- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Burlington (Ontario)
Lost her last election, in 2008, with 33.25% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Mr. Speaker, the member opposite keeps talking about being the first auto worker elected to Parliament. Of course the first auto worker who was elected to this House was Janko Peric, who was the member for Cambridge and a Liberal member. I think the member should get the record straight on that.
Regional Development Banks June 15th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, the report on Canada's participation in regional development banks in 2002 and 2003.
Volunteerism May 19th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Chris Yardley, a constituent of the riding of Burlington.
Chris went on assignment to St. Petersburg, Russia as a member of CESO, the Canadian Executive Service Organization, a unique volunteer based development agency that was founded in 1967.
CESO volunteers represent Canada around the world, working since 1969 with aboriginal peoples as well. These volunteers are part of Canada's effort to stimulate development here and in the disadvantaged economies around the world.
Chris advised a company in St. Petersburg engaged in software development on management and marketing. He conducted a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis and made recommendations on improving the company's management practices.
He introduced modern marketing techniques and provided information on the North American market where the client has customers. He helped them develop a marketing strategy and drafted a business development plan.
Chris Yardley is one of over 3,400 volunteers who use their expertise, professional experience and help businesses grow and economies improve at home and abroad.
I am sure all hon. members will join me in congratulating Chris and CESO for continuing to do a good job and to help others.
Speech and Hearing Awareness May 17th, 2005
Madam Speaker, many of us take our hearing and ability to speak for granted. Whether we are talking to others directly, on the phone or in this chamber, our ability to speak and hear is vital to our everyday activities.
For one in ten Canadians, speech, language and hearing problems are a daily challenge in their work, school and recreational activities. For the thousands of Canadians of all ages who have communication disorders, we will never know the isolation and frustration they face.
May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month. The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists and their 4,800 members across the country are working together throughout this month to raise public awareness concerning their professions and the many issues surrounding communication disorders.
I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians to join me in supporting the association and encouraging others to understand what these issues relate to.
I wish to thank CASLPA members. Their professional contributions to the health of our communities and our country enriches everybody. They allow Canadians to learn, succeed and enjoy their lives. We celebrate their many achievements.
Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 17th, 2005
Madam Speaker, I have worked with hon. members from the Bloc Québécois, the hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques and the hon. member for Verchères—Les Patriotes, on the WTO situation.
There is a group of members who want to have rules and a new system. We have worked together to change the rules in order to ensure that the voice and aspirations of people in our ridings are respected in the world. The hon. member needs to think a little bit about the situation in Canada. There are places here where we must work harder to improve the situation for people without employment. Nonetheless, this government has worked very hard for everyone in every riding and every province.
Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 17th, 2005
Madam Speaker, I find it very interesting that the member for Dufferin--Caledon is not happy about how previous waves of infrastructure have been rolled out in our province. We are both from the province of Ontario. Interestingly, he sat as a member of the government that worked out the last deal so perhaps he should talk to his old colleagues, Mr. Eves and Mr. Harris, if he did not like the deal that was worked out by the province.
I can assure him that this new commitment on gas tax is not a stand-alone initiative. It is in fact an initiative that complements the work that we have done on GST rebates, on the infrastructure program, on COMRIF, specifically allowing smaller municipalities to pool their resources to invest in things that are important.
I am very much in favour of making sure that the deal is something that will be reflective of the reality of smaller communities like mine, of rural communities like his, and making sure that all of the money is not sucked into the very busiest and biggest capitals. There is some element of per capita that is absolutely imperative, but we also have to look at the infrastructure that is important to all of us.
I would encourage the member to pick one of the sides that his party has been on regarding this deal for cities. There has been a bit of a flip-flop all over the place throughout the last election and in the last couple of weeks. He should support the budget on Thursday and vote for the new deal for cities because it is important to the member's riding, to my riding and to the people of Canada.
Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 17th, 2005
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be speaking after the member for Blackstrap because my constituents are thrilled with the budget. The budget represents important investments. If she was actually consulting her constituents, including the families in her constituency that would benefit from the investments in early childhood development, she would know that they too are looking forward to the budget.
The budget builds on a successful record of Liberal budgets. Canada became deficit free for the first time in 30 years in the fiscal year 1997-98. Since then we have had eight consecutive balanced budgets and we have shaved off $61.4 billion from our national debt. That is money that is directly paying down the debt, much like many of us pay down our mortgages. It is a record unmatched over the last 50 years. On top of that we have also had some $100 billion in tax cuts.
In 2004 Canada had the fastest growth in exports in more than seven years and Canadian real GDP advanced at an annual rate of 4.3% in the second quarter making Canada the envy of the G-7. Since the Liberal Party formed the government in 1993, over 3.5 million jobs have been created and some 500,000 of these jobs were created between January 2003 and January 2005.
It is because of the Liberal Party's strong fiscal record that the government has and is continuing to invest in priorities that matter to Canadians. The budget demonstrates those investments in health care, early childhood development, the environment, cities and municipalities, and Canada's role in the world.
Let us look at the announcement on early childhood development. In my constituency, like many constituencies right across the country, the majority of children under the age of six are receiving some form of child care. Yet, only one in five of those children across the country is in a regulated day care space. That number has not changed in the last decade.
If we look at innovative economies, children need to learn easily and quickly when they arrive at school at the age of five, so early childhood development is absolutely imperative to their success.
In fact, my community of Burlington participated in an institute of urban studies initiative where it examined inclusivity, the term usually addressing racism and poverty, but it looked at how Canada could become more inclusive. Cities like Burlington, Saint John, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver were the cities that participated in the first tranche of the study.
One recommendation that came through loud and clear, particularly from the city of Burlington, was the development and support of a high quality national early learning and child care development strategy that is coordinated, universal and transparent. This would make a huge difference to families and ensure that people have the chance to be all that they can be.
The budget that we are discussing today, which we will vote on later this week, responded to this need with the federal government's commitment of $5 billion over five years to build that national framework with different rollouts in each province because of differing needs, but a $5 billion commitment nevertheless. I know in Ontario that money is going to be well spent.
The other thing that is important in the budget, as I mentioned, is predictable, stable funding in the long term infrastructure area, particularly for our municipalities. In terms of the environment, social and economic infrastructure, these things will be very important to our communities.
Revenue raised by the gas tax is one mechanism that the budget commits to ensuring that we have the infrastructure, so that Canada is able to continue to remain competitive and that business and individuals in our communities will benefit. The last budget had the GST rebate for the municipal sector and in my community that was worth some $1 million a year.
The other area that I mentioned provides us an opportunity to talk about Canada's role in the world. Canada is making important contributions to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world that reflects our Canadian values and interests. The proposed increases to official development assistance will go a long way to ensuring that Canada helps and does its share to achieve the millennium development goals, that ambitious agenda that world leaders committed to in the year 2000 to cut global poverty in half by 2015.
The increases will help implement Canada's new international policy statement, the framework that coordinates the three Ds, diplomacy, defence and development, and our trade agenda to make sure that Canadians are at the forefront, that Canadian aid dollars are used in the most effective way, and that we get more coherence. It will be a new platform for Canadians to play a more important and effective role in relieving the plight of the world's poorest people.
Our country's principles and values, our culture, are rooted in the commitment to tolerance, democracy, equality, equity in human rights, peaceful resolution of differences, the opportunities and challenges of the marketplace, social justice, sustainable development and easing poverty. This was witnessed after the recent tsunami disaster. Canadians responded with an unbelievable opening of their wallets, an incredible contribution to ease the suffering and plight of others in that affected area. Some $200 million was raised by individuals and that amount was matched by Canadian government contributions. We go further than that in the budget.
Canada has an important role to play in the fight against global poverty. Our new approach in aid is outlined in the international policy statement. We are concentrating our efforts in five priority sectors: health, education, governance, private sector development and environmental sustainability. Across all of that we are working on gender equality.
