House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2007
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the best summary of the budget , and the one we hear most often from people, is how so little could have been done with so much money. The Liberal Party left the government with the best fiscal situation in Canadian history and the Conservativefinance minister has spent the largest amount of money ever, much to the shock of Canadians across the country. The Conservatives cut government programs and expenditures supposedly to be more efficient and now Canadians have learned that the Conservatives have made the greatest expenditures in Canadian history. Many Canadians will not benefit, or will benefit very little, from any of those huge expenditures.

One of the previous speakers today told us about a survey on the finance minister's website asking Canadians if they benefited from the budget. Ninety-three per cent of Canadians apparently said that they had not benefited. Where did all that money go? Why is it not going to those Canadians who really need the help, and who I am sure are part of the 93% who do not feel they have been helped.

It is unprecedented that premiers are screaming that promises have been broken in a budget. When in Canadian history have we ever seen a premier take out a full page ad against a federal finance minister for breaking a promise? Another premier is suggesting he might sue the federal government. The budget is a litany of broken promises. There are a lot of expenditures in it, but not in the way most Canadians think they should be made.

I always try to be balanced in my speeches in the House, so I will try to go over some of the positive things in the budget. I will talk specifically to those things that relate to my area in the north.

We have formula financing in the north. We commissioned a study to look at formula financing and to make recommendations for the future about whether we should go back to a formula or remain on a fixed amount. Fortunately, the government followed the recommendations in the O'Brien report. The result can be found on page 119 of the budget which shows $3 million more this year than the guaranteed minimum allocation that would have been received under the Liberal government. The amount went from $537 million to $540 million. If we compare that $3 million to the $30 million the Liberals put in for economic development, or the $40 million for the northern strategy, it is not a large amount of money, but any increase for the territories is good from my perspective.

In the last election campaign when I was asked what my priorities were, I said that my main priority was to try and keep the status quo. The Liberal government did much for the north. We put in many programs. We provided assistance. As an opposition member, I was hoping to keep as much of that as possible. When the Conservatives were in opposition, they did not applaud those things. I am happy that some of those positive things for the north, and for many parts of Canada for that matter, have been kept in this budget.

Infrastructure is one example. More than $15 million was put into the municipal rural infrastructure fund in my riding and $40 million was provided for the strategic infrastructure fund. For the Canada Games centre $20 million was provided. This was one of the prerequisites for having such a successful Canada Games in the Yukon. The Conservatives have finally agreed that the Liberal infrastructure idea is a good one and have carried on with $25 million in this budget. We are very happy about that.

The Conservatives were skeptical that giving municipalities a gas tax rebate was a good idea. We fought for a long time for the government to keep it as we said we would, and the Conservatives finally agreed in this budget to provide the rebate from 2009 to 2013.

The finance minister did muse that there might be some changes in the conditions. I would like to hear very quickly from the finance minister what those changes are going to be. I am sure municipalities across Canada would like to hear what those changes are going to be. What changes are going to be made to the gas tax? What changes are going to be made to infrastructure funding requirements and conditions?

Those programs were successful and were applauded by municipalities across the country. I certainly hope the money will continue to go to municipalities.

We met with the Nunavut Teachers' Association this morning. There is a big infrastructure need in Nunavut. We hope that recreational facilities will be eligible under the conditions for the continuation of these good programs.

I applaud the setting up of a Canadian mental health commission to produce a mental health strategy. We will be watching very closely to make sure the Conservatives actually do it and that it is not another one of their broken promises.

As was mentioned earlier, there have been a number of broken promises by the government. The one on income trusts is a perfect example. It is inconceivable that the Prime Minister could promise absolutely that the government would never tax income trusts and then totally break that promise. A single mother in my riding told me that based on that promise she transferred her registered education savings into an income trust. Because of that broken promise, she lost a substantial amount of money for her child's education.

