Last in Parliament October 2000, as NDP MP for Bras D'Or (Nova Scotia)
Lost her last election, in 2000, with 19.86% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Employment Insurance Act October 19th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to inform the House that the public accounts committee waited for over 20 minutes and nobody showed up.
Business Of The House October 19th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the government whip and House leader that as the representative on the public accounts committee for the New Democratic Party, I can confirm that no Liberal representatives arrived at the committee.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency October 17th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, in Cape Breton, Liberal values mean contracts offered to golf buddies of the Prime Minister: a friend under RCMP investigation who got ministerial help arranging a sole source contract from ACOA that saw hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on renting empty offices. These are the values laid out in the auditor general's report today.
Will the new unelected minister for ACOA be responding to these documented abuses before Canadians are forced to go to the polls?
Supply October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, it is really simple. It is the number. All we have to do is look at how many men and how many women there are in the House of Commons.
Probably the member has some ideas about why that is so. We talk about equality. We hear the government talk about it all the time. If we as members are not committed to that equality when it comes to representing citizens, I am afraid that by the time my 11 year old daughter is old enough we still will not have that equality, if we do not have that commitment from the Liberal government.
Supply October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. As she knows, being a mother, it is a struggle and it is tough being a mother and not having the ability to feed or clothe one's children.
What we have seen happen is a slash, burn and cut mentality from the Liberal government. Unfortunately women have carried the brunt of the Liberal cuts.
With respect to the member's question about whether it is difficult, as I said earlier in my speech, the government talks about equality, but when we sit in the Chamber do we have equality? Not yet. Will we? I believe so.
What is important about the women's world march is that it is not about asking any more. It is about Canadian women demanding. This will be something for which women will want an answer from every government member when they possibly go knocking on doors in two weeks.
Supply October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his comments. I think he makes a very valid point. When we are talking in the House about equality, as women have been talking across the country, that is just what we are talking about: equality for all women who are Canadian citizens.
Recently we have heard a lot of discussion from the other side of the House about values, about Liberal government values. As a Canadian citizen I have to say that we all should be standing here and holding our heads in shame when we look at the social deficit that has been caused at the hands of the Liberal government.
As a mother I cannot imagine knowing and dealing with, day after day, my children having to go to bed hungry. Women across Canada to their credit yesterday sent a clear message to the government. This is not about our asking for equality. This is about Canadian women from coast to coast to coast saying we want it and we want it now.
Supply October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate today, but I think it is very important that we also talk about what is happening across the country as we sit here. We have to look at the facts.
One in five Canadian children, or 1.3 million, live in poverty. That is up 25% since 1989. The fastest growing segment of the homeless population in Canada is families with children. Up to 40% of all food bank users are children under 18 years of age. The Canada child benefit, Canada's major tax transfer program for children, goes to only 36% of poor families. Those are the facts.
Yesterday was a momentous time for women across Canada and the world. The streets of the capital were filled with 50,000 men and women in a demonstration to make their demands known to the federal government.
What was the purpose of the march? What had inspired such a mass demonstration of anger toward the Liberal government? The march was for equality. The march was to stop violence against women. The march was to end poverty affecting women. It was an expression of anger at the Liberal government. Here we are, a supposedly civilized developed nation, and yet we still have to march in the streets to demand decent funding for health care. This is what Canada has come to. Yesterday 50,000 people shouted that it is time for a change.
In 1985 the UN announced that the target date for equality between men and women was the year 2000. We have two months left before the target date and it is terrifying to see how far we are from equality.
Wages for women are on average two-thirds those of their male equivalents. The glass ceiling in many professions is just as solid as it was 30 years ago. Members should look around the House. Do we see equality?
One in six Canadian women is poor. This figure of one in six includes all types of women. Of those women living alone who are more than 65 years of age there is a poverty rate of 49%. Is this how the Liberal government wants to thank those women who have put so much into our country? As well, of women who head single parent families 56% are poor. Is this the environment the Liberal government wants our future generations to be raised in?
