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  • 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

Veterans Affairs February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of Conservative talk about safety, but not a single cent of new resources for the police.

A year ago, the NDP proposed a common sense Surrey accord that would put more police on our streets. A year later, violent crime in my community is up and the only response from Conservatives has been more cuts to the RCMP.

When will the Conservatives keep their promise to put more police on Surrey streets?

Employment January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, youth unemployment is at 14%, and Conservatives are making it worse. The minister was warned 18 months ago that the temporary foreign worker program was making it harder for young people to find jobs. He was warned that the industries that are the top employers of young workers were filling those jobs with temporary foreign workers. He did nothing until CBC shone the light.

The minister sat on this information for over a year, while our young people were denied jobs. Why?

Business of Supply January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am sitting here a bit incredulous, because between the years 2000 and 2006, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin only found time to meet with the first ministers twice.

I absolutely agree that we need to have a Prime Minister who has meetings with the first ministers. However, looking at the track record of the party at this end, I am really hit by the fact that they only met twice in six years, and at a time when people are losing more and more jobs and the Conservatives are missing in action when it comes to a real job action plan, what we have here is one proposal from the Liberals, which is to have an annual meeting.

Is this the best the Liberals can do?

Employment January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives deny reality and delay, the New Democrats propose solutions to help families. The Conservatives like to pat themselves on the back, while Canadians lose their jobs. Target's closure alone will put nearly 18,000 people out of work, affecting families in every community across this country, and many will not qualify for benefits under an EI program that has been cut by both the Liberals and the Conservatives.

Where is the Conservative plan to create and protect Canadian jobs?

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hard-working colleague for the work he does back in his riding. I would bet that other MPs from coast to coast were hearing the same kind of concerns and questions back in their ridings that I heard in my riding.

I am really glad that my colleague asked me this question because it reminds me of something from the previous two weeks. Through an ATIP request, I had a response from the government. The response was that the government knew exactly that what jobs that youth usually access were being filled by temporary foreign workers, yet we had the minister in the House acting really surprised when the CBC shone the light on the McDonald's in Victoria.

I think we have to take a look at the kind of policies we have had with the expansion of the temporary foreign worker program and, of course, the decimation of our training and apprenticeship programs. We need to start looking at growing decent-paying jobs right here in Canada. We need to diversify our economies. We have to start looking at investments in clean energy. We have prime examples around the world right now showing that these lead to more and better-paying jobs than we have right now. That is why we need this fiscal update, and in that fiscal update the current government needs to come to us with a plan.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am always in awe when colleagues from that end of the House stand, because they always go into denial about the reality of what it was like for Canadians when they were in government. They forget about all the scandals and all the insider stuff that happened while they were in government. They forget the fact that they stole billions and billions of dollars from the EI Fund. They forget the fact that they are the ones who started the cuts to all the social services.

I will finish on a positive note. When we look at the data and actually examine it, we see that the unemployment rate has been much lower under NDP governments than Liberal ones, which have always had the highest unemployment, or under Conservative governments. So let us talk about reality.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to this opposition day motion today because after spending more than a month away from this place, almost exclusively in my beautiful riding of Newton—North Delta, I heard a pattern of comments from my constituents. They are very worried about the harmful effects of the Conservative government's economic mismanagement.

Our economy is damaged. Middle-class families are working harder than ever, yet falling further behind. The people of Surrey want to know where the police are that the government promised our community in 2006. They want to know why they have so much difficulty bringing siblings and parents into Canada to say goodbye to dying relatives and to attend their funerals.

People want to know why the government made cuts to literacy programs when half of the adult Canadian population right now does not have sufficient literacy skills to read the prescription on a bottle of pills. They want to know why community groups fear closure and loss of services for the most vulnerable, when the government does not bother to inform them whether their skills link funding will be renewed.

People want to know why it will be five years before they can get a hearing on their appeal before the social security tribunal. They want to know why the government has not yet fixed the temporary foreign worker program. They want to know why the government is doing nothing to make day care more affordable for families.

People want to know why the Conservative government is pushing an income-splitting scheme that would give billions to the wealthy few and absolutely nothing to more than 85% of Canadian families. Honestly, I would love to know, too.

I love representing Surrey and North Delta here in Parliament. Right now, I am hurting for my constituents.

By the way, I forgot to say that I will be splitting my time with the member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

Too many constituents in my riding are struggling to make ends meet. Income inequality in our country is spiralling out of control. The incomes of the top 1% have been surging for decades. It is embarrassing. The typical Canadian family has seen their income fall over the last 35 years. How is that fair?

