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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
Committees of the House May 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the tenth report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs in relation to Bill S-213, an act respecting a national day of remembrance to honour Canadian veterans of the Korean War.
The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report it back to the House without amendments.
Social Finance May 8th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government understands the priorities of Canadians. Our priorities are our families, the safety of our streets and communities, pride in being a citizen of our great nation and our personal financial security.
We are taking steps to enable communities to tackle local challenges, such as homelessness, unemployment and poverty. We are harnessing private sector capital and business practices to better respond to social challenges through social finance. Social finance is about mobilizing capital to achieve social goals, allowing investors to finance projects that benefit Canadians while introducing private sector best practices.
Already the Boys and Girls Club, the Maytree foundation and the YMCA are developing social finance concepts. Our government will work with the non-profit and private sectors to develop investment-ready ideas into great social finance pilot projects for our communities.
Veterans Affairs May 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Essex for his strong constituency work.
The struggle to liberate the Netherlands played a very important role in bringing victory to Europe and the end of the Second World War. Canada's vital contributions to that liberation laid the foundation for a very strong relationship between our two countries, which we continue to enjoy today.
For over nine months, 7,600 Canadians paid with their lives to bring peace and freedom to the Netherlands. We on this side of the House will certainly not forget that sacrifice. I know all Canadians join me in remembering that sacrifice.
Veterans Affairs May 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is disheartening to hear this type of question come from the Liberals after they in fact reduced the benefits available to our veterans when they were in power. They did absolutely nothing to bring back those benefits for our veterans through all those years in power. What economic action plan 2013 does is double the amount of money for funerals for our veterans.
We were already leading the world in the benefits we provided to our veterans for funerals and burials. Now we are the leader. Our Conservatives support our veterans.
Veterans Affairs April 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I was very proud to participate in a donation from a very large corporate partner just two weeks ago, funding the helmets to hardhats initiative. This is a critical initiative that assists our veterans in transitioning from military life to civilian life.
However, it is not the only thing we are doing. We are also providing all sorts of assistance, whether it is providing educational assistance to the veterans or to their family members, right down to assisting the entire family to transition into civilian life. Our government stands up for our veterans.
Multiple Sclerosis April 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring attention to a disease that has ravaged the Canadian population for many years. Multiple sclerosis, MS, is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada. It is a devastating disease that ravages the body. Sadly, our nation has one of the highest rates of MS in the world.
The MS walks will take place this weekend. I am proud to be volunteering again, just as I was humbled to be named the honorary chair of the MS Walkathon when I was pregnant. I loved fundraising for their read-a-thons with schoolmates 25 years ago.
I encourage members of Parliament on both sides of the House to get involved and help Canadians in the fight against MS.
Veterans April 25th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the NDP is using some old numbers. In fact, in economic action plan 2013, we are more than doubling the amount of money available for funerals. Only in Canada can a veteran's estate include a house and a car, and still qualify for additional financial support from our government.
We on this side of the House will continue to support our veterans. I hope that the NDP will vote in favour of economic action plan 2013 in order to provide this important financial assistance to our veterans' families.
Veterans April 25th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has a very strong track record when it comes to supporting our veterans. No government in the last 60 years has done more for our veterans and their families than our Conservative government.
In fact, economic action plan 2013 more than doubles the funding available for our veterans' families when it comes to funerals. Of course, we also provide for the full cost of the burial.
Our government has enormous sympathy for our veterans when they pass on. We will be there to help them. This important program has already helped more than 10,000 veterans' families since 2006.
Veterans April 19th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting Canada's veterans. Their dedication and sacrifice to this nation is unmatched.
I am pleased to announce that earlier this week members of the all party Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs reviewed the services provided to veterans by our neighbours to the south. We had the valuable opportunity to review the U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Center and meet with a number of experts on shared priorities of services and benefits for veterans.
I would like to highlight for the House Canada's position as a world leader when it comes to providing for our veterans. Through funding for funerals and burials, the enhanced the new veterans charter and cutting red tape for veterans, Canada is leading the way. In fact, many experts we heard from noted that Canada is considered the gold standard when it comes to services we provide for veterans suffering from PTSD.
I was very pleased to hear that our closest allies recognize the tremendous work this government and the Prime Minister continue to do for our veterans.
Last Post Fund April 18th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for this chance to speak in support of the government's funeral and burial program for the families of Canada's veterans.
The funeral and burial program recognizes and supports the families of all veterans who have died from injuries they suffered in service to Canada, as well as the families of those veterans who have passed away and are in financial need. Thanks to this program, more than 1,300 families were helped through a very difficult time in their lives this past year. We were there to help honour Canadian veterans and ensure that these men and women were laid to rest with the dignity and respect that Canada's heroes deserve. That is why I am proud to support this program and to stand here and pledge my support for maintaining and enhancing it where and when it can be improved.
