Last in Parliament May 2004, as Progressive Conservative MP for Saint John (New Brunswick)
Won her last election, in 2000, with 50.92% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Supply May 13th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege for me to rise today, as it has been an honour to stand in this chamber for the last 10 years.
If the conventional wisdom is accurate, the Prime Minister will call the election some time in the next week. If that is true, this will be my last opportunity to speak as a member of Parliament in the House of Commons. While I support the motion before the House, I hope and trust that my colleagues will permit me this brief moment reflection.
Thirty years ago as a wife and a mother whose home was flooded because our neighbourhood was built on a flood plain, a generation later I stand here, a three term member of Parliament and the first woman to have been mayor of the city of Saint John, and a very proud grandmother.
Growing up in Saint John it was never my ambition nor my intention to seek elected office. I did not aspire to a career in public service beyond helping my friends, my family, my church and my community. Yet with each passing year and every election, I discovered there was more that needed to be done. As a councillor, I realized that the challenges facing our great city could not be solved unless we changed city hall. As mayor, I realized that the solutions to many of our most pressing problems were in the hands of the federal government in Ottawa.
As a member of Parliament I saw that our hopes and dreams were the hopes and dreams of all Canadians and that Saint John was not alone in its struggles.
As I stand here today, I am proud of what we have accomplished together. I am proud that we helped get the compensation package for our merchant navy veterans and for those who were used for testing mustard gas and chemical weapons. I am proud that we helped force the government into finally replacing our aging Sea Kings. I hope that continues to happen. I am proud to have worked on a daily basis on behalf of the men and women of the armed forces. I am proud that we continue to bring attention to the challenges faced by Canada's growing number of seniors as well. Most of all, I am proud that we were able to make a difference.
There comes a time in our lives when we must decide whether the journey is ours to continue or whether the torch must be passed to another. I have faced that decision many times, but this time was the most difficult. Being a member of Parliament is a great honour but it involves great sacrifices. It means being away from the people and places we love and it means our time is not our own.
For close to 30 years I have had the most wonderful and understanding family anyone could have. My husband, Richard, has been a source of constant strength and wisdom. He has stood by me through good times and bad, willing to share the obligations of an office he never asked to hold. Whichever decision I made, I always knew that I could count on his unconditional love and support. That was the greatest blessing of all.
As much as I love this place, and although there are many more adventures on the horizon, there is nothing I would rather do than spend more time now with Richard, our boys and their families. Therefore I decided some months ago that I would not seek a fourth term. Let me be clear that I am no less committed to the people back home in Saint John and no less grateful for their continued kindness.
While this marks an important change in my life, one thing will never change: Saint John is now and forever the greatest little city in the east and I hope everyone knows it. Although I will not hold elected office, I will continue to be a passionate advocate for the city in whatever capacity I can best serve.
The fact remains that our country and our city are now facing serious questions about the course we will take in the years to come. No one person has all the answers and no one party has all the answers. We need vigorous public debate between a principled government and a powerful opposition. Our common goal must be to improve the lives of individual Canadians and their families.
It has been a rare privilege to serve the people of Saint John and I have cherished every moment of it. I am indebted to the hundreds of people who have helped me in my various campaigns and the thousands more who gave me their trust.
To my colleagues on both sides of the House who have shared this great experience with me, let me thank each and every one of them for their friendship and wise counsel. To those Canadians who have written to me with their words of encouragement and their prayers, let me thank them for their kind words.
I want to thank the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker for their friendship and their guidance. I really appreciated it.
When I leave this place today it will be for the last time. I want to thank all the young pages for serving me my water each day.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Supply May 13th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough. Right across this nation from coast to coast, in every province, people are saying that this work cannot be stopped, that we have to get to the bottom of it, that the committee cannot be shut down.
This will probably be my last day in the House of Commons. It is with a heavy heart that I leave Ottawa and a very heavy heart when I see that this committee is going to be shut down. What the hon. member has stated is absolutely correct. People want answers. I have never, in all of the 11 years that I have been here, seen anything like this before in the House of Commons. I really have not. They are not getting the answers because the other 90 people who want to speak have been told that they cannot.
The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough said that the committee should be allowed to continue. He is absolutely correct. I know all of the people back home in the maritime provinces want it to continue. It has been an honour and a privilege to represent them here, but when I leave here today and am back home, I will be asked a lot of questions about the sponsorship program. I cannot answer them and neither can any of the members of the committee because it has been closed down by the Prime Minister. This is wrong.
