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Conservative MP for Calgary—Nose Hill (Alberta)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 70.20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, there are many uncertainties when we are dealing with these kinds of situations so it is difficult to state with a lot of clarity what might happen down the road, especially when we are looking at some months down the road.

I wonder if the minister could assist the House and Canadians by outlining the reasons and interests of Canada that will be served by Canada joining our international partners in pushing back against ISIS and ISIL.

Islamic State September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when ISIL began murdering thousands of innocent men, women, children, and religious minorities, it completely violated every value Canadians hold dear. When ISIL threatened Canadians because we do not share its twisted view of the world, our government remained resolute in its strong stand against such atrocities. We condemn these terrorists and their violation of human rights and human dignity.

Though other parties may feel the need to try to rationalize away the threats Canadians face in a dangerous world, our government has been firm and swift in its response, helping to deliver military supplies to Iraqi forces combatting ISIL and sending military advisers to support them.

Our government will not sit idle. We will stand with our allies in condemning the threat and will work with them to extinguish it.

Intergovernmental Relations April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, all of us here who represent the great province of Alberta are proud of our government's solid partnership with Albertans. We have more than doubled the social transfer to collaborate on important programs, including those for children and post-secondary education. It is now at almost $1.5 billion.

The former Liberal government shortchanged Alberta in health care support. That has now been rectified to provide $3.7 billion this year under the health transfer.

Annual infrastructure funding to Alberta has increased by an average of 700%. In my city, it invested in projects such as the ring road and Calgary Transit. Albertans will also be relieved to know that the federal government is covering 90% of last June's devastating flood damage. Almost $2 billion has been set aside.

These are a few examples of the strong partnership with our federal government that benefits Albertans every single day.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 31st, 2014

That is not true.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her kind words.

To give some specifics, Canada's support has led to a reduction in newborn mortality in Honduras by 11% in the regions we have concentrated on. We have provided health and counselling services to over 85,000 young people. We have contributed to reducing primary school dropout rates, so that now the dropout rate is only 1%, and to reducing the average of grade repetition rates to under 5%. This progress is important. These are real people. These are people who are striving and struggling. Corruption and insecurity is not something confined to Honduras. It is part and parcel of the entire region. It is preyed on by criminal elements and those in the drug trade. It has a very young population and very low incomes.

I am proud of the work that we have done to be a friend and neighbour to Honduras. Honduras is important to me. Honduras is important to Canada. It may not be important to the NDP, but even the poorest and smallest among us deserve support, respect, and friendship.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 31st, 2014

Of course we do, Mr. Speaker. I just talked about all of the partnerships, the sharing of best practices, and all the work that has been done by Canada in that country. We are good friends with Honduras. There are many NGOs working with Honduras, like Peacemakers International. The Honduran people have strong friendships with them.

Yes, the free trade agreement is only a part of what we want to do, but it is an important part. It is a part that Hondurans have longed for, worked for, dreamed of, and it is finally in the House, its dream coming to fruition. I cannot imagine why the NDP would want to stick a knife in something so important to this little country.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on this topic. I have been to Honduras more than once. It is a wonderful country with very warm, friendly, and welcoming people. They are a very proud and hard-working people. I am so pleased to see this agreement now come before the House.

Canada's development solidarity with Honduras is truly helping to build prosperity in that country. I also want to say a little bit about how we in Canada are helping to address inequality, social exclusion, and insecurity in that country. This work provides a positive platform, of course, for the Canada–Honduras free trade agreement.

Our Conservative government believes strongly that engagement, not isolationism, is the best way to be a good neighbour and friend to Honduras. We want to be truly helpful in addressing its development, security, and human rights challenges. We profoundly disagree with the NDP approach, which can be summed up as: “The beatings will continue until morale improves”. Shame on them.

We are pleased to say that Canada is working on several fronts with the Honduran government in this regard. We are also proud that Canada is making a difference. Canada has a long-standing and substantial development relationship with Honduras.

Honduras is one of 20 countries of focus for Canada's development work. We have provided close to $40 million in the last fiscal year. Canada also delivered close to $70 million in security programming in all of Central America to support regional efforts, which include Honduras, to address insecurity in this region.

The people of Honduras appreciate their development and security partnership with Canada that has been provided over the years, and we have a strong relationship with that country, based on an open and frank dialogue. I have been there and have had these discussions. There are some wonderful leaders looking for friends and collaborators to help pull their country out of some of the deep difficulties they have faced for many years. These are issues important to both Canadians and the citizens of Honduras.

I would like to take a few minutes to talk about Honduras' challenging social economic situation and present some compelling statistics on poverty and insecurity in Honduras. These are issues which Honduras leaders are determined to address, and things like this new trade agreement will provide a real boost.

