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  • 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

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative member just made some comments about the inaccuracy of information in the gun registry. What I will point out is that he and his colleagues have been repeating, I do not know how many hundreds of times, completely inaccurate information about the original cost of building this registry.

The Auditor General herself in 2002 estimated the cost at about $1 billion. However, $150 million was recovered through fees. Therefore, it was actually a net of more like $850 million.

Somehow, somewhere along the line, somebody among the members opposite on the Conservative side of the benches decided to double this number of $1 billion to $2 billion and then, gleefully, the members have been repeating that fallacious figure every since.

I would appreciate the member looking at the record and actually showing a record of how the Conservatives are coming to the figure of $2 billion, which is inaccurate. It is double the cost of this major initiative.

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act February 7th, 2012

Madam Speaker, I feel compelled to respond to the comments of the Conservative minister on this debate.

I find it hugely insulting that the minister considers debate in the House of Commons to be simply to delay and stymie the process. What is he referring to by stymying the process? This is the process. This is the way in which elected members of Parliament, as the NDP member just mentioned, reflect concerns about a piece of legislation. They are legitimate concerns. They are concerns that we have heard from the RCMP, from police chiefs, from civil society right across the country. Debate is the way that members reflect that. It is the way that members represent their constituents who want to have a voice. They want to know that their members of Parliament are listening to their concerns and are reflecting them here.

This is not about delaying. It is not about stymying--

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 6th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the member for Red Deer. I thought we would hear a speech without the misinformation and disinformation that I have been concerned about, but unfortunately it was more of the same.

In order to highlight that, in 2003 there were 792 deaths in Canada involving a firearm, many of which were long guns. Of the last 18 officers killed in the line of duty as of 2010, 14 were killed by long guns.

Could the member share with the House how many mortalities and homicides in Canada are due to the use of carpenter's saws?

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 6th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, there is an example in which members of the RCMP recently found out that they had mistakenly permitted a Walther G22 rifle and an AP-80, which is in the same family as an AK-47, but, because of the registry, they were able to find out that this dangerous and restricted firearm had been inaccurately registered and corrected the mistake.

It is a good question. I can only say that this is one of the sad aspects of the situation, this hypocrisy where the Conservatives will go to any lengths because they determined that there would be some votes on this issue. Never mind that it pits people from some parts of the country against people in other parts of the country and, in fact, reduces the amount of information we have, which can never be a good thing.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 6th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is part of a party that is not taking action on other kinds of issues where there is scientific evidence of the problem, such as climate change.

What do the climate change deniers want to do? They want proof that this increase in temperatures is worldwide, proof that 10 out of the last 12 hottest years on record have just occurred. At some point, we need to take action based on evidence without being able to directly tie one act to another.

We need only think about tobacco usage. How many years did the tobacco industry argue that there was no evidence that tobacco kills? We know that tobacco kills.

These arguments, in the meantime, are designed to frustrate action and to maintain an ideological position.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 6th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, in joining this debate on Bill C-19, it is with sadness that I hear the speeches of the Conservative members and the continuing campaign of misinformation and disinformation. The Conservatives are cynically pitting important members of our society, such as hunters, ranchers and farmers, against other important members of our society, our peace officers, trauma surgeons and those who care for victims of violence.

My remarks will be about the kind of governance and the kind of erosion of democracy and the unfortunate decision making of the government. Bill C-19 is a prime example of that.

We have an effective and vital tool that police chiefs, front-line officers, emergency room doctors, pediatricians, nurses, women's groups, the RCMP and many others insist saves lives, but the government will not listen. It will not be reasoned with. It refuses to allow the public good to deter it from its partisan campaign to kill this important tool.

I acknowledge that there could be ways to improve the registry. What major tool like this does not require continuous improvement? There are ways to incorporate the concerns of peaceful gun owners, and Liberals proposed just such changes.

