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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is children.

Liberal MP for Etobicoke North (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 42.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions October 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Alzheimer's disease is a critical health priority. Today, someone in Canada is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease once every five minutes, and the cost to the health care system is $15 billion. In 30 years, someone will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease once every two minutes, and the cost will be $153 billion.

The petitioners call for a national strategy for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, including, among other items, national objectives to improve the quality of life of those living with dementia, an annual report handed to Parliament regarding progress to meet those objectives and greater investment in dementia research.

World Teachers' Day October 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, October 5 was World Teachers' Day, a time to celebrate the valuable work of teachers across Canada, and 30 million educators around the world. It was the brainchild of a former Canadian Teachers' Federation leader, Norman Goble.

From the Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador, our public education system is among the best in the world, largely because of the efforts of our well-educated, dedicated teachers. By drawing on their experience and knowledge, Canadian teachers continuously improve public education and inspire students to achieve their greatest dreams.

Canadian teachers also work with international colleagues on vital education and relief projects. In schools around the world, our teachers firmly believe that students come first.

Colleagues, let us salute Canada's teachers, and let me recognize my favourite teacher, my awesome mom, Helen Duncan, who taught and cared for generations of students and instilled in me a love of learning and passion for teaching.

Petitions October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it has been almost five years since Canadians began travelling overseas for treatment for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, and almost five years since they have gone without follow-up care following treatment for CCSVI.

Canadians with MS are wondering when there might be an update on the government's clinical trials and when there might be an update on the government's MS registry.

The petitioners call upon the Minister of Health to undertake phase III clinical trials on an urgent basis in multiple centres across Canada and to require follow-up care.

Health October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is the most severe and acute public health emergency in modern times. Never in recent history has such a dangerous pathogen infected so many people so quickly over such a wide geographical area for so long.

With Ebola cases and deaths tripling since August, West Africa needs personal protective equipment urgently, but Canada has failed to fulfill its September pledge.

I will ask again: What is the minister doing to ensure that the promised supplies get to where they are needed now?

Health October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have failed to live up to their commitment, made weeks ago, to send personal protective equipment to help fight the Ebola outbreak. Supplies have yet to leave this country. Since August, the number of Ebola cases and deaths in West Africa has tripled.

What steps is Canada taking, including working with other countries, to ensure immediate delivery of the supplies to those in need in West Africa?

Petitions October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition regarding eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, which are serious mental health illnesses that can be fatal.

More than 600,000 Canadians have been affected by eating disorders. The sooner someone receives the treatment he or she needs, the better the chance of a good recovery. However, Canadians suffer long waiting lists for help and limited access to mental health services.

The petitioners call upon the government to work with the provinces, territories, and stakeholders to develop a comprehensive pan-Canadian strategy for eating disorders, including better prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and support.

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague, whom I have worked with many times. I have enjoyed working with her.

We do have a plan. It has the same cost as the Conservatives', and our plan would actually create 175,000 jobs.

I really want the House to hear the plight of my constituents, so I will give one more story.

A woman who is working full time has raised two adult children and done so without support. Both children are at university. Both need to find summer jobs to pay for tuition. Both struggled to find work. She came to our office for assistance to get her children help for dental surgery, which both need. Unfortunately, she cannot afford the fee for the dental consult, and her children are in pain every day. She asked, “How do you think that makes me feel as a mother?”

This mother has done everything right and worked hard all of her life. Her children have also worked hard. They have one question: Where are the jobs?

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is disappointing that the NDP is playing politics.

Over the last year, Canada has experienced very little job growth. From August 2013 to August 2014, the entire country created a net of only 81,300 jobs. Only 19% of those were full-time. In contrast, the United Kingdom created 775,000 jobs over the past 12 months. The United States created 2.2 million jobs.

Our plan has the exact same cost as the Conservatives', but the Liberal plan would actually create real potential for jobs.

Mr. Dan Kelly of the CFIB has said that he loves the Liberal Party of Canada plan and that it has lots of job potential

Business of Supply September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak on the Liberal opposition day motion regarding our premium exemption plan. I will be sharing my time with the member for Vancouver Centre.

My community of Etobicoke North and indeed all Canadians deserve a plan for jobs and growth. Unfortunately, the Conservatives' EI plan provides neither.

I have the privilege of serving a wonderful community. It is a place where I was born and raised. Etobicoke North is proudly one of the most diverse ridings in the country. Our constituents face challenges with family reunification, language barriers, a lack of jobs, and that is particularly for our youth.

Students' tuition, food, rent, transit and other costs have all been going up, yet student debt levels remain constant. The average post-secondary graduate carries $28,000 in debt. The unemployment and underemployment rates for youth have long-term consequences because it takes years to repay their debt. Parents and grandparents often step in to financially support their adult children.

This is scarring a generation of young Canadians and contributing to higher household debt and poor retirement savings.

Let me share some stories from the summer in my constituency office. I have permission to share each in the House of Commons. In fact, one of my constituents said, “Tell my story, I'm a person, I need a job, I have a family to feed. Make them care, make them do something that actually helps and doesn't hurt my family or me”.