That is why I am proud to support this program, to stand here and pledge my support for maintaining it and even enhancing it.
The funeral and burial program reflects Canada's pride for our veterans. It is a responsible and effective program and one which fully considers the individual needs of the families it serves. That is particularly true with the help provided to the families of veterans who have died in financial need.
The term “financial need” has been mentioned often tonight, but what does it really mean? In short, “financial need” is determined through a simple means testing of the veteran's estate, a straightforward process that considers factors such as marital status, number of dependants and net assets.
It is also worth spelling out very clearly what we mean by “assets”. A veteran's primary home and vehicle are not included in calculating the value of his or her estate. Nor is a spouse expected to sell the family home or the primary car in order to cover a veteran's funeral and burial. That is simply not how the program works.
The means test also exempts the first $12,000 of cash in the veteran's estate. This means that veterans can still be found to be in financial need even when they own a home and a car, and have $12,000 in the bank.
It is equally important to emphasize that every application under the funeral and burial program is reviewed on its own merit. Every case is unique and everything is considered.
As well, members of the House may be interested to know how the funeral and burial program is actually administered. It is administered for the government by the Last Post Fund, a non-profit organization that started as a grassroots movement back in 1909. It is estimated that the Last Post Fund has helped to lay to rest more than 150,000 veterans over the past century. What a truly proud history for the Last Post Fund.
However, we know that it has not always been easy for the Last Post Fund. In the mid-1990s, for example, the Last Post Fund was asked by the previous Liberal government to scale back the funeral and burial program during a time of fiscal restraint. That was a decision by those who served in the House before us. It is not for us to judge or answer for, it is simply what happened, it is reality, just as it is also true that some changes were subsequently made to restore and improve the program.
Of course, it is also true that our Conservative government finds itself in another period of fiscal restraint. Conceivably we could follow the lead of the Liberals before us, but our Prime Minister and our Minister of Veterans Affairs have been very clear that our support for the funeral and burial program remain steadfast.
Even during our currently fragile economic recovery, our Conservative government refuses to entertain reductions to the program or its benefits. In fact, our focus is completely the opposite. We are constantly looking at new ways to support Canada's veterans and their families. The funeral and burial program is no exception. The minister has said so. He has instructed our department to continue reviewing the funeral and burial program and to explore options on how to improve the program and cut red tape.
Our Conservative government's record for supporting veterans demonstrates how well this approach is working.
Over the last seven years, we have approved record new funding, totalling almost $4 billion in accumulated increases to ensure that the Government of Canada is here for its veterans and for the men and women who continue to serve Canada. This includes: implementing the new veterans charter and enhancing it with significant new measures for seriously ill and injured veterans; enhancing other vital health services, including a doubling of our specialized clinics for veterans struggling with mental health issues; and reaching out to new partners across the country, whether it is in developing new employment opportunities for our veterans, new transitional housing or e-services.
Through our Conservative government's ongoing cutting red tape for veterans initiative, we are also serving our veterans and their families better and faster and in more modern and convenient ways.
All these measures represent real action for veterans and their families. They also illustrate our Conservative government's commitments to our veterans. We are always looking ahead and adapting our programs and services to meet the evolving needs of our veterans. The funeral and burial program is a case in point. Economic action plan 2013 would modernize and improve support for families of veterans. With economic action plan 2013, we would make the funeral and burial program even better.
How will we do that?
First, we are more than doubling the maximum reimbursement for funerals from $3,600 to $7,376. That is in addition to already covering the actual and full cost of burials. We are also simplifying the process for veterans' estates. Canadians should know the full extent of the program, that it also includes financial help for such things as the purchase of a grave or the cost of cremation. Finally, Canadians should know that we assume the full cost of maintaining the veteran's grave in perpetuity.
The funeral and burial program ensures that veterans have a dignified funeral and burial and that their final resting place is always fitting for Canadian heroes.
I do not know how to say it anymore clearly, Our government is committed to supporting Canada's veterans and their families and the funeral and burial program is an important part of that. It is providing funeral and burial assistance to all veterans who die of a service-related disability and it is helping the families of veterans who die in financial need.
This is good news. I would have thought that the member opposite would support that and that she would support our promise to complete a thorough and responsible review of the program. I am certainly proud to say that I do.
I am proud to say that our Prime Minister and our Minister of Veterans Affairs stand by Canada's veterans, and that we will continue to review all of our programs and services to make sure they are meeting the needs of the remarkable men and women we serve.