Last in Parliament October 2000, as NDP MP for Yukon (Yukon)
Lost her last election, in 2000, with 31.95% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Supply October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I am hoping that the member from London can help me on this. I know she has worked hard on this issue and believes strongly in equality for women.
When it comes to women's issues or moving policy on women's issues it seems to be really difficult. When policy does get changed it gets changed so that it penalizes women, such as in the case of the EI program or moving forward with child care.
One area that has bothered me a lot is the area of the defence of provocation. This defence is used if a man is insulted or his honour is besmirched on the basis of an insult. We excuse the murder done to a woman because he was insulted. We are making excuses for anger when it comes to violence against women. It is in our laws. It is very symbolic. The law says that a man can react violently to what he perceives as a verbal insult. It is very discouraging to think that we cannot even make small changes like that.
There is another little thing I want to bring up, which is not little for the women involved. Everybody knows that Canada is a huge country with vast areas of isolated communities. The federal prenatal health program has just cut funding for women in Dawson City. They can no longer get any assistance to go to Whitehorse to give birth. They do not have a choice in this. They cannot stay in Dawson City to give birth. They have to spend at least two weeks in Whitehorse near the hospital but the funding to enable them to do that has been cut. Most of these women are not wealthy. They live on very fixed incomes and the accommodation is expensive. Why would something like that happen? It is just unbelievable.
I know the women members on the other side of the House are working hard to change things but why do we not have the changes that we need? Why do we have something like this? The amount of money we are talking about is only around $7,000. It is such a minuscule amount compared to our full budget. Why was it cut? It has a drastic effect on the lives of women at a time when they need help to give birth in a place that is safe. They do not have any other choice.
Canadian Heritage October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I have spoken clearly that I support a tribute. The Yukon also supports a tribute but it does not support this tribute. Maybe the aboriginal affairs minister has something to say because the umbrella final agreement for the Yukon, which was signed in 1993, clearly states that a traditional territory, if it is to be renamed, has to be done in consultation.
The Prime Minister's approach to this has been a failure. It has offended and affected first nations people. It has offended Canadians. It has probably seriously embarrassed the Trudeau family. They should rethink this, do it properly and let Canadians choose a tribute.
Canadian Heritage October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, the heritage minister has a very close relationship with the Prime Minister. Maybe she can get him to change his mind because the people of Kluane, Haines Junction, Yukon and Canada are really shocked at the Prime Minister changing the name of Mount Logan.
People have told me they do not mind a tribute and in fact they support a tribute to former Prime Minister Trudeau, but they do not like how this was done. They are opposed to it because they think it wrongs Yukoners, first nations and the Logan legacy.
Will the heritage minister make sure that Mount Logan stays Mount Logan and that the Prime Minister changes his mind?
Criminal Code September 26th, 2000
Madam Speaker, I want to take this chance to comment on this because in my riding the issue of cruelty to animals is the one which I have received the most mail on in my three and a half years as a member of parliament.
It is significant to mention that the letters are from trappers and hunters who support the legislation against cruelty to animals. These are people who have been targeted over the years and have been accused of cruelty and inhumanity. In fact, they are people who make their living in the most humane way that they know how and carry out their jobs in that manner. It is a very difficult living to make.
I also received letters of support for this legislation from other people. The thoughts that came through most clearly were people's true concerns that we use animals and take their lives so that we can live and eat, particularly in communities that live on a subsistence of hunting, fishing and trapping and when we do it that it be done with the regard for other lives in this world, not just our own and that people who live that way not do it cruelly and do it for reason. They also wanted people to know that they did not look at it as inhumane or cruel to animals.
I really wanted to bring it up because it is important to note that the support has come from young people, from old people, from first nations and from the conservation and humane societies in my riding.
Aboriginal Affairs September 26th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately Liberal aboriginal policy persistently defaults on treaties and written agreements. On the west coast, a group of young aboriginals feel they must occupy the fishery minister's office to protect aboriginal rights on the east coast. In Alberta, the Lubicon struggle to resolve their longstanding claim. In Quebec, Domtar logs on unceded land. In the Yukon, fees are imposed on permits and licences, even though 16.4.10 of the claims agreement clearly prohibits this. From coast to coast to coast the divide between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians is widening.
If we are to repair this breach it is imperative that we honour the existing treaties right now.
Financial Consumer Agency Of Canada Act September 20th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg Centre.
I am pleased as well to speak to Bill C-38 which involves financial sector reform, a bill, as has been mentioned, that is 900 pages long and certainly deserves thorough scrutiny.