Helping women in developing countries will be a theme throughout our work to make sure that we are enhancing inclusivity in many parts of the world, places where we can make a difference. As everyone knows, an educated mother will have children at a later age and will be able to assist in her children's education. We will make those important gains around the world.
Kofi Annan has talked about how we need to do better in the world. Canada is certainly on target in meeting its international commitments, continuing to grow its aid and making sure that its commitments are honoured. In the recent UN report entitled “Threats, Challenges and Change”, he stated, “The threats we face are threats to all of us and they are linked to each other. To address these many threats to human well-being and security, the world needs to share the benefits of trade, to end the debt crisis and to promote more efficient and effective aid”. Canadians are doing just that. In fact, the IPS ensures that we will do just that.
I would like to talk more about our commitment to pursuing greater sectoral focus in CIDA. Our actions in focusing on 25 partner countries will go a long way to easing the plight of those particularly in Africa. Fourteen of the countries, more than half, are in sub-Saharan Africa, countries with some of the lowest income levels on a per capita basis, and that are able to use our aid effectively. We have some history with those countries. It has been a real injustice for some of the opposition members not to recognize that. On top of that there are specific countries for which we have a whole of government approach, areas like the Sudan. The Prime Minister made an increased commitment to helping the individuals in the Darfur region, important investments to ease its problems and make sure there is peace and security for the individuals there.
For Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan we have a whole of government approach so that we can bring about peace and work on development to allow them to have a sustainable economy and that they will be able to continue to trade.
Madam Speaker, you have been involved in many of the initiatives. The public will be interested to know that members of Parliament work with the ministers of international development, trade, defence, and foreign affairs to implement Canada's agenda. It is Canadian members of Parliament who work collaboratively on things like landmines, the creation of the International Criminal Court, bringing awareness of human rights issues to our colleagues around the world and setting an example for good governance. All Canadians can be proud of that accomplishment which is done in the spirit of collegiality and representing all of Canada and not partisan differences.
In this current climate particularly leading up to the vote on Thursday, it is important to remember that we do work together in advancing the situation for others in the world. The world has a lot to gain from Canada.
Interparliamentary Delegations May 4th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union respecting its participation at the meeting of the steering committee of the Twelve Plus Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, held in Brussels, on March 11, 2005.
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I also have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canadian group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union respecting its participation at the one day parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Beijing +10 at the United Nations in New York on March 3.
There was representation from each political party. The Canadian delegation did a fantastic job at the Beijing +10 meeting in New York. This is an important document. I encourage all members to look at how we can encourage more women to be represented in this House, and maybe question period would be a little more civil.
Multiple Sclerosis May 3rd, 2005
Mr. Speaker, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and at times debilitating disease of the central nervous system which affects Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. Usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, for unknown reasons women develop the disease more than twice as often as men.
May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. Tomorrow I will be pleased to be kicking off the 29th annual MS carnation campaign. Tomorrow volunteers from the MS Society and I will pin carnations on all MPs as they enter this place to raise awareness of the MS campaign.
This weekend volunteers in over 280 communities across Canada will be selling carnations to raise money for MS research and for services for people with MS. Last year we raised over $1.4 million.
I encourage all hon. members of the House and all Canadians to join me in supporting the MS Society to help make a difference for individuals living with this disease and their families. Tomorrow everyone in the House will be wearing a carnation and raising awareness.
Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act March 24th, 2005
Madam Speaker, as a country, Canada represents a coming together of many peoples. As such, we have learned over time to respect and mutually accept each other. It is this fact that separates us from others and puts Canada on the world stage.
We have established a legal foundation, enshrined in our Constitution, that is aimed at ensuring Canadians are protected from racism and discrimination. We will continue, as a government, to work on these issues so that all Canadians have the opportunity to participate to their fullest potential. In fact, that is what this House has been debating all week.
