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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is process.

NDP MP for Nanaimo—Cowichan (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 48.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would argue that some of the cuts outlined by the former ombudsperson for victims highlight the fact that perhaps we are not serving victims well with some of these pieces of legislation. When we do things like cut programs that try to prevent offenders from re-offending, we are not actually supporting potential future victims.

Again, it does speak to the need for a more holisitic approach looking at the prevention of crime to begin with, making sure that we are addressing educational needs, poverty, housing, and drug and alcohol addiction. There are many things that we need to look at in terms of prevention.

We then need a justice system that responds appropriately and has the resources, so that police forces can investigate and so that there are not backlogs in the criminal justice system that would stop us from dealing with crime expeditiously.

We then need a prison system where people are housed appropriately so that they are kept inside when they need to be, but also have rehabilitation and drug and alcohol treatment programs within the prison system.

Then, when offenders are eventually released, we need those systems on the street to help them reintegrate so that they do not re-offend.

If we had legislation that looked at all four of those aspects, I think we would probably find much broader party support in the House for the legislation that comes forward that is purportedly tough on crime.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I believe that in my summary I wrapped up our position on this.

What we have consistently called for as New Democrats is a comprehensive program that looks not just at the appropriate sentences for crimes committed. As I said earlier, we absolutely support legislation and programs that keep our communities safe and that protect our children. I am a mother and a grandmother and would not support something that would put my children and grandchildren at risk.

However, what we often end up dealing with in this place is a piece of legislation that has a very narrow perspective dealing with particular sets of offences, particular crimes. What we do not do a good job of is taking a step back and looking at a comprehensive approach.

The member for Winnipeg Centre rightly pointed out the fact that we could learn a great deal from states like California and Texas, where they have had to revisit their tough-on-crime agenda. It looks at crime in a very narrow way. What Texas in particular has done is that it has recognized that not only must it have appropriate sentences but also that when people are found guilty, there is a need for rehabilitation programs inside and methods to integrate them back into the community.

I would urge the Conservatives to take that more comprehensive approach.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to speak to Bill C-26, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, to enact the high risk child sex offender database act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

According to the legislative summary prepared for this piece of legislation, the bill would amend the provisions of the Criminal Code that deal with sexual offences committed against children and young persons by increasing the mandatory minimum penalties and maximum penalties for such offences.

Bill C-26 would also make the following changes to the law: it would increase maximum penalties for violations of prohibition orders, probation orders, and peace bonds; it would set out rules for the imposition of consecutive and concurrent sentences; it would require courts to impose consecutive sentences on offenders who commit sexual offences against more than one child; it would amend the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that spouses of the accused persons could be called as witnesses for the prosecution in child pornography cases; it would amend the Sex Offender Information Registration Act to increase the reporting obligations of sex offenders who travel outside Canada; and it would enact the high risk child sex offender database act to establish a publicly accessible database containing information with respect to persons who are found guilty of sexual offences against children and who pose a high risk of committing crimes of a sexual nature.

It is quite a complicated piece of legislation. The NDP critic for justice, the member for Gatineau, and a number of my other colleagues have risen in the House to indicate that New Democrats will support getting the bill to committee at second reading. As always, we are very concerned that we need to have legislation that truly does protect our children and keep our communities safe.

As we have seen with other pieces of legislation that the Conservatives have presented, the devil is always in the details. Therefore, we think it is very important that there be a comprehensive study at committee, that we hear from witnesses with a variety of points of view, and I was very pleased to hear the member opposite indicate that the government would entertain amendments to this piece of legislation, which from our experience here in the House over the last three years, would be extremely unusual.

New Democrats are so adamant about getting the bill to committee and having a comprehensive study at committee because of these differing points of view. The legislative summary outlines the differences. We will hear that there are people who are strongly in favour and people who have some concerns. Some of these groups are not ones we would ordinarily think would raise concerns.

Under the commentary in the legislative summary it says:

The amendment proposed in Bill C-26 requiring that, in cases with multiple victims, mandatory minimum sentences must be served consecutively has prompted public debate about the “totality principle,” which states that an offender's overall sentence should not be unduly harsh. Lawyer Clayton Ruby, author of the textbook Sentencing, has said that consecutive minimum sentences do not leave room for considering the individual offender and the nature of the offence. However, Sharon Rosenfeldt, spokesperson for Victims of Violence, has stated that reliance on the totality principle allows those individuals who commit crimes against children to repeatedly reoffend.

