, of people could receive desperately needed assistance. Since January 14, an estimated 1.8 million people have been displaced, and conditions are worsening every day. According to Peter Certo, the U.S. also has other options. According to him, the U.S. could freeze the bank accounts of IS funders and negotiate partnerships with villages where oil pipelines run to cut Islamic state oil revenue, work with Europe and Turkey to stem the flow of western fighters, and dramatically increase support for UN humanitarian assistance support to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, which have absorbed millions of refugees. The U.S. must recognize that the Islamic State flourishes because of political breakdown on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border. One would think, then, that a priority has to be to build a strong, stable government in Iraq. We could help in this regard. Certo went on to say that on the diplomatic front, the U.S. could work with Syria to convene rebel groups, the regime, Turkey, Iran, Russia and the Gulf States to restart negotiations for a political solution to the war. It could also link its nuclear negotiations with Iran to the political crisis in Iraq. For example, it could allow Iran to enrich uranium for peaceful nuclear power generation in exchange for support to rein in Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. It should be clear to all that there are many options to explore. Instead of blindly jumping into war, Canada could be a leader in offering some creative solutions to this tragic conflict. There is no easy way out, but we must try. We owe it to our men and women in uniform and certainly to the millions of innocent victims already affected by this tragedy.
    Oct 08, 2014 9:18 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Here is my recent column.
    Oct 07, 2014 11:39 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    It was a sad time last Friday at the celebration of life of my friend Dirk Pidcock and also at the funeral Saturday in Castlegar for my friend Mila Richards. Both Dirk and Mila devoted their life to peace and social justice and will be sorely missed. May their souls rest in peace!
    Oct 07, 2014 11:11 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Thanks to Beverly Rintoul, Director of the Rossland Library for inviting me to attend the 75th anniversary celebration. I was very impressed by the service the library provides, as well as plans for the future. Good luck to Jordan in her new job! - Saturday was her first day at work)
    Oct 07, 2014 11:10 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    I hope you will read, vote and share this debate widely!
    Oct 03, 2014 9:12 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 2, 2014 RESPONSE TO UNANIMOUS VETERANS COMMITTEE REPORT IS EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING OTTAWA – At the 120-day deadline, the Minister for Veterans Affairs tabled his response to a unanimous Parliamentary Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) report on the review of the New Veterans Charter, and it is disappointing. “With this response, the federal government is delaying and denying much needed improvements for injured veterans and their families” said the NDP’s Veterans Affairs critic Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore). “The ACVA Committee's report was unanimous in its recommendations and members expected the federal government to move forward immediately on these issues.” Stoffer noted that the ACVA Committee’s recommendations would require a substantial increase in financial and human resources, and it is simply not correct for the federal government to say changes can be met within existing budgets of Veterans Affairs and National Defence. Veterans gave heartbreaking testimony at Committee about the status of veterans’ care. The NDP worked with all parties to submit a unanimous report to Minister Fantino, and this response is the disappointing result. “We have seen study after study identifying ways to improve the Charter – from our parliamentary committee, the Veterans Ombudsman, and many veterans’ organizations” said NDP Veterans Affairs deputy critic Sylvain Chicoine (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant). The studies are done – now is the time for action to assist injured veterans and their families.”
    Oct 02, 2014 9:27 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Oct 01, 2014 4:21 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    CONSERVATIVES VOTE AGAINST MAKING QUESTION PERIOD MORE RELEVANT OTTAWA – The Conservatives don’t believe that Canadians deserve truthful, clear answers and have voted to kill an NDP motion to improve Question Period. “By opposing our motion, the Conservatives have said to Canadians that the government doesn’t have to answer their questions regardless of how legitimate they are. This is quite disappointing,” said NDP House Leader, Peter Julian (Burnaby – New Westminster). Following the Speaker’s recent appeal for assistance in improving the tone of Question Period, the NDP introduced a practical proposal to force ministers to provide concrete answers and ensure that future governments will be held accountable to Canadians. “When buffoonery and personal attacks are the response to legitimate questions on issues like deploying Canadian soldiers on a military mission to Iraq, it’s clear that something is broken in Ottawa and the Conservatives don’t care to fix it,” said Julian.
