Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Surrey North (B.C.)
Won her last election, in 1993, with 36.96% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Petitions April 25th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, the other petition is from Calgarians.
These petitioners are calling on Parliament to upgrade the national highway system.
Petitions April 25th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I present three petitions on behalf of my colleague from Calgary North. Two of the petitions involve citizens from several provinces.
The petitioners are calling on Parliament to remove the GST from reading material.
Member For Surrey North April 18th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I have been honoured these past 3.5 years, an honour that is bestowed on very few Canadians.
I wish to thank the citizens of Surrey North for providing me with this opportunity to be their member of Parliament. I am honoured to represent them in the House of Commons. I also want to thank my Reform colleagues for their support and encouragement over the past 3.5 years. It has been a phenomenal growth for all of us and has been interesting to watch.
I thank the other members of Parliament and the Hill staff for their friendliness and co-operation in our deliberations in Ottawa. I extend a special thanks to my staff, my family and friends, especially to Le and Pearl Hale, for their continuing support.
For me the past 3.5 years have been an unforgettable experience, one I will treasure.
National Parole Board April 17th, 1997
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should direct the National Parole Board that any benefit of doubt in hearings and deliberations on parole shall go to the victim, the victim's family and public safety and not to the prisoner.
Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the Chair that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan.
I would like to draw the attention of the House to the motion and note that it specifically addresses the National Parole Board. It asks the parole board to have as its objective the rights of the victim, the victim's family and public safety over and above that of the prisoner.
I feel quite sad in a way that we have to bring a motion of this nature into the House to recognize the rights of law-abiding citizens, especially victims. Their rights as citizens should be
respected before the rights of prisoners, those people who have chosen not to abide by the rules of society.
A number of issues will be reflected by this motion, such as sentencing and other issues. However, I would like to address my comments to the parole board as an evaluation tool.
The parole board is a tool of the justice system. It comes into force once a person is convicted. Basically when we talk about parole hearings we are not talking about passing a judgment on the person with relation to the crime committed, instead we are talking about passing a judgment with respect to their rehabilitation over a certain period of confinement and whether that person is ready to return to society.
As a society we have agreed to establish certain rules and regulations by which the majority of us agree to function. We set up those rules and regulations to establish our society through legislation and through the various other government agencies throughout the country.
The fact that we establish these rules and regulations also sets precedents as to the kinds of rights and privileges the Canadian people will enjoy. If you choose to violate the rules and regulations established by the society, then it follows that you choose to relinquish those very rights and benefits that society establishes.
We seem to have moved away from that to the point of view that we argue that rights and privileges bestowed on the law-abiding Canadian citizen by Canadian society should be applied to those who violate those as well. I submit to the House that is not justifiable. If you choose not to participate within the parameters of society you should not be eligible for the benefits and privileges that society has created for you.
We can say that is not being compassionate and this type of thing, but when someone violates a law or breaks a law and actually causes damage to another Canadian individual, we see them as not being safe to go about in public. We decided that we would take these very people and put them away and incarcerate them in some facility which we have called prisons.
There was a time in our history when that is all we did. We would remove them from society and put them into a building somewhere and the level of activity that occurred there was little better than custodial care. We have debates in our past which show how inhumane this was. Since that time we have progressed into what we have established within the prison system as a rehabilitation program. It would seem to me that once we take people and remove them from society because we fear them and what damage they may do to us, i.e. our public safety is at stake, and put them away, we should be guiding and directing them toward coming back into that society and participating where they will not harm the public and harass previous victims.
I argue that we have put in legislation along the way that gives these people an option to participate in the rehabilitation program and this kind of thing. That is another debate for some other time. Right now I am saying that when a prisoner goes before a parole board that parole board should be looking at their rehabilitation during the time period that we have put them away. Have they participated in some sort of a program that will change their behaviour so that they will function in society and not be a liability to public safety and to the victims they have in the past harmed?
The way it is right now it seems that is not actually happening. That evaluation of the rehabilitation process is not happening. The focus seems more to be on the rights of the prisoner. I suggest we focus more on the rights of the victims and public safety or the Canadian citizen.
When a person chooses to break the law and goes into a prison they should realize that they relinquish those rights and that the victim and the public come first. I often wonder where we lost track or where we went astray. I tend to think that sometimes in our legislation, and this goes back to the sentencing probably, we have lost focus of directing our judgment on the actual action that was committed. We started focusing on the intent behind the action. I suggest to the House that it was with that deviation in focus for a judgment decision that we tended to leave the victims and move more toward the prisoner. I think we should go back and address that at some point as well.