I am also supportive of the anti-drug strategy in the budget. We will be watching carefully for the results of that. It is very important for my riding. Sandra Henderson of the Yukon Teachers' Association was here this morning. I was talking to her. She was talking about mothers who use drugs during pregnancy. Doctors are saying it is resulting in children who are angry and who are very disruptive in the classroom. This is obviously unsustainable. We will be watching for a lot of progress on the anti-drug strategy and emphasis on prevention. We want to reduce the number of children with FAS and children who are affected by the use of drugs by the mother during pregnancy and other substance abuse problems.

It is beneficial for my riding that the mineral exploration tax credit of 15% is increased, but only until March 31, 2008. There was a little bit for business. Less paperwork is great. It follows up on the Liberals' initiatives in that area to reduce the paperwork burden for businesses. Although it will not help my riding a lot, the capital cost allowance accelerated write-off for manufacturing is going from seven years down to two. This is positive. A small item for seniors, the RRSP change from 69 to 71 years is good.

The national water strategy in theory is a good idea, but the devil is in the details. What are the details? What will actually help? I will be watching very closely to see if it is treading on the responsibilities of municipalities and provincial governments in dealing with water quality. When the Liberals were in government, we did an audit of all the first nation communities in Canada. We set up a plan for all of them. There are still a number of communities that have serious water problems. The recommendations have not been fully implemented. We will be looking to the government to move as quickly as possible on that, considering that it is now putting an emphasis on a national water strategy.

There are a number of things in the budget of which I am very supportive in the sense that they are there, but how they got there is sad. Previously they were all successful Liberal programs, but the Conservative government cut them or gave no indication the programs would continue. Finally, after lobbying in budget speeches and in committees, we have finally convinced the government, and the people of Canada and the NGOs have finally convinced the government that these are necessary and effective programs that should be carried on. Finally, the programs were reinstated but sadly with a smaller amount of money than they had in the first place and sometimes with a fewer eligible recipients.

A perfect example is the GST rebate. There was an uproar in the tourism industry across Canada. In fact, the cuts affecting the tourism industry have probably hurt my riding more than any other because the Yukon is the one area of Canada with the largest number of employees in tourism in the private sector. It was shocking that the government would take money from the Canadian Tourism Commission which it could have used for marketing and that the government would take away the GST rebate to tourists.

As a result, the tourism industry, as is the case for any group or organization that has limited resources, had to spend this spring fighting along with us to get that reinstated. It is fortunate that at least part of it, but not the full amount, was reinstated in the budget. The part of the program that was being put in place was the ability for conventions and groups coming to Canada to get the GST rebate. There has been some damage done, but hopefully that will be diminished and will not extend into the future. The GST rebate was not restored for individuals travelling to Canada. It is still a burden and a negative mark on our tourism industry.

A whole speech could be given on funding for museums. It is astonishing that such an underfunded part of Canada's heritage, the small museums, went through such tribulations. It is ironic that the money for large museums was increased under the national museums program, but all the small museums, which are so important to tourism across the country, are still underfunded.

There was the horrendous situation a few weeks ago of the attendance of the heritage minister at the museums conference. The conference showed the lack of faith there was in that particular funding area.

Another area I am delighted to see in the budget, but it is sad how it came about, is the aboriginal justice strategy. They are workers in the justice system. The strategy is very important and is one of the few components that is actually working. It is reducing crime. It should be a part of the justice system. That strategy was about to expire. There was no information being given. People were being laid off and projects were closing. In just a few weeks before the strategy was to expire, the government wisely decided to keep the program.

I did not hear the government telling all the police officers in Canada that their funding was expiring and they would have to look for other jobs and start closing up shop, and two or three weeks before the funding expired it was put back. The aboriginal justice strategy is a fundamental part of the justice system. It is very important. It is a tragedy that those people had to go through all that turmoil, and still only receive funding for another two years, I think it is.

The aboriginal justice strategy should be considered in the same light as police officers, prosecutors, defence lawyers, judges and probation officers. It should be a permanent part of the justice system. Canadians are looking to the government to continue the goodwill of extending it by two years by making it permanent funding so that this trauma to our justice system does not happen again. The Conservative Party talks so much about justice. Canadians expect that the Conservative Party would at least be very positive and productive in an area that has been so effective in the justice system.

