House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2006, with 39.27% of the vote.

Statements in the House

D-Day June 6th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, on June 6, 1944, Canada was involved in the largest amphibious operation in military history, involving Allied forces from land, sea and air. It is remembered as D-Day. It was the opening day of the Allies' efforts to free western Europe from the enemy.

Fifteen thousand of Canada's finest would battle on D-Day and in the Normandy campaign that followed. Sadly, 359 Canadians lost their lives that day and more than 1,000 were wounded.

Through the summer of 1944, the fighting continued against a relentless enemy. The Allied troops persisted and, by August, Paris was liberated. The Normandy campaign was over.

However, what will never end is our duty to remember all those who fought and served so long ago so that tyranny would be driven away and security and hope would take its place.

Lest we forget.

Youth Criminal Justice Act May 16th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-423 is consistent with the national anti-drug strategy unveiled by the government on October 4, 2007. The strategy responds to serious drug problems faced by Canada and recognizes the importance of focusing efforts on the growing number of our youth becoming involved with drugs.

Many of the communities across Canada have indicated that youth drug use is a priority concern. For several communities, the lure of highly addictive drugs, like crystal meth, presents a real challenge for their youth.

The government has listened to concerns and with our national anti-drug strategy, we are working actively to respond to them.

Budget 2007 signalled the government's investment in the strategy, which establishes a focused approach to address illicit drug issues based on three concrete action plans: first, preventing illicit drug use; second, treating illicit drug dependency; and third combatting illicit drug production and distribution. While the strategy has only been up and running since last October, we have made tremendous progress in rolling out a number of our priorities.

Bill C-423 recognizes the role that police can play in linking youth, drug and addiction problems to those who can help on the treatment front. It provides a valuable and additional tool to help youth overcome their problems and make our communities safer.

The government is mindful that this combined effort of many will bring success to addressing our drug priorities. We are working with all those concerned about Canada's youth, both from the private and public sectors and across different disciplines like health, education and the justice system.

It is for this reason that I read into the record an amendment to the motion. I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

Bill C-423, An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act (treatment for substance abuse), be not now read a third time but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for the purpose of considering clause 1 with a view to making sure that the effects of these amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act are in the best interests of the youth who may be affected by these amendments and are considered beneficial to the people of Canada.

Veterans May 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Mr. John Babcock, our last known first world war veteran, became a Canadian citizen today at a ceremony at his home in Spokane, Washington. This is in recognition of his military service to Canada and his expressed desire, at age 107, to become a citizen of the country where he was born. The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs is in Spokane today to witness Mr. Babcock taking his oath of citizenship.

Mr. Babcock's contribution to our collective understanding of the first world war experience is immeasurable. He is well known across Canada and the United States for his humour, his storytelling and his energy, which he credits to his training in the army.

He has shared his experience with youth in schools to ensure that the contribution of those who served their country is remembered for all time. Mr. Babcock is our last personal connection to a remarkable generation of Canadian heroes. As he said this morning, “I was born in Canada and now I am a Canadian. This completes the circle of my life”.

Welcome back, Mr. Babcock.

Points of Order March 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Yesterday in the House of Commons very unparliamentary language came from the opposition side of the House. There is a decline, shall we say, in the behaviour of this House. I would implore all members of this House to bear in mind what it is we are sent here to do.

If members cannot respect the people who sent them here, I would ask them to respect the Chair of this House and the very fine officers who sit at the Table. The behaviour that is going on in here is deplorable.

Normally I would not stand to make this comment but, as many know, I will not be running again in the next election and it hurts me to realize how badly you are being treated, Mr. Speaker.

Afghanistan March 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, we are in this Parliament and we have different groups representing all Canadians. We have a group whose sole purpose in the House of Commons is to separate from Canada. We have another group that is most definitely socialist in nature. However, as a group, we manage very nicely to get along.

For the member to suggest that a new fledgling government will be perfect, when he sits in a House that is far from perfect, makes no sense at all to me.

Afghanistan March 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of things I would like to say but I will control myself.

Canadian soldiers will be under RC South, which is Canadian held. We will be looking after and directing our own soldiers.

I have a question for the member. He just made a statement, which I did not understand, so maybe he can help me. How does his party stand against freedom for women, against democracy, against the rule of law, against the strong and historic Canadian embassies and all the things we have done as a country to make the world a better place in which to live?

I do not understand why NDP members do not understand what it is we are doing. We are making a tremendous difference. We are doing what Canadian people have done for centuries. We are making a difference for oppressed people.

I deal with veterans on a day by day basis. I am very proud of what they have managed to accomplish. They should be proud of themselves, and they are, but they are very humble. They were just doing their duty. The Canadian Forces are doing what our forces have been doing for years.

I simply cannot understand the member's comments.

Afghanistan March 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to our mission in Afghanistan. Our government believes that the Afghan mission is important. It is important to the people of that country and it is important to Canadians. It is especially important to the Canadian sons and daughters who are on the ground there, our military, our diplomats and the civilian aid workers who are all trying to rebuild the lives and livelihoods of the Afghan people.

Last week, Mr. Speaker, you introduced six women seated in that gallery. Those women were parliamentarians in the fledgling Afghan government. Seven short years ago those same women could not have left their homes without burkas or unaccompanied by a male relative. Seven years ago they could not walk to the corner by themselves or access medical care. Now they are free to travel halfway around the world to sit in the gallery of the Canadian Parliament with their faces bare.

