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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is military.

Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 42.20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Coast Guard October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Coast Guard took more than 20 hours to reach the Russian cargo ship drifting in heavy seas right off the coast of Haida Gwaii. The Haida chief himself noted it was only luck that prevented a disaster, luck of offshore winds and luck of an American tugboat with the right equipment. However, it was close and the next time it could be an oil tanker.

A year ago, a federal panel noted there were major gaps in the government's oil spill response. The minister's excuse today was about new Coast Guard ships in the future, but talk is cheap. After nine years, not a single piece of steel has been cut.

When will the government fill these gaps?

Questions on the Order Paper October 9th, 2014

With regard to government funding, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group in the province of Manitoba, providing for each (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the location of the recipient, indicating the municipality and the federal electoral district, (iii) the date, (iv) the amount, (v) the department or agency providing it, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

Questions on the Order Paper October 9th, 2014

With regard to government funding, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group in the province of Prince Edward Island, providing for each (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the location of the recipient, indicating the municipality and the federal electoral district, (iii) the date, (iv) the amount, (v) the department or agency providing it, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

National Defence October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am dismayed to hear the member saying something that is patently not true. The budget has not gone up year over year since the Conservative government came in. In fact, by 2010, the freeze had started, and in 2011, the cuts began. This budget is slated to shrink by a total of $2.7 billion in 2015 compared with 2011.

The calculations show that this budget is the equivalent of the 2007 budget when inflation is taken into account. As a percentage of GDP, as the World Bank has noted, the government is spending 1% of GDP compared with the Liberals having spent 1.3% of GDP. One per cent is the lowest since the World Bank began recording this in the 1980s.

This has led to a lot of chaos because of the cuts and clawbacks under the current government. It is making our military and Armed Forces vulnerable to not being able to serve future requirements, and the government should at least be open and transparent—

National Defence October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that this is a time of great instability in the world. ISIL's murderous reign of terror in an already chaotic Middle East is only one of the many current global crises. Tumultuous periods such as this are why an essential responsibility of the Canadian government is to ensure that this country has the military capacity to defend its borders, as well as respond to major international crises.

This was well expressed in a 2003 report by the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, which stated:

The Canadian Forces are a vital instrument of national defence and sovereignty and a key implement for the achievement of Canadian national goals at home and abroad. A strong and modern military, designed specifically to meet Canada’s security and foreign policy needs, will serve Canada’s pride and Canada’s interests. It is, therefore, incumbent on Canadian governments to ensure that Canada’s military forces are well-funded, equipped to the highest standards, and recruited and trained to fight alongside the best, against the best.

The Conservative government has failed in its duty to do this, and failed in its duty to properly equip Canada's military.

Regarding Iraq, as I mentioned in my question, which we are debating tonight, the Liberals proposed a range of non-combat military and humanitarian contributions that Canada could make. We opposed the government's plan to enter a combat air strike mission in Iraq, as the mission and its goals were unclear. The Prime Minister had failed to make the case for taking CF-18s to Iraq and taking Canada into war.

While I have every confidence that our competent and experienced Canadian Armed Forces members will ensure the safety and effectiveness of the equipment used in this mission, the reality is that Canada's CF-18s are coming to the end of their life expectancy. Currently, we have 77 operational CF-18s, all of which date from the 1980s. There were two rounds of upgrade programs between 2001 and 2010, yet another extension is now being planned as the government has neglected to secure replacements for this fleet.

The urgent need to replace Canada's CF-18s was signalled even before Canada's military operation in Libya. In 2008, six years ago, Major Ed Roberds published an article in the Canadian Military Journal, entitled “Stretching the Thin Blue Line: Over-Tasking the CF-18 Hornet”. In the article, he noted:

The upgrading of our CF-18s will allow them to operate with other air forces in joint operations. Unfortunately, this upgrade does not fully address the airframe fatigue that is occurring on an aircraft initially intended for retirement in 2002.... ...As the airframe gets older, more repairs are required, and our operational tempo requires a substantial increase in spare parts that must be transported to theatre when the aircraft are deployed. While we are spending a lot of money on a single layer of air defence, we may not have enough fighter resources to achieve the overall defence objectives that the current policy...have established.