I am pleased that the meal allowance for truckers was increased to 80% from 50%. This is something for which I had lobbied.

We are also pleased that the ecotrust program was put in place. Once again, this is a perfect example of something the Liberals had put in place, the partnership of the federal government with the provinces and territories to reduce greenhouse gases and emissions. The Liberal government had a $3 billion program. I compliment the Conservative government for restoring the program. However, it was only restored at $1.5 billion which is half the previous amount.

Someone in the Prime Minister's Office suggested when the program was announced that it would be done on a per capita basis. I wrote to the minister of the environment at the time and said that per capita is not sufficient in the north and that we need more than that. The northern premiers made the same case. Fortunately we did get an increase. We are now getting more per capita and we are using that to increase the electrical generation.

The Conservative cuts to literacy programs caused a big outrage across the country. I do not think the Conservatives expected the uproar from all the opposition parties and from the people that work in the literacy field. How could any responsible modern day government in the world cut literacy programs.

Fortunately, some of that money has been reinstated. Some good literacy projects have been approved in my riding and in other areas. Unfortunately, some of those projects have a time limit of one or two years. We will be looking for permanent funding for literacy. Literacy is a basic foundation for a modern society and those programs are necessary for the most vulnerable people in a modern society. Literacy is far more important now than it ever has been. As society becomes more technical, how can the poorest of the poor ever survive without a good grasp of literacy and numeracy.

The homelessness program is another on the huge list of programs that the Liberal government put in place that was very effective and helped out. These programs were cut or cancelled or the suggestion was made they would not be re-funded and, fortunately, with a lot of pressure were put back in place. Thank goodness the homelessness program that was referred to as SCPI under the Liberal government was reinstated and re-funded. I am not sure about the rest of the country, but in my particular area that is one of the most successful programs the government has ever put in place. It is very important.

Another area that I guess one could give a very small compliment for is child care. As we know, the Liberal government negotiated a $5 billion agreement with the provinces across the country. It was unprecedented that this kind of agreement could be reached for something that is very important, especially for single mothers and people who really need support in child care.

The Conservative government, as we know, promised $250 million, which is a lot less than $5 billion, to industry to create day care spaces. It found over the last year that it could not create one single space and it did not work, so it has transferred that to the provinces and territories, thank goodness. Any citizen watching can see that $250 million compared to $5 billion is a small amount. Yukon will certainly be looking forward to getting its portion, but it had already received $1.3 billion from the Liberal government. This is a small amount and Yukon certainly will not reject it, but it should certainly be a lot more.

Another area is education. It has been talked about a lot in the debate so far. I want to talk about one aspect of education and that is undergraduate students. I congratulate the government for providing scholarships for graduate students, but all the undergraduate students listening should remember that had the Liberals been elected, they would have been receiving $3,000, up to a half year's tuition for their first year of education, and in their last year of education, up to $3,000. That is $6,000.

What did they get under the Conservative government in last year's budget: a textbook. I checked with a bookstore and the amount the government gave on the textbook rebate would not even buy some of the textbooks in the store. That is a good indication of the scope of things in this budget and what is there for people.

Another good thing that the Conservatives finally put back was the Liberal program to take the working poor off social assistance. I commend them for that, but it is a far less amount of money than the amount the Liberals put in.

Finally, I want to talk about the north. The last government put tremendous emphasis on the north and I have to commend it for that, specifically the $40 million for the northern strategy and the direction that all departments in the north have a special place in Confederation. They are very important to Confederation and were given that emphasis. The only promises the Conservative government made to the north were for icebreakers and a northern port. What happened to those two promises? They vanished. They are not in the budget anywhere.

Probably the biggest disappointment that has been mentioned by many people is the lack of funding for aboriginal people. I do not think I have enough time left to go through the whole list but there was roughly $440 million. That is a tiny amount compared to the $9 billion or $10 billion which was the normal budget for Indian Affairs. The Liberals were not going to add $440 million but $5 billion in Kelowna, plus $2 billion for residential schools.