We can see how important it is we get both perspectives on this before we go forward with a piece of legislation. They also say:

Another subject of debate concerning Bill C-26 has been the proposed creation of a publicly accessible databank containing information about those persons found guilty of sex offences against children who are deemed to be at risk of offending again. The Association des services de réhabilitation sociale du Québec had expressed concern that such a databank will create a false sense of security, as this type of information gives the impression that the danger of a sexual assault comes from strangers, whereas the evidence suggests that the vast majority of sex offences against children are committed by those close to them. The Marie Vincent Foundation has determined that in 85% of the cases of sexual offences committed against those under 12 years of age, the offender was a person known to the victim (father, next of kin, neighbour, friend of the family, etc.).

A number of comments concerning Bill C-26 have mentioned the possibility of vigilantism rising from a publicly accessible database of sex offenders. Detective Constable Stephen Canton, the police officer in charge of the Niagara Regional Police sex offender registry, is also concerned that “[w]hen you start to identify offenders, you start to get less compliance and it pushes them underground.”

Victims' rights groups have expressed support for the changes proposed in Bill C-26, however. Gatineau Police Chief Mario Harel, vice-president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, has also said that the information-sharing provision is important, as is the ability to compel spouses to testify in child pornography cases. He welcomed Bill C-26, suggesting stiffer penalties could have a deterrent effect.

There is a wide variety of opinions that have been expressed in some of the input gathered in advance of the bill. Therefore, it is important that there is an opportunity not only for the committee to reconcile those different points of view, but also to keep in mind that the ultimate goal is truly the protection of children and communities.

Some of my New Democratic colleagues have referenced the fact that one of the things that has to happen is that we need to put in place programs that assist in preventing re-offences. I want to reference the Circles of Support and Accountability program.

This is a quote from Steven Sullivan, a former federal ombudsman for victims of crime. He said:

...the federal government recently announced it was cutting the measly $650,000 in funding Corrections Canada offers. CoSA also receives funding from the National Crime Prevention Centre; that's also set to end this fall. In total the program costs $2.2 million a year....

Like most community-based victim services, CoSA is a fairly cheap program. It has 700 volunteers across the country; they meet with offenders after their release, help them find jobs and places to live, meet with them regularly for coffee. They support offenders as they start to live normal lives, ones that don't involve new victims. They hold them accountable.

I want to talk a little about the CoSA, Circles of Support and Accountability. This is a snapshot that was provided in the Ottawa Citizen. It says:

The program pairs newly released sex offenders - known as core members - with three to five volunteers. For at least one year, the volunteers pledge to have daily contact with the core member, helping with such basic needs as finding employment and housing, attending medical appointments and shopping. They also undertake to hold him accountable if he shows signs of slipping.

It goes on to say:

In return, the sex offender pledges to honour any conditions imposed by the court, steer clear of high-risk behaviour and communicate honestly with circle members.

How are the core members selected?

Most are high-risk sex offenders, the worst of the worst. They must want to participate, and are screened and evaluated by CoSA groups before they are accepted.

Some criticism has been raised, including the comment:

Doesn't this amount to coddling people who should be shunned? Not at all, says...a member of the Ottawa CoSA's board. "What we're doing is promoting community safety by engaging with them." It's when sex offenders are isolated or marginalized that they are most likely to reoffend, he says.

He went on to say: "Our motto is 'no more victims'”.

That is an important point. The point of programs like this is to prevent offenders from re-offending, to keep our communities and children safe.

I want to turn for a moment to a publication from back in March 2013, put out by the John Howard Society. It talks about the impact of public notification and says:

When making a decision as to whether a public notification should be issued, the justice system must balance the need for community safety against the offender's right to reintegrate into society. Public notifications are used in hopes of increasing public safety. The threat of a public notification may work to deter the offender from breaching any conditions and to encourage him to participate in treatment. Public awareness may also encourage community members to be aware and to report suspicious behaviour, which may potentially reduce criminal behaviour. Also, they may increase collaboration between all areas of the justice system, like probation, corrections, law enforcement, prosecutors and victims, which may lead to more support for the offender.

