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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is families.

Conservative MP for Mississauga—Brampton South (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 44.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Natural Resources September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised to hear the member opposite seek to pigeonhole a colleague. I would have expected something a little more generous from her.

However, allow me to return to the debate before us and to speak specifically to energy supply.

Few countries in the world have the enormous potential that Canada holds. It is the world's fifth-largest producer of oil and gas and the fifth-largest producer of natural gas. Canada is fortunate to have abundant oil and gas resources, but to reach its full potential, it needs more than supply: it needs to diversify its markets.

We have been clear that projects will move ahead only if they are safe for Canadians and safe for our environment.

Natural Resources September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our decision is based on the conclusions of an independent science-based review panel. After carefully reviewing the independent regulator's recommendation on the northern gateway project, the government accepted the recommendation to impose 209 conditions to ensure that this project meets the highest safety standards. The panel heard from nearly 1,500 participants in 21 communities and reviewed 175,000 pages of evidence prior to making its recommendation.

This is another step in the process. It will now be up to the proponent to demonstrate to the regulator and Canadians how it will meet those over 200 conditions. It will also have to apply for regulatory permits and authorizations from federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

Finally, consultations with first nations communities are required under many of the conditions as part of the process for regulatory authorizations and permits. It also must fulfill its commitment to engage with first nations and communities along the route.

It is clear that the proponent has much work to do. As a government, we have promised Canadians that projects will only move forward if they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. That is the guiding principle for our plan for responsible resource development.

We have introduced a suite of measures to enhance pipeline and marine safety. Whether we are transporting energy by rail, tanker, or pipeline, our safety systems are world class. The safety record of federally regulated crude pipelines is indeed 99.999%, and our government is taking action to improve our record even further. Our overall goal is to prevent incidents from occurring at all.

In the unlikely event that an incident does occur, we must have robust and transparent emergency preparedness and response plans. We have backed this up with enhanced liability regimes to show industry that we are protecting the environment and that we are doing it very seriously.

We also recognize that aboriginal peoples must be full partners in everything we do, from ensuring the safety of our pipeline system to protecting our marine environment from incidents and sharing in the benefits of developing our resources.

In his report, Douglas Eyford made a number of recommendations to build a better relationship with aboriginal peoples. He said:

Canada must take decisive steps to build trust with Aboriginal Canadians, to foster their inclusion into the economy, and to advance the reconciliation of Aboriginal people...in Canadian society.

Our government agrees. We are moving forward with a suite of activities to enable aboriginal peoples to fully participate in the development and operation of our energy infrastructure projects, including our tanker and pipeline safety systems.

With the participation of first nations and our commitment to world-class pipeline safety systems, we are confident that Canada can capture the tremendous economic promise before it. We can diversify our energy markets and ensure prosperity for all Canadians for generations to come.

Health September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my well-meaning colleague is jumping the gun. There have been no cuts to maternal child health programs for Manitoba first nations.

Through budget 2010, our government announced a five-year funding cycle for this program. At this stage of the funding cycle, our government is demonstrating good stewardship in reviewing all the evidence and outcomes from these investments.

We continue to invest in programs and services that support first nations and Inuit communities, including maternal and child health programs. This year alone, our government is investing over $150 million to support healthy child development programming and services for first nations and Inuit communities. This includes $23.8 million for the maternal child health program and $12.7 million for the first nations and Inuit component of the Canada prenatal nutrition program.

These programs and services support first nations and Inuit healthy pregnancies, healthy births, and healthy child development.

Health September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to speak to our government's continued support for maternal and child health initiatives, including for first nations and Inuit. This year alone, our government is investing over $150 million to support healthy child development programming and services in first nations and Inuit communities.

I would also like to make one thing perfectly clear for all colleagues in the House. There have been no cuts to maternal child health programs for Manitoba first nations. Indeed, it is our Conservative government that renewed the aboriginal maternal child health program in 2010 and we are investing $23.8 million this year alone. Since 2006, our government has spent approximately $169 million under the child health program. Our overall current funding supports home visits by nurses and family visitors to almost 1,500 families in approximately 185 first nation communities.

One example of this programming is the maternal child health program, which enables home visits by nurses and family visitors for first nations women and families with young children. Through a case management approach, the needs of pregnant women and new parents are assessed. Healthy, prenatal and postnatal lifestyles are promoted and links are made to other needed community services. We are seeing significant improvements in first nation communities with this programming, such as higher proportions of first nations children being breastfed for longer than six months and increased screening for developmental milestones, prenatal risk factors and existing health conditions.

At this stage of the funding cycle, the government is well aware that all partners involved in these initiatives are anxious to receive confirmation of future funding and I would like to assure the House that the health and well-being of mothers and their children remain a priority for our government.

In addition to the maternal child health program, Health Canada invests $12.7 million per year in the Canada prenatal nutrition program for first nations and Inuit. This program focuses on pregnant women and women with infants up to 12 months of age, supporting activities related to nutrition screening, education and counselling, maternal nourishment, and breastfeeding promotion and support.

