House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

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

Won her last election, in 2000, with 52.74% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Hamilton East May 14th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty hard to summarize 20 years in one minute, but here I go.

I came to this place knowing little about myself and less about my country. I leave today having experienced an incredible journey of discovery. Discovery of myself, my beloved Hamilton and Canada. That journey could not have happened alone.

Today, I especially want to thank those people who believed in me and supported me, even in the GST byelection; the steely people of Hamilton. We are tough. We make steel. It makes a person tough. I know my community will weather the challenges ahead.

I want to thank my colleagues on all sides of the House. Critics, and I have had a few, members of our caucus, parliamentary secretaries, Liberals, public servants who made our jobs easier, staff and leaders of all political parties, but especially the right hon. Jean Chrétien who gave me a chance to do my best for Canada.

I especially and mostly want to thank my family: my husband, my lover, my sailor, my partner in life, my daughter Danelle, who at 17 has never known a day when I was not in politics, my stepchildren, who have always been there for me, my mother, my deceased father, my family who have seen the pain of politics and also experienced the joys, the highs and the lows.

I turn the page today at peace that we have built a stronger Canada.

I would also like to thank the women of Canada, who have always believed that being here was important for each and everyone of them. Today, I am saying goodbye, but not forever.

Ballistic Missile Defence February 17th, 2004

Madam Chair, one of the most potentially dangerous aspects of this discussion is the potential on the part of Canada that this is our mea culpa for Iraq, that somehow because as a country we chose to exercise our sovereign decision on Iraq, a decision that I think was widely supported around the world but a decision that was not very popular south of the border, that we are limiting our choices for the future.

I believe that one of the reasons the Department of National Defence has been very anxiously pursuing this agenda is because it sees it as a way back into the hearts of their American allies. I do not think that is the basis for which a sound decision should be made. That is why I totally support the position stated earlier by a member of the opposition that there should be a full debate and a vote on this issue by all members. I do not think it should be part of the horse trading that goes on because somebody wants a contract in Iraq.

Ballistic Missile Defence February 17th, 2004

Madam Chair, not being the government House leader, I cannot speculate as to what the government would suggest, but as an ordinary member, of course I would welcome a free vote.

Ballistic Missile Defence February 17th, 2004

Madam Chair, of course what is being proposed will cost billions of dollars. Although we are being told it will not cost Canada anything for now, we can be sure that as soon as we sign on with the United States, money will be required.

Take Iraq for example. How much has this cost in lives and massive destruction? In the past year, 250,000 people in the world have been killed in such wars. If there is something we can be proud of in the past year with respect to the former government's mandate, it is the fact that we were able to make an independent choice regarding the war in Iraq.

I do not think that if we had joined the U.S. we would have had this freedom of choice with respect to the war in Iraq. It is impossible to claim to want both an integrated military force and freedom of choice. My colleague, the member for Toronto Centre—Rosedale, said earlier that if we decide to withdraw at any given time, it will be our choice.

Look at what happened when 10 or 20 soldiers participated in a pilot project shortly before the war in Iraq. There were barely 20 soldiers, but we could not pull them out because once the plan was implemented, once the system was in motion, it was too late.

That is why I am confident—I know the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I know he is very sensitive about international issues—that the debate that is beginning today will generate discussions, not only within Canada, but also within the Liberal Party, and we will find out what hon. members and the public really think about this critical decision for the country. I am certain this debate is a first step toward such discussions.

Ballistic Missile Defence February 17th, 2004

Madam Chair, it is certainly relevant that the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, who resigned from the Liberal Party today, said that one of the reasons he left the party was he felt that the opportunities to express different points of view were no longer as welcome as they had been in the past.

If there is an issue upon which there are certainly diverse points of view in this Liberal Party, it is indeed this issue. I am heartened by the fact that with this take note debate we will be able to hear the points of view of many different Canadians, including many Liberals, who have serious concerns about the course that is being charted by the government.

As I was reviewing some material in advance of this evening, I came across a letter, and I have had dozens of letters cross my desk on this issue. I thought this letter summarized better than any letter why the son of star wars should not be a choice for Canada. It is a letter addressed to the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs. It states:

Although joining Star Wars has some practical benefits for Canada, it represents such a fundamental deleterious shift in Canadian policy that we should reject it.

The practical benefits include not having to say “no” to the United States, military cooperation benefits, and possible investment opportunities. I understand that these are attractive.

Star Wars participation should be rejected on three grounds: First, it starts our participation in nuclear war fighting. Second, it involves us in a dubious legality vis-à-vis the ABM treaty. Third and most important, it promotes the military empire building strategy that is behind Star Wars. In addition, once we join Star Wars it will be impossible to back out.

The letter was actually written by a family doctor in Coquitlam, British Columbia. He went on to state:

The Shield: In nuclear war strategy early warning is like the “eyes”, nuclear weapons are like the “sword”, and missile defence is like the “shield”. Careful military analysis sees the “eyes” as stabilizing because a country can be confident that it is not being attacked. On the other hand, with nuclear weapons, the “shield” has always been seen as destabilizing. A country looking at its enemy's nuclear weapons will be very nervous if it sees its own retaliatory force being rendered useless. Each of that country's several possible responses make the earth a far more dangerous place.

Canada has rightly been part of the “eyes”. To become part of the “shield” starts us on a new dangerous path. We become part of nuclear war fighting. We will for the first time participate in a project that makes the earth and Canada less safe.

The Law: Breaking international agreements may not matter to everyone, but I think it should matter to Canadians. Reading Article 15 of the ABM treaty reveals that the treaty was meant to be of unlimited duration....