    Oct 01, 2014 9:43 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    STATEMENT BY THE NDP TO MARK WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH Official Opposition Women’s critic Niki Ashton (Churchill) made the following statement to mark Women’s History Month: “During Women’s History Month, we join with many to celebrate the women who have been changing our world. Incredible women have fought for equality and justice in countless ways. We are proud of the strides women have made, but gender equality is still a long way off. Canadian women still face discrimination. They not only earn less than their male counterparts, they are disproportionately found in precarious, low-paid positions and in poverty. Consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments have failed to implement critical programs like affordable, universally accessible child care – a significant barrier for women. Important supports for advocacy and research to address discrimination have been eliminated. Women and girls continue to be the target of violence and violations of their basic human rights. The Conservative government’s refusal to hold an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women shows callous disregard for Indigenous women. New Democrats believe that women deserve equality and justice. We join with many Canadian women and all Canadians in celebrating Women's History Month and recommitting to the fight for equality.”
    Oct 01, 2014 9:22 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior

September

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    MPndp
    It was great to take part in the Community Appreciation Open House event at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre on Saturday. [Photo L-R back row - New fall/winter student assistant, Michelle Matson; Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Soceity member, Gerry Hoodicoff, and myself. (Front row) KDHS members, Andy Ozeroff; President, Vera Woykin; member, Edna Sapriken; Vice President, Vera Kanigan & Museum Administrator, Lisa Poznikoff. Special guest, Weston Sapriken in front. Missing from photo - KDHS Board Members: Treasurer, Evelyn Voykin; Past President, Peter Perepolkin; members, Natalie Voykin and Cathy Pereverzeff.
    Sep 30, 2014 9:23 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    I was deeply honoured on Friday to be presented a Certificate of Support by Ann Godderis and Jan Morton, Program director at the Lower Columbia Community Accord for ‘Women Creating Change: Working Together to Increase Women’s Access to Economic Opportunity’. [Photo L-R: Ann Godderis, me, Jan Morton]
    Sep 29, 2014 9:41 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Very disappointing end to a great bill. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 25, 2014 CONSERVATIVES OPPOSE ACTION ON CONFLICT MINERALS NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) issued the following statement following the defeat of his private member’s bill on conflict minerals: “Last night, the Conservatives voted against cutting off a significant funding source for some of the most violent extremists in the world who have killed, raped, and injured millions of Congolese women, men, and children. “By voting against Bill C-486, the Conflict Minerals Act, the Conservatives also voted against giving consumers the facts they need to make informed decisions about the products they buy. “Bill C-486 would have required Canadian companies to exercise public due diligence to make sure that minerals in their products do not fund armed groups in central Africa. It would have aligned Canada with international standards on corporate transparency and responsibility in the extractive sector. “I am inspired by the widespread interest and support this bill has generated from thousands of Canadians, as well as civil society and industry organizations. I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to make Canada a leader in ending the trade in conflict minerals. “Minerals may be everywhere, but conflict doesn’t have to be. Together, we can take conflict out of Canadian homes.” – 30 –
    Sep 25, 2014 9:06 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 23, 2014 ATAMANENKO AND CONROY CONGRATULATE CITY OF TRAIL ON AWARD OF 5 BLOOMS CASTLEGAR, BC – BC Southern Interior MP, Alex Atamanenko and Kootenay West MLA, Katrine Conroy congratulate the City of Trail on receiving 5 Blooms in the Communities in Bloom International Challenge. 5 Blooms is the highest award given for each category. “What an achievement! The entire community is responsible for the continuing success of the Communities in Bloom program in Trail. I want to thank the many volunteers and the downtown businesses for all their hard work,” said Atamanenko. “The City of Trail should be very proud of their continued success with the Communities in Bloom program and how well they have done. It is only through the dedication and hard work of the many committed volunteers that the city looks as beautiful as it does,” said Conroy. Trail received a special mention for the IncEDIBLE Green Route Walking Community Garden at the National Symposium and Awards ceremony in Charlottetown, PEI. The Communities in Bloom judges remarked on the abundance and diversity of vegetables being grown on the doorsteps of businesses in the heart of the city. The International Challenge competitors are evaluated by an international jury on the accomplishments and involvement of the community as a whole. Each city is judged on tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas, turf & groundcovers, and floral displays. – 30 –
