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Working hard for you in the House of Commons

Jun. 29th 2021

Summer in Manitoba is finally here, and we are within reach of getting back to normal life.

Hallelujah! This is welcome news following a busy parliamentary session representing you in Ottawa.

I was proud to work with disability advocates to restore $4 million in funding for non-profit organizations that serve Canadians with disabilities like blindness or low-vision, Parkinson’s and cerebral palsy, who depend on accessible reading materials available at no cost at local libraries across the country. I am thankful for the efforts of advocates across Canada that supported my efforts to ensure this vital service is maintained during the pandemic.

Additionally, I have been advocating for maternity benefits for pregnant women. Sadly, the Liberals have failed to accommodate pregnant women who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and as a result went on employment insurance, like millions of Canadians. I have sounded the alarm directly with the minister responsible for EI, that many pregnant women will be cut off and left with no income because of current government policies.

The pandemic has also shown us the importance of adequate sickness benefits. It is unreasonable to expect Canadians battling serious illnesses to fully recover in 15 weeks. I believe that a permanent extension of EI sickness benefits, the first since 1971, to 52 weeks would allow Canadians who are battling cancer, to have more time to recover and heal, while maintaining a connection to the job market.

Unfortunately, the Liberal government has not supported either of these important initiatives but, rest assured, I will continue to advocate relentlessly for you and your loved ones.

Thank you to the local residents who responded to my survey on large-scale medical cannabis grow-ops operating in residential neighbourhoods in Kildonan–St. Paul. The community spoke loud and clear to call for the closure of a loophole in Health Canada regulations that allows hundreds of plants to be grown in our neighbourhoods far in excess of what a patient could consume.

We know that medical cannabis can be grown safely, but the existence of this loophole has resulted in multi-million-dollar busts of illicit large-scale grow-ops in Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, and we cannot allow that criminal activity to take root in our community.

Unsustainable spending jeopardizes future

May 6th 2021

As Canada waits for more vaccines during the third wave of COVID-19, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what’s at stake in this health and economic crisis.

I have spoken to many parents in Kildonan–St. Paul who tell me their young children are depressed and do not want to eat; seniors have been emotional with me on the phone, saying they do not want to spend their last few months or years on this earth locked in their small apartments away from their grandchildren; and business owners have cried to me on the phone as their small businesses fell apart with the shutdowns.

It seems that countries which more successfully procured vaccines have been able to prevent the level of death and hospitalizations and economic closures that Canada is experiencing. In this regard, Canadians are paying the price for Liberal mismanagement of the pandemic. 

After waiting over two years for the federal budget, the longest period in Canadian history, the Liberal’s Budget 2021 failed to provide Canadians with a real plan to secure Canada’s future.

The budget contained the largest added debt in Canadian history and predicts that our federal debt will grow to $1.4 trillion by 2026. This means that in a few short years, Canada will have doubled the debt that took over 150 years to create.

Despite this unbelievable spending and the financial instability it creates for future generations, the Liberal budget failed to provide a clear plan to give Canadians confidence that we will recover from this health and economic crisis. 

Canadians want a recovery plan that safely re-opens our economy, gets them back to work, and brings back their free lives.

Erin O’Toole and Canada’s Conservatives will implement a Canada recovery plan that secures one million jobs, introduces strong accountability and anti-corruption policies, safeguards the mental health of Canadians, ensures Canada is equipped with everything it needs for future pandemics, and responsibly balances the budget over 10 years.

I have been inspired by the resilience and strength of the people of Kildonan–St. Paul. As member of Parliament, I will continue to fight for the supports our community needs and seek accountability from the Liberal government.

We will meet our challenges together

Mar. 9th 2021

This past year has been very challenging. I have spoken to many of you personally about the difficulties you have faced. Whether you’re a senior suffering from extreme loneliness, a parent homeschooling your children while working remotely, or a small business owner who had to close your doors permanently, the pandemic has changed all of our lives. 

Fears for the health and safety of our most vulnerable remain a major concern in our community and some of our neighbours are grieving the tragic loss of loved ones. We know that 96 per cent of COVID-19 deaths have been those 60 years and older, and yet Canada is behind 50 other countries for vaccinations by population. The Liberal government’s record on getting vaccines distributed to the provinces is unacceptable - our seniors deserve better. 

