December 2016 Update from Catherine McKenna

By Catherine McKenna, MP, Ottawa Centre

It’s hard to believe that on Oct. 19 we celebrated the first anniversary of the 2015 federal election.

Although my portfolio as a cabinet minister has been front and centre in recent months, I remain very much focused on Ottawa Centre and working with the amazing individuals and organizations that are doing so much to improve quality of life in the riding.

In just one year, we have compiled many great achievements for Ottawa Centre. We recently published a first-year status report that includes highlights of the work done on behalf of constituents and accomplishments related to promises I made during last year’s election campaign. This status report is available on my Hard copies are available from my community office.

Through Coffee with Catherine and town hall events, I have had thought-provoking discussions with hundreds of Ottawa Centre residents. I really appreciate that so many of you have taken time out of your busy schedules to talk to me about issues that are really important to you. My office will continue to publicize upcoming events at and through social media.

With Parliament back in session, Question Period has become a significant focal point. If you would like to obtain tickets to a future Question Period session, please complete the form on my website or call my Parliament Hill office at 613-996-5322.

Ratification of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations
From the earliest days of our government’s mandate, as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I have been invested in the Paris Agreement. Last December, I led Canada’s delegation to the United Nations Climate Change conference COP21, where our country played an instrumental role in reaching a historic treaty to keep the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. Canada fought to make sure Indigenous rights were recognized in the Agreement by all 195 countries that signed on. I was there when Canada signed the Paris Agreement on April 22, Earth Day.

On Oct. 5, Parliament voted to support Paris ratification, true to our commitment to do so this year. Once again, Canada is a leader in taking action on climate change. Our support brought the world over the threshold of 55 countries accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions needed to bring the Paris Agreement into force.

Here at home, we continue to work for Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, businesses, and the provinces and territories. We remain committed to developing a Canadian plan for clean growth and climate change to support families and businesses in making our country cleaner and more competitive.

Electoral Reform Consultation
Our electoral system is the basis of our democracy. It shapes the way our government operates and makes decisions. However, with the exception of the most recent election, since the 1980s, voter participation rates in federal elections has declined. National levels fell as low as 58 percent in 2008. One of the main reasons appears to be our current first-past-the-post voting system.

On Oct. 11, I hosted a discussion about electoral reform at the Tom Brown Arena. Some 150 participants enthusiastically shared their ideas on this very important topic. It was great to hear constituents from Ottawa Centre express their views on our current system and the principles they would like to see form the foundation of the electoral system of the future.

I joined other MPs from across the country in sending a report, including feedback and ideas from our consultations, to the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Reform.

A Special Committee on Electoral Reform was also struck by the House of Commons in June. Its mandate is to identify and conduct a study of viable voting systems to replace the first-past-the-post system, as well as to examine mandatory voting and online voting, and to assess how such options could advance the following principles for electoral reform:

• effectiveness and legitimacy;
• engagement;
• accessibility and inclusiveness;
• integrity; and
• local representation.

The committee will release a report including recommended electoral changes and additional methods to engage with Canadians.

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