Where is the money for the increase in inflation and for the increase in the population of aboriginal people? The Conservatives cancelled the aboriginal procurement program and aboriginal languages program. Those programs lost all sorts of money. Other programs that aboriginal people used, like the non-smoking strategy, were all cancelled. I do not have to add what everyone else has said about it being such a disgrace.

There was the ANCAP program for aboriginal people to reduce emissions. There is a community in Kluane that wanted to use that program. It is gone.

In summary, there are a few good things in the budget, but as I said at the beginning, most people are asking how could spending so much money get so little results for the people of Canada?

When Canadians are filling out their income tax returns right now at home, they are looking at last year's schedule 1 where it shows they were getting charged 15% income tax on the first amount of money and this year's schedule 1 it shows 15.25%. They are wondering how could all this money be spent, the largest expenditure in history, and they get an increase in income tax, especially the most vulnerable people in society. Why should they have that increase in their income tax rate?

Budget Implementation Act, 2007
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague across on his speech and his focus on the north.

In the budget, fairness was addressed in a number of ways, but I do not think fairness was addressed in terms of the northern residents tax deduction. It was mentioned in this budget but for 18 years, under the Liberals, there were no cost of living increases to the northern residents tax deduction and that has left it in a position where the benefit is not worth nearly what it was in the beginning.

The Conservatives recognized that they needed to raise the lifetime capital gains exemption from $500,000 to $750,000 because it had not been done for 20 years. The same thing applies to the tax benefits that should be there for northerners. They did not do anything about it and the Liberals did not do anything about it for 18 years.

I have a question for my hon. colleague. How does he feel about being in a government that ignored this very important part of the northern benefits structure for so many years and how can he ensure that we get this back on the agenda to make sure that northerners are treated fairly in the tax system for a change?

Budget Implementation Act, 2007
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I would just reiterate what I said in regard to the budget, that the previous government put unprecedented emphasis on the north, with the northern strategy and with having every department look at the north. There was $40 billion for that. There was $30 billion for northern economic development.

The fact is that the Conservatives decreased income taxes not just on the northern living allowance, which fortunately is still in place, but they decreased income taxes for all Canadians, and it has much more of an effect than what the member is talking about.

However, I am glad he raised the point about the added costs in the north, the cost of doing business, the cost of living, and especially the cost for the most vulnerable people in small, isolated communities with small tax bases. They live so far apart they need that assistance. That is why we had to argue in a number of cases, and I am glad the government agreed, that we need more than just per capita funding in a number of these programs. We need base funding to cover the remote harsh climate and then per capita funding on top of that.

Carleton County Spring Show
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the opportunity to attend the Carleton County Spring Show and Sale.

This event, held annually in the Florenceville-Bristol area, brings together people from the county who have raised their calves specifically for this show and auction.

Congratulations to 4-H'r Bethany Boyd from Johnville, the overall grand champion, grand champion Maine-Anjou, and 4-H grand champion.

The Charity Steer donated by the exhibitors raised $6,250 for the Woodstock Cancer Support Group, a very special cause. This group goes above and beyond to provide services that reach out to cancer victims in the Saint John River Valley.

I also want to mention the significant presence of the 4-H in this event. The kids from 4-H made up almost half the entries in the show and a significant number of these young people were grand or reserve champions, not to mention young Stephanie Budd whose animal will be providing the beef on our table for the next while.

I look forward to seeing the 4-H people this week when they arrive on the Hill.

Congratulations to all the organizers and volunteers who make this event happen, and to all the people who took out their wallets to support the exhibitors.

June Callwood
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, early Saturday morning past, an angel who walked Toronto's streets departed.

The late June Callwood was a prolific and awarded writer, however, it will not be in the reading salons that the greatest amount of tears shall be shed. June applied most of her boundless energies to repairing the aches of her communities.

An aching void will be felt in places like Nellie's House, where abused women and children found shelter; Jessie's Centre for Teenagers; and Casey House Hospice for people infected with HIV-AIDS.