Thankfully, the Province of Manitoba has announced that as of March 1, seniors 92 years and older, and First Nations people 72 years of age and older can now book appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

This is the beginning of a vaccination campaign to inoculate hundreds of thousands of Manitobans who wish to receive the vaccine, and an important step towards seeing our friends and family, attending sports games, and enjoying community events once again. 

However, there are many critical issues facing Canadians in addition to the federal government’s slow vaccine rollout. With $400 billion of pandemic deficit spending at the federal level, and millions of people losing their jobs, many of you have expressed concerns about what this incredible debt burden and troubled economy means for your future. 

As we hit the one-year anniversary since pandemic measures began, one thing that unites everyone is we want our lives back. 

Canada’s Conservatives are focusing our attention on securing the future. Unfortunately, although Canada has spent the most on emergency measures, we are lagging behind our G7 allies in our recovery. We need to get our economy back on track safely and we need a plan to get us there. 

Canadians deserve clarity on vaccine delivery

Feb. 10th 2021

As we near March 12, the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed case  in Manitoba, my thoughts are with the families of the over 800 Manitobans who have died of COVID-19. 

I am also thinking of those in our community who are struggling with the loss of a loved one during this pandemic from other causes, as the pandemic has affected how we are able to gather and comfort one another over the past year - it has not been easy. 

Last week, Manitoba reached a welcome milestone - all residents of licensed personal care homes who wished to be vaccinated for COVID-19 have received their first doses of the vaccine. The vaccination effort is a complex undertaking and I want to thank our front-line health-care workers and support staff in personal care homes who are caring for our elderly during the pandemic. 

Vaccines are an important tool to help us get back to normal and protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19. 

I have heard from many of you who are increasingly frustrated by the delays in vaccine delivery and by the continued restrictions. Originally, lockdowns and restrictions were put in place to provide governments time to get permanent solutions in place, such as vaccines, rapid testing, variant testing capacity and therapeutics. 

A year into this pandemic, the federal Liberal government should be providing clarity and hope to Canadians as to when and how we will return to normal. For example, what percentage of Canada’s population must be vaccinated before we open up? Canadians deserve these answers.

Further, Canada has seen dramatic reductions in vaccine shipments, while countries such as France, the U.S. and the U.K. have not. Every day without more vaccines is a day of more restrictions, uncertainty, and deaths from COVID-19. 

While it is welcome news that Canada will finally be moving forward on making vaccines domestically, it is clear that the Liberal government was late in ramping up Canada’s domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity. 

Canada’s Conservatives want our government to succeed in getting COVID-19 vaccines to all Canadians that want one.

We cannot secure jobs, our economy, or our future until this happens. We are calling on the Liberals to give Canadians a clear plan and the information they deserve. I will continue to press for clarity on these important issues.

We got through 2020 by supporting each other

Jan. 15th 2021

We have just left a very difficult year behind us. The COVID-19 pandemic upended many of our lives.

We had to rethink the holidays, Christmas and New Year’s traditions. We’ve been unable to gather with loved ones or visit our favourite stores, restaurants, and entertainment spots. Many small businesses in Manitoba are struggling or have closed their doors forever, impacting thousands of people who had good, stable jobs.

After hundreds of phone conversations with many of you over the past few months, I know that worry and anxiety are touching families in every part of our community.

However, through the challenges, the community has shown how resilient we are. Countless local charitable groups, places of worship, seniors’ centres, private citizens and small businesses have stepped up and adapted to the pandemic to help out our neighbours in need.

I recently had the opportunity to support local businesses through a community-based initiative in East St. Paul that organized the purchase of gift cards from our local businesses. Almost $9,000 was raised, and I am so proud of the giving nature of our neighbours.

Canadians have had each other’s backs, and Conservatives have had yours.

Since the start of the pandemic, we worked with the government to pass crucial support measures and made constructive recommendations whenever we could.

I advocated for a significant increase to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy from 10 per cent to 75 per cent to our local businesses so they could keep workers employed. I called for major reforms to the Liberals’ commercial rent relief program and to the Canada Emergency Business Account loan that left out local small businesses as they struggled to keep their doors open in 2020. Thankfully, the Liberal government listened to this advocacy and implemented these changes.