This campaign is an ideological one on the part of the Conservative government and it is just an example of many others. The expansion of mandatory minimums and the elimination of the mandatory long form census are similar kinds of divisive, ideological campaigns. Why would the government, for example, want to throw more young people in jail and yet throw out an important tool for understanding the makeup of our country? It does not make sense, but it is the Prime Minister's style, which the Liberal leader recently coined as dictatorial federalism.

The government has not had any meaningful consultation with the provinces, with experts, with community organizations, with Canadians. It is simply bullying, baffling and bulldozing its way forward. That is a concern of anyone who cares about the health of our democracy in Canada.

The Conservatives openly proclaim that if someone or some party disagrees with them then that individual is an adversary, or a radical or a party that they will destroy. That is unworthy of Canada. It is frightening.

Among the people who have spoken to me in Vancouver Quadra about the direction the Conservative government and the Prime Minister are taking are people who have come from other countries to find refuge in Canada. They have come here because we have a reputation of being a responsible, peaceful, open democracy, a country where we value dissenting opinions, a country where we make better decisions and better laws because we listen to people and we change the plan to incorporate good ideas. It is discouraging for those new Canadians to see the direction that this country is going in, the closing down of debate, this dictatorial style, the exact types of governments from which they have fled.

The Conservative government believes that ideology and votes from specific segments of Conservative donors and partisans should be at the heart of government policies, not facts. The Conservative government is a government that has abdicated its responsibility to defend Canada's parliamentary democracy for the common good of all Canadians.

Permit me in contrast to provide some of the facts that have been so distorted in this misinformation campaign.

The gun registry does save lives. There can be no disputing that. Since the gun registry was implemented, there has been a substantial decline in the number of homicides, domestic violence incidents and suicides using rifles and shotguns. As I mentioned earlier in the debate, that same decline has not taken place with respect to handguns and other illegal weapons. Since 1995, there has been a decline of over 40%.

Law enforcement associations across Canada use the registry daily to help prevent, investigate and solve crimes. We know this registry provides safety. It improves the safety of first responders because they tell us so and the RCMP's own report made that clear. Because of the registry, we know that gun ownership is increasing in Canada. That is the kind of thing we learn and build into policing strategies. In fact, the number of firearms owned by each gun owner increased by an average of 12% between 2006 and 2010. That is useful information.

We know that registering firearms helps peace officers ensure the safety of our communities.

According to a report published on the RCMP website on January 23, police officers use the registry almost 14,000 times a day. In 2006, there were a total of 2,400,000 online requests. That figure more than doubled in 2010. These are not routine or useless verifications. Just 11 days ago, the firearms registry helped the Ontario Provincial Police apprehend a man in Sudbury for the dangerous use of a firearm after he had escaped from the police.

The registry also helps the police pursue criminals. The number of affidavits produced by the Canadian firearms program for the purposes of legal proceedings has continued to increase in recent years. More than 17,900 affidavits were produced by the CFP between 2003 and 2008 in support of legal proceedings involving firearms crimes.

The registry allows police officers to revoke permits if a gun owner starts committing drug-related offences, has mental health problems or spousal abuse issues, or does not store the gun safely. It allows police officers to focus preventing crimes before they are committed.

In closing, the RCMP report, an analysis based on facts and hidden by the Minister of Public Safety for months, found that “investing in firearms safety is very worthwhile”.

This is the opposite of what Conservative members are claiming. On top that, in terms of this dictatorial federalism, the government wants to destroy the registry's data. With a stroke of the pen, the government is seeking to eradicate, over the strong objections of the provinces, an invaluable set of information.

The provinces have helped pay for the data and they deserve to have a say in what happens. Again, ideology and not evidence is guiding the government's decision. In fact, by scraping the gun registry, the data becomes subject to the Library and Archives of Canada Act which dictates that records must be maintained for 10 years. After that, the government is free to do what it wants with it.