What does this mass poverty lead to? It leads to women staying in violent or abusive relationships. The financial cost of escaping is too great. It leads to fear of running away. We all know the federal government has not set aside resources and benefits to protect these women.
Should it really take 50,000 marchers to make the government give money to those who really need it? The demands of the World March of Women are vital to the development of our nation. We must restore federal funding to health care and prevent it from the awful prospect of privatization.
Over the lifetime of the Liberal government millions of dollars have been cut year after year. Acceptable health care is a crucial part of society. We must fight every day to restore it to acceptable levels. We must also continually demand that a two tier system of health care be prevented. Only recently Alberta made moves toward such a system. The nation was outraged.
Canadian women say health care funding must be restored now. The World March of Women also demands that an additional 1% of the budget must be spent on social housing. With increasing numbers of people being forced to sleep on the streets and rising numbers of women using women's shelters, increased federal spending on social housing is well overdue.
The federal government promised to contribute $2 billion to the setting up of a national child care fund. This money is yet to materialize. Any working mother knows the difficulty of juggling a career and a family, and yet the government seems to be reluctant to support these women who need their help.
When will the Liberal government recognize that until women know that their children can be looked after they cannot go back to work? In many cases they cannot afford child care until they are earning a wage. This is an ongoing nightmare for many women across the country who are desperate to get back to work but are unable.
There are many more specific demands submitted by the World March of Women and it is time they were answered. Last month the government triumphantly announced its $12 billion surplus. Now it is time to use it. How long can the government ignore the shouts of thousands of its citizens who say give the money to health care, give the money to benefits, give the money to reduce student debt, promise to protect women from violence at home, and find ways to secure equality between men and women? It should open its eyes and recognize that these issues will not go away.
These are not just women's issues. These are the issues of Canadians. The NDP has been calling for many of these changes throughout this parliament. Health care and education have been two of our highest priorities. We will not give up the fight to protect and approve them.
The member for Halifax and I were on the Hill supporting the march. We were showing our desire to gain equality and end poverty and violence against women. Today the NDP women are on the inside of parliament shouting just as loudly for the same demands.
Yesterday's march was a triumph for the women of Canada. Now that momentum must be harnessed and pushed forward. The government cannot ignore the cries of 50,000 people with the support of thousands more around the country and the world. The message is loud and clear. It is time for change.
Questions Passed As Orders For Returns October 16th, 2000
What funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued in the constituency of Bras d'Or—Cape Breton for each of the following fiscal years: ( a ) 1993-1994, ( b ) 1994-1995, ( c ) 1995-1996, ( d ) 1996-1997, ( e ) 1997-1998, and ( f ) 1998-1999, and in each case, where applicable: (i) what was the department or agency responsible; (ii) what was the program under which the payment was made; (iii) what were the names of the recipients, if they were groups or organizations; (iv) what was the monetary value of the payment made; and (v) what was the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?
Question No. 96—
Women's Rights October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, 60,000 women and men took to the streets in this capital. Their aim was to demonstrate to the government that women's issues cannot and will not be ignored any longer.
They were demanding an end to poverty and violence against women, and support flooded in from across the country.
Thirteen immediate demands were presented to the Liberal government, such as: the restoration of federal funding to health care and the enforcement of the rules against the privatization of our health care system; an additional 1% of the budget to be spent on social housing; an immediate contribution of $2 billion for the promised national child care fund; the supporting of women's organizing for equality and democracy through a variety of methods; the establishment of a national system of grants based on need, not merit; and the adoption of a proactive pay equity legislation.
We in the NDP wholeheartedly support these demands and will stand in solidarity with Canadian women to force the government to act upon this.
Employment Insurance October 6th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, on October 15 women across the globe will march hand in hand, side by side.
One of the issues they are fighting against is poverty and how it affects their families. Meanwhile the government talks about the great strides it has taken for the rights of women in Canada. All of us in this Chamber know that poor children are a result of poor parents.
Can the HRDC minister tell us if, with her government's proposed changes to the EI, a woman who was ineligible for benefits last week will be eligible today?