Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Halifax (Nova Scotia)
Lost her last election, in 1997, with 21.64% of the vote.
Statements in the House
National Defence April 23rd, 1997
Mr. Speaker, Liberal members of the defence committee have completed hearings in Val Cartier and in Halifax. We heard from generals and admirals but equally important we heard from the enlisted ranks and NCOs. We heard from social workers, health professionals, chaplains. We heard from spouses, child care workers, crisis intervention workers. We saw a fascinating picture of the life of our military, their families and the people who provide support to them. We heard stories that amazed, that inspired and that angered us, but most of all we saw that our military is the vibrant, hardworking, diverse institution we knew it was.
I am sorry the Bloc and Reform members did not see fit to join us. Our visits were worthwhile for us and for the military.
To all the men and women who spoke with us so frankly, we are grateful and proud and we salute you.
Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1996 April 22nd, 1997
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I wish to say had I been in my place, I would have voted with my party.
The House moved to consideration of Bill C-39, An Act respecting the York Factory First Nation and the settlement of matters arising from an agreement relating to the flooding of land, as reported (with an amendment) from a committee.
National Volunteer Week April 16th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today during National Volunteer Week to honour all volunteers but most particularly women volunteers.
Every day countless numbers of women give their time to work in our hospitals, schools and nursing homes, on boards and fund raising committees, with literacy programs, rape crisis centres and more. These women come from a wide cross section of society and bring a great range of skills and expertise to the cultural, political, social and economic fabric of the country. In fact our paid economy could not function without the unpaid work of volunteers.
As a nation we cannot afford to take our volunteers for granted. They are without a doubt the heart and soul of our country and on behalf of all of us I say thank you.
Victoria Cross April 9th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, four Canadians won the Victoria Cross at Vimy, three on the first day of battle 80 years ago today.
Private William Milne crawled on his hands and knees to reach an enemy gun and took the post out. He then located a machine gun in the support line and put the enemy out of action again. He saved the lives of many of his comrades, but he was killed shortly thereafter.
Sergeant Ellis Sifton charged a machine gun post single-handed. Met by a small party of enemy soldiers, he held them off until our men had secured the spot. He was shot moments after his relief arrived.
Captain Thain MacDowell of Lachute, Quebec, entered an enemy dugout and tricked 77 Germans into surrendering by pretending he had a large force behind him. This force consisted of two soldiers. Wounded, he held the position in heavy shell fire for five days.
Private John Pattison jumped from shell hole to shell hole to hurl bombs at an enemy machine gun. He then rushed forward and overpowered his opponents. Pattison was killed two months later.
These are the brave Canadians of Vimy. We will remember them always.
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal For United Nations Peacekeeping Act March 19th, 1997
Madam Speaker, it is with very great pleasure that I stand to speak in support of Bill C-300. I return the favour and thank the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands for his kind words to members of the standing committee, to members of the minister's staff and to others who assisted with the bill. It is my great pleasure to pay tribute to the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Too frequently in the House we are accused, and sometimes rightfully, of partisan behaviour. In this case the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands brought the bill forward and worked diligently and with great perseverance with all our colleagues in the House. There was also assistance from hon. members of the official opposition.
I for one am pleased to have been involved in a small way in the hard work put forward by the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands. The only thing I would add is a reference to one of the high points of this exemplary piece of legislation. It can be given to persons not just in the Canadian forces but those involved in activities in the peacekeeping area such as policing, local administration, the delivery of aid, medical assistance or election assistance.
I conclude by thanking and congratulating the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands. I am very pleased to have had a very small part to play in the bill.
The Late Murray Fraser March 19th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, Murray Fraser was a lawyer, a law teacher, law reformer, law school founder, law dean, university administrator and university president.
He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a son, a brother, a friend, a colleague and a mentor. He was a diplomat, a wit, an intellectual and a scholar. He was a comforter, a consolidator, a builder and an inspiration.
He could calm a class of hysterical law students, play a wicked game of charades and charm an auditorium full of people, all effortlessly and with true warmth. He was a stellar member of his profession in every aspect of that profession.
With his wife Anne he formed a team that made the places where they lived and worked in Canada, Halifax, Ottawa, Victoria and Calgary, immeasurably better and they did it with much grace.
We lost Murray Fraser last week, far too young, far too soon.
To his wife Anne, his three sons, all his family and to the larger community that mourns him across our nation, we send our sympathy and our tribute to a truly wonderful man. We loved him.
Committees Of The House March 18th, 1997
Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.
Pursuant to an order of reference dated Wednesday, February 3, 1997, the committee has studied Bill C-300, the volunteer Canadian service medal for United Nations peacekeeping act, and has agreed to report it with amendments and with much thanks to the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Supply March 10th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I am of course to delighted comment on the hon. member's comment.
I would first like to say that I was slightly confused by his comments at the beginning with respect to the theory of relativity, but realizing that the hon. member is not Einstein I was soon reassured. I suspect he meant relevance, but we will see.
As to his worry about the judges of the various courts across this land being loath to make decisions, I can only say that certainly has not been my experience. I would go to my colleague, the hon. member for Sarnia-Lambton, and suggest that probably is not his experience either. Judges, when they are put on the bench, wish to make decisions based upon their considerable knowledge and ability, which is the reason they were put on the bench in the first place.
If the hon. member has no faith in judges, if he clearly has no faith in governments, if he has no faith in anyone, why is he here? Why bother to take part in a process that he thinks is totally irrelevant, or should I say irrelative?
I have come forward to attempt to allay some of the wilder theories about this legislation. I think I have done so. I know that the hon. member for Sarnia-Lambton has done so. I would suggest that comments such as the ones we have just been subjected to come more under the heading of sour grapes than they do the theory of relativity.