I ask the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, what can we do? I am leaving. The rest of the people on this side of the House have to do something to straighten this out in Canada.
Police Officers May 11th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, yesterday Her Excellency the Governor General presided over the third investiture ceremony for the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.
The House will recall that this great honour was created in the year 2000 to recognize outstanding service by members of Canadian police forces.
I know that all members will share the sincere and heartfelt appreciation that I have for the selfless dedication of our men and women in uniform.
It is indeed a great privilege and pleasure to single out one recipient for specific mention. One of this year's recipients of this great honour is Chief Clarence “Butch” Cogswell of Saint John, New Brunswick.
I have known Butchy for many years and can personally attest to the fact that he is an outstanding police officer of the first order and truly deserving of every honour awarded to him.
The people of Saint John are fortunate to have such a fine officer in their service. I join with his friends and family in offering my hearty congratulations to him.
Supply May 11th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, how does the hon. member feel about what is happening right now in Manitoba to those who want to study to be a doctor and be part of the health care system if they are not pro-choice? We know what happened to the young man who said that he was against abortion. He was told that he could no longer study to become a doctor in Canada. I was truly shocked when I read that. I could not believe that we were doing this in Canada.
How does the hon. member feel about that situation?
Veterans Affairs May 6th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, it took those who were subjected to mustard gas 50 years to finally get recognition and some help.
The minister's recent announcement does little for those veterans with the greatest needs. The minister continues to deny access to the Korean war vets exposed to toxic chemicals while in the field of duty. Those Korean war soldiers were routinely doused with DDT and kerosene. They were exposed through direct spray and fumigating of their bunkers, their clothes and their sleeping kits. See if anyone would like to have that done.
When it comes to our Korean war vets--
Veterans Affairs May 6th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, this week the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced a package to help some military veterans, yet the government continues to ignore the war veterans of the second world war and the Korean war. It continues to deny access to the VIP for some veterans' widows. It continues to deny Korean war veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals.
Why is the government so heartless when it comes to protecting its aging veterans and their families?
Port Security April 29th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I just hope that the hon. minister knows that the port of Saint John has the highest tides in the world and cutting back on the pilots and port police does not help.
If Canada becomes the target of an attack, it will happen where we least expect it and when our guard is down. The attackers will not go to Halifax, Montreal or Vancouver when those ports are heavily defended. They will strike where our defences are low, at one of the ports that the government has totally forgotten about, such as the port of Saint John.
How can the minister defend a plan that leaves so many--
Port Security April 29th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, the government has failed to protect all the port cities of this country. First it removed the port police, then it cut back on harbour pilots and now most federal ports are being left out of that new national security plan.
Ports are natural access points, like airports or border crossings, yet the government has practically ignored them. Why is the government exposing our communities to such risks?
Committees of the House April 29th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I want the hon. member to know that I also think Mr. Shapiro will be an excellent ethics commissioner, but I also feel very strongly that he has to have independence.
The ethics commissioner appointed by the government and reporting to the Prime Minister knows that if he does not do what is right in the eyes of the Prime Minister, he will not be the ethics commissioner. That is why we feel very strongly that there has to be an independent ethics commissioner who does not report to the Prime Minister but reports to the House of Commons and is able to tell each and every one of us what proper ethics he feels are right.
I wonder how the hon. member of the NDP feels about that. Does he not feel that the ethics commissioner should be independent? Does he not feel that the ethics commissioner should be able to tell the hon. member of the NDP as well as each and every one of us what we should be doing? Does he believe that the ethics commissioner will have that freedom of choice by reporting to the Prime Minister and not to the House of Commons?
Day of Mourning April 28th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago the Canadian Labour Congress remembered workers killed, disabled or injured in the workplace with the first Day of Mourning, held on April 28, 1984. It is a tradition that is now observed across Canada and in 80 countries.
Every 20 minutes a worker is injured on the job in New Brunswick. Some will die, as did eight this past year.
In Nova Scotia there have been terrible accidents, such as the Westray mine explosion where 26 men perished.
We must all learn from these tragedies and do everything in our power to improve workplace safety through legislation, through actions and our every thought.
What is more important than preserving life and limb? I ask your permission, Mr. Speaker, to have all the members of Parliament rise today in this House for one minute of silence for those who lost their lives working for you, for me and for Canadians.