It is probably not surprising that there is a caveat here. It states:

However, Public Notifications may discourage offenders from making post-release plans for treatment or from finding housing because they fear that by doing so they will simply identify the potential destination. Once the offender is released, the publicity may lead to job loss, threats, harassment, and housing instability - all which may force the offender in to hiding, which detracts from community safety and may elevate risk.

Evidence shows that programs that assist and support individuals re-integrating in to the community are much more effective than shaming in preventing reoffending. When used in conjunction with effective re-integration strategies, notifications can build community involvement, promote rehabilitation, and prevent the offender from re-offending.

However, public notifications with no community involvement do little to support the community or the offender. The public must be educated not only in what risks these individuals pose, but what can be done to prevent them from re-offending.

I believe there is probably agreement across the House that what is important is that any legislation that comes forward truly does what it purportedly aims to do, that is to protect children and keep our communities safe. It is clear that if we just do it with harsher sentences and removing supports for reintegration into community, we are not going to achieve those aims.

Again, I will support this bill going to committee at second reading. I am optimistic that the Conservatives will actually consider amendments to Bill C-26.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of my colleague's speech, he referenced the fact that, once again, we are debating this particular bill under time allocation. An Inter-Parliamentary Union document put out celebrating the International Day of Democracy says:

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.

It goes on to say that political tolerance implies freedom of expression, open dialogue and a diversity of views. It also indicates that the rights of the opposition include:

[The] Right to contribute to the legislative process, such as the right to submit bills and amendments, and to put questions to members of government.

I wonder if the member could comment on how important this bill is and that we as parliamentarians representing Canadians from coast to coast to coast have the right to speak in the House of Commons to this very important matter.

An Act to amend the Statistics Act (appointment of Chief Statistician and long-form census) November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to speak to Bill C-626, an act to amend the Statistics Act, regarding the chief statistician and mandatory long-form census. As I said in my question to the member, New Democrats will be supporting the bill and look forward to discussion at committee, if the Conservatives will agree to support the bill.

Over the years where this conversation has been happening in the House, the New Democrats have been consistent that we support the maintenance of the mandatory long-form census. We think it is an important document in terms of evaluating government programs and services and providing information for all levels of government when they are developing programs to address social policy issues. We believe that this form does need to be restored in its 1971 format.

I heard the member opposite talk about how effective this national household survey was. Let me read into the record some of the problems with it.

Mandatory surveys are typically used when taking a census due to high response rates. The mandatory census response rate was approximately 94%, whereas the voluntary national household survey response rate was 68%. Rural communities were especially under-represented, causing Statistics Canada to withhold data on 1,128 communities. In Saskatchewan, over 40% of communities have data of such low quality that it will not be published. This figure is over 25% in the Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Alberta. Voluntary surveys typically also have lower response rates for visible minorities, including aboriginal people and women.

Although many of us do get called at home for polls and surveys, and so on, I would argue that some people will respond to voluntary surveys and some will not. Therefore, the voluntary survey approach that the government has taken has failed to provide the kind of year-over-year comparable data that is very useful in terms of developing policy.

When this discussion was happening about cancelling the long-form census, there were outcries from across the country from all kinds of different organizations, academics and governments. I want to read something from 2010, prior to this decision taking effect. An op-ed by the C.D. Howe Institute was called “Cancelling the 2011 Census Long Form: Libertarians Take Out the Wrong Target”.

It is an interesting article because the focus is the fact that this kind of information gathered year over year allows citizens to hold their governments to account, and it gave a couple of very concrete examples of this. The C.D. Howe Institute said:

...the case for the long form is still strong. Not just because the voluntary survey will provide a less reliable picture of how Canadians live and work but because Statistics Canada's information—much of it based on the long-form census—is an essential tool for Canadians seeking to ensure that the state's use of its vast powers is effective and benign.

Take education. Most Canadian students receive instruction in public schools, and virtually all follow a curriculum, write tests and accept certification mandated by governments. Census information is invaluable for judging how well these systems work. C.D. Howe Institute research on aboriginal education, and on how students at particular schools do compared to what neighbourhood characteristics would predict—key tools for parents and taxpayers to demand better performance—would be impossible.