In 2021, Conservatives will continue to fulfil our duty as the official Opposition and hold the Liberal government to account to deliver a coherent plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to every Canadian who wants one, rapid-testing, and financial support to those in need.

I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to represent the strong and resilient community of Kildonan-St. Paul in the House of Commons. Under the leadership of Erin O’Toole, my colleagues and I are working hard every day to ensure Canada doesn’t just survive this pandemic — but thrives afterwards. You deserve no less.

Help support those in need in our community

Dec. 10th 2020

This year, the holiday season will look quite different. As we prepare to celebrate safely at home, I encourage everyone to love thy neighbour and support those in need in our community. 

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet with incredible local organizations that provide physical, spiritual and mental health supports to our community’s most vulnerable. 

Harvest Manitoba, formerly Winnipeg Harvest, will prepare thousands of hampers to be distributed across Manitoba. Harvest has seen a dramatic 30 per cent increase in the number of people needing food hampers since the pandemic economic lockdowns began. It quickly adapted its efforts and has been hard at work ensuring food hampers are delivered safely. 

At a recent visit to Siloam Mission, I toured the newly opened Buhler Centre that supports those suffering from homelessness. This addition to the mission provides room for more beds, an expanded health centre, and more space for mental health, employment readiness and spiritual care supports.

During Thanksgiving weekend in October, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Union Gospel Mission as it hosted a socially distanced Thanksgiving dinner for guests at the mission. As the colder months approach, Union Gospel Mission is sharing sleeping bags, winter coats and gloves, hand warmers, toques and boots, with those in need.

I saw first-hand the dedication of staff and volunteers at Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre at Syd Glow Place, who have found innovative ways to continue engaging seniors facing extreme isolation because of the pandemic. They have created a meal program that delivers hundreds of hot meals to seniors in need in Winnipeg. They also shifted their programming online to help seniors stay connected.

Two more incredible organizations I have had the privilege of touring and learning about, are the Knowles Centre and Marymound, which are located right in Kildonan-St. Paul. These organizations provide youth a safe place to live with 24-hour professional support that provides them with opportunities to overcome unfortunate challenges they have faced. The young people gain skills for independence and a sense of belonging, while taking part in the educational and therapy programs offered.

I am proud to represent such a generous community in Kildonan-St. Paul. Together, we can help each other find strength and hope as we navigate this challenging time and do our part to support these organizations that are making a difference in our community.

 Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

New ways to commemorate, remember veterans

Nov. 13th 2020

This year, Remembrance Day ceremonies looked quite different, A the ongoing pandemic meant we were not able to gather as a community to hold Remembrance Day ceremonies for the first time in 100 years.  However, I am proud that our community found creative ways to show support for our veterans and respect for the fallen; those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live free.

We wear poppies as a symbol of remembrance, reverence and support. I was encouraged to see many constituents wearing their poppies out in the community, showing their support online and observing a moment of silence at home through the #DoorstepRemembrance campaign. We must never forget the sacrifices made by our veterans, and our brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces currently serving around the world. 

Unfortunately, the poppy campaign and legions across Canada have experienced revenue shortfalls during the pandemic and, as a result, revenues that support services for our veterans have been negatively impacted. I encourage everyone make to a generous donation to the Henderson Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 15 to support veterans in our community. 

It is important to find new ways to safely come together to fight isolation and strengthen community bonds. Over the past several weeks, I have had the special honour to meet virtually with various constituents and local faith-based organizations. In particular, I have met with several faith leaders who serve congregants across Kildonan-St. Paul. These meetings have allowed me to hear first-hand the challenges facing our community and our places of worship during the pandemic. I also recognize the critical role the faith community plays in serving Kildonan-St. Paul’s most vulnerable residents during this unprecedented time. I will continue to advocate for better support and recognition of the faith community in Kildonan-St. Paul.  

At the end of last month, I was pleased to host a drive-through Halloween trick-or-treat celebration at my constituency office to hand out treats to kids and their parents on their way home from school. It was truly heartwarming to see the smiles on the faces of children excited to dress up for Halloween and I was pleased to provide a safe and fun activity on behalf of the parents and grandparents of Kildonan-St. Paul. Thank you to everyone who came out to participate; you made this event a success. 