In the 1980s, in Toronto's rough Queen and Bathurst neighbourhood, I first encountered June's inexhaustible energies and good works, and in recent years I have been honoured to have been able to call June a friend.

June has departed leaving behind thousands of friends and admirers, however, we know that as she passes through heaven's gate there will be thousands there to greet her, the thousands whose dying days were made bearable by her goodness at Casey House Hospice.

National Wildlife Week
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, National Wildlife Week, which was celebrated from April 8 to 14, raised our awareness about the major climate changes in the north. But we can all help to conserve northern wildlife species. These amazing species and unique ecosystems, which have been around for thousands of years, are now facing the impact of rapid climate change, increasing toxins and growing natural resources development.

We must all realize that our awareness is critical to the conservation of biodiversity and habitats, sustainable development, climate change, invasive species and the recovery of species at risk.

I urge my colleagues to learn about and actively contribute to wildlife conservation in their day-to-day lives.

Operation Nunalivut 07
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate the men and women of the Canadian Forces and of RCMP Division V who over the past two and a half weeks successfully completed Operation Nunalivut 07.

During this exercise, these brave women and men conducted patrols in one of the most inhospitable and challenging environments our planet has to offer.

In this ambitious exercise, three separate patrols left Resolute Bay, two destined for Canadian Forces Station Alert and one destined for the Alexandra Fiord.

Patrol 1's trek across western Ellesmere Island to CFS Alert was the first patrol to complete this route in its entirety in recorded history.

These operations are crucial to maintaining the sovereignty over our precious northern territory. It is about time that Canada had a government that takes the north seriously.

Canada's new government considers the sovereignty of the north a very serious matter.

I stand in the House today proud that we have a Prime Minister and a Minister of National Defence who are willing to commit the necessary resources to keep our true north strong and free.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to pay tribute to the innocent victims of the Holocaust, the courageous survivors, the allied troops who freed the camps, and the righteous gentiles who risked and sheltered, saving lives.

But even more importantly, I rise in the House to remind my colleagues that anti-Semitism is still with us, that history will repeat itself unless we learn from it, and to remind our government that vigilance should translate into concrete action.

Canada still does not have a comprehensive strategy to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. At-risk communities still shoulder the burden of extra security, alone.

Remember and act, Mr. Speaker. We must all remember and act.

Marie-Pier Beaudet
Statements By Members

April 16th, 2007 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share how proud I am of a 20-year-old woman from Lévis who recently captured her third Canadian archery title, breaking a 23-year-old record in the process.

I am inspired by Marie-Pier Beaudet from Lévis, who also won six gold medals at the Copa Merengue in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a few weeks ago.

Not resting on her laurels, Lévis' star athlete is now in Phoenix for the Arizona Cup International, where she is ranked fifth out of 62.

Achieving that kind of distinction requires a great deal of effort, patience and talent. We would therefore like to highlight Marie-Pier's exceptional achievements, which have earned her a place among archery's best and have made her a role model for all citizens of Lévis-Bellechasse.

Marie-Pier, Lévis' Canadian champion archer, my colleagues and I congratulate her and wish her every success in her future endeavours.

Jackie Robinson
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, sixty years ago yesterday, Jackie Robinson broke a major racial barrier when he suited up for the first time in the Brooklyn Dodgers uniform, putting an end to several decades of segregation in major league baseball. Robinson had previously achieved a significant milestone in 1946, when he joined the Montreal Royals and led his team to victory in the Little World Series. He has left Quebec's baseball fans, who quickly took to him, with an undying memory.

Robinson was named rookie of the year in 1947 and best player in 1949. His career included six all-star games and he was the first black player inducted into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. Besides being a prominent sports figure, Jackie Robinson remains a symbol of courage and dignity for all those who have fought and continue to fight against racism and discrimination.

Today, the Bloc Québécois wants to pay tribute to this athlete who changed the face of professional sports.

Daniel Poirier
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to draw attention to the departure of journalist Daniel Poirier from Radio-Canada's Atlantic Canada news network.