    Sep 24, 2014 2:37 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    For Immediate Release - September 23, 2014 ATAMANENKO AND CONROY APPLAUD CITY OF CASTLEGAR FOR INTERNATIONAL BLOOM WIN CASTLEGAR, BC – BC Southern Interior MP, Alex Atamanenko and Kootenay West MLA, Katrine Conroy join in congratulating the City of Castlegar on winning the 2014 Communities in Bloom International Challenge. Castlegar received 5 Blooms and competed against other cities across Canada and in Ireland for the overall win in the small category (less than10,000 population). “What an achievement for this team of volunteers who have made such a difference in the appearance of our City! I just learned that this is only the second year they have competed at the international level,” said Atamanenko. Castlegar also received a special mention for Community Involvement in Floral Displays during the 2014 National Symposium and Awards ceremony in Charlottetown, PEI on the weekend. “What an amazing result for the City but also for the volunteers who contributed hours and hours of their time to make the City of Castlegar beautiful. I want to thank the many volunteers for all their hard work,” said Conroy. The International Challenge competitors are evaluated by an international jury on the accomplishments and involvement of the community as a whole. Each city is judged on tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscaped areas, turf & groundcovers, and floral displays. – 30 –
    Sep 24, 2014 2:36 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    During my time here I have seen some bizarre answers in Question Period but this one beats them all. I have come to the conclusion that is is Harper's intention to not only make Parliament irrelevant but to undermine the very institution of democracy. September 23, 2013 ORAL QUESTIONS Foreign Affairs Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I can understand the confusion. We are in the Middle East and we are under the I's, but we are talking about Iraq. It took over a week for the Prime Minister to answer a simple question about the number of troops involved in the Iraqi deployment. It now appears that Canadian soldiers may require visas approved by the Iraqi government. Since this military deployment is still ongoing, and since it is set to conclude in 12 days, precisely how many Canadian soldiers are on the ground in Iraq today? Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, what does the Leader of the Opposition not understand? Our friends in Israel are on the front lines combatting terrorism. When people who work for the NDP, like Alex Anderson, who identifies himself as a fundraiser at Canada's NDP, calls what the Israel Defense Forces are doing an effing genocide, and calls the media BS for not supporting the fact that they call it an effing genocide, what does he not understand? Israel is on the front lines. Canada will continue to support our friends in Israel. We will stand up for peace and security around the world. Unlike them, we are not confused by our position. Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there are rules in the book about question period. You are our arbiter. We ask you to enforce the rules on relevance and on question period. When asked at foreign affairs committee just a couple of weeks ago, the minister said that a status of forces agreement with Iraq outlining operating rules for Canadian forces had not yet been completed. Has that agreement now been completed? If so, when can Canadians see it? Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, again, clearly the Leader of the Opposition does not identify or understand the fact that our friends in Israel are on the front lines combatting terrorism in the region. That is why on this side of the House we support our friends in Israel. Unlike the NDP whose position is all over the place, Canada will stand up for Israel, will stand up for freedom around the world. The NDP supporter calls it an effing IDF, and all those who support it. He claims that the media is ignoring it, and calls it BS. We will stand up for Israel. We will stand up for— Some hon. members: Oh, oh! The Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition. Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP): Mr. Speaker, well, that does not speak very favourably about your neutrality in this House.
    Sep 24, 2014 12:48 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    I hope you will share this widely and use the tool provided to let the government know you will not stand for these attacks on union workers.
    Sep 23, 2014 9:27 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Great bill introduced by Nathan Cullen! FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 23, 2014 NATHAN CULLEN INTRODUCES BILL TO PROTECT PACIFIC NORTHWEST OTTAWA – NDP MP Nathan Cullen (Skeena – Bulkley Valley) has a plan to protect the Pacific Northwest, and today he introduced legislation aimed at settling uncertainty and avoiding conflict around the future of the North Coast, and the threat posed by Enbridge Northern Gateway. "Conservatives have arrogantly refused to listen to the concerns of people in the northwest and across British Columbia,” said Cullen. "From the risks of crude tankers in our northern coastal waters, to shutting communities out of the process and failing to consider the impact on value-added jobs.” Cullen's bill would legislate a ban on supertankers on the North Coast, putting into law for the first time a moratorium that will fully protect the region. The bill also seeks to give communities a stronger voice in pipeline reviews and better consider the impacts of projects on value added jobs. "By shutting out and insulting First Nations and BC communities the Conservatives have made a complete mess of this project,” continued Cullen. "They're failing to look at the long term economic and environmental impact of Northern Gateway, and that's what this bill aims to finally fix.” This fall, Nathan Cullen will be taking his Take Back Our Coast tour across BC, giving people an opportunity to have their say on his bill and the future of our coast and country. – 30 –
    Sep 23, 2014 9:17 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    I used my allotted statement in the House of Commons on Friday to speak my mind on Iraq. September 19th, 11:10 a.m. Mr. Speaker, the tragedy continues to unfold in Iraq. The Bush invasion of 2003 has left a toll of hundreds of thousands dead, millions of people displaced and infrastructure destroyed. According to an editorial in the Chicago Tribune, if Bush and the neo-conservatives had not pushed to topple Saddam, the Islamic State would not have been born. So here we have it. Bush created this mess and the U.S. is now asking other countries for help. No Arab country has offered boots on the ground, and Turkey has refused to let coalition warplanes fly bombing missions from its territory. As Jeffrey Simpson stated in today's Globe and Mail: The West, once again, has stepped into these minefields without having properly identified the nature of the struggle, the ends sought by military intervention and the means necessary to bring those ends about. Our troops should only be put into harm's way as a very last resort. The terms of the current mission are unclear. Deployment of our military to a war zone requires full debate and a vote in Parliament. Canadians deserve better. ********************************************************************