Throne speech must take a prudent approach

Sep. 18th 2020

If recent media reports are to be believed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are preparing to announce billion of dollars of new spending in the speech from the throne on Sept. 23. 

This is concerning to many taxpayers as the federal pandemic response has already added over $300 billion to our annual deficit, which is not sustainable without massive tax hikes and cuts to essential services. Further, some of the Liberal government’s pandemic support programs have been poorly designed, ineffective, and benefit their well-connected friends and families. The $912 million WE charity scandal is a good example of this. 

How are Canadians supposed to have confidence in the Prime Minister when he is being investigated for a third ethics violation and the WE charity scandal is still being investigated? Canadians deserve better. 

Erin O’Toole, the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is ready to hold the Liberals to account for their mismanagement of the pandemic and their corruption scandals. I am especially honoured to be a part of Erin’s team and to serve as the new shadow Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for the official Opposition. Part of my new role will be to hold the Liberal government to account on its immigration policy and to usher in a new chapter in the Conservative Party’s approach to immigration.

 

We know Manitoba and Canada benefit economically from a strong, fair, and orderly immigration system. Canadians are also compassionate people who care about helping those in need of refuge and those seeking freedom, security and better economic opportunity in Canada. Kildonan-St. Paul has welcomed newcomers for generations, and I have seen first-hand the jobs created by small businesses owned by newcomer Canadians, as well as the childcare support that reunited families provide in the community.   

Proud to serve the community in hard times

Aug. 21th 2020

It has been a busy summer serving Kildonan–St. Paul residents as your member of Parliament. I have been out in the community meeting with local child-care centers, seniors’ homes, small businesses and my provincial and civic counterparts to hear first-hand how the pandemic has impacted our community. 

I have participated in "virtual" parliamentary committees on numerous occasions and travelled to Ottawa three times over the spring and early summer to advocate on your behalf on the floor of the House of Commons. Unfortunately, because the Liberals suspended Parliament months ago, much of our Opposition powers to hold the Liberal government to account have been weakened.  

Nevertheless, Conservatives are not ones to give up easily, and I have worked tirelessly over these past five difficult months to make important changes to Liberal programs that were needed by our community. Some of those changes include help for small businesses to keep their doors open and support their employees, and support for those who struggled to access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. 

No leadership from the prime minister creates a lack of confidence for businesses to invest and create jobs in Canada, and for employees and all Canadians to make plans for their financial futures. Prime Minister Trudeau recently prorogued Parliament until Sept. 23, which is very bad news for our democracy as it makes it nearly impossible for Opposition members to provide proper scrutiny on the $300-plus billion of spending over the past five months, and we are now seeing many problems with government programs come to light. Scrutiny is needed more than ever.  

 Despite an unstable and scandal-plagued Liberal government, I will continue to be steadfast in my resolve to strongly advocate for your needs as your member of Parliament. If you have any questions or need assistance with accessing federal programs, please do not hesitate to contact me at Raquel.Dancho@parl.gc.ca or 204-984-6322. 

 I will be facilitating a Back-2-School supply initiative to provide backpacks filled with the core school supplies to students in need in our community. I encourage all Kildonan-St. Paul residents to drop off new, unused school supplies at my constituency office located at Unit B-27 Red River Blvd.

It’s time to celebrate our resilience

Jun. 30th 2020

Like many other events in our community, Canada Day celebrations have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The past few months have been difficult for everyone.


Thankfully, people from all walks of life have stepped up to the challenge in a true sprit of Canadian resilience and innovation to help us through the first wave.  

Health-care workers, grocery store clerks, first responders and many others have demonstrated through their service what it means to love thy neighbour. Churches, gurdwaras, synagogues, care homes, schools, and hundreds of small businesses in Kildonan-St. Paul have, despite being forced to drastically change their daily routines, risen to the occasion in service to our community. This commitment to support our most vulnerable represents the very best of Canada and inspires so many newcomers from around the world to settle in our community.

This Canada Day is very special to me, as it is my first as your member of Parliament. I am honoured to represent you in the House of Commons during this unprecedented time in world history. I have spoken to parents, students, essential workers and hundreds of other constituents facing significant challenges to their emotional wellbeing and severe economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. I am working hard to deliver results for them and advocate for all residents.