Or immigration. Canada's economic and social success is intimately linked to the economic and social success of new arrivals. Alarmingly, the average experience of immigrants in the Canadian labour market is deteriorating. Long-form data brought this problem to light; other long-form information on education, language and country of origin can help us address it.

The state plays a huge role in Canadian health care: Good information on personal and neighbourhood characteristics can help us know if we are healthier or sicker as a result. It redistributes income on a colossal scale: The long-form census can reveal much about the successes and failures of these programs. In all these areas, good information helps Canadians hold their governments to account.

Many critics of the decision to drop the census long form are talking past the people they need to persuade. Mandatory collection of such data is intrusive. The information it yields is imperfect. The question is whether we should put up with the costs and defects for the sake of the benefits—among the most vital of which is empowering Canadians with knowledge about how well, or poorly, they are governed.

For those who want government to do less but do it better, good information is indispensable. If the census long form is gone for good, libertarians will have won the wrong fight.

I thought that was a very interesting, telling article, because what we have seen from the current government is a continuing erosion of the ability of not only parliamentarians but other organizations to gain access to information. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer has been forced into courts at times in order to get information to determine whether the government's figures are accurate.

It seems there are many who are saying that despite the potential for intrusion into Canadians' lives, that type of information is essential in determining how effectively government is operating. Therefore, a government that talks about openness, transparency, and accountability surely would want to make sure that the information is there to allow Canadians to determine that it is in fact open, transparent, and accountable.

With regard to the long form census and its impact on aboriginal communities, The Globe and Mail published an article in 2013. The article is headed “The lost long-form census means shakier insight into aboriginal issues”. This is what it says:

Canada’s public policy concerning aboriginal peoples continues to be perplexed, and the country needs more rather than less significant and reliable information about their lives and circumstances; many communities are afflicted by social problems. Consequently, the loss of the mandatory long-form census is acutely felt in Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey on First Nations, Métis and Inuit, which was released on Wednesday.

Several passages in the NHS allude to the difficulties of assembling solid statistics about aboriginals. The understandable ambivalence of some members of aboriginal communities about Canadian institutions can lead to a reluctance to answer census questions; a legal requirement was a real help. As Statistics Canada rightly says, “the characteristics of those who choose to participate” may – indeed probably do – differ from those who refuse, which undermines the information value of the survey as a whole.

I have an article from Dr. Janet Smylie, who talks about the importance of the long form census. I will not be able to read all of this document because I know I will be running out of time, but in it she indicates that the “social data systems in Canada are extremely deficient” with regard to aboriginal peoples:

We all know that First Nations, Indian, Metis, and Inuit health and social data systems in Canada are extremely deficient. We also all know that capacity (especially Aboriginal HR capacities) and infrastructure issues are a real challenge. We also all likely agree that historically and currently there have been/continue to be challenges in the way that Statistics Canada has interfaced with Aboriginal communities.

This said, the long form census is one of the key tools that we do have to understand the size of our populations and assess the conditions in which our peoples live, including the level of social disparity.... Without it our current data systems, weak as they are, will be severely disabled. While there are many problems with the national surveys run by Statistics Canada, including the APS and ACS, all of these surveys required the long form census to develop their population based sampling frame. For non-Status Indian, First Nations/Status Indians living off-reserve, Metis and Inuit communities the impacts of no long form census will be devastating, as this is the primary source of social and demographic information for our communities--and in most situations the only source, since we are otherwise hidden in the large majority of data sets. For example, the recent studies that demonstrated life expectancy disparities (including for the Inuit disparities of infant mortality in Inuit inhabited areas of up to four times those for non-Inuit inhabited areas) for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples would not have been possible without the long form census.

I know that in the past much of that long form census data has been used to shape policies with regard to health care, with regard to housing, with regard to education. With the loss of that data comes a major concern that the absence of good information will allow decision-makers to make up policy based on ideology rather than information.

One of the things I am hoping the member who proposed the bill will be open to at committee, if it gets to committee, is to look at the fact that gathering information on a year-over-year basis that would allow for comparability is not specifically included in the bill.

Any of us in this House who have tried to deal with estimates and with the changing formats in which they are presented know how critical it is to be able to look at historical data. We can look to see if there have been trends or changes and we can see if programs and services are having any kind of impact through some of the legislation and programs that have been developed.

