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Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra (B.C.)
Won her last election, in 2011, with 42.20% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Business of Supply January 29th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the leader of the Green Party.
Absolutely, we need to make progress on an energy strategy. We can only do that with the kind of collaboration we are talking about in our federation. That is exactly what happens when a prime minister sits down with premiers from all of the provinces and territories.
There are the meetings themselves, but there is also conversation in the hallways, over coffee, and over lunch. The premiers chat together. They find out who is in support and who needs to have more information. They work together to have a solid front, as they achieved on issues like Kelowna and our national child care plan. That is absolutely the only way to go with an issue as complex as the one the member has just raised.
Business of Supply January 29th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville is an excellent example of the kind of collaborative work that does address key issues.
I will give one more example, which is with respect to the Clarity Act. The Clarity Act addressed a very difficult challenge across this country. The very unity of our country was a conundrum after a referendum that came within less than a percentage of breaking Canada up, but our colleague from Saint-Laurent—Cartierville was able to consult across the country with premiers and the prime minister of the day and ensure there was support for this concept. The Supreme Court approved the concept, and we now have a very different situation in our country with respect to unity, thanks to the Clarity Act.
Business of Supply January 29th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that I have a few more minutes to participate in this important debate on the first ministers' conference.
I have talked about how those kinds of conferences were essential from a provincial minister's perspective in bringing forward key initiatives to address some of the big challenges, and how in the past they were unfortunately frustrated by a Conservative government that wiped out the Kelowna accord and Canada's national child care plan and essentially neglected the 10-year health accord and other important national initiatives in our federation, such as the national housing strategy of 2005 and the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville's Project Green, which was also the product of much consultation with premiers across the country and included work done on a provincial level by ministers and their staff, who all participated in, supported, and created a national approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
This has been an abject failure on the part of the current government. It ties into the current Prime Minister's hubris and refusal to meet with the other premiers from across the country.
In my final minute or so, I would like to touch on some of the key challenges we have that absolutely demand the kind of collaboration that comes out of these meetings with premiers. Premiers can undertake to champion certain issues and can work with the federal government and the Prime Minister to bring colleagues from across the country on board so that we can have a national approach to these national issues.
One is the health and independence of seniors, including support for caregivers. With the changing demographics in Canada, this is a huge concern for Canadians. In its polling, the Canadian Medical Association identified this as a current key issue right across Canada and one that will become more pressing in the years ahead.
We cannot say in good conscience that we are addressing the concerns of Canadians adequately if we fail to come together to collaborate on a new strategy and method of ensuring that the health, independence, and caregiving of seniors can be better supported in the years to come. That is the kind of thing the Prime Minister should be talking about with premiers in an annual meeting. That is just one.
Of course, there is also dealing with the environment and climate change, but that requires leadership—not dictatorship and not autocracy, but actual leadership. That is what we are asking from the Prime Minister. That is what the Liberal Party leader is promising to provide to Canadians should he have the opportunity to do that in the future.
National Defence January 29th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, today at committee the ministers of defence and foreign affairs did a spectacular job of not providing answers or new information to Canadians, who deserve it. They still will not provide a mission cost estimate, as our allied countries have done and as Canada has done in the past.
However, I would like to ask about a next step and would like a real answer for a change. When the Iraqi forces begin to push in earnest to recapture ISIL territory will Canadian Forces continue to accompany them to the front lines in that advance?
Business of Supply January 29th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to also join the debate on the opposition motion, which states:
That, in the opinion of the House, the Prime Minister of Canada should hold annual First Ministers' Conferences.
Most Canadians would think that happens, or at least there are meetings with premiers of the provinces and territories, because it makes so much sense, as the member for Vancouver Centre so eloquently pointed out. However, that has not happened.
When the member for Oak Ridges—Markham spoke earlier in the debate, he commented that if people had been in a provincial government during the time of the previous Liberal government, they would have been very critical of it. I have news for the member for Oak Ridges—Markham. I was in a provincial government. I was in the B.C. government from 2001 until 2005, under a previous Liberal government. I was at the front lines around the cabinet table when our premier would come back from these first ministers conferences. He would talk about what had been sparked, where there was a growing consensus on a big issue that Canadians across the country faced, and what he personally would like to do about it. We were all engaged in how we could help move these issues forward, hand-in-hand with the provinces and territories and our federal government.
I would like to point out for the members of the Conservative Party that Canada is a federation, which means that it is a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central or federal government. We are not a monarchy. We are not a republic nor a dictatorship. We are a federation, and that means we need to work together to advance the big public policy issues where there is a common interest across the country. They may not always be exactly the same interests, but they are common interests.
