Mr. Speaker, I believe that we have covered much of the ground my colleague states. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight our government's swift and effective response to the recent disaster in the Philippines brought on by the horrific typhoon.
Canada is the fourth largest contributor to this effort and has been congratulated by the member opposite, who had this to say:
Listen, we are pleased with the government's response, the rather quick response of the department, and today's additional announcement.
The member's colleague from Davenport was also impressed with our response. He said that he thinks this is the right move on the part of the government, that these are the right ways to go, and that they encourage Canadians to take advantage of the matching commitment of the federal government and to donate to charities that are working very hard to get aid on the ground in the Philippines.
Before I finish, I would be remiss if I did not highlight that yesterday I was in Washington at the Global Fund replenishment conference, where Canada announced $650 million to the Global Fund replenishment. We know that the fund is doing very good work. It is working with many of our partners internationally. We congratulate them on that.
The hon. member for Davenport will have eleven and a half minutes remaining in the time provided for his remarks when the House next returns to debate on the motion.
It being 5:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business, as listed on today's order paper.
We are going to resume debate. I will let the hon. member for Davenport know we do not have quite the 20 minutes that he might have expected for his remarks, but it looks as if we have nine minutes or so. Of course he will have the remaining time available when the House next resumes debate on the question.
The hon. member for Davenport.
I would draw to the attention of the member for Davenport that it is not proper to mention any member's name, including the Prime Minister's, as opposed to one's riding.
Mr. Chair, I rise in the House this evening to speak to our government's efficient and successful response to Typhoon Haiyan.
Before I begin, however, I would like to offer my condolences to all those who have been affected by this disaster. They do remain in my thoughts and prayers.
The images we are seeing on a daily basis and the stories of the victims as well as those of their families here in Canada are heart wrenching. The destruction of lives, livelihoods and infrastructure is staggering. General estimates are that the number of those affected is between 10 million and 13 million people in nine regions and that nearly 40% of those affected are from central Visayas.
The UN estimates that some 2.5 million people are in dire need of food assistance. Also, at least 5.1 million workers across the affected areas have lost their livelihoods. As members can see, this is a truly serious situation, and this government has stepped up.
Canada has been standing with the Philippine people from day one of this terrible tragedy. In fact, even before it hit, our government realized the severity and dangers the typhoon posed. Our government reacted pre-emptively to ensure that relief operations would be ready to go as soon as possible.
We allocated $30,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to help them prepare their relief operations. On the day the storm made landfall, November 9, our Canadian government provided $5 million in support for the provision of emergency shelter, water, food and other essential services. On November 10, our government committed itself further to relief efforts when the hon. Minister of International Development announced the Typhoon Haiyan relief fund.
This fund will match the eligible donations Canadians make to registered Canadian charities over a four-week period, and I would just like to correct the record: it is from November 9 to December 9, 2013.
On November 18, the right hon. Prime Minister announced that Canada would contribute $15 million to aid efforts. Now today, the hon. Minister of International Development announced further support of needed supplies that will come from DFATD's emergency stockpile.
This means the contribution of the Government of Canada is the fourth largest in the world to the relief effort. Canada's contribution will increase even further when the matching fund closes. It is encouraging that after only a few days the fund is close to $20 million.
Canadians are generous people. With nearly three weeks to go, imagine how much impact they will end up having toward helping the Filipino people.
It is not only monetary contributions that have made our government's and country's response so effective and successful. On November 13, the right hon. Prime Minister announced that our renowned disaster assistance response team, DART, would deploy to Iloilo. In Iloilo, DART has provided clean water, emergency medical aid and logistical support. The amazing work of the DART cannot be overstated.
I must also commend my colleague, the Minister of National Defence, for the outstanding job he has done in making sure the team responded effectively and continues to do so.
From the very first moment DART set foot in the Philippines, it has been instrumental and successful in providing immediate assistance in this complex humanitarian emergency. I will tell members just a few of the things that DART did yesterday.
Two DART mobile medical teams provided medical services, while another mobile medical team provided similar services in Panay. Also, engineers were clearing the road, one of the many roads they have been clearing so that aid can reach areas that were cut off. In President Roxas in the eastern Capiz province, engineers also set up a water purifier capable of providing 50,000 litres of safe drinking water a day. Since landing in the Philippines, the DART engineering team has also repaired a hospital generator, which has allowed staff to undertake critical surgical operations.
As members can see, the actions of our government and agencies are making a real impact on the ground.
However, please do not take my word alone; hear what others have said about the response and actions of our government.
A vast number of people, organizations and political parties have commended this government. The Filipino secretary of foreign affairs, Albert del Rosario, has thanked Canada for the funds that our government is contributing toward emergency relief activities, the contributions of provincial governments, the deployment of DART and the generous contributions of the Filipino Canadian community.
Yesterday, Ertharin Cousin, the executive director of the World Food Programme, said yesterday, “as of November 18, World Food Programme has scaled-up assistance and reached nearly two million people...in Leyte Province with 1,130 megatons of rice and 11 megatons of high-energy biscuits...Canada's support is essential in meeting immediate needs, so thank you once again”.
I would also like to draw attention to the fact that this was made possible because Canada is the second largest donor to the World Food Programme.
As members can see, Canada's commitment to humanitarian assistance is strong and we will continue in this regard.
Another ringing endorsement came from Hossam Elsharkawi, director of emergencies and recovery at the Red Cross. On the Power & Politics with Evan Solomon show, Mr. Elsharkawi applauded our government's response and the response and generosity of the Canadian people. He said,“This is absolutely welcome news. Canadians have been generous so far. They continue to be generous with this particular disaster and others”.
I am also happy to see that our government's contributions have also been marked by my hon. colleagues across the aisle. On November 14, the member for Davenport said, “[W]e are happy to see that DART has been deployed in the Philippines. We think this is the right move on the part of the government, and also welcome the commitment to expedite visas for those who are in the Philippines who meet the criteria that the government has put. I think that these are the right ways to go”.
On November 18, during a post-question period scrum, the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie echoed her caucus colleague by saying:
“Listen, we are pleased with the government's response, the rather quick response of the department, and today's additional announcement”.
The member for Markham—Unionville also congratulated this government on our response. He said, “I also agree with sending the helicopters there. Don't forget the Philippines is a lot of little islands. It's hard to get around. And I think the short-term response of the government is good”.
Although the House is usually the scene of highly charged party politics, it is good to see that our parties can have the same view when it comes to dealing with a natural disaster. I want to sincerely thank my colleagues for their comments and their support. It is apparent that all parties realize that we must put the safety and well-being of others before everything else, including party politics. That is what has driven our response to help our fellow human being.
This past Sunday, I attended a fundraising event in Mississauga organized by a grassroots group of Filipino Canadians. I congratulate Julius and his team of volunteers who organized a lively program of music, dance and martial arts demonstrations to keep the audience engaged. The money they raised will be given to World Vision to help the relief efforts. It was wonderful to see so many Canadians come together out of the goodness of their hearts and contribute. It showed that the response to this horrible tragedy has been a full team effort.
This government, our military and, most important, the Canadian people have shown that we all will do what we have to ensure that those affected by this tragedy get the necessary aid.
The electoral district of Davenport (Ontario) has a population of 104,615 with 66,189 registered voters and 176 polling divisions.
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