High levels of income inequality and slow growth have hurt communities like Surrey-Newton and North Delta, preventing millions of Canadians from achieving their full potential. It is no surprise, sadly, that when the data is examined, 94% of the increase in inequality over the last 35 years occurred under federal Liberal governments.

The Conservative government and the Liberal governments that preceded it have taken our country in the wrong direction. Billions of dollars of cuts to social programs by Liberal and Conservative governments have made things worse by reducing services to all Canadians.

The NDP motion today calls on the Conservative government to release an economic update. Canadian taxpayers deserve an honest account of how the drop in the price of oil has impacted the state of this country's finances.

Budgets are about making choices, and the Conservative government has chosen to make cuts at every turn, cuts to programs and services that Canadians rely on. The government has also gutted Canada's fiscal capacity to help families in need through tough times. Meanwhile, it is worth noting the government is proceeding with reckless handouts to the wealthiest Canadians.

The NDP wants an economy that is fair to the middle class. We want a budget that focuses on diversifying the Canadian economy, rather than putting all our eggs in one basket. We find it wasteful to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on government advertising to advance a political party's interest. Indeed, just last week I submitted a letter to Advertising Standards Canada, asking them to investigate the government's apprenticeship ads.

We find it wasteful to spend tens of millions a year on an unelected, unaccountable, and under investigation Senate. We find it wasteful to give away billions in subsidies to oil companies and handouts to the most profitable corporations.

The former parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, said recently that “In the last 10 years, we have virtually made no progress on all our big issues, long-term economic challenges. We have not closed innovation gaps in our country, dealt with an aging demographic that will put pressure on health care, nor dealt with environmental sustainability. We have not even had the discussions or proposals from this government.”

While my New Democrat colleagues and I continue to roll out concrete proposals to support working and middle-class Canadians, the Liberals are continuing to cower with no ideas to propose other than their same old feeling of entitlement to power. New Democrats have a plan for the middle class, including a $15 minimum wage and child care that costs no parent more than $15 a day. We are ready to make the economy work for average hard-working Canadians, not just the rich few. We have a practical plan that would repair the damage the current government has done to our social programs, our environment, and our economy.

I came to this country in my early twenties with very little. I started to teach immediately and have not stopped working yet, many years later. I know what it is to work hard, and I know the anxiety and stress that surround job losses, and serious illnesses and precarious employment within families. Under the current Conservative government and previous Liberal governments, too many families have lived through this kind of stress.

Not only do I have the immense privilege of representing people of Newton—North Delta, but I am also very proud to act as an opposition critic for employment and social development. In this capacity, I see first hand, on an almost hourly basis, the impact of the current government's fiscal mismanagement on Canadians all over the country. The Conservative government has both driven down wages and reduced support for unemployed Canadians through its cuts to EI, a fund that most Canadians pay into and which only about four in ten people can now access. The current government has expanded the temporary foreign worker program, even though youth unemployment is at an all-time high, and it has failed to fix it. As well, the Conservatives have totally ignored the importance of keeping current labour market information. They have introduced a “job creator tax cut” that would only create 800 jobs at a cost of half a billion dollars. I need help to wrap my head around that one.

In real terms, the average minimum wage in Canada has increased by just 1% over the last 40 years. Do the Conservatives honestly believe that someone who works 40 hours a week should be left living below the poverty line? Without action to boost minimum wages for workers in federal jurisdictions, that is essentially what the Conservatives are telling us.

What do we tell our youth about this government? What do I tell young graduates who cannot get a job? What do I tell someone whose job application was not even considered because it was cheaper for the employer to use the government's temporary foreign worker program? I would like to be able to tell them something.

I would like the Conservatives to vote in favour of our opposition day motion and immediately present an economic and fiscal update to Parliament that outlines the state of this nation's finances in light of the unstable economic situation, including job losses, falling oil prices, and declining government revenues. Further, we are asking the current government to prepare a budget that would address the economic challenges faced by the middle class, by creating more good-quality, full-time jobs, and by encouraging economic diversification.

Despite poor economic forecasts by others, the Conservatives continue to claim they will achieve a balanced budget. We are asking for a fiscal update. We want to ensure that their agenda does not get achieved on the backs of hard-working Canadians. Clearly, the Conservatives government is conflicted, because even ministers cannot agree among themselves on to how face the challenges. The mixed messaging only continued as the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Employment and Social Development explicitly put forward two different agendas.

I would like to finish with a very brief quote from Kevin Page, who said that “When you're spending somebody else's money, you need to show them the plan. When you're spending someone else's money, that plan needs to be scrutinized, and that's okay. That's just good fiscal management.”

