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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is aboriginal.

NDP MP for Churchill (Manitoba)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 51.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in this House to speak to this very important bill. I want to thank my colleagues who, both in committee and in the House of Commons, have defended our New Democrat position in opposition to the bill, and have spoken of what we expected from our proposal to ensure that the bill is about putting a stop to cyberbullying, as it says it is.

Unfortunately, what we have, once again, is the Conservative government using language—and in this case, I would also argue, using people who are in vulnerable situations—to put forward a regressive agenda that has everything to do with attacking people's privacy. It leaves tremendous loopholes in terms of powerful actors gaining access to private information, and that would do very little to put a stop to cyberbullying, which is a very serious and sometimes tragic problem in our society.

We have heard from my colleagues as to why we do not support the bill. We put forward, I believe, 37 amendments at committee to improve the bill. We indicated that whether it is the private member's bill put forward by my colleague, the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, for an anti-bullying strategy, or the bill put forward by my colleague, the member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, to deal with sexual images and exploitation online, there are ways we can try to put a stop to cyberbullying and to the way in which too many people are exploiting privacy, private images, and taking advantage of people, in many cases young women, online.

What I find most disturbing about the debate and discussion around Bill C-13 is the way in which the tragic stories of young women who took their own lives as a result of cyberbullying are being used by the current government to push its agenda.

I do not know how many more ways we can say that this is wrong, that this is beyond disrespectful. It is disturbing, frankly.

I have had the opportunity to meet with the mother of Amanda Todd, and I have met with other youth, including those involved in Jer's Vision, who have done a great deal to try to fight bullying and cyberbullying in our communities. These are people with ideas. Sometimes these are ideas that come from places of immense pain, of having lost a loved one or having themselves experienced suicidal thoughts to get away from bullying. Despite that, they are proposing ideas. They are finding ways in their communities, and they are calling upon leaders at all levels of government, particularly at the national level, to take steps that would have an impact on ending bullying.

I am particularly encouraged by those who are applying a gender lens to this kind of bullying because we know it has a gender lens. There were the high-profile cases of young people who took their own lives as a result of cyberbullying, and they were women. In many of the cases, unfortunately, particularly in the mainstream media, women's experiences when it comes to the use of bullying was missed. Sexual objectification is very different and can lead to some very devastating situations.

I also want to acknowledge the way in which LGBT youth, lesbian, gay, and trans youth, are often the targets of cyberbullying, which has a gendered lens as well. Yet nowhere in Bill C-13 is there any plan to act on, not just bullying, but the cyber-misogyny that we see running rampant online and in our society.

I would like to turn the attention of the House and of those who are listening to the phenomenal work being done across the country to draw attention to cyber-misogyny and the way in which we can take legal action, but more importantly, employ policies and invest socially in order to put an end to cyber-misogyny.

I want to draw attention to the recent report by West Coast Leaf called “#CyberMisogyny” that is entirely about what all of us at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, in our schools and even in our homes can do to begin putting an end to cyber-misogyny. It is not a quick fix and it certainly is not Bill C-13. What it requires is real leadership and tackling the very serious issues of inequality, violence against women, sexual harassment, and the marginalization of girls and women in our society.

It also means taking bold action when it comes to putting an end to the discrimination of trans people and the particular discrimination that trans women face, and recognizing that we have a role to play. Sadly, all I hear in the House is the way in which the Conservative government is using the stories of young women who experience cyber-misogyny to put forward its own agenda, which has nothing to do with that. The hypocrisy, and frankly, the disregard for these women's memories is, like I said, disturbing.

In taking the next steps, I would encourage the government to not only see the value of dropping this badly thought out bill, which stands to benefit some of the government's agenda with regard to pulling people's private information and having access to people's private lives in a way that it sees as helpful, I guess. However, there are other steps it ought to be taking.

For one, it could support the motion that I put forward, a national action plan to end violence against women. It could work with this side of the House to try to find a way to build a comprehensive anti-bullying strategy, including working with community organizations and young leaders who are on the front lines and understand what it means to be a victim of cyberbullying.

It could also look at specific measures, as I have indicated, including Bill C-540 that was introduced in the House last June, which would make it an offence to produce or distribute intimate images of an individual without his or her consent. The list goes on, and many of my colleagues have been pointing to the actual steps that the government could be taking to put an end to cyberbullying.

I would like to end with a demand that so many people have, that the memories of those young women such as Amanda Todd and others not be used as a front for what is, once more, a piece in the regressive agenda put forward by the federal government. It can do better.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for expressing our opposition to the bill. As someone who also deals with issues surrounding cyber-misogyny in particular and the attack on women of all ages online, which is especially vitriolic, could she speak to the way in which the bill would do nothing to deal with that kind of cyberbullying?