Daniel gave Acadians and Atlantic Canadians a window on the world and understood what they cared about. In his 32-year career as a journalist, Daniel did an exceptional job of showcasing our people. He was their confidant, their ally, and he listened to them.

Thanks to his outstanding work, he helped communicate the concerns of Atlantic Canadians—from francophone rights to the fishing industry, to name but a few—to everyone in this country.

I would like to express my boundless gratitude to Daniel for everything he has done for Acadians, and I wish him every success in his future endeavours. We will always love him, moustache or no moustache.

Bloc Québécois
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, PQ supporters from Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, including an assistant to former Bloc member Yvan Loubier, decided to begin taking steps to get to the bottom of things, as called for by their leaders.

Given that Quebeckers will soon be able to speak out democratically, their very clear message should serve as an inspiration to many members in this House.

In their words, “The presence of sovereignist members in Ottawa should ensure that the rules of the game are respected in the event of a referendum.” However, the Bloc prefers to ignore the evidence suggesting that people are fed up with the repeated referendums.

Regarding the Bloc's presence in Ottawa, they added that “this situation is no longer tenable” and that it is time for the Bloc members “to return to Quebec to take care of what is essential” and to not waste its time on federal debates, especially since the Bloc Québécois cannot bring about any solutions that would serve the interests of Quebec, unlike our Conservative government.

For the past 15 months, the Bloc Québécois has been trying to clarify the mystery of Quebec. Well, I would suggest that Bloc members first listen to their rank and file and make the obvious decision.

William Henry Drummond
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, 2007 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Dr. William Henry Drummond in Cobalt, Ontario. Dr. Drummond was Canada's first national poet, and his unique style blended English and French in a symbolic and meaningful way.

Dr. Drummond was a remarkable person. In addition to crafting his celebrated writings, he practised medicine and operated a silver mine in Cobalt. He was also an avid sportsman and enjoyed the outdoors.

William Henry Drummond thoroughly enjoyed living in northern Ontario and his surroundings served as inspiration for his many poems.

In the words of David Clayson Brydges, “Yet this poetry represented the Canadian saga of unsung common salt of the earth folk”.

On April 5, I had the privilege of attending a special commemorative ceremony held in Drummond's honour at the Cobalt Library. His memory was celebrated by young and old and his poems were read in both official languages.

As the member of Parliament for Nipissing—Timiskaming, I am pleased to draw attention to one of the most significant Canadian cultural legacies that Cobalt can call its own.

Liberals of Central Nova
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to point out the difference between leadership and opportunism. I speak in favour of democracy and in respect of partisan choice.

Today I rise to defend a group of Canadians ignored and abandoned by their own party, the Liberals of Central Nova. Their own leader has told them that they do not matter and Nova Scotia Liberal MPs have not been able to find enough backbone to speak for them. They want them to vote green.

What an embarrassment for this once proud party. What is next?

In the last federal election in Central Nova, the Marxist-Leninist Party placed just behind the greens. So, in the upcoming days I fully expect Nova Scotia Liberal MPs to call another press conference stating a new alliance, this time with the Marxist-Leninist Party.

For Central Nova Liberals I offer an alternative course: find a home in the Conservative Party, a party with principles, a party that will not abandon them.

June Callwood
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with profound sadness that I and all of her friends in the New Democratic Party have learned of June Callwood's death.

June was kind, compassionate and driven to make the world a better place. She was never afraid to speak out whenever she saw suffering or injustice. There was no obstacle that stopped her in her crusade to help those in need and, through her conviction and charm, she was able to turn opponents to her projects into advocates and collaborators.

No issue was closer to June's heart than child poverty. Even in the face of setbacks, like Parliament's failure to follow through on its pledge to end child poverty by the year 2000, she never stopped fighting to ensure that no child must live in poverty.

While June was unable to end child poverty in Canada in her lifetime, she was able to give hope and relief to the many children she did help through so many different projects. We could and should honour her life and legacy by recommitting ourselves to making poverty history.

June will be sadly missed by all Canadians but her spirit lives on in the many lives she touched and through the work of the 50 charities and organizations that she created.