The Public Health Agency of Canada also administers the community action program for children, providing funding to community-based groups to develop and deliver prevention and early intervention programs focusing on vulnerable children from birth to six years of age and for their families.

The government also supports a number of other programs and services related to maternal and child health for first nations and Inuit, including the aboriginal head start on reserve program, which provides $49 million annually to nurture the healthy growth and development of children from birth to six years of age in first nation communities by meeting their emotional, social, health, nutritional, cultural, and psychological needs.

The brighter futures program supports the well-being of children and families through a community development approach. Activities can include mental health counselling, youth activity programming, culture camps, and school breakfast programs.

There is also the fetal alcohol spectrum disorder program, which provides approximately $40 million to support first nations and Inuit communities to educate and raise awareness about the impacts of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Activities include developing mentoring programs to stop or reduce alcohol use during pregnancy, facilitating access to earlier diagnoses, and building capacity among front-line staff.

Finally, there is the children's oral health initiative, which provides over $5 million annually to promote good oral health initiatives.

In closing, our government recognizes that improving the health of first nations and Inuit is a shared undertaking among federal, provincial and territorial governments.

The Environment September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of our record.

We are a founding member of the climate and clean air coalition that is focused on taking immediate action to address climate change.

As a result of collective action by governments, consumers, and businesses, Canada's 2020 GHG emissions are projected to be 128 megatonnes lower, relative to a scenario with no action.

We are accomplishing all of this without a job-killing carbon tax, which would raise the price of everything.

The Environment September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government's record is very clear. We have taken decisive action on the environment while protecting our economy.

Engaging in or moving forward with either a national carbon tax or a national cap-and-trade scheme would be out of step with the United States, our largest trading partner, and would compromise our economic competitiveness. It could also lead to significant regional impacts on investment and jobs in trade-exposed sectors, given the integration of the North American economy.

Instead, our government is implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Regulations are being designed to respond to individual sectoral circumstances while spurring the innovation needed to decouple emissions growth from economic growth, balancing concern for both the environment and the economy.

This approach is driving real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada while ensuring that Canadian companies remain competitive and that job creation opportunities are maintained across the economy. Our government has already put in place regulations for two of the largest sources of emissions in this country: the transportation and the electricity generation sectors.

Expanding on our record at the recent climate summit in New York, the Minister of the Environment announced further regulatory action on both light- and heavy-duty vehicles. Moreover, we also announced our government's intent to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, HFCs, a group of greenhouse gases that if left unregulated would increase substantially in the next 10 to 15 years. These gases can have a warming potential up to 1,000 to 3,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

To complement these ongoing regulatory efforts, our government has also made significant investments to begin Canada's transition to a clean energy economy. These investments will further drive emissions reductions as well as support the development of the clean technology sector in Canada.

Moving forward, our government will continue to look for opportunities to take action on climate change in a manner that reduces GHG emissions while maintaining job creation and economic growth for our neighbours.

This is real action on the environment. This is leadership.

Human Rights September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian people are honoured to set the international standard for human rights during times of complex emergencies around the globe.

Twenty-four years ago today, the Dalai Lama unveiled Canada's human rights monument, located here in Ottawa. The human rights monument is a testament to Canada's proactive involvement in protecting and promoting human rights around the world.

Whether we are punching above our weight in two world wars, peacekeeping in Cyprus, or managing conflicts in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, or the countless other places around the globe, Canada has shown time and again that we will not stand idly by in times of international peril.

Canadians will not tolerate the rights of men and women being conveniently interpreted or dismissed wholesale because of the colour of their skin or the faith they practise.

We showed international leadership when it came to apartheid in South Africa. We continue to set the international gold standard.

Reducing the effects of urban heat islands Act September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government's position on this is plain and simple: Bill C-579, an act to reduce the effects of urban heat islands on the health of Canadians, is not the right approach for Canada.

Indeed, our government is already taking action to help Canadians adapt to the changes in climate and mitigate health risks related to extreme heat. Our approach has been to recognize that urban communities across Canada have different priorities, characteristics, and capacities to address local health issues related to a changing climate.

We have sought to work with Canadians in ways that respect these variances and which are not prescriptive. I would like to highlight a few of these examples.

Since 2008, Health Canada has worked with federal, provincial, and municipal partners to enhance the resiliency of communities and individual Canadians to the health impacts of extreme heat. In fact, I served for many years on the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Credit Valley Conservation authority.

A key component of our initiative has been the development of heat alert and response systems in communities across the country, and raising awareness of heat health risks among individuals, health professionals, and communities. We have provided information to help communities decide when to issue heat alerts; assisted in developing messaging for vulnerable populations, such as seniors and children; and informed public health authorities and emergency management officials of measures that can be put in place to reduce heat-related illnesses and deaths in their communities.

We have been successful because we have relied on a collaborative approach across different levels of government to build capacity, not a one-size-fits-all framework, as is proposed in the bill.

Indeed the ability of this government to work with varied jurisdictions is leading towards the implementation of province-wide heat alert and response systems in Manitoba, Alberta, and Ontario. Even something as simple as addressing air pollution can help to mitigate some health impacts of extreme heat.