Auditor General Ferguson's 2012 report exposed the Prime Minister for having hidden the real cost estimates for the F-35 fighter jets to replace the CF-18s. This is now on hold. We have no idea what the government is planning, and Canada's aerospace industry is paying the price. Moreover, the government cut another $3.1 billion from military procurement in the last federal budget. Its cuts have resulted in a 20% reduction in funds available for spare parts and the maintenance of Canadian Forces equipment.

Sadly, Canada's military capacity is vulnerable. As proud of our troops as we are, the Conservative government's mismanagement of military investment and procurement is creating deep concerns.

National Defence October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, two years ago, the Canadian Forces Ombudsman reported that:

...[a] chronic personnel deficit has strained the mental health system and is at the root of its most pressing challenges.

Then, last June, the defence committee learned that the Canadian Forces still have a shortage of mental health professionals for our troops.

In light of a new combat deployment of Canadian troops, what steps is the government taking to address the existing shortage of mental health practitioners?

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I was sad, but not surprised, to hear the Minister of Justice continue to promote the false dichotomy that Canada either assumes a combat role of aerial bombing or it is characterized as accepting and tolerating ISIL, standing idly by, complacency, and all of these words that are being used to divide Canadians on this issue.

In fact, Liberals are very clear that we believe Canada can best contribute to other kinds of military roles, non-combat military roles, as well as humanitarian roles. I proposed a training role.

My question is this: Does the minister believe that in the four years when 1,000 Canadian trainers had a non-combat role in Afghanistan, the government was standing idly by and was in a place of complacency and acceptance and tolerance of the Taliban?

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I share the view of my colleague from Winnipeg North that there are many of our colleagues would like to speak on this important debate who did not have the chance to go on the trip to Iraq. They have important views to share.

I would ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to reverse this closure.

I would also like to point out that this really fits into the way he has been positioning this whole issue, which is either that we are for a combat air strike air bombing role or we are free riders. I find it very counterproductive for respected parliamentarians to be making this a divisive issue. In fact, most of our allies have not done that. They have brought their colleagues from all parties in. They have sought to get a consensus on the matter. Very few have gone forward with a combat role. Other countries, like Germany and Italy, which the minister incorrectly claimed were supporting the combat role in the media a few days ago, are not part of a combat role.

In the debate, the minister's very respected colleague from Edmonton Centre said that there are all kinds of important roles for coalition countries to play. Some are combat roles. Some are not. Each of them is an important contribution—

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the hon. member across the way, his detailed laying out the case for the dangers from ISIL and his view that a combat role is an appropriate way forward for Canada. What I want to explore in my question is whether he views that as being the only honourable way forward?

The Minister of Foreign Affairs claims that anyone who is not accepting or supporting a combat role is sitting back and letting others do the heavy lifting, or is a free rider. It is very much a positioning of either people are for air strikes or they are losers. Germany, Italy and dozens of our allies are not accepting a combat role.

The member for Edmonton Centre was very thoughtful in saying that this coalition of 60 states had the vast majority of members who were doing constructive military, non-military contributions, all of which were valid.

Which does my colleague believe? Is it either/or, it has to be air strikes or one is a loser, as the foreign affairs minister claims, or does he subscribe to the idea that there are many contributions—

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told the press that Canada's position on the Syrian government of a few years ago was different from that of the United States and the western nations. He said that he was not opposed to the Syrian government or in favour of the opposition, but that is false and the opposite is true.

During the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg, the Prime Minister clearly said that a military strike against the Syrian government was necessary. On September 7, he urged the international community to launch military action against the Syrian government.

Does the minister believe that this dishonesty will weaken Canadians' confidence concerning the combat mission that his government initiated yesterday?