As my colleague mentioned, a number of those initiatives came out of these meetings of the first ministers with the prime minister, and that was while I was in the provincial government. I saw first hand how the 10-year national health accord started to bloom as an idea through those premiers and the prime minister working together. What came out of that, for the first time, was a consensus and a way forward on how to join forces, reduce duplication, reduce overlapping initiatives, learn from each other and begin to tackle the huge challenges that people faced across the country with wait times for surgeries and other matters that cost them their good health. That came from a meeting of first ministers and the prime minister.
There was the Kelowna accord. Today, our indigenous peoples are suffering. They do not experience the kind of forward movement that would have happened had the current government not scrapped the Kelowna accord. The accord, once again, was from the premiers meeting with the prime minister. The premier of British Columbia, in particular, decided that this would be a real priority for the Province of British Columbia, so he joined in a leadership role with the prime minister of the day, Paul Martin. He decided to help advance it by working with premiers from across the country, enrolling and eliciting their support for the concept. In the end, we had an agreement among all of the provinces and territories and, most important, with the representatives for all indigenous peoples across Canada.
What do we have today? Our indigenous peoples feel they need to rise up across the country, with demonstrations like “Idle No More”, to get the point across that they are being left out. The comprehensive framework of addressing the inequities and Canada's shameful carry-over of its colonial history have not been resolved. The Kelowna accord would have set the foundation to do.
A national child care plan was another for which I sat at a cabinet table and we wrestled with how we would enter into an agreement for a national program and maintain the unique characteristics of the child care funding, support and principles in British Columbia. Those kinds of conversations at first ministers conferences helped to power through those complicated differences among us to the point where there were some real outcomes, and the national child care plan was not only negotiated, but was agreed on right across the country.
The first year of funding from the federal government actually flowed to the provinces, and they had one year out of that five-year plan to address the desperate inadequacy and lack of child care in the provinces. Sadly, that is another critical program that the NDP, under its previous leader, voted against, brought down the Liberal government, and the national child care plan was scrapped to the detriment of families across the country.
It is not just about the things that were done through this collaboration. I also want to speak briefly to some huge failures that are a result of this kind of collaboration not happening. This includes all of the wasted time and energy on Senate reform by the Prime Minister, who never bothered to reach out and meet with colleagues to learn what their appetite for change would be and what kind of change they would support.
National Defence January 28th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve to know the truth, that the Prime Minister has shamefully refused to explain how and when the role of Canadian troops went from not accompanying, as he promised last October, to a de facto combat role now.
Canadians, through Parliament, did not agree to put our Canadian soldiers into front-line combat, so why is Canada the only coalition country with ground troops under fire?
National Defence January 27th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the Minister of National Defence justified front-line combat by saying, “I am not sure we could train troops without accompanying them.”
Yet on September 30, the Prime Minister explicitly ruled out combat on the ground. He said in question period, the mission “is to advise and to assist. It is not to accompany.”
Do Canadians not deserve the truth?
Business of Supply January 27th, 2015
Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments of the member for Wild Rose with great interest. I believe that, unfortunately, he has mixed his adjectives up when talking about a prudent approach or premature action. Does he actually consider that it was prudent to promise up a $2 billion tax break to the families who need it the least at a time when the budget is not balanced? The government has created a huge vulnerability for this country in having balanced books with this premature tax break.
The key question I am wondering about is this. Does the member believe that part of the prudent approach is the deliberate clawback of over $1 billion from the Veterans Affairs budget and the slashing of front-line and other staff in Veterans Affairs by 1,000 members? Is it prudent to withdraw from injured armed forces members and veterans the very services and mental health care that they need and deserve?
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015
With respect the procurement of goods and services for use by the Department of National Defence: for each awarded contract over $25,000 for which a supplier cancelled or failed to meet a delivery date after March 31, 2011, what is (a) the name of the contract; (b) the type of contract or method of supply; (c) the reference number, solicitation number, and tracking number; (d) the names of all parties to the contract; (e) the date the contract was awarded; (f) the description of the good or service to be supplied; (g) the value of the contract; (h) the delivery date specified in the contract; (i) the value of monies paid by the government to the supplier in advance of delivery, if applicable; (j) the date that the good or service was delivered, for goods and services that were delivered late; (k) the planned future delivery date, for deliveries that remain outstanding; (l) the date the contract was cancelled, for cancelled contracts; (m) the reason for the cancellation of the contract, for cancelled contracts; (n) the value of advance payments returned to the government, for undelivered goods and services; (o) the values and conditions of the contractual penalties for late and failed delivery; and (p) the value of monies recuperated by the government pursuant to penalties for late or failed delivery?