The government's agenda, when it comes to women and discrimination against them, is left wanting. The Conservatives use examples of cyber-misogyny and tragic examples to drive this egregious agenda. Could my colleague speak to that?

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's detailed speech made a strong case for our position as a party.

As someone who represents a part of the country where we both rely on natural resources and have a very rich ecosystem, including wildlife like beluga whales, we know it is important to strike a balance to ensure that our exploitation of natural resources and that our livelihoods do not hurt what is so near and dear to us, like the beluga whale or the polar bear, or fragile ecosystems in our north.

In fact, many of us fought back against a proposal to ship crude oil through the Bay line, through the port of Churchill into the Arctic for that very reason, because we need to ensure that balance is struck.

I would like to ask my colleague, in terms of our party's strong position in support of value-added jobs and ensuring that our development of economic resources benefit our communities, to comment on that and the importance of balancing that with protecting fragile ecosystems and increasingly fragile wildlife.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it seems that as we debate the 79th motion for closure, the government does not take seriously the need to debate critical issues. What more important issue is there than sending our country to war and members of our military personnel into harm's way? All we are asking for is to speak on behalf of our constituents, the Canadians who sent us here.

If the minister and his government are so passionate about this issue, why will they not allow an open debate on an issue as important as sending our country to war?

Petitions September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House to present petitions signed by many of my constituents, particularly in Flin Flon and Thompson, who are opposing the cuts to our postal service, particularly the plan to eliminate home-to-home delivery.

Home-to-home delivery is a critical service for all Canadians. It is especially important in our northern and remote communities where the climate is often unforgiving. We know it will have a particular impact on seniors, young families, and people with disabilities.

The petitioners are asking on behalf of their communities for Canada Post to reconsider its decision and to keep home-to-home delivery and save our Canada Post.

Agriculture and Agri-Food September 26th, 2014

Let us be clear, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Agriculture specifically said fines of “$100,000 per day”. Then he went all across the country talking tough. Now, when it comes to actually getting tough with the rail companies, the minister has failed.

Grain producers deserve a government that will stand up for them and demand rail companies treat them fairly.

Why did the minister break his word and back down? Why is he not standing up for western Canadian producers?

Agriculture and Agri-Food September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on March 26, in the foyer of the House of Commons, the Minister of Agriculture said that Conservatives had passed an order-in-council “requiring a minimum of one million tonnes of grain to be moved each week, backstopped by penalties of up to $100,000 a day”. This is a direct quote from the minister.

Now the rail companies are not delivering the minimums and suddenly his tough fines have disappeared. Suddenly they are $100,000 per week.

Why did the minister back down instead of standing up for grain producers?

Status of Women September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, almost a month ago, Tina Fontaine's body was found in the Red River. She was just 15 years old.

The government has a responsibility to help end the violence against indigenous women. Many have shared a social media campaign with the chilling slogan “Am I next?”

Today in Winnipeg, families are dragging the Red River to find the bodies of their loved ones. Canadians demand action.

Why is the government refusing to call a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women in our country?

Female Parliamentary Staff June 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to express a heartfelt thanks to the women who work with us here in Parliament and in our constituencies.

I know every member of the House joins me in saying thanks to the women who work to support us.

It has not escaped my attention, as the critic for the status of women, that Parliament remains a male-dominated workplace and that the women who work with us, both in Ottawa and at home, often face a culture of sexism, just as female MPs continue to face it in the House.

Working for an MP is high stress and high stakes, often leaving women with many burdens at home and here.

It also bears mention that MPs' staff are not protected under the anti-harassment policy enjoyed by other federal employees, and while NDP staff are backed by their union, Liberal, Conservative, Bloc, and Green staff are not.

In spite of everything, the women we work with work fiercely, brilliantly, and tirelessly to keep us running, and they do so out of a passion for social justice.

As well, I rise today to thank the women who work behind the scenes: the female cooks and servers; custodial, messenger, printing, mailing, translation, security, maintenance, and cafeteria staff; and the pages. They are the backbone of this institution.

They are valued. They are appreciated. I wish them a great summer.

Respect for Communities Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there are many parallels across northern Canada when it comes to the cycle of addiction that people face and the lack of services and places to go where they can get help.

There is talk about a poverty agenda, but the government is increasing poverty and further marginalizing communities that need help. If the government really wanted to make a difference in helping Canadians, where are the investments that need to take place in housing? Where are the investments that need to take place in child care or in training or in education? We do not see those kinds of investments. All we hear is the kind of thing we are listening to here tonight, fabricated stories about how the government is somehow going to stop heroin from coming into our backyards.

It surprises me how little the government members think that Canadians care. Canadians do care, and they can see beyond this thinly veiled attempt to score political points. I look forward to talking to more and more Canadians in my communities about the government's agenda.