As parliamentarians in Canada, we all face certain challenges but having our lives threatened constantly is not one of them. These female Afghan parliamentarians deal with this threat on a daily basis.

In this, our 39th Parliament, 21% of the members are women. In Afghanistan, women account for 25% of parliament. They have no budget for a constituency office and must perform their duties, one on one, over vast areas of terrain under dangerous conditions.

What makes these women leave the relative safety of their homes to take on this very dangerous task? According to them, it is quite simple. They have an inner knowledge that their daring stand for democracy will ultimately have a positive effect on their lives and the lives of their children.

Canadian parliamentarians stood and applauded the bravery of these women and their achievements. I, therefore, see no reason why any member would choose not to continue to stand for them as they continue to rebuild their country into a place that is governed by a democratically elected Parliament, the rule of law, human rights and freedom.

Their victory will not happen overnight, but we knew that going in, and our Canadian Forces on the ground knew that going in.

We in this Parliament have a clear choice. We can be part of the solution or we can be part of the problem. Ten reservists from my riding made their decision themselves when they left a short time ago for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. They are going to do their part. Five Rocky Mountain Rangers have already been there for a tour of duty and, thankfully, returned safety.

I have spoken to them and I have heard the stories of their many successes, which add up to progress being made for the Afghan people. They have no regrets. They are the creators of change.

In January of this year, an American aid worker and her driver were abducted in Kandahar. Cyd Mizell had worked in the area for six years on educational projects and women's development. To date, she and her driver have not been found. In a show of support, 500 Afghan women gathered to protest the kidnapping. They called on officials, elders and ordinary citizens to work for her release. These women could not have dared to rally seven years ago. Canadians made it possible.

Just last week, Afghans celebrated International Women's Day. Hundreds of women marched for peace in Kandahar, the hotbed of Taliban insurgents. In the north, women held public meetings in the provincial capitals on giving women voices, with the provincial governors, women's councils, local police, judges and religious leaders participating. These meetings would not have been allowed to take place seven years ago. Canadians made it possible.

None of this progress would have been made without the security of the NATO troops provided to the Afghan people.

There are members of the House who would have our troops pulled out of Afghanistan immediately. Those members undermine the positive work that is going on in Afghanistan. Their propaganda is an insult to today's military and to the men and women who have served in areas of conflict during the history of our nation.

Canadians have never cut and run when the going got tough. We have a tradition of coming to the aid of those in need, whether it is in a peacekeeping capacity or in a peace-making capacity, and we do it well.

As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, I have had many opportunities to attend special remembrance ceremonies, both here and abroad. I have also witnessed the increased awareness of our military history among the younger generation. There is an earned pride that comes with the awareness and an appreciation for the sacrifices made in the name of oppressed people around the world.

Today, one only has to see the overpasses on the Highway of Heroes jammed with saluting, flag-waving Canadians for a member of our military who has paid the ultimate price and has returned home for burial. It is truly remarkable.

Canadians are gaining a renewed pride in our military men and women who, for too long, were underfunded and ignored by the government. Members of the military are now getting the recognition they so richly deserve and, I must say, some are quite surprised by it.

When we walk up to any man or woman in uniform and thank them for all they do for us, their first reaction is a quizzical look, then a big smile and a bit of embarrassment. Our military do not serve for praise. They are proud to wear their uniform and serve their country.

I have not been to Afghanistan but I am aware of the many successes, such as the mortality rate for newborns declining 22% because the number of skilled childbirth workers has almost quadrupled since 2001. Access to basic medical services has increased to 83%, up from 9% in 2004.

I recognize that there are close to six million children, a full one-third girls, now enrolled in school compared to only 700,000 exclusively male children in 2001. I am aware of the wonderful opportunities, through the Canadian micro-finance plan, that allows women to run their own small businesses to support their families.

However, there is no more compelling evidence for me that the failing Afghan state is on the road to recovery than the sight of those six women sitting in the gallery. They are putting their lives on the line for their country and they deserve no less than our full support.

Our world will be a better place with a free and democratic Afghanistan.

Veterans Affairs February 29th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the fact that last year we added 12,000 veterans and their widows to the VIP. This year we have added another 12,000 with the $282 million we have put forward in the budget.

The sad record of the NDP is quite clear. Those members voted against the ex gratia payments for agent orange. They voted against doubling our operational stress injury clinics. They voted against hiring front line staff. They voted against funding for the veterans ombudsman and they voted against the veterans bill of rights.

That gentleman should sit down.

Veterans Affairs February 29th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, we are now allocating almost $800 million a year more than what the Liberals budgeted for in their last year in office. In three budgets the Conservative government has allocated $1.6 billion more for our veterans.

We have also delivered on our promise to implement the new veterans charter, establish a bill of rights for veterans, appoint a veterans ombudsman, and resolve the long standing agent orange issue.

I might also note that the member who has just spoken did not support any of those initiatives.

Afghanistan February 26th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, reading from a googled research paper, it says “Women in Taliban stronghold protest kidnap of US aid worker”. I will not read you the entire content, but I would like to hear what your views are on the fact that women, who 10 years ago would not dare speak out, are now protesting in--