Give us the plan.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to Service Canada: (a) who is responsible for handling Employment Insurance (EI) callbacks; (b) what is the service standard for EI callbacks; (c) for the last five fiscal years, what was the service standard achieved for EI call backs; (d) for the last two fiscal years, what was the service standard achieved for EI callbacks broken down by month; (e) for the last five fiscal years, what was the average number of days for an EI callback; (f) who is responsible for handling Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) callbacks; (g) what is the service standard for CPP and OAS callbacks; (h) for the last five fiscal years, what was the service standard achieved for CPP and OAS callbacks; (i) for the last two fiscal years, what was the service standard achieved for CPP and OAS callbacks, broken down by month; (j) for the last five fiscal years, what was the average number of days for a CPP and OAS callback; (k) who made the decision to change the service standard for EI call centres from 180 seconds to ten minutes; (l) who was consulted in making the decision to change the service standard for EI call centres from 180 seconds to ten minutes; (m) who made the decision to change the service standard for CPP and OAS call centres from 180 seconds to ten minutes; and (n) who was consulted in making the decision to change the service standard for CPP and OAS call centres from 180 seconds to ten minutes?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to the Social Security Tribunal: (a) how many appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Income Security Section (ISS), in total and broken down by (i) Canada Pension Plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, (iii) Old Age Security; (b) how many appeals have been heard by the ISS, in total and broken down by (i) year, (ii) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (iii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iv) Old Age Security; (c) how many appeals heard by the ISS were allowed, in total and broken down by (i) year, (ii) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (iii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iv) Old Age Security; (d) how many appeals heard by the ISS were dismissed, in total and broken down by (i) year, (ii) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (iii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iv) Old Age Security; (e) how many appeals to the ISS were summarily dismissed, in total and broken down by (i) year, (ii) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (iii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iv) Old Age Security; (f) how many appeals at the ISS have been heard in person, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (ii) appeals dismissed; (g) how many appeals at the ISS have been heard by teleconference, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (h) how many appeals at the ISS have been heard by videoconference, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (i) how many appeals at the ISS have been heard in writing, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (j) how many ISS members assigned Canada Pension Plan Disability benefit cases have (i) a degree from a recognized post-secondary institution, (ii) a provincial or territorial licence in medicine, (iii) a provincial or territorial licence in nursing, (iv) a provincial or territorial licence in occupational therapy, (v) a provincial or territorial licence in pharmacy, (vi) a provincial or territorial licence in physiotherapy, (vii) a provincial or territorial licence in psychology, (viii) experience working on issues affecting seniors or people with disabilities; (k) how many members hired in the Employment Insurance Section (EIS) but currently assigned to the ISS have been assigned Canada Pension Plan Disability benefit cases, and of those members, how many have (i) a degree from a recognized post-secondary institution, (ii) a provincial or territorial licence in medicine, (iii) a provincial or territorial licence in nursing, (iv) a provincial or territorial licence in occupational therapy, (v) a provincial or territorial licence in pharmacy, (vi) a provincial or territorial licence in physiotherapy, (vii) a provincial or territorial licence in psychology, (viii) experience working on issues affecting seniors or people with disabilities; (l) how many income security appeals are currently waiting to be heard by the Appeal Division (AD), in total and broken down by (i) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (ii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iii) Old Age Security; (m) how many income security appeals have been heard by the AD, in total and broken down by (i) year, (ii) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (iii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iv) Old Age Security; (n) how many income security appeals heard by the AD were allowed, in total and broken down by (i) year, (ii) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (iii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iv) Old Age Security; (o) how many income security appeals heard by the AD were dismissed, in total and broken down by (i) year, (ii) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (iii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iv) Old Age Security; (p) how many income security appeals to the AD were summarily dismissed, in total and broken down by (i) year, (ii) Canada Pension plan retirement pensions and survivors benefits, (iii) Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, (iv) Old Age Security; (q) how many income security appeals at the AD have been heard in person, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (r) how many income security appeals at the AD have been heard in by videoconference, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (s) how many income security appeals at the AD have been heard by teleconference, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (t) how many income security appeals at the AD have been heard in writing, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (u) how many appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the Employment Insurance Section (EIS); (v) how many appeals have been heard by the EIS, in total and broken down by year; (w) how many appeals heard by the EIS were allowed, in total and broken down by year; (x) how many