I am hopeful that perhaps the Conservatives will see the light of day and allow this bill to go before committee so that we can hear testimony from witnesses, possibly amend the bill, and reinstate the long form census in Canada.

An Act to amend the Statistics Act (appointment of Chief Statistician and long-form census) November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for bringing this very important private member's bill before the House. Certainly, on the New Democratic Party side, we will be supporting the member's bill and sending it to committee. When the government was in the process of cancelling the long-form census, we fought hard against that decision.

I wonder if the member could comment on what he sees as some of the implications for policy-making, at the federal level but also at the provincial and municipal levels, of not having adequate data.

Energy Safety and Security November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the public is well aware that we are debating Bill C-22, an act respecting Canada's offshore oil and gas operations, enacting the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act, repealing the Nuclear Liability Act and making consequential amendments to other acts.

This legislation has a number of sections, but the part that I will focus on is the fact that it would modify Canada's civil liability regimes for the offshore oil and gas industry and it would notably increase the absolute liability threshold to $1 billion to operators of offshore oil and gas and nuclear facilities. The current threshold for offshore oil and gas operations are $40 million in the Arctic and $30 million for all other offshore areas.

Offshore drilling does not take place in all parts of Canada. The legislative summary points out that, in addition, offshore exploration activity is currently being conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Offshore petroleum wells may also be drilled in the Beaufort Sea. Drilling programs there are undergoing a regulatory screening process. In addition, offshore basins near Nunavut's high Arctic islands and in the eastern Arctic may be developed in the future.

Currently, there is a federal moratorium on oil and gas activities in place on the offshore of British Columbia. In Quebec, a provincial moratorium exists on the oil and gas offshore activities in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. A permanent prohibition on such activities applies in waters northwest of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and its estuary.

What we have heard from the other side is that the New Democrats should approve and support whatever bill the government brings forward. One member talked about the fact that this was all about jobs. Any responsible member of Parliament must, first, do their due diligence. However, second, when we talk about resource development and issues pertaining to resource development, we need to consider them in the economic, environmental and social contexts. We would be irresponsible if we did not take a very broad view of any resource development that happens in Canada and the consequent liability.

The NDP has been critical of this bill on a number of fronts, but there are three principles of sustainable development: equity, precautionary principle and broad inclusive participation. Bill C-22 would not uphold the polluter pays principle in the nuclear part of the bill and it would fail to create an inclusive consultation process for projects. It would allow the minister to be subject to lobbying, thus reducing the minister's accountability.

Bill C-22 would not mandate a solid inclusive consultation process for specific projects, which is essential, given the potential impact these projects could have on the quality of life and well-being of concerned communities and regions.

The government's proposed $1 billion cap for offshore drilling would apply to no fault liability, while operators would continue to face unlimited liability should they be found at fault or negligent. Companies would also be required to demonstrate to the regulators their financial capacity to cover $1 billion in cleanup costs should it become necessary. It would also increase coverage for exploratory drilling operations offshore, production operations, the loading of tankers for transport and undersea pipelines, such as natural gas from Sable Island to the Mainland in Atlantic Canada.

Here is the sticker. The bill would provide for ministerial discretion to reduce absolute liability levels to below the legislative level of $1 billion. This discretionary provision could undercut the advantages of the legislative increase in the absolute liability limit contained in Bill C-22.

The legislative summary refers to section 2.1.4.2 under “Public Hearings”. Bill C-22 would add new sections to the Canada oil and gas operations, allowing the National Energy Board to conduct a public hearing in relation to the exercise of any of its powers or the performance of any of its duties and functions under the act.

The New Democrats absolutely support a public process with regard to reviewing applications that come forward around resource development. However, I want to highlight the fact that the National Energy Board has been subject to some pretty severe criticism with regard to its operations. Simply because it is in this bill that the National Energy Board would be able to conduct a public hearing, it does not give us any confidence about how that public hearing would be conducted, who would be involved and whether the information would actually be considered.

I want to turn to a letter dated October 30, that was sent to the secretary of the National Energy Board. It is about an intervenor making a licence withdrawal from the hearing on the Trans Mountain expansion project. I will read an excerpt from this letter, because again, if the legislation mentions it but we do not have confidence in the process, why would we support it? In this letter, the intervenor says:

The unwillingness of Trans Mountain to address most of my questions and the Board’s almost complete endorsement of Trans Mountain’s decision has exposed this process as deceptive and misleading. Proper and professional public interest due diligence has been frustrated, leading me to the conclusion that this Board has a predetermined course of action to recommend approval of the Project and a strong bias in favour of the Proponent.

