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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

Public Works and Government Services December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the government's annual cost estimate for replacing Canada's aging CF-18 fighter jets is a shocker. There is another $1 billion price hike for the F-35s that it planned to sole-source as Canada's largest military acquisition ever, with no competition, and still more delays will mean still higher costs.

Will the Conservatives stop this ongoing fiasco and commit to Canadians that they will hold an open and transparent competition to replace these important jets?

Veterans December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, they are not proud of this minister, that is for sure.

Major Mark Campbell, a veteran with 33 years of service, was badly wounded in Afghanistan by an IED while rescuing a fellow soldier. Now he is fighting the Conservatives for a pension.

The government has stated in court that providing this pension would violate fundamental principles of democracy.

Could the minister please tell the House which democratic principles would be violated by providing this brave veteran and double amputee with his pension?

Canada Shipping Act December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-628, introduced by the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.

Bill C-628 would exclude supertankers from the inland waters around Haida Gwaii, an area of significance to our whole province and an area that I know well from having been an environment minister who travelled up and down the coast in boats and small planes and from having been a tree planter and reforestation contractor who worked in these areas.

I have seen first-hand the teeming wildlife and the quality and fragility of the ecosystems in that area. As the House well knows, Canada's quality of life is closely connected with the health of our oceans and our ecosystems. Those ecosystems and that coast are integral not only to our livelihood and way of life but also to Canada's economy. Nowhere is this relationship more important than on British Columbia's north coast.

I join the vast majority of British Columbians, including dozens of first nations communities on the coast and in the interior, who are of the view that transporting oil by pipeline through the proposed route to the head of Douglas Channel and transporting oil by supertankers in turbulent and hazardous waters pose unacceptable risks to the environment, the communities, and the businesses that depend on that environment and to all Canadians who share pride in the common heritage of this very special place.

I am pleased to support the bill, which is modelled after my own bills, both Bill C-437 as well as Bill C-606 from a previous Parliament. I had the privilege of being in the order of precedence in 2011, after having travelled the area a number of years earlier, as the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has described having done.

In 2010, I had the privilege of travelling from the southern tip of Vancouver Island up to Kitimat and to communities from one end to the other on our north coast, consulting with people and hearing their views and the strong support that inspired me to put this bill in the order of precedence. Unfortunately, it died an early death because of the early election call in 2011, just short of the fixed election dates that are in law in our country.

I am happy to see the House have the opportunity to address this bill again. I think I mentioned in my question earlier in this debate that the bill is substantially based on mine and consists essentially of Canada Shipping Act changes. I did not hear that there were any differences from my previous bill in the substantive part of this bill.

Then there are two aspirational sections in the National Energy Board Act, both of which are eminently reasonable. They ask the National Energy Board to ensure that consultations have taken place and to report on them in their consideration of a project. They also set out that the National Energy Board should consider the impact on employment in upgraders and refineries and in the petrochemical industry. Of course the Liberal Party is very supportive of the idea of consultation and is supportive of having local employment from our natural resources, so those are instructions to consider important issues.

I appreciate that the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has built on the work that I and many others before me have done to protect this area. In fact, it was a long-standing policy of Liberal governments from the time of Pierre Elliott Trudeau not to allow tanker traffic in the inside passage between Haida Gwaii and the central and north coast of Canada. That long-standing policy put the environment into the centre of the consideration, and our economy flourished notwithstanding, so it is not essential to risk oil spills in this area in order to have a thriving economy.

In fact, our contention is that the economy of the coast is important as well, and that would be at risk. There is a strongly expressed consensus among the communities of the province of British Columbia, and especially first nations and coastal first nations—like the Haisla, the Haida, the Heiltsuk, the Gitga’at, the Lax Kw'alaams—whose heritage is tied into the ecology of shellfish collection, of salmon, of an abundance of sea products, and simply the ability to be able to continue having some of their traditional practices. It is so important for coastal first nations, and I want to acknowledge them for having been strong voices for many years in support of banning tanker traffic in those inland waters.

The Conservative government has unfortunately undermined a very fundamental principle of our country's and our government's ability to balance the various interests and activities that come before it. What the Conservatives have done is undermine the environmental regulatory framework. What that has accomplished for the current government is to block many of the projects that it aspired to complete, because of the erosion of trust by the public in anything that the Conservatives have to say.

I heard the member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar talk about public trust in the current government. I want to point out that every time a member from the Conservative Party says that a member did not vote for this, that, and the other, the public should remember that the omnibus bills and many of the other bills are designed exactly to put some positive changes into some very political, ideological legislation. We call them poison-pill changes; they make it impossible for opposition members to support them, just for the very purpose of the Conservative members being able to later say that they did not vote for this, that, and the other. That is actually code for the Conservatives undermining our democracy with the way they put forward legislation, especially these omnibus bills. I want any members of the public reading this to recognize that code the next time they hear it, because they will hear it every day in the House, used as a tool, which undermines the public's trust in the Conservatives because of their anti-democratic processes.