At the same time, we are working to strengthen the bonds of shared citizenship to ensure the continuance of the strong and cohesive Canadian society that we have today.
The Government of Canada recognizes there have been dark moments in the history of this country. We have recognized that presenting a complete history is important in understanding who we are as Canadians, even if the history we have to tell includes times when we have strayed from our shared commitment to human justice.
The internment of Ukrainian Canadians and other Europeans during the first world war is one of those chapters in Canadian history that we as a people, as Canadians, are not proud of, even though the actions of the government of that day were legal at that time.
Our commitment as a government is to strengthen the fabric of Canada's multicultural society. We are committed to learning from the past. We are committed to acknowledging and commemorating the significant contributions to Canada made by our rich and various ethnoracial and ethnocultural groups, including of course Ukrainians.
The Department of Canadian Heritage and the cultural agencies in the Canadian Heritage portfolio have made considerable efforts to ensure that the story of Ukrainians in Canada is known to all Canadians.
For example, Parks Canada, as one of the members opposite mentioned, while working under the heritage portfolio, worked closely with national and local Ukrainian Canadian groups to develop interpretive exhibits at Banff National Park, an exhibit I have seen, and at Yoho National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park. The exhibits help visitors and all Canadians understand the experiences, hardships and contributions of Ukrainian internees.
The Department of Canadian Heritage is providing funding to Ukrainian Canadian organizations to assist in documenting the experiences of Ukrainian internees and to underline the contribution of the Ukrainian community to our country.
Since the 1890s, when waves of Ukrainians helped to settle this vast land, Ukrainians have played an important role in Canada. An incredible number of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage have made extraordinary contributions to Canada, contributions of which all Canadians are very proud.
Wayne Gretzky, of course, is a star and international sports hero. Ed Werenich is a world champion in curling.
In the cultural sphere, all of us have adored artist William Kurelek's paintings and the work of violinist Steven Staryk.
In public life, Ramon Hnatyshyn and Roy Romanow have made us all proud.
Canada's first woman in space is Roberta Bondar. I was saying to one of my colleagues that I did not know she was of Ukrainian heritage.
To think of Ukrainian Canadians is also to recall Canada's war hero, Peter Dmytruk, who died for all of us on the battlefields of France in World War II.
As Canadians, we are proud to live in a country that recognizes the importance of diversity.
In the October 2004 Speech from the Throne, the government pledged to pursue its objectives, “in a manner that recognizes Canada's diversity as a source of strength and innovation”. We pledged “to be a steadfast advocate of inclusion” and “to demand equality of opportunity so that prosperity can be shared by all Canadians”.
In line with these commitments, the government is now advancing a number of multicultural and anti-racism initiatives designed to cultivate an even more equitable and inclusive society. Bills like Bill C-38.
In our recent budget, we provided $5 million per year to the multiculturalism program to enhance its contributions to equality for all.
A comprehensive and effective multiculturalism program is important in our increasingly diverse country where by the year 2016 the proportion of visible minorities is expected to reach 20%.
In the October 2004 Speech from the Throne, the government said that it would “strengthen Canada's ability to combat racism, hate speech and hate crimes”.
We will achieve that plan by investing $56 million over the next fives years to implement Canada's action plan against racism. Canada's action plan, which the government announced on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a day that all of us celebrated, will reinforce the government's ongoing commitment to eliminating racist behaviours and attitudes. It will strengthen partnerships between the Government of Canada and community organizations to combat racism and will advance our international and domestic objectives.
A society looking to its future cannot do so without acknowledging troubling events from Canada's past. Budget 2005 provided $25 million over the next three years for commemorative and educational initiatives to highlight the contributions that Ukrainians and other ethnocultural groups have made to our Canadian society and to help build a better understanding among all Canadians of the strength of Canadian diversity.
With this funding the government is responding to demands from the community in a way that respects both the concerns of the communities and the government's 1994 policy on this issue.
Bill C-331 looks to the past for a solution. As a government we are looking to the future for all Canadians.