Health Canada officials have worked with officials from Environment Canada to roll out the air quality health index across the country. On a daily basis, I am sure many Canadians are familiar with this index. It provides Canadians with air quality forecasts and health messages that seek to provide Canadians with balanced information regarding the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle versus the risks associated with prolonged outdoor exposure to air pollution.

Again, our approach has been to provide Canadians and communities with the tools to help them make informed decisions and take meaningful actions to reduce health risks for themselves and their families.

Our government set the Canadian ambient air quality standards, in 2013. These new health-based Canadian ambient air quality standards set the bar, so to speak, for managing the two key components of smog: fine particulate matter, and ground level ozone.

Over the last decade, under the clean air regulatory agenda, this government has enacted a series of regulations to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles. This initiative for improved air quality overall translates into reduced health risks, particularly during heat events.

Finally, allow me to highlight how we are working with Canadians to help them adapt to a changing climate. In 2010-11, Health Canada held a series of workshops, in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, just to discuss how to bring health authorities and community planners together to address health and the built environment.

Research on extreme heat and air quality is being conducted across Canada to inform policy decisions at the local level. The findings are being shared at all levels of government, so that communities can develop approaches that fit their particular needs within their own timeframe.

For example, the City of Windsor has developed urban recommendations that were submitted to their city council as part of its broader climate change adaptation strategy. The city is presently working with Health Canada on improving thermal comfort in its urban parks and playgrounds to improve healthy and active living. Similar success stories are occurring in other partner communities all across Ontario.

Results from community projects will be disseminated to stakeholders across Canada in presentations and case studies to help raise awareness and to support action at the local level.

In additions, Health Canada has in place a webinar series called “Cool Communities”, which is helping to share the results and lessons learned from community-based initiatives with a national and international audience.

Through this effort we are linking public health officials, landscape architects, planners, local, provincial and federal government employees, and academics so that they can share best practices.

Indeed, since 2007 our government has invested over $2 billion towards 1,400 green infrastructure projects across Canada through a number of targeted programs as part of building Canada and Canada's economic action plan.

Now that I have outlined the benefits and early successes of our current collaborative approach with provinces and municipalities, I would like to tell members why this government will not be supporting Bill C-579, and why we will instead continue to support ongoing collaborative efforts.

Bill C-579 would duplicate co-operative federal efforts that the government has already put in place with the provinces and municipalities to adapt changes in climate and mitigate health risks. The bill would also create jurisdictional overlaps with provinces, which could have a negative impact on current co-operative efforts under way with several municipalities. The jurisdictional overlaps created by the bill would also make the government accountable for activities over which it has no control.

The NDP simply need to realize that the solution to everything is not a new national strategy and broad spending promises. The legislation should not be wholly surprising to this House given that its genesis is from a party that is proposing a $20 billion carbon tax.

Even laying aside the lopsided approach proposed in the bill, we simply cannot support legislation that so clearly infringes on provincial, territorial and municipal jurisdictions.

Our government has already established effective programming through the clean air agenda without the need for Bill C-579. The work we are already undertaking with respect to the air quality health index allows Canadians to limit their exposure to air pollution while our health-based Canadian ambient air quality standards will improve air quality, thus reducing health risks during heat waves.

More importantly, through our heat resiliency initiative and the successful implementation of heat alert and response systems, we are creating awareness of the dangers to one's health from extreme heat events.

A 2010 report of the Office of the Auditor General highlighted the successes of the heat resiliency initiative in generating and sharing information for use. Most importantly, the audit report stated that this government is creating awareness that extreme heat is a health concern and is making that information available and understandable to Canadians.

By continuing to work with willing communities and targeting funding to address local concerns related to air quality and extreme heat, this government is taking concrete actions to protect and promote the health of Canadians.

To reiterate and to conclude, Bill C-579 is not required to protect Canadians from the health impacts associated with extreme heat.

Health September 26th, 2014

Obviously, Mr. Speaker, it is our hope that every Canadian family has a family doctor.

We have been making immense investments in Canada's health care system; in fact, they have reached historic high. Most notably I am very pleased to announce that Canada's has the highest number of physicians working than ever before. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, last year Canada had the most physicians per capita in our history, with over 77,000.

Doctors educated abroad represent over 25% of the doctors who entered the workforce in Canada in 2013. The word is out: Canada is one of the top destinations to practise medicine.

Russia September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on this day in 1960, Cuban leader Fidel Castro announced his support for the then U.S.S.R. From that day forward, the world watched as the U.S.S.R. expanded and positioned itself as a threat to the western world, with an ally that is particularly close to Canadian and U.S. shores.

My family and millions of others lived through the horrors of Communism in Europe, and we now see the threat of expansionist Russia through the continuing hostilities in Ukraine. Allies in eastern Europe are likewise concerned.

This is a seminal moment in Ukrainian history, and the people of Ukraine need good neighbours and honest brokers to step up and speak up. I am proud to be a part of a team that is stepping up and denouncing the actions of a very aggressive Russian state.