Supply March 10th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, judging by the wording of the motion I get the impression the Reform Party is accusing the government of being insensitive to the concerns of victims regarding section 745.6 of the Criminal Code. Let me assure hon. members of the House that nothing could be further from the truth.
In developing the amendments to section 745.6 which were recently passed by the House the government had the concerns and perspective of victims squarely in mind. I am referring to the amendments introduced in the House on June 11, 1996 as Bill C-45, an act to amend the Criminal Code (judicial review of parole ineligibility) and another act, now S.C. 1996, chapter 34. These amendments received royal assent on December 18, 1996 and were brought into force on January 9, 1997.
Turning to the substance of those amendments I note for hon. members that as of January 9, 1997 any person who commits multiple murders will no longer be entitled to bring an application under section 745.6. Judicial review of the parole ineligibility period will simply not be an option for anyone who commits more than one murder. This would include those offenders, fortunately few in number, who have become known in the popular media as serial killers.
In these cases the offender will be required to serve the full 25 years with no eligibility for parole and no chance under section 745.6 to review that ineligibility period. This means that for future cases of this nature victims' families will not be forced to face the prospect of a section 745.6 review.
The second point I note about the amendment is the introduction of a mechanism to screen out applications that have no merit. As of January 9, 1997 any application brought under the section regardless of when the offence was committed will be submitted to a superior court judge for a paper review of the case to see if the case has a reasonable prospect of success.
During the paper review the judge will consider written materials presented by the crown and by the offender. If the offender cannot show that his or her application has a reasonable chance of success-and the legislation places the onus on the offender to prove this point-the application will be stopped there. It will not be permitted to proceed to a hearing before the jury.
The amendment will prevent the type of revictimization the Reform Party motion refers to in any case where the application has no reasonable prospect of success. These applications will be screened out at any early stage. They will not be allowed to proceed to a full and public hearing before a judge and jury.
The third point to note about the amendments is that a significant change has been made concerning the number of jury members that must be convinced before an offender can obtain a reduction in the parole ineligibility period. Before these amendments were passed an offender only had to convince two-thirds of the jury or eight members out of twelve. As a result of Bill C-45 an offender will now have to convince each and every member of the jury to get any reduction at all in the parole ineligibility period.
To recap the effect of these important changes to this section and to the review process, as of January 9, 1997 no person who commits multiple murders will be allowed to apply for a review under section 745.6 of the Criminal Code. All applications brought after this date, whether the crimes were committed before or after January 9, 1997, will be subjected to a paper review by a superior court judge and may well be screened out if the offender cannot show a reasonable chance of success. For those applications that do not get screened out, the offender will have to convince all 12 members of the jury to get any reduction in the parole ineligibility period, not merely eight members of the jury as was previously legislated.
The government listened. It listened long and hard to the concerns of victims before and during the development of these amendments and during their passage through both Houses of Parliament.
During this process it became apparent that one of the reasons for the concern about section 745.6 was that until recently many people were unaware of the existence of this provision. For example, the families of murder victims often find out about section 745.6 through the media many years after the trial and conviction of the offender. This late discovery leads to a sense of surprise and betrayal. It reopens old wounds.
The sense of surprise and betrayal was evident in the testimony of many of the victims who appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs when these committees considered Bill C-45.
As a result of listening to this concern, on February 27, 1997 the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announced that he had written to his colleagues, the provincial attorneys general, to ask them to issue instructions to their crown attorneys that the families of victims were to be advised of the existence and the effect of section 745.6 at the time of sentencing in all appropriate murder cases.
By implementing this simple and practical procedure we can ensure the families of victims are never caught by surprise by the existence of section 745.6 again.
Sadly there are people sitting in the House who would rather muddy the waters with half-truths than come out with what exactly happened in the amendment of the legislation.
I am delighted the hon. member for Sarnia-Lambton was here at the beginning of this afternoon's debate to set the record straight.
Tobacco Act March 6th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Calgary Centre for his question because I know that it was heartfelt and well meant. I am glad he asked it.
I do not know the exact dates because I am far too young, but there may be others in this House who do, but many years ago when we had prohibition in this country, I had a great uncle by marriage who made a great deal of money from prohibition because he owned a number of boats that sailed from St. Pierre de Michelon down through the St. Lawrence before the seaway right into Chicago. He was a rum runner. He sat at a desk in an office in Cape Breton and made a whole lot of money being a rum runner because, as we learned then, one cannot prohibit by law certain things. There are certain laws that cannot be enforced.
This legislation that I am advocating here does not prohibit the sale or the purchase of cigarettes. That would not work. I wish it would and I wish it could, but it does not.
What does work, however, is chipping away at the idea of young people that smoking is somehow a good thing. I go back to the words I used in my original speech, that it is cool, sophisticated and grown-up. The hon. member knows, I know and all of us in this House know that what smoking leads to ultimately is lung cancer or emphysema or asthma or heart disease, all of these terrible things that we want our children to avoid as much as possible.
Consequently, we are not going into the area of restricting rights. People still have the right to go, if I may use the word, to hell in their own direction and in their own way. They can walk into any store if they are of age in the relevant province and buy cigarettes. I wish they would not and I wish they could not but I know, as the hon. member knows, we cannot prevent that by legislation.
However, we can and we have a duty and an absolute responsibility to do whatever we can not to make it look as if it is either benign or a good thing that people should smoke.
Most particularly in this debate, when we tie cigarette advertising to one of the most glorious manifestations of our joint culture and society, that of the performing arts, it absolutely inflames my heart that we have to do this, that we have to have this kind of a debate. It is wrong that we let a product that hurts people and that can hurt our children be one that puts us into a debate on the future of our magnificent artistic endeavours.