It concerns me greatly that we have a movement for establishing groups. We now have a group for victims rights. We should have Canadian citizens rights and those rights should apply to all people, whether they are victims or not victims.
I see the need for a victims bill of rights in the present direction we are heading because of the indiscretion of what is happening in our system. It seems to be favouring the criminal versus the law-abiding citizen. We are coming up with all these mechanisms such as victims rights and various victims interest groups. This type of thing seems to be growing which suggests to me that there is a lack of respect and confidence in the existing system.
If the rights and privileges that law-abiding Canadian citizens enjoy were not applied to those who were incarcerated because they broke the law then we would probably not need victims rights.
I suggest to the House that since we have to start somewhere we should look at the parole board. We should look at it from the point of view of evaluating what has actually happened once a person has been confined to prison. There is absolutely no way that if a person does not participate in the rehabilitation program, is not capable of going back out into society and functioning as a productive citizen, that they should be released from prison at that point. They become
a liability to public safety and will probably inflict either more physical harm to their victims or certainly emotional harm through such things as harassment and this type of thing.
When we look at some of the things that victims are denied in relation to the National Parole Board when the situations are brought forward, we should be reviewing the whole process, the direction or the objectives of the National Parole Board as it stands.
These people are incarcerated because they inflicted harm on specific individuals. I see no problem with these victims being aware of the progress of that person through the rehabilitation program. Right now once the person is convicted that is the end. They do not receive any other information unless they initiate it by writing letters to the parole board for information, and then it can be very limited as well.
My motion is asking that the government direct the National Parole Board in its process of deliberating or evaluating the rehabilitation of a prisoner that if there is any doubt concerning the prisoner, i.e. that he may harm the victims or become a liability to public safety, that benefit of doubt should go to the victims and the public in general and not the prisoner. He can go back and go further through the rehabilitation process.
I think my time is about up and so I will close in hoping that the government will look at this and will review the direction of the parole board and offer it some guidance that reflects its interest in the victims.
The Reform Party April 17th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, the 1950s and 1960s were good years for Canadians. We had the opportunity for employment of choice, more earnings were in our pockets and we respected our justice system, and so on.
Since the early 1970s the traditional parties have applied their Liberal and Conservative political philosophies in such a manner causing Canadians to lose ground in their day to day lifestyles. For example, these parties have passed legislation that has eroded the opportunity for employment of choice to almost none, reduced the amount of money that we retain in our pockets and so on.
The United Nations may have said that Canada is the best country to live in but the majority of Canadians are saying even best can be better. We have been there and we can get there again. We have the resources and after 20 years of traditional party mismanagement we have the motivation.
It is time to change our direction and make a fresh start. The Reform Party has the plan.
Petitions February 21st, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition signed by a number of my constituents.
The petitioners would like to remind the House of the national highway policy study which identified job creation, economic development, national unity, saving lives, avoiding injuries, lower congestion, lower vehicle operation and better international competitiveness as benefits resulting from the proposed national highway program.
The petitioners urge the federal government to join with the provincial governments to make the national highway system upgrading possible.
Food And Drugs Act December 9th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak to this bill. Prior to this life, I spent a number of years in health care as a hospital nurse and saw a lot of situations where allergies, anaphylactic shock and these kinds of things occurred.
I have mixed feelings about the bill. The overall objective is very worthy, but I have some difficulties from the point of view of onus, or sense of responsibility. It seems to me that we are placing a heavy responsibility on the providers of the food, the manufacturer or the restaurant. We must make that an equal responsibility for the individuals themselves.
It would have been nice to have heard some statistics in the previous member's speech in relation to those persons with allergies versus persons without allergies. What kind of percentages are we talking about? How many people have actually suffered from this kind of thing at restaurants and so on?
To get on to some of my other concerns, the bill as stated would require restaurant owners to make all employees familiar with the issue of food allergies, their potential serious consequences and be able to answer customers' queries about the ingredients that may be contained in the food sold in the restaurant or prepared in the restaurant and sold for consumption outside the restaurant. That is one possible scenario.
The second choice to meet this need would be to have one employee designated as having that information or making reference to it. I caution here and stress, as the member said in her remarks earlier, that we are not asking that waitresses become nutritionists and that they must have at their fingertips exactly what is in the contents of the meal.
The bill would require restaurant owners to maintain a list of ingredients of all food prepared and sold by branch restaurants. I do not know about branch restaurants. That does not seem to be too unreasonable for restaurants. I am talking not only of restaurants but deli type establishments as well, where one grabs a muffin or whatever in passing and leaves.
