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Conservative MP for Mississauga—Brampton South (Ontario)
Won her last election, in 2011, with 44.70% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Obesity December 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is indeed my pleasure to stand today to speak in support of the motion before us, which was introduced by my wonderful colleague, the hon. member for Burlington.
The motion encourages our government to recognize the health risks and the cost of obesity; to support, promote, and fund organizations and individuals who are involved in the physical well-being of Canadians; and to make the reduction of obesity among Canadians a public health priority. I could not concur more.
Just as the hon. member on the other side of the House has spoken very eloquently on how he is battling diabetes, I think it is fairly well known that my family has been troubled by diabetes. My father passed away almost 20 years ago to this day from complications from diabetes. His legs were amputated three times. He had profound gangrene. He had a pacemaker. The fact that he simply did not take his diabetes seriously is really what we believe terminated his life in the end.
We know that addressing obesity is critical to supporting the health of Canadians. Rates of obesity have increased significantly in the past 25 years. Our Conservative government has acted in the face of this distinct challenge. For instance, we introduced the fitness credit for children, making it easier and more affordable for kids to go out and play and stay active. We built on this success further in budget 2013 through our elimination of tariffs on sports and athletic equipment.
Despite all of this good work, the motion before us recognizes that there is no quick fix. To achieve change, all sectors in our society must work together.
Obesity puts Canadians at greater risk of having chronic diseases, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer. Three out of five Canadians live with a chronic disease.
We also know that in addition to the significant personal burden of living with obesity, it is an important driver of health care expenses and lost productivity. Supporting health promotion and disease prevention efforts, as this motion does, would contribute to the health and well-being of Canadians and to the sustainability of the health care system.
This motion before us provides an opportunity to reaffirm our government's commitment to advance tangible actions aimed at encouraging healthy weight.
It is well known to my colleagues that obesity is complex. As such, it requires thoughtful solutions. Moreover, there are multiple factors that contribute to obesity. Today I would like to draw attention to the components of the motion that address healthy eating and improving the well-being of Canadians.
A key aspect of promoting healthy weight is helping Canadians make healthy food choices and improving access to healthy foods.
As a proud mom to a wonderful little eight-year-old boy named Jeffrey, I can say that it is quite a challenge to stay informed about healthy food choices and also to lovingly encourage my child to make those healthy food choices.
Communities need support to increase access to healthy foods for Canadian families. Healthy eating is fundamental to good health and healthy weights. It is necessary across one's lifespan, from prenatal and early childhood years to later life stages.
Healthy eating is equally important in reducing the risk of developing many chronic diseases. A poor diet is a known factor in increasing some cancers, as I mentioned, in heart disease and in type 2 diabetes. It influences body weight and can put Canadians at risk for obesity. That is why our government is working to make healthy eating an easier choice for Canadians. It is an important element of this government's broader chronic disease prevention and health promotion initiatives.
We know that this can be achieved through collective action with partners, including our provincial and territorial colleagues. In 2010, federal, provincial, and territorial governments endorsed the Declaration on Prevention and Promotion, declaring disease prevention a priority and health promotion a hallmark of our health system in Canada. Governments have also committed to advance, as a tangible first step, “Curbing Childhood Obesity: A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights”.
These are important initiatives that in partnership with other sectors will create the conditions for good health and support individuals in adopting healthy lifestyles. Under these initiatives, specific actions are highlighted to support healthy eating, such as providing high-quality nutrition information and tools to Canadians, supporting families and their communities by making healthy foods more accessible, and investing in research to discover and implement new and effective ways to improve health. Together these actions, as supported through this motion, are helping to create a comprehensive approach to healthy eating, obesity reduction, and the prevention of chronic disease.
Our government is also pleased to be supporting the healthy eating awareness and education initiative. This initiative helps improve consumers' understanding of nutritional information to support them in making healthier food choices. As an example of working together, through this initiative we collaborate with provincial and territorial organizations, the food industry, and not-for-profit organizations to help Canadians understand and use the nutritional facts panel on the back of packaged foods.
We are doing even more. In March 2013, we extended the reach of this campaign by launching the Eat Well Campaign. In many grocery stores across Canada, people will see healthy eating messages. This is a partnership with the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, Food and Consumer Products of Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Dieticians of Canada, and other organizations. It helps parents and children to be better informed about healthier eating habits.
Our government also develops and promotes “Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide” and its complementary, culturally tailored partner “Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide—First Nations, Inuit and Métis”. It is a very popular guide for Canadians that provides evidence-based information about how much food Canadians need and what types of foods are better, and it emphasizes the importance of physical activity.
We are also committed to supporting families and investing in communities. That starts with moms and dads. We are providing funding to organizations and individuals to develop and implement community-driven approaches to support healthy eating and healthy living.
One of the key areas of focus in our community-based programs is healthy living efforts in northern and aboriginal communities, including work to improve the accessibility of nutritious foods. Through Nutrition North Canada, we increase the supply and reduce the cost of nutritious food in remote communities across Canada's north. Subsidies are provided to retailers to bring in nutritious perishable foods such as fruits, vegetables, bread, meat, milk, and eggs at a lower cost. Traditional foods are also featured prominently in the Nutrition North Canada program. This is important as foods like Arctic char, muskox, and caribou are important sources of nutrients and play a key role in northerners' diets and culture.