Russia has done nothing to warrant termination of this treaty. To join with Star Wars would condone the reneging of the ABM treaty.

The Monster Plan: I would invite you to look at the website of the Project for the New American Century. Their statement of principles is signed by Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, among others. They talk about total American military supremacy and Star Wars as its centrepiece. They plan military domination of space and from there unchallenged domination of the earth. This is a monster plan. Furthermore, the American Department of Defense's missile defence website includes this total Star Wars plan.

No getting out: If Canada joins Star Wars it is joining the whole plan and for all time. Can you imagine a future Canadian Prime Minister trying to back out of Star Wars and the American President saying: “But it was you who asked to join. It was clear that we intended from the beginning to eventually put weapons in space. It was even on our website. Our militaries are now integrated in this project. Canada cannot back out now.” If Canada joins Star Wars, we are effectively locked in.

In conclusion: The decision of whether to join Star Wars is one of the most momentous in Canadian history. Are we to choose to be part of a nuclear war fighting machine? I hope not.

I believe we can best help our American friends by diligence at our border, by peacekeeping missions, and by development of international law. This has been our course to date. We should not abandon it.

Sincerely, Earl B. Morris, M.D.

There are far wiser persons than I, and some even wiser than Dr. Morris, who have set the reasons for us. Above all, the strength of Canada has always been based on our capacity to build bridges with the world. Building a wall around North America by joining this plan will reduce our opportunities to build bridges with the world.

I see our country, and I see our party, as one that builds bridges. There are no shields strong enough to fight hate. What fights hate is the capacity to walk in the other shoes.

What can really counteract war and hatred is the ability to know oneself and one another, and to see oneself reflected in the diversities of the other; If we decided to reject everything and come out in favour of this warlike American mission, this would forever be harmful to Canada's opportunity to give hope to all the world's cultures about the possibility of co-existence.

This is why this undertaking of the Americans must stay with the Americans. Canada must have a sovereign voice, a voice that speaks out against President Bush's bellicose policy.

Taxation November 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the hon. member's question because in fact we had a fulsome discussion of this yesterday at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in response to the report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

Obviously the part V fees are being reviewed. I believe the committee on statutory instruments and regulations is looking at the whole issue of fees more generally.

The member can be assured of the great support of all members in rectifying this situation.

Motions for Papers October 29th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I ask that the motion be transferred for debate.

Supply October 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I was under the impression that there would be several votes and I arrived in the middle of a vote. Therefore I am here for the next vote. I am happy to withdraw my vote if it is a problem.

Supply October 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I was under the impression that the question had been put when I came in, but if not, I would be happy to withdraw my vote.

Question No. 250 October 23rd, 2003

The concluding observations of the United Nations committee on the convention on the elimination of discrimination against women, CEDAW, are not considered binding in international law but are considered authoritative, that is, they carry moral obligation and weight. States are expected to undertake follow-up measures on recommendations and to respond to the issues of concern to the committee in subsequent reports. While there is no requirement to develop an overall implementation plan in Canada, several steps are taken to ensure that the views of all human rights treaty bodies, such as the CEDAW committee, are given due consideration.

This follow-up process begins with the immediate distribution of the concluding observations to all concerned federal departments and to all provincial and territorial governments. Federally, each department then discusses the issues to determine whether and what measures can be taken to address those issues within its area of competence. Interdepartmental meetings are held to coordinate efforts. Provinces and territories engage in their own intra-governmental discussions. To coordinate efforts between jurisdictions, discussions are held through the appropriate established federal-provincial-territorial government mechanisms. These mechanisms include the continuing committee of officials on human rights, and in the case of the CEDAW, meetings of federal-provincial-territorial ministers and senior officials on the status of women.

In response to the sub-questions: (a) and (d) Four interdepartmental meetings have been held to discuss the concluding observations. The next meeting is expected to be held in October. A working group has been established to develop a strategy for improved reporting. In addition, the CEDAW and the concluding observations have been discussed interdepartmentally at meetings on related subjects, including discussions on the agenda for gender equality and human rights issues generally.

(b) The continuing committee of officials on human rights, which includes representatives of all jurisdictions, discussed the committee’s recommendations on five occasions. The federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for the status of women also discussed the CEDAW at their meeting in September.

c) and (e) At the request of the Feminist Alliance For International Action, FAFIA, officials from several federal departments met with representatives of women’s non-governmental organizations to hear their suggestions regarding follow-up to the concluding observations. Status of Women Canada has provided funding to FAFIA to develop strategies and coordinate action by women’s organizations throughout Canada concerning follow-up to Canada’s international commitments on women’s issues.

Federal departments are expected to include discussions of the issues raised by this and other human rights treaty bodies within their usual consultations with non-governmental organizations on issues within the responsibility of the department. There is no formal process in place to solicit input from women’s, aboriginal or human rights non-governmental organizations specifically in regard to follow-up to the views of the CEDAW committee. The possibility of establishing such a process in future, however, is one of several issues that will be examined by federal departments that are engaged in discussions on how to improve the implementation of, as well as reporting on, all six human rights instruments that Canada has ratified.

(f) The concluding observations are available to all Canadians on the website of the Department of Canadian Heritage at http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/pdp-hrp/docs/cedaw_e.cfm . Paper copies are available free of charge on request by calling the human rights program at 819-994-3458.

(g) Each jurisdiction is in the process of determining what will be done within its area to address each of the issues raised by the committee. Efforts to address the issues are expected to be ongoing over several years. In accordance with the requirements of the CEDAW committee, information on the measures implemented and the results achieved will be included in Canada’s next report.