It was interesting to listen to the Minister of Finance today during question period talking about generational debt. This is a man, along with our Prime Minister, who was in the House in the eighties and nineties when that huge debt was created and a large part of it is due to compound interest.
He was talking about this generation and himself as someone who was going to be a saviour. It was in fact our parents and the men and the women who were in the war and lived through the depression. They made sure their children went to school and got an education. They made sure there would be pensions, unemployment insurance benefits and housing programs. They made sure that people would have homes and that they could afford the gas and the heating fuel to keep their houses warm.
Here we have a government that has slashed and burned those programs. It was not the social programs that caused the debt. It was, as I said, compound interest that was paid to financial institutions in the eighties and nineties that caused the debt to spiral.
I agree that we have a debt and that it needs to be paid, but we also have a debt to the homeless and to the people who are on emergency lists at hospitals. People are dying because they are being turned away from emergency wards. Those debts are far more important than the debt to private institutions such as banks.
We have a finance minister who has been visibly taking public money and transferring it into private hands and we have no say. The big announcement of an extra $12 billion goes right to the banks. Nobody in the House has any say over how that money will be treated, who it will go to or who it should go it. It is completely out of our hands. That is reprehensible and shocking when we have other debts besides financial debts.
These financial institutions are the most privileged, profitable and wealthy institutions in Canada but they pay very little tax compared to the profits they make. They put nothing back into their communities. The bill will not require them to reinvest in their communities. They will be able to pull out of communities and end banking services at will without any recourse for the communities involved.
The New Democratic Party, just on principle, does not support the bill. There are things in it that are worth supporting but not in comparison to what is not worth supporting. We do support the expanded power to credit unions. We think it is important to modernize financial institutions and make sure there is better competition for insurance companies. The bill will provide more power to the House of Commons in bank mergers.
It seems that this huge financial bill went through a screening in a backroom committee where no elected official or average Canadian could have a say. I do not know about most members of parliament but I do not know any wealthy people. Most of the people I know barely make it from month to month, paycheque to paycheque and being able to buy shoes for their kids for the start of school. Most of us do not have any access to the world of privilege or wealth.
We in the NDP do not support the bill because it abandons the wide ownership rules and it will lead to a concentration of power into a few hands. We do not need more public money going into private hands or more public power going into private hands. In a democracy we want to keep power where it belongs, in the hands of the people as much as possible.
The bill also gives far too much power to the finance minister. Why would we want to do that when he already has enormous power? Why would we want him to have that much power over the way we exchange goods or the way we make decisions? In fact, very few of us can get away from a world that depends on money. The minister will have a final say on mergers, acquisitions, regulations and ownership levels, and that is just not acceptable.
There will be no accountability between a bank and its community. As do some states in the United States, the bill will not require banks to reinvest in the communities where they have made their money. Banks make their money off our money. There will be no guarantees of rural access to banking. We cannot stop bank closures or provide no cost accounts. It reduces capital requirements for small banks and there is no control on high risk derivative products or off balance sheet liabilities.
In 1999 our Canadian banks made $9.1 billion in profits. That kind of money seems unimaginable to the average Canadian when they pay $2 billion in federal tax. The banks also got a 7% reduction in corporate tax in the 1999 budget.
As I said, banks are privileged but they do need to be dealt with fairly. The financial sector does have to be reformed but it should not be reformed at the expense of the individual Canadian who has a very hard time going to the bank. Small businesses struggle when approaching banks for loans. They could at least invest in our communities.
In closing, I want to say that we in the NDP oppose on principle second reading of Bill C-38.
Income Tax Act September 19th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill, which introduces adoption expense deductions.
I am surprised at the argument from the Liberal member across that categorizes this as a personal expense. I think adoption is probably one of the most impersonal expenses anybody can put forth. People will be adopting a child of parents whom they do not know. They will not know the child and they will not know if the child is going to be troubled. If it is an international adoption the child could have been denied love, stimulation and care. They will be facing the problems of integrating that child into their home and their community. They could be adopting a child that has fetal alcohol syndrome or other problems as a result of the parents' actions. So it is an incredibly impersonal expense that a family makes when they decide to adopt. We are talking about families and the incredible struggle they go through to adopt.
I have seen some of my friends go through five years of trying to adopt. What they submit themselves to, no biological parent has to. They have to do a home study in which they are asked the most personal, intimate questions one could ever imagine. No one would even want to answer them, but they have to answer them because they want to adopt a child.