At this time, unfortunately, Honduras is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the Americas. Sixty percent of the population of Honduras is considered poor. Nearly one-fifth live in extreme poverty. In fact, they live on less than $1.25 a day.

The poverty in Honduras is concentrated in rural areas. It affects mostly women, young people, and indigenous communities. They need the kinds of opportunities that this trade agreement would provide. It goes without saying that this situation is not meeting the aspirations of the country's proud and hard-working citizens.

When I say “hard-working”, I would point out that Honduras' unemployment rate remains relatively low, but underemployment is huge. In fact, just over half of the total workforce is underemployed. It holds part-time jobs despite seeking full-time work, or the workforce is overqualified based on education, experience, and skills. They need opportunities.

In addition, Honduras' informal sector accounts for nearly three-quarters of non-agricultural employment and nearly 60% of total employment. Members can appreciate that many of these workers in the informal sector are therefore working under poor conditions in terms of safety, income, and social benefits.

A free trade agreement opens up the door. It provides certainty and a framework for Canadian investors and Canadian businesses to partner with Hondurans to provide the kind of strong, stable employment opportunities that Hondurans need and want.

Here is another huge challenge. Over half of Hondurans are under the age of 19. It is a very young population, so it does not take a genius to figure out that the lack of economic opportunities for these young people is a major driving force behind the country's persistent social and security problems. There are criminal elements who are very happy to draw young Hondurans into their net, and it is very sad to see that. Legitimate business opportunities are so needed to counteract that.

The Honduran government has made an effort to address poverty and security issues, but resources are scarce and progress has been slow.

The crime rate and insecurity have increased to the point where, today, this beautiful little country, this gem of a country, is one of the most violent in the world. I am sorry to say that Honduras has the highest intentional homicide rate in the world, averaging 20 murders per day, in addition to other violent crime. That is, to a large extent, criminal elements are having their way, using this country as a drug route and drawing young people into this terrible, violent activity.

That is why Canada's bilateral development partnership promotes sustainable economic growth through investment in rural development and works to reduce social exclusion and inequality through ongoing investments in health, education, human rights, and democratic development.

Canada is helping to achieve strong results toward increasing food security and securing the future of poor Honduran children and youth, particularly in rural areas.

We are making a real difference in the lives of small farmers and their families by sharing best practices that are improving their sustainable farming practices. To date, over 27,000 farmers have received critical collaboration to improve the quantity and quality of crops, access new markets, and diversify income. Many of these are now ready to integrate into more structured supply chains and access local, regional, and global markets, like Canada.

We are also collaborating to help strengthen health in this country, to improve the quality of education. I want to pay tribute to Dave Hubert and Canadian Peacemakers International, who are putting computers into rural villages and putting the country's education system on the computers. People in the villages and small towns come to these computer stations and work through the programs to increase their education through self-help programs. It is an amazing program by Canadian Peacemakers International.

We are working through the Organization of American States, the International Program for Professional Labour Administration–Americas to promote respect for international labour standards and to work with the leaders of Honduras on many fronts to lift this country up.

Prosperity, security, and democratic governance, including the full respect of human rights, go together. They are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. That is why this trade agreement is such good news, a bright light on the horizon for Honduras.

In short, this agreement would benefit Hondurans. It would also help create jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity for Canadians. That is called a win-win, and I hope that all members will leave aside the nonsensical rhetoric of the NDP and support this important new partnership with our friends in Honduras.

Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Act March 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have been a member here for 20 years. I was a member of the opposition for 13 of those years. Holding the government to account is an important role, but at the same time, opposing just to oppose is not particularly helpful to the people of Canada. I agree with my colleague that attacking each other just to attack is not particularly helpful either.

I think the people of Canada are pleased and relieved when members work together in a constructive and respectful way, as we are doing on this legislation. I hope that ethic will spread and grow. That would be great.

We do stand together with this new first nation. It has an important role. It is excited about its future. There are some technical bumps in the road, but we are getting those paved over and we are going to set this first nation on a good path forward.

Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Act March 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is a very important question.

As others have mentioned, the review process will last until the summer of 2015, about a year and a half from now. Once the review process is completed, the schedule that sets out the membership of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation will be finalized. Then the leadership of the first nation can form the elections and get people into place to move forward to work together.

I guess the short answer is about a year and a half.

Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Act March 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague and his party for standing with the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation and supporting this important legislation for them.

The member will know the process that has been put in place to assess these applications is a very careful and thorough one. In addition to that, any applicant who is rejected has a right to pursue the matter through the courts as far as that applicant wishes to go.

The Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation is bending over backwards to be inclusive for all those who truly qualify, but at the same time it wants to make sure there are no Qalipu Mi'kmaq of convenience, so to speak. This is a very complete and careful process that fully respects the rule of law and the rights of appeal, even through the levels of our courts.