    Sep 22, 2014 9:46 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    STATEMENT ON BY THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE Official Opposition Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa-Centre) made the following statement on the International Day of Peace: “In view of the violence that is currently gripping the planet, this International Day of Peace is a good reminder that our work to promote peace is more important than ever. “New Democrats reaffirm their continued support of the 1984 Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace, which was passed thirty years ago and is this year’s theme. As the declaration states, “the maintenance of a peaceful life for peoples is the sacred duty of each state.” “On this annual day of non-violence and ceasefire, it is crucial that Canada continue to play an active role promoting peace and human rights, so that future generations may live in peace.” – 30 – http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-official-opposition-international-day-peace
    Sep 22, 2014 9:43 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Great article by Linda McQuaig
    Sep 22, 2014 9:18 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Thought I'd share my column regarding climate change.
    Sep 22, 2014 9:11 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Today we achieved a significant feat in the House of Commons! We took over the agenda of the House by having the majority of Members of Parliament on hand to vote; catching the Conservative government completely off-guard. In doing so we managed to force a debate that the Conservatives have been trying to duck for way too long: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. We forced a debate and secured a future vote on the issue, one that the NDP has been a vocal advocate and ally of, inside and outside of the House of Commons. So… what happened, exactly? • Thanks to the patience and hard work of caucus and staff, we had the vast majority of our MPs in the House today. • In a vote of all MPs, our members outnumbered all other parties combined, giving the New Democrats control of the agenda in the House. • Once we secured control of the agenda, Romeo Saganash stood up to move that we concur in the First Report of IFWA on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). • As everyone knows, we have already pledged our commitment to a National Inquiry on MMIW within the first 100 days of an NDP government mandate, and today we once again illustrated our resolve. • Has this ever happened before? Not like this. While majority governments have lost votes a handful of times, it was usually when government MPs voted with the opposition. There is no example in recent memory of an opposition party taking on the majority as a party and winning.
    Sep 19, 2014 12:00 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    This Sunday September 21st , several Canadian cities will hold the Peoples’ Climate March. Please share this petition widely Share NDP’s petition : http://petition.ndp.ca/climate-change
    Sep 19, 2014 9:27 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 18, 2014 STATEMENT BY THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION ON THE REJECTION OF ITS MOTION ON THE FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE Official Opposition Labour critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie) made the following statement after his motion on the federal minimum wage was thrown out: “Rather than support the NDP motion to increase the federal minimum wage, Conservative MPs chose to vote against this commonsense initiative that would have bolstered the income of tens of thousands of Canadian families and helped fight wage inequality across the country. I also noted the unfortunate absence of Justin Trudeau. It seems the issue is not important enough for him to show up in House and display some firm and decisive support for workers in this country. “The Federal Labour Review Commission called for an increase in the minimum wage back in 2006 – an initiative that would have encouraged the provinces to emulate their federal counterpart. “This progressive increase in the minimum wage for federally regulated workers would have also put pressure on companies to follow suit. “The NDP has no intention of dropping this issue and still maintains its promise to restore the federal minimum wage if elected to government next year. “This measure is part of the NDP’s broader push to build a more just and prosperous economy for all Canadians.” -30- http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-official-opposition-rejection-its-motion-federal-minimum-wage
    Sep 18, 2014 1:14 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    Here is what I had a chance to say in the House yesterday. September 16th, 1 p.m. Business of Supply http://openparliament.ca/debates/2014/9/16/alex-atamanenko-1/ ---------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. I had a chance to spend a few weeks in Australia this summer. I went to restaurants, and lo and behold, there was no tipping. I asked why there was no tipping. They said it was because they pay their people more. I found out this morning from my colleague from Hamilton East—Stoney Creek that the minimum wage in Australia is $17.45 an hour. If this can be done in Australia, where its people are making a half-decent living, why can we not do it here? My second question involves small business. Would the member not agree that one of the best guarantees to assist small business is to have people in the community who have money to spend? In other words, if we were to increase the minimum wage, the research has shown that most of this money would stay in the communities and that would help guarantee the survival of the small businesses in the small rural communities that I represent. I would like to get his comments on this.
