- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Kitchener Centre (Ontario)
Lost her last election, in 2011, with 31.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Government Appointments June 20th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board is an embarrassment to his Conservative colleagues. His golden parachute eases him into a well-paying job as a judge in Manitoba but, alas, he is not finished embarrassing them yet.
In 2004 he complained about how much money judges were paid in this country, and I quote, “Despite the fact there are at least 10 qualified applicants for every position, the minister says he must boost the pay of judges...”. Where are the 10 qualified applicants for each judicial position? I wonder if the Minister of Justice will tell us the names of the 10 qualified applicants that are being passed over in favour of the President of the Treasury Board.
His soon to be honour once was quoted as saying, “I would not want to see the politicization of the process where judges run for office”. I am glad politics are being kept out of this appointment.
The President of the Treasury Board may soon go from the Conservative benches to the federal bench, but for the government and his colleagues, the embarrassment continues.
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that there is a selective knowledge or reporting of the Canada Elections Act.
I would point out to this House and to Canadians who are watching this across Canada that every candidate and every official agent signs off on their statements of account. There are a lot of rules and we are asked to abide by them.
From time to time Elections Canada will come back and ask individual members to look at receipts, to provide more information, and we do that gladly. As a matter of fact, if we are in contravention of that, we cannot take our seats in the House. This is not something to be taken lightly and the law of elections in Canada should not be considered to be applied loosely.
Elections Canada has cited the Conservative Party in the last election as having a systematic scheme of contravening--
Mr. Speaker, I previously asked a question about election expenses in this House during question period. I was very disappointed with the stonewalling that I was still getting from the Conservative government.
I would point out that in the last election the Conservative Party defined itself as a party that would champion transparency and accountability in government, yet since the Conservatives have come to government, we have seen anything but.
I happen to be a member of the procedure and House affairs committee. We sat for seven months and listened to government members stonewall and filibuster very legitimate work that needed to get done. There was legislation that needed to go through, but the government members on the procedure and House affairs committee were so worried about Elections Canada's challenge of their in and out scheme during the last election that they did not want it to be scrutinized by the committee.
I would point out that it is the legitimate purview of several committees to look at aspects of this in and out scheme. As a matter of fact, today the ethics committee passed a motion and it will examine this.
Quite clearly it fell within the purview, among other committees, of the procedure and House affairs committee to look at this. This is a scheme to pay for national advertising by transferring the funds to individual ridings.
It is very important to point out that in the Canadian electoral system there is an attempt to make a very level playing field by having campaign limits for every member in each riding. The limit is based on the number of electors in that riding. There are also limits on how much can be spent for advertising nationally by individual parties.
It was the view of the Chief Electoral Officer that the Conservative Party alone--I would point out it was not the NDP, not our Bloc colleagues and not the Liberal Party, but the Conservative Party alone--had inappropriately flowed $1.2 million of spending in a scheme that was labelled in and out. The reason it has that label is it was called that by individual candidates, former candidates. As a matter of fact, 67 ridings were involved in this scheme. Candidates themselves and official agents said that they objected to the fact that they had received a phone call saying that a certain amount of money--and the amounts varied; it could be $5,000 or $28,000--was going to be transfer into their account and they would be sent a bill which they had to pay and transfer the money out, sometimes within a few hours within the same calendar day.
This scheme appears to have been centrally orchestrated. As a matter of fact it is even talked about in a book that was written by a former Conservative organizer. By using this scheme, they circumvented the advertising limit by $1.2 million.
My question is really quite simple. If this government truly believes in transparency, if it truly believes in accountability, what is it hiding? Why will the Conservatives not allow a parliamentary committee to scrutinize this?
I look forward to the ethics committee looking at this and hearing some witnesses. Then we can find out what really happened and make sure that it does not happen again.
Points of Order June 19th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, I, too, on behalf of my Liberal colleagues, would like to commend the table officers, the pages and yourself, being our referee in the House, to ensure we get the business of Canadians done.
From time to time, all of us have members from our communities who come to Ottawa and tour Parliament. I always think it bears as a very good reminder for me personally of what an historic place this is and how very important this institution of democracy is in defining who we have been historically, who we are today, the rules and the legislation we deal with and who we will be in the future.
It is a distinct honour to be part of this assemblage. I wish everyone a rest and a good summer. I know most of us will be back working in our ridings, as you will be, Mr. Speaker. It has been terrific having the pages ensure that things go forward. I again commend the table officers and the Clerk for doing such an outstanding job of interpreting the rules for us.
Petitions June 19th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition calling for the halt of the extradition of Stuart B. Collins, farm owner and resident of Shawville, Pontiac County in Quebec. It is signed by many concerned citizens.
Committees of the House June 19th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, I have listened with great interest to my friend and he has repeatedly talked about the fact that all three opposition parties would like to have Mr. Khadr brought back to the Canadian justice system and I totally agree with him.
He also mentioned about the government having courage. I do not think it is a lack of courage. I think that it is a fundamental ideologically driven decision by the government. It is sadly ironic in my view that we have Canadian men and women dying on Afghanistan soil, protecting the rights of the Afghanistan people, yet we have a government here that is not moving on the rights of a Canadian citizen.
I would make this caveat and this disclaimer that I am not a lawyer. I know my hon. friend is and I have served on many committees with him. I am wondering if he would speak a minute about the fact that the judge has been replaced in Mr. Khadr's case.
I think that is highly unusual and almost unprecedented in most judicial hearings in the absence of the fact that a judge became ill or something like that. There is also the fact that notes have been destroyed, which I think are very pertinent to the fair and due process that should be due Mr. Khadr who is facing these kinds of criminal charges.
We purport around the world that we have an independent judiciary. I would say the United States is probably second to none. As my hon. colleague pointed out in his speech, this has been deemed by the supreme court of the United States to be outside of the law.
I really do agree and wonder how the government can continue to be so entrenched in a position that is a departure from anything that we have done on the international stage, when indeed there are other democracies that have asked for their citizens to be repatriated. I too agree with the hon. member, and say I find this a very appalling situation and a new low for us as a country.
Canada Elections Act June 10th, 2008
Mr. Speaker, I believe the member from Thunder Bay has left the chamber.