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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is chair.

NDP MP for Newton—North Delta (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 33.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Seaforth Highlanders Army Cadets October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to rise today to recognize some outstanding young men and women from my riding.

The 1867 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps Seaforth Highlanders are here in Ottawa this week and on Parliament Hill all day today. There are 28 cadets and four chaperones from Newton-North Delta here in the gallery, and I want to take this opportunity to tell them that they are the reason I love my job. I appreciate their ideas, civic engagement, and energy. I am in absolute awe of this particular group and its commitment to loyalty, professionalism, mutual respect, and integrity as guiding principles.

These teenagers already stand out as community leaders. It is a privilege for me to represent them here in Parliament. I wish I could name them all, but due to time constraints, it is not possible. Therefore, I will profusely thank their group leader, Michael Marek, for his tireless efforts and advocacy on their behalf in arranging this visit. I am completely inspired by all of them.

Employment September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we need an independent review. Clearly the government cannot get the job done.

The minister keeps blaming the companies for providing false information, but it was his department that was supposed to be doing the verifying. Now he says that all information will be checked for accuracy, but only one in four employers will be inspected for compliance, and not all inspections will include a site visit.

How does the minister call it due diligence, when inspections are limited to shuffling paperwork?

Social Development September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his justification and a kind of a cover-up for what is happening to those who are waiting for hearings about their social security, their pensions, and EI.

First let me say that a lot of these people are now being told they are just going to get an administrative review, and for the first time, our government does not even have the numbers for those it rejects out of the appeal process.

What we are really talking about here are the most vulnerable in our society. Many of these people have no other income source. Others have very little. They usually have run out. I have dealt with constituents who have come into that office because they have used up their own resources, yet they still do not have a date for their review.

Let us have a system that looks after the vulnerable. They have paid for the system; let us not make them suffer.

Social Development September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on every paycheque, Canadians contribute to safety nets that are supposed to help them make ends meet when they need it most, like employment insurance and CPP. Canadians expect that these services will be there for them should they run into hard times, but under the Conservative government, more Canadians are seeing their claims denied, and too many are waiting too long to have their appeals heard.

The Social Security Tribunal which was created by the Conservative government to hear appeals is a complete mess. Canadians are waiting a year or more to appeal decisions on employment insurance, old age security and Canada pension plan claims. Unlike the old system, which was not problem free, by the way, there is no guarantee of a fair hearing in a reasonable amount of time, and recently we learned that the Social Security Tribunal does not intend to eliminate the backlog of cases until 2017 at the earliest.

Seniors, Canadians living with a disability and those who are out of work cannot afford to live for months and years without any income. Why is the government leaving vulnerable Canadians to pay the price for its incompetence?

The government even set out with a specific goal of reducing the number of hearings by 25%. The new tribunal has more than delivered on that goal.

I would like the minister to tell us why the Conservative government refuses to fully staff the tribunal or to develop service standards for Canadians. I would like him to tell us why he is not collecting or releasing statistics.

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that I have received several letters from people who have been so completely discouraged by the bureaucratic nightmare the government has created that they have actually given up on their cases and they are living in poverty. Sometimes I wonder if that is not part of the strategy: to make a system so incredibly discouraging that people actually give up on their claims.

On September 18, I introduced a motion that would see this House agree that the government should hear the entire backlog of cases in no longer than 365 days, hire more staff so that appeals do not continue to backlog, track wait times for appeals, and resume tracking the success and failure rates of all appeals.

In addition to my motion, I also have a motion on notice before HUMA asking that the committee study this badly broken program so that ailing and out-of-work Canadians do not continue to wait to have their cases heard.

I hope that the cases are heard as quickly as possible so that Canadians are not left suffering. We cannot have unemployed Canadians denied employment insurance, Canada pension plan or old age security benefits.

Someone who has been on the inside, someone who has seen first-hand how badly broken this current system really is and how much that is hurting people, that former member also emphasized that under the current system she felt rushed, and that there was a possibility to feel resentful under the workload expectations caused by understaffing. She talked about fairness to the client and fairness of the process in past tense, suggesting instead that the current process is only about production and getting cases out of the way.

We need to have a serious look at this tribunal and we need to see it fixed.

Employment September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the farce that the government has made of the temporary foreign worker program continues.

Today we learned that the government granted labour market opinions and work visas for a company that did not even exist. As a result a worker from Iran is out $25,000 to a shady immigration consultant, and he still has no job.

Is this what the minister considers due diligence? How are the minister's paperwork-only inspections going to catch this kind of violation the next time?

Employment September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the minister mismanaged the temporary foreign worker program for six years. Surely if he thought it was growing out of control, as he mentioned, he had plenty of opportunity to take action. Instead, the Conservatives relaxed the rules and made it easier to bring in foreign workers. Now the minister wants us all to believe that this was the fault of the provinces. Why will the minister not take responsibility for the mess he has made and finally fix the program?

Employment September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Employment and Social Development seemed to be a tad confused yesterday. Instead of accepting responsibility for his own mismanagement of the temporary foreign worker program, the minister is out there blaming the provinces for letting the program get out of hand. He takes no responsibility for his own mistakes.

Where is the minister's accountability for the way he completely bungled the temporary foreign worker program?

Social Development September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians are waiting years for a hearing at the Social Security Tribunal, and now, with the lowest ever access, Conservatives reveal that this was part of their plan all along. Instead of helping, Conservatives decided that tribunals would simply hear 25% fewer cases.

Seniors, the unemployed, and people with disabilities are left years without income waiting for an appeal. Why are the Conservatives making it almost impossible for vulnerable Canadians to exercise their right to appeal?

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, many of us have been wondering exactly the same thing, wondering where the math came from and why the proposal is before us. This is the first policy that the Liberal Party has put on the table, and it is badly flawed.

I find it very hard to trust anything the Liberals say on employment insurance when it was the Liberal Party that stole over $50 billion from the EI fund the Liberal Party that reduced accessibility from 80% right down to 45%. In light of those kinds of things, maybe the Liberals could not think of anything to debate on their opposition day, so they thought they could do a little bit of Hudak, a little bit of Kijiji math, and would try to bamboozle the public into thinking that they actually have a policy.

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate that question.

I am very proud of the work done by our finance critic. I absolutely agree with the finance critic that we need a real job creation plan that gives real tax breaks to businesses when they create jobs.

The focus there is on “when”. This, like other half-thought-out ideas, uses Kijiji math. I looked at the math and I read some of the stuff economists have put out. The math the Liberals are using is so way out there that I can only call it Kijiji math.

This kind of Kijiji math and this kind of a hope and a prayer that is in this proposal as well is not a job creation plan. This is another way of pretending to do something without actually taking real action, which is to offer real tax breaks when jobs are created.