House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Brant (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2000, with 56.42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Employment Insurance November 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, let us look at some of those statistics. Again, three million jobs have been created since the government took office. Half of those jobs have been created for Canadian women.

Let us understand that every single year since we have been in power, we have reduced employment insurance premiums. For the next year they will be at $1.98 for employees.

When it comes to investing in Canadians, I want to remind the hon. member that it is through the employment insurance system that we have doubled parental benefits, that we will be now introducing a compassionate leave program.

We understand our role in supporting Canadian workers.

Employment Insurance November 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear that the employment insurance system is there and it is working for those for whom it was designed. Of those who pay premiums, close to 90% will be eligible for benefits should they need them.

As the Prime Minister has said, the government has created three million new jobs for Canadians since it was elected. At the same time, as we have had more people working and more premiums being paid, we have been reducing employment insurance premiums. That has saved individuals and employers a considerable amount since 1993.

Question No. 254 October 31st, 2003

a) Moving forward on the long promised review of the EI premium-setting mechanism

The review of the EI premium rate-setting mechanism is already underway. In the 2003 budget, the government launched a consultation process on a new permanent rate-setting regime for 2005 and beyond and outlined five principles upon which the consultations would be based.

--The Department of Finance and HRDC held a series of roundtable consultations with business and labour stakeholders, economists and technical experts and the EI Commissioners for Workers and Employers.

--All Canadians were also invited to provide submissions by mail or Internet to the Government of Canada before June 30, 2003.

The consultation phase of the rate-setting review is now complete. HRDC and the Department of Finance will produce a public document summarizing the views received during these consultations. Legislation will also be introduced in time to have a new rate-setting mechanism in place for 2005.

b) Bringing EI premiums into balance with EI costs

The 2004 premium rate has been set at $1.98 of insurable earnings in budget 2003. According to the private sector economic forecasts used in the budget, this premium rate should bring premium revenues in line with program costs over 2004. The premium rate for 2005 and beyond will be set as part of the new rate-setting regime. While the outcome of this process is not known, it must be emphasized that balancing EI premiums with EI costs is one of the five principles on which the future process is to be based.

c) Separating the EI fund from general revenues

Since 1986, following the recommendation of the Auditor General of Canada, the employment insurance account has been fully integrated into the overall finances of the Government of Canada as the government controls the parameters of the EI program. Separating the EI fund from general revenues is one of the several proposals that Canadians made during the premium rate-setting consultations.

At this time, it would be premature to speculate on the outcome of any particular option raised during the consultation process before all options have been thoroughly assessed.

Human Resources Development October 31st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, indeed I am very happy to tell the hon. member that this government is on track to introducing one of the world's first compassionate care programs on January 4, 2004.

We know how difficult workplace and family balance issues are, and we believe as a country that we have to help Canadians deal with the moral issue of going to work while at home they have a gravely ill child, parent or spouse. This is indeed a great and positive addition to Canada's unbelievably important social safety net.

Employment Insurance October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question gives me yet another chance to congratulate the members of the Prime Minister's task force for the work they did in speaking with over 1,000 women entrepreneurs.

In that report they did make reference to the importance of parental benefits. We indeed will follow up on their report and see which way is best associated to deal with self-employed workers in this regard.

Employment Insurance October 29th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's task force on women entrepreneurs has emphasized yet again how important the government's decision to double parental benefits has been to Canadian families. It clarifies indeed that women entrepreneurs, those who are self-employed do not pay premiums and therefore do not have access.

I welcome the recommendation of the committee and the information it has provided that suggests that women entrepreneurs are prepared to pay premiums. We will do what we can to provide this important benefit to women entrepreneurs.

Ethics October 29th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's assertion is wrong. The facts are these. In the summer of 1996, seven and a half years ago, I was in Atlantic Canada on political and departmental business. I was in the riding of Fundy—Royal with the then member of Parliament, my colleague in this caucus. In the course of our schedule he suggested my family join his family for an evening at his wife's family cottage. We did that.

The hon. member can rest assured that the ethics counsellor has reviewed this and has said that there are no concerns.

Ethics October 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, to the best of my knowledge, all my gifts have been declared appropriately under the ethics guidelines.

Literacy October 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, while it may seem unbelievable, eight million Canadians do not have the literacy and numeracy skills that they need to fully participate in Canada's knowledge based society and economy.

While the Government of Canada invests $30 million a year in literacy programs and services through the National Literacy Secretariat, more needs to be done.

I congratulate the hon. member and indeed all members of the standing committee on human resources for their recent comprehensive report that gives us good direction on how best to tackle Canada's literacy challenge.

Student Loans October 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, indeed, we welcome the students to the Hill and are glad to hear the views that they present to us.

The hon. member will know that the question of tuition is clearly a provincial jurisdiction. However I hope he will also know that the government takes the issue of access to post-secondary education very seriously. That is why every year we invest $1.6 billion in the Canada student loan program. That is why we have also introduced the Canada millennium foundation.

There are more programs that the government has put in place to support lifelong learning, and I hope the hon. member will recognize that.