The thing that comes to mind here, and I cannot seem to move away from it, is that this looks as if we are assimilating the WHMIS program in relation to poisons which was introduced into the hospitals. To give an overview of the WHMIS program, basically what happens there is that in the workplace-I said it was introduced in hospitals but it was introduced in the workplace across the country-any potential hazardous material has to be listed and the appropriate action taken should an employee come in contact with that material.
Two things came out of that. One was that it was going to be a horrendous task for organizations to do this. Basically the onus went back to the manufacturers and in their instructions with the product there was sufficient information for agencies or employers to put it in their binder and have it readily accessible to all staff.
The other thing that arose out of that was the trade secrets in relation to the product. Under the WHMIS program if a company feels that their product has been violated they can take it to a committee to attempt to keep the secret. Kentucky Fried Chicken is the obvious one with the famous 11 herbs and spices in the chicken.
What has to be looked at is not the recipe actually being accessible to the waitress or designated person. We have to look at the chemicals, just as the chemicals are listed on a can that we pick
up on the grocery store. That may help allay the problem of the secret recipe.
There is another plus to this. Labels have been put on products in grocery stores to better inform customers about their purchases. For example, when I make a meat loaf at home I know what is in it if I read the ingredient labels. It does not seem too difficult to move to the next step. Instead of my having to cook the meat loaf, someone else will cook it in a restaurant. But I still should be able to see the list of chemicals versus the recipe in relation to that meat loaf.
There is a great amount of concern over what this means to a waitress or a cook in relation to his or her job. It is very important that the responsibility not fall totally on the restaurant. The onus should not be on the restaurant to assure the public that there will not be any allergic reactions. That must be stressed. If the individuals have that binder, they must be aware of the products in restaurant food to which they are allergic. The restaurant's responsibility stops with the provision of the binder. That does not seem to be stressed in the bill.
This may be a bit of a moot point but there are other food sources like delis, bakeries and food courts which should be included. I would like to see the word "restaurant" expanded to include any food source. Consumers should be informed about exactly what they are buying in terms of chemical content.
Anaphylactic shock is a very quick medical emergency. In most cases there is only 10 to 15 minutes to respond. Remember in days gone by when some people would be dead within a few minutes of receiving a bee sting? Then an alternative was introduced where a person could carry a syringe along with a little ampulla of adrenalin.
Today there is another life threatening food to some people, peanut butter. I suggest very strongly for those persons with very acute allergies that they should take some sort of medical precaution. They should carry that little vial or whatever it may be. You cannot expect a restaurant to save your life if you go into anaphylactic shock or if you have any allergic reaction. Not all allergic reactions end up being anaphylactic shock. We should also be aware of which allergic reactions are life threatening when we interpret statistics.
My approach to this bill is that it has its good points and points that need more development. We talk of recipes in the bill. I would like to see that developed into chemical components of products.
For any restaurant it is quite common to standardize recipes so that the vegetable soup made on Monday tastes the same as vegetable soup on any other day. It is usually a standardized recipe and that is just economics. Instead of letting every cook do whatever, there are standardized recipes. Of course the other thing too is that the customers acquire a taste and if the food is good, they certainly will come back.
With a standardized recipe when someone uses the ketchup as was previously stated, it would not be that difficult to take the label off the bottle or to have it reproduced in some way and placed in a manual.
I would like to stress very strongly that I do not see the need for every waitress or even one person in the restaurant at any given time having to be learned in the nutritional aspects of whatever the food products are that are being served. If someone does choose to inquire about what is in a food product, I would like to see that the written material is available and they themselves can sit down and make the judgment decision as to whether or not they are going to partake.
Those are my main points on this subject. If this moves into a WHMIS type situation, it is a whole new debate because there are a number of problems with the WHMIS program. I would hate to see that kind of thing arise.
When we get into the nitty-gritty of looking at this, it should move from recipes down to ingredients. There should be a definite stressing that the onus is on the individual. Also, the employees should have access to the information. They should not have to qualify, explain or whatever as the onus should rest with the individual and not the employee. If someone asks what this is, it is up to that individual to know what it is, not the waitress or the cook.
Competition Act December 6th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to speak to Bill C-266. There are four points on which I wish to expand. To get a bit of meat on those bones, once I am finished, I would suggest that people read the previous debate of October 22 when the hon. member for Nickel Belt outlined very substantially the objectives of this bill.
The bill is designed to enhance the provisions of the Competition Act. It will do so by allowing an employee to make an anonymous report of an employer's offence under the Competition Act to the Restrictive Trade Practices Commission without threat of dismissal, suspension, demotion, discipline, the loss of benefits or privileges of employment, termination, harassment, coercion or any other action which would otherwise disadvantage the employee.