Turning back to the bill, I want to note that B.C.'s north coast is the home to the Great Bear rainforest and some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, which include 27 species of marine mammals, 120 species of coastal birds, and 2,500 individual salmon runs. This also is an area of the coast of British Columbia that is home to 55,000 coastal jobs, and many of these jobs would be at risk should there be an oil spill. Oil spills happen, whether due to technological or human failure. We know that they happen. Should that happen, our coast would never be the same.

Regarding this particular pipeline project that this bill is addressing, which is the pipeline to Kitimat, rather than having learned the lesson of their failures of consultation and their failures in undermining the regulatory process, the Conservatives have compounded them since then by making changes to the National Energy Board to further limit consultation, further squeeze the time that people are being given to have comment, and further de-legitimize any of the projects in British Columbia that the National Energy Board is contemplating. That will then live on in public mistrust of other projects that the Conservative government is trying to put forward.

My hope, in closing, is that the Conservative Party members of Parliament from British Columbia will join us to vote for this bill because their constituents want them to do that. Their constituents are solidly behind this kind of protection of the area around Haida Gwaii from the potential for oil spill, and the Conservatives' constituents in British Columbia are for proper environmental regulation, for communities granting permission for these major invasive projects before they push them through with the National Energy Board.

I invite the Conservative members to consider that and join us in supporting this bill so it will pass. I would like to congratulate the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his initiative in putting this forward.

Canada Shipping Act December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley knows, I support the bill that he has brought forward. It is an important one for British Columbians, and it is an important bill respecting the kind of voices that have been heard over the years to protect the coast.

The bill has a substantive part, which is the amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, and then two aspirational ideas that are incorporated in changes to the National Energy Board Act. Could the member tell me what, if any, are the differences between his bill on this section of the Canada Shipping Act and the bill that I had on the order paper, Bill C-437, formerly Bill C-606 in a previous Parliament?

Respect for Communities Act December 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie for doing such a fine job explaining all the benefits of our InSite program in Vancouver. She presented evidence showing that the program has saved lives, reduced the spread of disease and saved money. Giving drug addicts access to a safe site results in lower costs to society. They are given help to stay off the streets and to live healthier lives.

The government claims that this bill will allow more sites like the one in Vancouver to open and it talks about a number of commitments. However, the Conservative member who just spoke clearly said that it would be better not to have another site, rather than having a site where illegal drugs are consumed.

In the hon. member's view, which of the two is the real objective of the Conservative government when it comes to Bill C-2?

National Defence December 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, like veterans, serving Canadian Forces members are also being denied adequate help for their mental health needs. The department's top doctors have pleaded for action, but today dozens of positions at military bases such as Shilo and Petawawa are still vacant. An access to information request has revealed this ongoing shortage exists because the Conservatives are simply refusing to pay the going rate. It is unbelievable.

Why are the Conservatives short-changing our injured soldiers and making them wait for urgent mental health support?

Veterans November 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I raised the case of Greg Matters, the 16-year armed forces veteran suffering from PTSD, who was tragically killed in 2012. Greg fought for years for treatment and support, and all he got was a measly $125 a month. He pleaded for psychiatric help in vain. His death could have been avoided.

Yesterday, the parliamentary secretary did not answer my question on this, so I am giving him another opportunity. When will the government finally respect our veterans, fix these problems, and prevent these deaths from happening?

National Defence November 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, veterans seeking service are often in crisis, and yet the average wait time to get service at a mental health clinic, at an OSI clinic, is approximately three months. At many of the DND centres, it is almost three times the promised wait time.

This is caused by the government's failure to staff these services properly, and all the while it is clawing back billions of dollars from the departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs.

How can our serving men and women believe they are a priority for this government after all of the neglect and the deception?

National Defence November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about a decade of delay and deception by the current government. Since 2006, the Conservatives have spent $750 million on partisan advertising. Meanwhile, they have cut the defence budget to the point that we hardly even having a functioning navy, as we heard at the defence committee on Tuesday.

The reality is that a total of $14 billion has been either cut or announced and then clawed back from defence budgets.

Why do the Conservatives believe that hundreds of millions of dollars in partisan advertising is more important than providing brave men and women in uniform with the basic equipment that they require?

Petitions November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition, which is signed by literally hundreds of residents from White Rock, British Columbia.

The petitioners are concerned that, based on a notice from the federal government's Department of Transportation, the city of White Rock has shut down the public's open access to the beaches of Semiahmoo Bay without prior public consultation and notice.

They are concerned that this will increase the likelihood of risky behaviour such that people will try to cross the railway tracks to get to the beach. It will cause a significant drop in property value, a reduction in business patrons for the marine businesses, as well as other hardships.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the government to direct the city of White Rock to stop further installation of planned fences and immediately consult with the local public, find mutually acceptable solutions and then collaborate on sharing costs for the controlled crossings of these tracks.