Education is also a key component of Nutrition North Canada. Activities like cooking classes, in-store taste tests, and meal planning can increase cooking skills and the consumption of healthy food. Anything that we do to make things easier is obviously going to achieve greater results.
We are proud of our community-led planning for growing, harvesting, and preparing healthy foods. That is part of this health promotion initiative. In addition, Aboriginal Head Start is an important program that helps children have the healthiest possible start in life. This program provides meals, snacks and nutrition advice while helping to address the developmental needs of first nations children.
Our government is also committed to helping other vulnerable families. Our investment in the Canada prenatal nutrition program provides support to improve the health and well-being of pregnant women, new moms, and babies facing challenging life circumstances.
As well, the Public Health Agency of Canada's innovation strategy is funding a focus on addressing the underlying social and economic conditions that affect healthy weights.
I think members will agree that our Conservative government is very focused on providing healthy eating options for our families and on fighting obesity.
Health December 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it was World AIDS Day this past weekend. As members will recall, last week we made a $10-million announcement to invest in a cure for AIDS.
Our government is also supporting the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the development of a safe, effective and affordable HIV vaccine.
Our government's commitment to assisting those who are suffering with AIDS is very clear.
Health December 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, I do not have information on this specific case. I can say, though, that health information obviously is a provincial responsibility and our government does very much respect the privacy and confidentiality of Canadians' health records.
Health December 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, our government is obviously committed to ensuring the privacy of all Canadians' health files. I will take this issue under advisement and provide some further information.
I want to assure all Canadians that our government takes very seriously the privacy and confidentiality of all Canadians' health information.
Robbie's Rainbow November 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize Robbie's Rainbow, a charity founded by a brave and courageous 11-year-old boy living with Crohn's disease.
After witnessing another child suffering from this terrible disease, Robbie Murray, of Oakville, founded a charity dedicated to raising money to support children with Crohn's disease and their families, when he was just eight years old. In two short years, Robbie's Rainbow has raised nearly $30,000 and has helped over 60 families live stronger and healthier lives. Robbie's Rainbow is an example of what can be done when people care. They have been raising money through hockey tournaments and by reaching out to our community.
Robbie's generosity and inspiring story should give us all pause to reflect on the important role and tremendous value charitable organizations play across the country. During this holiday season, I encourage all members to generously support and recognize local charities like Robbie's Rainbow in our communities.
Health November 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to take the opposition members seriously when it is the same party that is in favour of injection sites.
Those members do not believe in consulting communities about whether or not a safe injection site should go into a neighbour or down the street from families, children and schools.
It is our government that has taken serious and concrete action. If fact, we have time controls on companies that produce drugs like OxyContin. We have implemented strict controls in the public drug plan run by Health Canada, including maximum monthly and daily drug limits, monitoring the usage of certain drugs and real time warning messages to pharmacists at point of sale.
Health November 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, under the Food and Drugs Act, drug approval decisions are made by Health Canada experts, following the department's independent scientific review process.
The Speech from the Throne was also very clear. Our government will expand the national anti-drug strategy to address prescription drug abuse.
HIV-AIDS November 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, this Sunday will mark World AIDS Day. Too many Canadians continue to battle this terrible disease. Our government is committed to supporting these individuals. In fact, I am delighted to share with members that earlier this morning our government committed $10 million to support two research teams seeking to find a cure for HIV.
These teams will capitalize on Canada's extensive expertise in biomedical and clinical HIV research. They will ensure Canada is a key player in the global fight to eradicate this disease and make a difference in the lives of people fighting HIV.
Our government will continue to work on behalf of people living with HIV toward minimizing the impact of this disease, both globally and here at home.
Congratulations to all those involved in the projects being supported today. I wish them all well in their world-class research.
Health November 22nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, during the local Brandon byelection debate last night, the Liberal candidate said that marijuana should be controlled the same way that tobacco is. Can you believe that, Mr. Speaker? How irresponsible of a policy is that?
Smoking rates among our youth are already too high. The Liberal Party and the Liberal candidate clearly missed the memo that 16% of Canadian youth are still smoking. That is why our government has been working hard to reduce those smoking rates. The Liberals should get on board with our approach, which is aimed at helping to ensure Canadian youth are healthy and productive and are not smoking cigarettes or marijuana.
Our government is working toward a 0% smoking average for youth. It is a shame that the Liberal candidate in Brandon and the Liberal leader do not agree.
Lung Cancer November 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, November marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month. We know that one in 11 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime. In fact, 55 Canadians die each day from this terrible disease.
The good news is that there are many preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of ever enduring lung cancer and help people live longer, healthier lives. That is why I am proud of the actions our government has taken to raise awareness and fight against lung cancer.
This November, I have engaged in a number of initiatives, from meeting with kids to encourage them to break off with cigarette smoking to encouraging Canadians to test for unsafe radon gas levels. Our Conservative government also leads the way in scientific research. We have funded over $1 billion for cancer research and prevention since 2006.