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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is way.

NDP MP for Newton—North Delta (B.C.)

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

Statements in the House

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, sometimes I think my colleague across the way protesteth a little too much. What we are talking about here is not the Prime Minister's ability to have friends or that he should not have friends, nor are we questioning his ability to travel with his family on the Challenger jet. What is being debated here today is use of those resources for partisan affairs and for friends of the Prime Minister to be travelling on a government plane. Two hundred and sixty dollars during the peak period just does not cut it. No one believes it.

Whether it is more or less, can my colleague justify that the Prime Minister can use the jet for business other than government business and for business other than transporting his family for security reasons?

Employment and Social Development April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, New Democratic Party MPs want the program fixed and they want it used properly, while the Conservatives are making up data and using it to go after workers' wages. Canadian workers deserve a government that is on their side; so projects like B.C.'s natural gas development means a generation of quality, decent-paying jobs for British Columbians. Why are Conservatives making it easier to bring in even more temporary foreign workers when there are plenty of Canadians who could do the job?

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my response is very short and very clear. He was not doing government business and was not on government business. He is a private moneybagger who collects money and raises funds. I do not care if he is the twin brother of the Prime Minister, in this case, or the closest friend he has had since the day he was born. The point is that this is a taxpayer-funded jet, so it has to be business only.

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am always in control. Just to let you know, the request was made of me, and I am asking my colleague across way if he could table those documents to which he has alluded.

However, what I want to say is that we, all of us, have friends. All of us have friends who are very dear to us. Suddenly, however, I am hearing today that this friend is also kind of a nanny and looks after the kids as well.

Guess what: that still does not justify it in this case, because that is not why he was travelling with the Prime Minister. It was not government business. It had nothing to do with endangering the Prime Minister's security or his family's security.

This is abuse.

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have not accessed them. However, if the member could request them and table them, it will save me having to do some digging and research.

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have not accessed them.

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do not have access to all the manifests, but I would be really delighted—

Business of Supply April 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca for a truly thoughtful presentation on this whole issue. It was well balanced, taking security into account, and the family life of our Prime Minister, who has a very demanding job.

We reiterate that the motion we are here to debate today has nothing to do with that. If we look at the wording of the motion, it reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, government planes, and in particular the plane used by the Prime Minister, should only be used for government purposes and should not be used to transport anyone other than those associated with such purposes or those required for the safety and security of the Prime Minister and his family.

As my colleague mentioned, we have already taken that into consideration. The motion does not go as far as many of the cabinet ministers sitting on the front bench would have gone if there had been a different government in power.

We have all read quotes, and during the day members have heard innumerable of them, which questioned why the Prime Minister could not get on a regular plane like other Canadians. We do have business class at the front, and those accommodations can be made.

There are countries where prime ministers actually do that, and our cabinet ministers get on the plane all the time. However, this motion is not about getting the Prime Minister off of the Challenger and on to a commercial flight. The world has changed since 9/11, and we are far more conscious of security. That is why I am proud to be standing up and speaking to a motion that takes that into consideration.

However, it behooves us, then, that when there is a government plane to be used for government business and also to transport the Prime Minister and his family for security reasons, that this is what the plane is used for. If the Prime Minister wants his bagmen, whose job it is to travel around the country to make money for the Conservative Party, it does not matter whether they are enjoying a holiday with the Prime Minister; they can join him when he gets to the other side. That is not the purpose of the Challenger and its availability to the Prime Minister. Canadians are paying attention because of that.

Last week, I heard rhetoric that the fundraiser had paid back the fare at commercial value. He paid back two hundred and something dollars for a trip that he took over the Christmas period. I would like to know who could find a commercial flight across this country for just over $200 during a peak period. For those of us who have to shop around for cheap flights, we know that is not possible.

I noted with interest that the Prime Minister was very vocal, almost vitriolic, in his criticisms of the Liberal Party. By the way, I would say that he was justified because there were all kinds of abuses. None of us who are working people in Canada, and taxpayers, can stand for that kind of largesse that gives an individual a sense of entitlement just because constituents have enough faith to make them a member of Parliament. It is that kind of largesse that is concerning Canadians now. The very Prime Minister, who used to be very vocal against that kind of largesse by my colleagues in the far corner, is now finding himself caught in the same thing.

I notice that the rules were changed once the Prime Minister came to office. Now, since the Prime Minister has been leading the government, whoever travels with him only has to repay the amount, and does so at economy rates.

That seems a little strange. I would say that we need to take a look at that. I am sure that travelling on the Challenger is anything but economy class, never mind all the convenience and everything else.

Here is a quote from the Prime Minister on April 25, 2005, taken from the Prince George Citizen:

What Mr. Martin wants now is to have a 10-month election (campaign) where he can fly around the country on a government jet at taxpayers' expense, and he can throw enough money all over the country to cover up the stench of corruption.

What has changed? That is the question taxpayers are asking today. I am sure a lot of the people who voted for the government in power right now will be asking themselves the same question. What has changed? We went from one party of entitlement to a party that smacked that party over and over again for its entitlement, and now that it is in government, it feels it is entitled to those same entitlements.

I have heard my colleagues across the way make these obtuse arguments about fliers, like the ten percenters that went into a riding. That, by the way, was cleared by Elections Canada, which said that all the rules were followed because they went out long before the election was called.

By the way, let me remind my colleagues across the way that it is not the opposition that determines the date of the by-election and can therefore start counting backwards; that date is determined by the government. Those ten percenters and those communications went out well ahead of the election announcement by the government side.

What we have right now, and what has brought us to debating this issue, is a fundraiser, a guy who has raised over $3.5 million—and I am sure it was much more than that, but that is the number that is out there—who gets to travel on the Challenger to go to another place where he is speaking, not on government business, and he gets to buy a ticket for just over $200.

There are times when I want to travel with my friends on a plane. I cannot always do that when I am coming here on MP business as a parliamentarian. Sometimes I have to travel on a different plane, and sometimes it is in a different part of the plane. That is right.

Just because someone is friends with the Prime Minister does not entitle them to use a government asset to make partisan gains for a political party. That is what this debate is about today. I cannot wait to hear a substantive argument from my colleagues across the way that could justify such gargantuan largesse and such a sense of entitlement.

Let me repeat, because sometimes it is hard for my colleagues to pay attention, that the safety and security of the Prime Minister and his family are taken into consideration right in this motion. This motion is not about the Prime Minister travelling on the Challenger; this motion is about non-government business people, such as fundraisers, travelling on that plane.

The Prime Minister goes to all kinds of events. As an elected leader, that is his right. He gets invited and he goes. What is not the Prime Minister's right is to put his fundraiser on a government plane. I am open to being persuaded, but I do not think anybody could ever persuade me that having a fundraiser on a plane is government business.

Petitions March 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of my constituents in Newton—North Delta to present the following petition in protest of the Conservative government's decision to end door-to-door mail service for Canadians, increase postal rates, and close post offices across the country. The petitioners are calling on the government to reverse these job-killing changes and protect a public service that hundreds of thousands of Canadians depend on.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened with riveted attention as my colleague spoke on this issue. Let me say at the outset that I do support free trade agreements that benefit both countries and that are based on the principle of fair trade where both countries benefit.

However, I am also reminded that, historically, we have used trade sanctions, South Africa being a prime example. When apartheid was in practice, we used trade sanctions to bring about fundamental change in South Africa. We have used trade sanctions with other countries as well when we have wanted to have an impact upon the human rights practices and policies of those countries.

Is my colleague saying that trade sanctions should never be used as a tool when we are unhappy with the actions of any country?