    Sep 17, 2014 11:57 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    September 16, 2014 STATEMENT ON CANADIAN MILITARY DEPLOYMENT TO IRAQ The Leader of the Official Opposition Tom Mulcair made the following statement today: "Tonight's emergency debate on Canada's military involvement in Iraq must be followed by a parliamentary vote on a clear motion that outlines the details of Canada’s commitment. The Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) poses a serious humanitarian and security threat. Responding to such a threat requires a full assessment of the facts on the ground and a clear understanding of the role that Canada should play. Yet, Stephen Harper and his government have not even answered such basic questions as the number of Canadian troops deployed to Iraq and their role. Stephen Harper's refusal to seek a clear mandate from Parliament for the deployment of Canadian troops in Iraq is a betrayal of his earlier promises to Canadians. In 2006, the Conservative party platform promised that “a Conservative government will […] make Parliament responsible for exercising oversight over the conduct of Canadian foreign policy and the commitment of Canadian Forces to foreign operations.” Again in 2007, his Speech from the Throne reiterated “…our Government has made clear to Canadians and our allies that any future military deployments must also be supported by a majority of parliamentarians.” These promises must be kept. After a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Canadians expect their leaders to approach potential military commitments with prudence and transparency. Many recall that in 2003, Mr. Harper in his role as Opposition leader was keen to join the US invasion of Iraq. It is of particular concern that the government appears incapable of conveying a coherent understanding of the mission's objectives, strategy, costs and timelines. Such vagueness under the Liberals led to almost a decade of mission creep in Afghanistan. Mr. Harper risks repeating these mistakes as he commits Canada to military involvement in Iraq without presenting a clear mandate for Canadian Forces members or securing the consent of Canada's Parliament. At tonight's debate, New Democrats will seek answers to these important questions and reiterate our calls for addressing the humanitarian needs caused by this conflict, combating sexual violence, upholding international humanitarian law and seeking to bring war criminals to justice. We will once again demand that the government put a clear mandate for Canada's military deployment to a vote of Canada's Parliament. Canadians deserve better than a government that cannot - or will not - answer basic questions about our country's military deployment to Iraq." -30- http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-canadian-military-deployment-to-iraq
    Sep 16, 2014 11:59 am | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior
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    MPndp
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 12, 2014 CONSERVATIVES GIVE CHINA CONTROL OVER INVESTMENTS IN CANADA Quiet ratification of FIPA locks Canada into a bad deal for 31 years OTTAWA – After a two year delay, the Conservatives today ratified a controversial Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China that will give China’s state-controlled companies the same protection under the law as private Canadian companies. “Instead of admitting their mistake and getting a deal that actually benefits Canadian companies, the Conservatives have locked Canada into a badly one-sided agreement for the next three decades,” said NDP International Trade critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway). “In effect, it will give China access to, and control over, some of Canada’s natural resources for the next 31 years, and subject Canadian taxpayers to enormous liabilities through investor lawsuits,” he underlined. Davies reiterated the importance of engaging with China and other emerging markets, while providing clear rules that give confidence to investors and also protect and promote Canada’s interests. The FIPA, however, offers business advantages to Chinese companies without giving Canadian companies operating in China the same benefits. New Democrats led the fight against FIPA in Parliament, while the Liberals joined with the Conservatives to support the agreement. “This deal was negotiated in secret, and no wonder – it does nothing to level the playing field and ratifying it is not in Canada’s best interest,” said Guy Caron, Deputy International Trade critic (Rimouski-Neigette–Témiscouata–Les Basques). “Canadians will pay the price for the Conservatives’ incompetent and secretive approach to this FIPA.”
    Sep 12, 2014 1:05 pm | British Columbia, British Columbia Southern Interior

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MP
Alex Atamanenko

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