Canada Day is also an opportunity to remember the sacrifice of Canada’s veterans and the heroes who gave their lives on the battlefield in service to our country. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces who continue to serve around the world deserve our heartfelt gratitude for their dedication and duty to Canada.

Although parades, fireworks, and Legion barbecues are on hold until next year, I am pleased to host a socially-distanced drive-thru meet-and-greet for local families at my constituency office from 10 a.m. to noon on Weds., July 1. There will be free Canada Day treats and goodies for the kids.

We are located at Unit B-27 Red River Blvd. West in Winnipeg.

The strength and resolve of our community members in the face of an unprecedented global health crisis inspires me to work hard everyday on behalf of Kildonan-St. Paul seniors, families and youth, including our recent grads who have not been able to celebrate their achievement in a typical fashion. I wish them every success and happiness as they start the next chapters of their lives.

God bless Canada.

Working to represent your interests

Jun. 8th 2020

Over the last two months, Canadians have experienced extraordinary challenges. As your member of Parliament, I have spoken with many individuals, families and small-business owners in Kildonan-St. Paul and have been hard at work advocating for your needs.

Everyone has felt the impact of the pandemic in one way or another, and the uncertainty of the future has left many of us with a significant sense of unease. The financial impact on many of our neighbours and local businesses has been extreme, and the health implications of the virus have isolated us from one another and impacted our overall well-being. COVID-19 has fundamentally altered our way of life and we will feel the impacts for years to come.

As Canada’s official Opposition, the Conservatives are working hard to navigate these unchartered waters, listen to the needs of Canadians, and push the government to ensure the best solutions and strategies are put forward and implemented effectively. The government has made missteps and spent over $200 billion in two months — a staggering amount of money at an extraordinary speed. There has been relatively little oversight or accountability on this spending and that has been very concerning for taxpayers.

I continue to hear from many small business owners who are unsure if they will make it through this crisis. I have strongly advocated for local businesses who were unable to qualify for emergency support because of arbitrary red tape. We are beginning to see many of our favourite neighbourhood small businesses go bankrupt and close permanently. This is especially concerning for Manitoba as small business employs 73 per cent of private sector workers or 286,000 people across the province.

Additionally, I have advocated for supports and job opportunities for students and graduates who have been unable to find summer jobs. Seniors, expectant mothers and those struggling to transition from EI to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and many others facing challenges as a result of this pandemic, have been the top priority of my local constituency office. I am so glad we have been able to make real, positive change for Kildonan-St. Paul constituents.

We continue to assist constituents that require support or have questions on federal matters.

Critical projects delayed for far too long

Feb. 27th 2020

As your Member of Parliament, I have been working hard to advance your priorities in the community and in Ottawa. 

Locally to date, I have met with several provincial cabinet ministers, Winnipeg city councillors, and the mayors of East St. Paul and West St. Paul, to discuss how we can work together to bring much-needed infrastructure dollars to our community. 

Critical infrastructure projects have been delayed for far too long. The North End wastewater treatment plant is nearing the end of its life cycle and needs to be replaced. The plant treats 70 per cent of Winnipeg’s wastewater and its replacement cannot be pushed off any longer. The Chief Peguis Trail extension to Centreport is a key element of Winnipeg’s inner ring road and was first proposed over 50 years ago. Kildonan – St. Paul residents have been clear — they want to see these two projects move forward without delay. 

In addition to advocating for infrastructure in our community, I have been happy to attend a variety of local events and meet you, the residents of Kildonan–St. Paul. 

One of the most memorable events was ‘I Love to Read Month,’ where I visited students in the River East Transcona School Division and the Seven Oaks School Division and read The Little Boy from Jamaica, authored by Kildonan–St. Paul constituents Devon and Pearlene Clunis. The book is about Devon’s inspiring journey to become the first Black Police Chief in Canadian History. Seeing the smiles on the faces of students as they heard this powerful story was truly a highlight. 

On Feb. 14, I handed out Valentine’s to seniors of River Ridge II and the Donwood Manor Personal Care Home. I was pleased to bring greetings and to spend time listening to the concerns of residents. Everyone was looking festive in pink and red outfits during an afternoon of activities organized by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers to celebrate the day. 

Having the responsibility of representing such a wonderful, hard-working, and steadfast community in Ottawa is something I take very seriously. I am working hard to represent you in the House of Commons and hold the government to account on your behalf.