A second part would protect the employee from retaliatory action by the employer if the employee refuses to take action for an employer that constitutes an offence under the Competition Act.
I would suggest that the act has directed its focus on the protection of the employee and the employee's job.
The hon. member for Longueuil said on October 22 that there will be or could be situations in which a person may want to maliciously damage the reputation of the employer. That has to be addressed a little more closely in this bill. I understand the
reasoning for the protection of the employee. I also would like to see a little more focus on the employer's position as well.
One of the main reasons that makes me think along this line is that in the justice system we have all witnessed situations in which a person or a company has been wrongly accused. By the time they go through the process of establishing their innocence, their reputation is damaged. We are talking about business here and it could have an effect on that.
Another provision is that the employer be liable for a fine of up to $100,000 or two years imprisonment if found guilty of retaliating action against an employee under the aforementioned circumstances.
I would suggest two things, one of which is the concept that a fine or prison internment be also applied to the other side of the equation: if an employee maliciously and knowingly attempts to harm the employer through this process.
I would also like to refer to a comment made by the member for Fraser Valley West in the October 22 debate. He felt that in his wisdom and with his resources the $100,000 fine and the two years imprisonment was a little steep. In a comparative analysis, the first thing that would come to my mind would be the punishment for drunk driving which is meted out in certain cases where it would be less than two years for someone who drives drunk and kills somebody and less than $100,000 in fines. That should be looked at.
My fourth point concerns the confidentiality of the employee, except in cases where upon inquiry the commission finds that the employee knowingly accused the employer falsely. I have already made reference to that. It is a good thing because if somebody is going to falsely accuse someone, then it should be brought to everyone's attention that they did try to do something maliciously.
I would also like some thought to be given to the employer's position on confidentiality. I would think it would be prudent to put the employer in the position of confidentiality until there is some substantiation that there is a valid charge.
Some other observations of this bill are on a more positive line. Unlike previous bills which have sought measures that would prevent the unfair gasoline pricing at the pumps, which is what this bill is targeting as the example, this bill works within the Competition Act. It is not going to overtly increase the cost of the bureaucracy. Also, it does not appear to be imposing unnecessary regulations upon the marketplace. Those are two promising aspects of it.
It will also enhance the commission's ability to conduct investigations by allowing the commission to act upon confidential information. Currently, six sponsors of a complaint are needed before the commission can pick it up. This will allow people to feed that information into the commission. We could probably expand on this by saying that this may be a situation where a stitch in time will save nine by getting on top of the situation earlier.
The Reform Party sees a lot of positive aspects to this but we also see some negative aspects which I have mentioned. It is positive in the promotion of competition and competitive pricing. It also strengthens and vigorously reinforces the competition and anti-combines legislation. It does indeed provide penalties for collusion of price fixing.
As I said, we are quite positive on this but we do have some reservations from the employer's position in relation to confidentiality until it is substantiated and to the amounts of the fines and charges. I would suggest that penalties be applied to the employee if they falsify their statement to the commission.
I will conclude because otherwise I would be reiterating an excellent debate that occurred on October 22.
(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to a committee.)
Violence Against Women December 6th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, as today is Canada's national day of remembrance and action on violence against women, I rise today in the House of Commons to offer courage and support to all those who merit recognition on this day.
Women deserve to feel that they are safe in their homes, at work, at school, on the street and in their communities. Women want a country where they can look to the future instead of over their shoulders. Most important, women who are victims of violence want their rights as law-abiding Canadian citizens to be put ahead of those of the criminals.
I assure the House that a Reform government would provide women with safer streets and safer homes and would enact a victims bill of rights that would put the rights of law-abiding women ahead of those of their offenders.
That is not only a fresh start for Canadians, that is a fresh start for women.
Hazardous Materials December 4th, 1996
Madam Speaker, I have followed this debate rather closely and I would like to add a couple of words that I have not heard arise in the debate yet.
Firefighters in Surrey have brought to my attention that their main problem was the time element, the time element of getting to the scene, identifying what they were dealing with and taking the appropriate response.
The second point I have not heard in debate and one I would like to put on the record for consideration when this is activated is the nature of the elements they are dealing with. On occasion there is the transporting of more than one particular hazardous chemical. The second one may not be hazardous in itself but when these mix they are dealing with a totally different kind of response than they would if they were dealing with one on its own.
That was stressed very clearly to me by the firefighters that sometimes that entails a second call, a wait and this kind of thing. I would like to bring that to the attention of those who would be addressing this situation in the future to certainly keep that in mind, that this operation or program would certainly cut down that time element and address that issue.