In effect, this so-called public hearing process has become a farce, and this Board a truly industry captured regulator.

If the government is to review applications in sensitive offshore areas like the north and if this is the kind of process to which these reviews would be subject, it does not leave us any confidence that we will end up with the best kinds of decisions.

The letter goes on to say:

In addition to gutting the oral-cross examination feature of a public hearing process that supports proper questioning and an adequate level of due diligence, there are other Board decisions that have been made over the course of this hearing that reflect a pre-determined outcome.

The evidence on the record shows that decisions made by the Board at this hearing are dismissive of intervenors. They reflect a lack of respect for hearing participants, a deep erosion of the standards and practices of natural justice that previous Boards have respected, and an undemocratic restriction of participation by citizens, communities, professionals and First Nations either by rejecting them outright or failing to provide adequate funding to facilitate meaningful participation.

Certainly in British Columbia that continues to be an ongoing source of irritation, which is probably too light of a word. However, many people who want to intervene in an NEB process simply do not have the capacity to review the thousands of pages of documents and to present a finding, so funding becomes critical, particularly with regard to first nations communities that will be directly impacted by projects.

It is a lengthy letter, so I cannot read it all, but further in the letter the intervenor indicates:

The Board had stated that the elimination of cross-examination of the Proponent’s evidence can be evaluated through the two scheduled Information Requests. But we have a Kafkaesque outcome. Trans Mountain refuses to answer questions and the Board does not compel them to do so.

We have a proponent that can say whatever it wants, yet intervenors have no ability to question it, because the board will not allow the questions.

The intervenor goes on to say:

The Province of British Columbia stated that “Trans Mountain’s failure to file the evidence requested by the Province in Information Request No. 1 denies the Board, the Province and other intervenors access to the information required to fully understand the risk posed by the Project, how Trans Mountain proposes to mitigate such risk and Trans Mountain’s ability to effectively respond to a spill related to the Project.”

The National Energy Board is not fulfilling its obligation to review the Trans Mountain Expansion Project objectively. Accordingly it is not only British Columbians, but all Canadians that cannot look to the Board’s conclusions as relevant as to whether or not this project deserves a social license. Continued involvement in the process endorses this sham and is not in the public interest.

One of the reasons the NDP has objected to the bill is the lack of clear process around public consultation. The government continues to say that Canadians should not worry, that the National Energy Board will look after their interests. When we have had a very credible intervenor raise questions about the NEB's independence, we need to do a far better job of telling Canadians how projects would be evaluated.

We need that openness, transparency and accountability so Canadians have confidence that when a project is approved, that it has been tested for the environmental, economic and social impacts. It is with very good reason that the New Democrats do not support the bill at this stage. We attempted to make a number of amendments at committee stage and of course to no surprise, those amendments were rejected by the government.

I point out, once again, that we are under time allocation and that limits the amount of time and the number of witnesses who can be called to review the bill. With very good reason, the New Democrats oppose the legislation.

Aboriginal Affairs November 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while the minister refuses to take responsibility for his failure, first nation schools continue to be woefully underfunded. Approximately 47% of first nations currently need a new school and 22% of those have been waiting for 10 to 15 years. That is simply unacceptable, yet the minister continues to ignore this situation.

Why is the minister still refusing to provide first nation children the funding they desperately and deserve for a quality education?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for a very reasoned presentation of the NDP position. She did touch on it briefly, but one of the issues that the NDP has raised is with regard to civilian oversight of CSIS. I wonder if she could expand on that particular point because we have a current oversight body that is under-resourced. There are a couple of members who have not been reappointed. Could she speak to the importance of having that kind of civilian oversight?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for talking about the importance of farming in his community. It is important in mine as well.

I want to refer to the investor state dispute resolution mechanism. Earlier I pointed out the fact that it was a very secretive process. It is also costly for governments to have to defend themselves on these dispute resolution mechanisms.

Could the member comment on the fact that this really needs to be a more open and transparent process and safeguards need to be put in place for countries so they do not get involved in these costly battles?