The former broadcaster hopes to capture Vancouver Kingsway for Team Trudeau
1. How will the federal government’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy support women’s businesses?
It’s a $2-billion investment that aims to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025 by increasing their access to financing, talent, networks and expertise. There are 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, and only 16 percent of them are owned by women. That has to change. It’s good for the bottom line when women have economic empowerment. It should be a priority for everybody—it doesn’t matter if they’re a man or a woman.
2. How can businesses be more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities?
For the first time in 30 years, we are putting in significant legislation for the inclusion of people with disabilities. The goal is to make accessibility a reality across federal jurisdiction so that all people with abilities and disabilities can fully participate and be included within society. The government is going to provide $290 million over six years to further the objectives that are coming in this new legislation, so that’s a huge investment for people with disabilities.
We have a son with a disability, so this Bill C-81 is a big deal for families like mine. People with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world: 22 percent of the population in Canada—six million people aged 15 and over—identifies as having a disability.
3. What else needs to change?
It’s OK to have the Accessible Canada Act, but then we have to work at all levels to change the culture of how we treat people with disabilities. When we talk about businesses and what they can do, it’s about creating communities, workplaces and services that allow everyone to participate fully without any barriers. When you’re hiring and looking at everybody equally, our expectations of a lot of people with disabilities are really low. That’s not fair, and we’ll never be able to change the culture if we don’t hire people with disabilities for jobs that they can do just because it might be a little extra work.
4. How would you protect the environment while boosting the economy?
The Liberal government was elected on a plan to grow the economy and protect the environment. We are supporting a clean-growth economy through $26.9 billion of green infrastructure investment, which will help reduce emissions and create middle-class jobs for Canadians. The government is moving forward with the Trans Mountain expansion project in the right way through meaningful consultations because we know it’s important to diversify to markets beyond the United States to get a fair price for our resources.
We are banning single use plastics by 2021. The government has launched the Oceans Protection Plan, the single largest investment in Canadian history to protect our oceans. It’s $1.5 billion. We have the longest coastline in the world in Canada, so the Oceans Protection Plan is the big one when it comes to environmental protection, and with the pipeline, we need to develop the vital infrastructure that is critical to getting our resources to global markets while safeguarding the environment and combatting climate change.
5. How do you propose addressing the problem of housing affordability?
We have our first-ever national housing strategy. It’s a 10-year, $40-billion plan, reducing chronic homelessness by 50 percent. It’s creating 100,000 new housing units, repairing and renewing more than 300,000 housing units, and protecting an additional 385,000 households from losing an affordable place to call home. Right across the country, we’re concerned about not being able to own our own home or have enough houses for people. That’s why we’re taking concrete steps to make sure that home ownership remains an achievable dream, not a privilege afforded only to wealthy people.
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