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Jul 22, 2014 at 09:29 PM

Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage


Government of Canada Introduces Legislation to Protect Children from Predators and Exploitation
Feb 27, 2014 at 02:46 PM

Ministers MacKay and Blaney Table Legislation Geared at Crimes Against Children

In support of the Government of Canada’s commitment to standing up for victims of crime, Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduced comprehensive legislation to better protect children from a range of sexual offences and exploitation at home and abroad.

These nine new measures, introduced in the House of Commons today, reflect the government’s commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to re-establish Canada as a country where those who break the law are punished for their actions, where prison time matches the severity of crimes committed, and where the most vulnerable victims – children – are better protected.

The legislation includes nine key measures:

  • Requiring those receiving separate sentences at the same time for contact child sexual offences against multiple children to serve their sentences consecutively– one after another;
  • Requiring those sentenced at the same time for child pornography offences and contact child sexual offences to serve their sentences consecutively;
  • Increasing maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences;
  • Increasing penalties for violation of conditions of supervision orders;
  • Ensuring that a crime committed while on house arrest, parole, statutory release or unescorted temporary absence is an aggravating factor at sentencing;
  • Ensuring that spousal testimony is available in child pornography cases;
  • Requiring registered sex offenders to provide more information regarding travel abroad;
  • Enabling information-sharing on certain registered sex offenders between officials responsible for the National Sex Offender Registry and at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); and
  • Establishing a publicly accessible database of high-risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of a public notification in a provincial/territorial jurisdiction to assist in ensuring the safety of our communities.


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Canada Champions Education for Children in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries
Feb 28, 2014 at 03:20 PM

Emphasis on strengthening access to quality education and providing safe learning environments

During a panel discussion co-hosted by Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Global Partnership for Education, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, the Honourable Christian Paradis, emphasized today that Canada, working with its experienced partners, is ensuring that children, especially girls, have access to quality education and safe places to learn, play and grow.

“Canada recognizes that education is crucial to improving the future of children and youth, especially for those who are living in difficult circumstances,” said PS Brown. “Access to quality education has a life-saving and life-changing impact, and can play a role in accelerating progress in fragile states.”

Close to 200 humanitarian, development and education specialists participated in ‘Education at the Margins: Reaching Children in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States’, a panel discussion focused on how to best support education in conflict-affected and fragile states. More than half of the 57 million children who are not attending school live in such countries.

“Education provides hope for millions of people trying to overcome the detrimental effects of conflict and to improve their quality of life,” said Khalil Z. Shariff, Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada. “But physical buildings alone do not provide a solution. Quality education—from pre-primary through to university—requires knowledgeable teachers, community support and government commitment.  Aga Khan Foundation Canada, working with the Government of Canada, is transforming the lives of vulnerable children through its education programming.”

“The Global Partnership for Education is uniquely suited to have an impact in fragile and conflict-affected states,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education. “In 2013, nearly 50 percent of our funding went to fragile countries and those affected by conflict.”

“The Government of Canada is an important member of the Global Partnership for Education and is active on its Board of Directors and technical committees. We are looking forward to continuing our productive cooperation with Canada. Education is the cornerstone for success in most endeavours to improve health, lower child mortality rates, strengthen civil society, and defuse conflict. Without it, gains in economic opportunity and the eradication of inequalities are elusive.”

 “In conflict-affected and fragile states, education provides an important safe space, a sense of normalcy for children, a forum for reconciliation and peace, as well as hope for the future,” said David Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer, UNICEF Canada. “Canada has been a committed partner in education and we look forward to continuing our work together to ensure all children, especially those that are hardest to reach, have access to quality education.”

Quick Facts

  • Canada is improving access to quality basic education and providing safe learning environments for children living in conflict-affected and fragile states such as Afghanistan, Syria, Haiti, Mali and Pakistan.
  • Canada supports education in fragile states through the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), the lead international network in this field.
  • Canada partners with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which works in 28 fragile states. Since 2008, Canada has contributed $106.4 million to the GPE, helping to ensure that all children to receive quality education and can grow up better able to contribute to their nation’s security, prosperity and sustainable development.
  • Canada has committed $50 million for education and child protection activities in support of the ‘No Lost Generation’ campaign, an initiative led by UNICEF and various non-governmental organizations to protect the future of children affected by the Syrian crisis.
  • Education remains one of Canada’s largest sectors of investment in Afghanistan. Canada’s education efforts in Afghanistan have contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of girls enrolled in schools across the country, and have contributed to peace and security in the country.
  • Canada, in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, is strengthening pre-primary and primary education systems in East Africa, and is supporting girls’ education in Afghanistan, strengthening teacher training and education in Pakistan, and improving learning outcomes for disadvantaged children in India.

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PM sending Canadian delegation to Ukraine
Feb 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Canada will be sending a delegation to Ukraine on February 28, 2014.

The Canadian delegation, which will include parliamentarians, community leaders and government officials – led by John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs – will meet with members of the anticipated Ukrainian transitional government and civil society.

Quick Facts

  • On December 11, 2013, Prime Minister Harper issued a statement condemning Ukrainian authorities’ use of riot police against peaceful protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square and urging the government to respect and protect the rights of its citizens.
  • On February 14 and 18, 2014, Minister Baird announced Canadian assistance to provide medical care and supplies for Ukrainian activists.
  • On February 15, Minister Baird welcomed the release of detained opposition, and on February 18, he called on all sides to show restraint and to cease all acts of violence immediately.
  • On February 20, 2014, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada had imposed an expanded travel ban preventing senior members of the Ukrainian Government and other individuals, who bear political responsibility for the violence, from travelling to Canada.
  • On February 21, 2014, Minister Baird welcomed the agreement between the Ukrainian Government and opposition leaders, including the Maidan council, to bring an end to months of repression and violence and hold early presidential elections.
  • On February 22, 2014, Minister Baird issued a statement welcoming political change in Ukraine, including an agreement to cease violence, institute constitutional change, provide full amnesty for protesters, and move towards a coalition government and early elections. He also welcomed the release of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
  • On February 24, 2014, Minister Baird issued a statement welcoming the confirmation of Oleksander Turchinov as Ukraine’s acting President.
  • The Government of Canada continues to stand with the Ukrainian people in their fight for a free and democratic country.

Statement by M.P. Rick Dykstra - Feb 23, 2014

"Today, I, along with my constituents of Ukrainian decent and indeed all Canadians, watched in horror as the government of Ukraine attacked its own citizens- killing a reported 5 people. Those responsible for these acts of violence and repression must be brought to justice.  As Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated yesterday, the Government of Canada, along with the international community, is considering all options. We must ensure that the democratic space in Ukraine is protected and those who infringe this space be held accountable.  I encourage the Government of Canada to defend the interests of Ukrainians who want to live in a society where they have the opportunity to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their children; in a country that respects democratic values and the rule of law. Canada was the first country to recognize Ukraine's freedom from the USSR. Canada will stand up once again for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and support them as they struggle to move towards a more fair and free society.”

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