appeals heard by the EIS were dismissed, in total and broken down by year; (y) how many appeals to the EIS were summarily dismissed, in total and broken down by year; (z) how many appeals at the EIS have been heard in person, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (aa) how many appeals at the EIS have been heard by videoconference, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (bb) how many appeals at the EIS have been heard by teleconference, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (cc) how many appeals at the EIS have been heard in writing, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (dd) how many EI appeals are currently waiting to be heard by the AD; (ee) how many EI appeals have been heard by the AD, in total and broken down by year; (ff) how many EI appeals heard by the AD were allowed, in total and broken down by year; (gg) how many EI appeals heard by the AD were dismissed, in total and broken down by year; (hh) how many EI appeals to the AD were summarily dismissed, in total and broken down by year; (ii) how many EI appeals at the AD have been heard in person, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (jj) how many EI appeals at the AD have been heard by videoconference, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (kk) how many EI appeals at the AD have been heard by teleconference, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (ll) how many EI appeals at the AD have been heard in writing, broken down by (i) year, (ii) appeals allowed, (iii) appeals dismissed; (mm) how many legacy appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the ISS; (nn) how many legacy appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the EIS; (oo) how many legacy income security appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the AD; (pp) how many legacy Employment Insurance appeals are currently waiting to be heard at the AD; (qq) how many requests has the Tribunal received for an expedited hearing due to terminal illness, broken down by (i) year, (ii) requests granted, (iii) requests not granted; (rr) how many requests has the Tribunal received for an expedited hearing due to financial hardship, broken down by (i) year, (ii) section, (iii) requests granted, (iv) requests not granted; (ss) how many AD members are (i) English speakers, (ii) French speakers, (iii) bilingual; (tt) how many ISS members are (i) English speakers, (ii) French speakers, (iii) bilingual; (uu) how many EIS members are (i) English speakers, (ii) French speakers, (iii) bilingual; (vv) when will performance standards for the Tribunal be put in place; (ww) when is the consultants’ report on productivity due to be completed and will the report be made public; (xx) when did the Tribunal begin assigning cases to members in 2013, broken down by (i) ISS, (ii) EIS, (iii) AD; (yy) at what point in 2013 did all existing members have case files assigned to them, broken down by (i) ISS, (ii) EIS, (iii) AD; (zz) what was the rationale for not maintaining the old Boards of Referees, EI Umpires, Review Tribunals, and Pensions Appeal Board until their existing caseloads were completely finished; and (aaa) what was the rationale for imposing a cap on the number of Tribunal members at the time of the Tribunal’s creation?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program: (a) when will Employment and Social Development Canada begin publicly reporting data on the number of temporary foreign workers approved and the names of employers receiving positive Labour Market Impact Assessments; (b) for which National Occupation Codes are employers no longer allowed to seek temporary foreign workers in regions with unemployment rates of more than 6%; (c) how many provinces and territories, and which ones, have negotiated new annex agreements regarding Labour Market Impact Assessment exemptions with the federal government; (d) how many information-sharing deals have been signed with provinces and territories regarding the temporary foreign worker program, and which provinces and territories are they; (e) how many information-sharing agreements between federal government departments have been revised since June 2014; (f) when will the new Statistics Canada surveys on Job Vacancies and National Wages be implemented; (g) when will the new Job Matching service be implemented, and how will it work; (h) what is the target date for offering the option of applying for jobs online directly through the Job Bank; (i) what specific safeguards will be in place to protect the privacy of applicants, if program officers are able to see the number of applicants and the relevance of their skills; (j) has the Privacy Commissioner been consulted on the inclusion of this data in the operation of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program; (k) how many investigators are assigned to follow up on tips from the government’s confidential tip line and the online tip portal; (l) what is the budget for the confidential tip line and the online tip portal; (m) how many tips have been received on the confidential tip line since April, broken down by month; (n) how many tips have been received through the online tip portal since its creation, broken down by month; (o) how many investigations have been conducted as a result of tips received; (p) how many employers using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have been subject to an inspection in 2013-2014, broken down by (i) month, (ii) province; (q) how many inspections conducted in 2013-2014 have involved an on-site visit; (r) when is the new regulatory framework for penalties for non-compliance expected to be in place; (s) how many comments were received on the government’s Discussion Paper on the regulatory framework; (t) how many letters of complaint has the Department received about the increase in fees for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program; (u) when is the new privilege fee expected to be introduced; (v) when is the review of Labour Market Impact Assessment-exempt streams expected to be completed, and who will be consulted as part of that process; (w) how many errors on the government’s list of employers with temporary foreign workers were determined to have been the result of employers giving the government the wrong information, and how many employers will face sanctions as a result; and (x) what action will the Department take in cases where Canadians are laid off after temporary foreign workers are hired?