From my community, an international doctor cannot practise medicine, bringing the total to dozens and dozens of international medical graduates I have met. A man previously had his own law firm back home for almost two decades, came to Canada for a better life for his children, repeated his law education in Canada and still cannot find a job. A countless number of students, parents and even grandparents came looking for summer jobs so they and their family could pay their fall tuition. An equally high number of college and university graduates have been out of work for one, two and three years.

A woman who had a good-paying job for 20 years lost her job to outsourcing. After months without work, she was living out of her car, afraid to go to sleep at night and unable to pay for her lifesaving drugs. We called her specialist and explained the problem, paid her gas money so she could drive to the doctor and she was able to pick up sample medication. Another woman could not afford the pain killers after her surgery. She came to my office in tears with an ice pack to kill the pain, so I bought her medication and paid for her trips to and from the hospital.

I am tired of hearing the government's rhetoric about jobs. It is time for the government to take unemployment, and particularly youth unemployment, seriously and provide meaningful support to Canadians who are struggling. I was in my constituency office almost daily this summer and almost 80% of those who came to see me needed a job. Because of unemployment, they also needed clothing, food and other supports. We helped them find jobs and got them the supports they needed. Just last week I spent six hours in the community with business leaders as part of a program to create jobs in Etobicoke North.

Etobicoke North residents and all Canadians deserve a plan for jobs and growth. Unfortunately, the Conservatives' EI plan provides neither. The Liberals' EI premium exemption plan would reward businesses for each new job created in 2015 and 2016. This would represent a benefit of up to $1,280 for each newly created job, which for $225 million could help to create over 175,000 new jobs.

On the other hand, the Conservatives' EI rate reduction only encourages businesses to stay small and punishes them if they grow and are successful.

With the Conservatives' plan, only businesses with EI taxes below $15,000 would see any savings, creating an incentive for businesses to fire workers. The price tag for the Conservatives' new small business EI tax credit is estimated at $550 million over two years; that is, the Conservatives have announced an annual $225 million measure that is unlikely to produce jobs.

The Conservatives' EI tax credit is getting slammed by economists ranging from Jack Mintz to Mike Moffatt.

From Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary: “It becomes a disincentive to growth.” From Stephen Gordon of Laval University: “But the Conservatives have yet again eschewed a straightforward and effective measure and adopted one that is complicated and most likely to have little effect on employment or wages.” From David MacDonald of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: “So if you're an employer and your payroll is slightly over that $550,000, you've got a strong incentive to cut your payroll.” From Mike Moffatt of the Mowat Centre: “...the proposed ‘Small Business Job Credit’ has major structural flaws that, in many cases, give firms an incentive to fire workers and cut salaries.”

The Globe and Mail says that it is “...creating a perverse disincentive for small companies to grow”.

The tax credit gives firms about $200 to hire someone but over $2,200 to fire someone.

The Liberals have a solution: use the money to give job creators an EI premium exemption for new jobs. I have heard from members of my community, who want to know when the Conservatives will drop their poor plan and adopt the Liberal plan, which would actually reward job creation and growth.

Under the Conservatives, 527 mid-sized firms of 100 to 499 employees vanished between 2007 and 2010. Canada has a lack of medium-size and large companies compared to the United States and most other developed countries. Also under the Conservatives, 9,000 exporters disappeared between 2008 and 2012 and may never come back.

Not only have jobs been lost, but Statistics Canada does not know where job vacancies exist in communities across Canada. The Auditor General's 2014 spring report confirmed that the Conservatives' undermining of Statistics Canada has left the government unable to accurately address the economic needs of Canadian communities.

Liberals believe the government must not only create the right conditions for economic growth but must also ensure that growth is sustainable in order to finally help the struggling middle class. We understand that we must create the conditions that allow for economic prosperity, including investment in education, infrastructure, and trade expansion. The Liberal focus is on creating new jobs and hiring more Canadians. This is the only way that we can grow the middle class and expand opportunities for Canadian families.

The people of Etobicoke North need jobs, and I have worked hard to get them jobs. I obtained funding for a Completing the Circle program, a $500,000 jobs program in our community in remembrance of Loyan Gilao. I personally review and edit resumes late into the night, sometimes doing two and three drafts. We get our people into job programs and we follow up with them to make sure their job searches are going in the right direction. While they search, we help them with food, clothing and whatever other supports they might need.

I buy medicine. A lady was looking for help because she was in agony from an ear infection that had raged for three weeks. She had pus and blood running down her face. The sad reality is that she could not afford antibiotics because she could not find a job.

A constituent asked of me “How come you have to find me a job? Why doesn't the government make it easier for me to get a job so I can pay taxes, contribute, and have my dignity?”

Petitions September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition regarding climate change, our most pressing environmental issue and perhaps the defining issue of our generation. Evidence shows that with climate change, extreme events such as heat waves and precipitation extremes will increase.

The petitioners call upon the government to accept the science of climate change, table a comprehensive climate change plan, identify the current value of government buildings and infrastructure assets, and the cost to climate-proof these assets.