They need letters of reference so they have to go to different people of good standing in the community and ask if they would consider them to be good parents and then get them to write letters for them. They need psychological assessments which at a minimum are probably about $90 an hour. Their religious standards are scrutinized. Their income is scrutinized. Their age, are they too young or too old. Their health, are they healthy and what their family history is when it comes to mental health. I was certainly never asked those questions when I was young and having children. I have four children.
My big expense of having children was to buy a crib that lasted for all four of them. If I had to pay out $20,000 or $10,000 or even $1,000 per child at that age, I certainly could not have done it. However, we are expecting these people, who will be making a contribution to our community and who will be raising other people's children as their own, to do so without any kind of break.
I am again really disappointed at the Liberal approach of categorizing adoptive parents' desire to have children as a personal expense. It is shocking and hurtful to anybody who is willing to go through the expense and the gruelling ordeal of adopting a child.
As has already been mentioned, there are public and private adoptions in this country but they both involve huge expenses. As I have said, the family has emotional expenses as well as financial expenses to go through. I do not think we should promote this bill just because it would save the government money. I think we should support it because it is the right thing to do. We should support it because it would support families and it would be a good addition to any children's agenda.
If we are going to put forward something seriously it is critical that we recognize parents who are willing to adopt. Not everybody is capable of adopting or of seeing those children through all the years of adoption. It is not always easy. These families are different.
I was just talking to a woman today who has adopted three children. It was an international adoption. It is difficult for families to adopt a child who may come from a wartorn country and has been traumatized. Adopting families do not know the child's history or what life holds for them. I do not have to face those questions with my children but we are not willing to give people who adopt children from anywhere, who look after them, love them, care for them and do all the things that we would do for our own children, a leg up or a boost, even in this small way of recognizing the initial financial costs of an adoption.
In a lot of ways we can not ameliorate or lessen the psychological and emotional impact an adoption has on people. It is a gruelling test of their character. Anyone who does adopt should be applauded rather than penalized.
This is a private member's bill that is worthy of support by all MPs in the House. They should stand and say “Yes, we will support you in every way we can because your struggles are different than ours”. It would be another addition to our criteria as a family and there is just no way that what they do could ever be considered as just a self-serving personal expense because it is not self-serving. They have been serving other people for decades by including adoptive children in their families.
Species At Risk Act September 19th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I would like the hon. Bloc member to elaborate a little bit more fully on the scientific input that will not be there when making lists for species that are endangered. If we think of species that are endangered, we have to realize that their habitat is endangered.
The people who are on the land and share that habitat with the animals are scientists, biologists, elders, hunters, fishers and trappers. Those are the people who know the patterns of the wildlife.
It is completely unacceptable and really shocking that there would be no input from the scientists who have evaluated the patterns and the history of the wildlife and the flora and fauna on that land.
Fuel Costs September 18th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, winter is coming and soaring fuel costs mean that Canadians spend more money on energy and transportation than on food and clothing combined. In northern Canada one community has been forced to lay off staff in order to pay for heating fuel. Transportation has always been expensive in the north but with rising fuel costs it will become impossible.
The Liberal government no longer regulates energy prices or even monitors gasoline prices. This allows unaccountable oil companies to set prices with no concern for the hardship they inflict. In an emergency resolution, the NDP federal council called on the Government of Canada to ensure that the cost of home heating, transportation and electricity remain affordable for all Canadians.
I would like to take a moment to welcome a page from the Yukon, Jamie Furniss. His mom phoned and asked us to welcome him.
Supply June 15th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I was listening very closely because I think the whole idea of accountability is an important one. My focus would be on accountability toward the health of Canadian citizens, not necessarily a focus just on money. I do not know if that was what the member was pointing to.
I think we should have accountability and integration. I was one of the MPs at the ecological summit. We heard reports from various doctors saying that to have better health for Canadians, we have to integrate our food, our agriculture, our environment department and our health departments. We cannot exclude any of them or look at them independently because when it comes to our health, they are interconnected.
Along the lines of preventative health, our health care system should include naturopathic doctors. That has not been done. These doctors have to get a bachelor of science degree. They have to train. We have an eminent institution for naturopathic medicine in Toronto. The doctors have to train there for three more years and then they have to specialize. They are doctors in their own right. We should be able to connect with them as well as with our medical doctors and have that integrated to add to the health of our community.
I keep hearing that we cannot just throw money at it. Nobody is saying that we should just throw money at it. That is not happening. Medicine and care is labour-intensive. People cannot be left sick and alone. There has to be money for primary care. I would like the member to respond to that.