The government is ignoring the advice of Parliament's own officers. The Information Commissioner has said that destroying the data would violate the letter and spirit of the Library and Archives of Canada Act. The Privacy Commissioner has urged caution in destroying the data. This may well be subject to court cases put forward by the Province of Quebec.

However, the Conservative government does not seem to care. It does not want to consult, and that is dictatorial federalism. We know that the Province of Quebec is very interested in keeping this data and using it, but it is being ignored because it does not fit the government's ideology.

It is disturbing to see this kind of federal governance in Canada. No government has a mandate to ignore the facts and evidence, ignore expert advice, ignore the provinces and territories and dictate to Canadians.

I call upon the government to stop thumbing its nose at Canadians and let facts, not ideology, become the cornerstone of its public safety policies.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 6th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the Conservative members on this vital and effective tool for keeping our streets safer and I fail to understand the logic.

They seem to believe that having less information about our demographics by not having a mandatory long form census is good for public policy-making in Canada.

They also believe in having less information about the ownership and whereabouts of deadly weapons, weapons that, yes, are used by peaceful Canadians for legal purposes, but they are also used to break the law and result in violence and death. How can having less information about the ownership and whereabouts of these deadly weapons actually make Canadians and our streets safer?

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 6th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I just do not know where to begin with all of the inaccuracies by that member. I guess he believes that by repeating the incantation about the firearms registry it will make it so.

This useful and effective firearms registry accounts for a 23% decline in suicides by firearms. In fact, five times as many firearms-related suicides use long guns as use handguns. It has been effective. It has been effective in reducing homicides, which have had a 41% decline since 1995, whereas homicides with handguns and illegal sawed-off shotguns have been flat during that time.

There has been so much inaccuracy. I want to ask the member about his comment about how expensive the long gun registry is to maintain. It is the RCMP itself that has said it will save between $1 million and $4 million a year to scrap the registry.

I wonder if the member could tell us, with that kind of saving, $1 million to $4 million a year, how many years it would take to save up that money to where the President of the Treasury Board could use it, as he did with his Muskoka madness of putting $50 million into his riding for pork-barrel projects, unrelated to the intent of the funds that he used.

B.C. Legislative Assembly Black Rod February 1st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, today I joined High Commissioner Campbell, the former premier of British Columbia, and other dignitaries in an historic celebration of Canadian tradition and heritage. In honour of Her Majesty's diamond jubilee, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia is creating an usher of the black rod. Tracing back to 14th century England, the black rod deepens B.C.'s connection with our proud roots in the Westminster parliamentary tradition.

Today was part two of three-part ceremony to install symbolic rings on this rod. The first was attached in the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in December, and the final will be attached at the official opening of the B.C. legislative assembly in February.

The mid section of the black rod features a special jade carving by Tsimshian elder, Clifford Bolton, representing the unity and intertwining of B.C.'s diverse cultures and hope for the future.

As a member of parliament from British Columbia, I am honoured to mark the placement of the second ring of the black rod in Ottawa on its journey to Victoria. I congratulate all British Columbians for this symbol and celebration of our important heritage.

January 31st, 2012

Madam Speaker, that is just another cherry-picking of the impact of this bill. Of course there are some things that all of the members support. It is the issues around mandatory incarceration for minor non-violent offences, and the use of mandatory minimums for broad, vague underlying offences that will result in unjust, grossly disproportionate sentences.

To sum up, the Canadian Bar Association has been absolutely clear that this bill will do nothing to improve the state of affairs that we are already seeing in terms of prison overcrowding and all of the results of that. It ignores the reality that decades of research have shown, that what actually reduces crime is addressing child poverty, providing services for the mentally ill, diverting young offenders from the adult justice system, rehabilitating prisoners and helping reintegrate prisoners into society. Bill C-10 ignores these facts and would actually be redistributing funds that would have been spent on those issues to more prisons, dealing with the overcrowding and all of the problems that causes. Therefore, this is a bad bill.

The Conservative government should be listening to Canadians on this matter, but it simply is not because it--