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NDP MP for Parkdale—High Park (Ontario)
Won her last election, in 2011, with 47.20% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Access to Information November 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance submitted receipts that were redacted before they were submitted. The minister might have thought crossing off personal items from his expenses was a good idea, but he should have known better. He should have known that hiding information violates the federal information law.
Why did the minister go out of his way to alter these receipts? Why will Conservatives not respect our access to information laws?
Holodomor Memorial Day November 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the solemn occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor. This genocide by famine, perpetrated against the Ukrainian people in the so-called breadbasket of Europe by Stalin's Soviet regime in 1932-1933, took millions of lives and has scarred generations to this day.
I am very proud to have joined in the vote in this House for all-party support for recognition of Holodomor Memorial Day in Canada. The City of Toronto announced a similar proclamation in a moving ceremony at City Hall last Saturday evening. I have also joined with Ukrainian Canadians in my community of Parkdale—High Park, as well as with those across Canada, in pressing for this terrible history to be recognized in our schools and museums.
We salute Ukrainian Canadians for their strong stance in defence of democracy, freedom, and human rights. They will always have a friend in the New Democratic Party, and we stand with them in saying, “Never forget, never again”.
Crisis in the Philippines November 20th, 2013
Mr. Chair, I think at this moment people are focused on the immediate need, although my colleague's question is an excellent one.
It is one thing to put out fires, but what we need is good fire prevention and good fire safety measures. I think that is what he is talking about.
The Filipino Canadian community is a very positive, a very caring community, a community that is very united, and people have a very strong network.
Getting past the immediate tragedy and building resilience for the future is something to which people will turn their minds. If any community can do it, I believe the Filipino Canadian community can, and perhaps we can learn some lessons that will apply to other situations of similar urgency.
Crisis in the Philippines November 20th, 2013
Yes, Mr. Chair, the difficulty sometimes with physical donations, physical goods, is that they can be difficult to transport and it is difficult to get the particular goods to those who need those specific goods, so the most effective way to transmit aid is with financial donations.
For anyone who has concerns whether the money is getting to where it is supposed to go, there are recognized, reputable, reliable, experienced, humanitarian agencies that are on the ground. I did name some of these earlier, but just let me repeat: the Humanitarian Coalition, Canadian Red Cross, World Vision, UNICEF. These are just some of them.
I certainly do not want to exclude other agencies that do an excellent job, but especially because the federal government is matching financial donations until the first week of December, it is desirable that people donate now so that the money can get as quickly as possible to those in need.
Crisis in the Philippines November 20th, 2013
Mr. Chair, he is quite right. There is a special connection between Canadians and Filipinos. We have seen it, partly because of the nature of this crisis, which is such a horrible and devastating catastrophe that has happened to people who, in so many ways, had so little to begin with.
Because there is that close connection with people from the Philippines and because there are so many Canadians of Filipino origin, there is a special bond. There is an outpouring of sympathy and concern, as well as genuine, altruistic support and people wanting to help in whatever way possible. So many people have donated through many organizations. We see so many grassroots initiatives coming up from various communities to raise money in a genuinely selfless way to try to help people as quickly as possible.
I just want to note that I think the government has acted quickly. Rebecca Davies, from the Canadian branch of Doctors Without Borders, has said that “The key to saving lives in emergencies is speed”. The rapidity of our response here in Canada has been quite significant, yet many of those who are affected need additional support. For example, women and children need support to protect them from violence, trafficking or exploitation as a result of the catastrophe.
There needs to be a special effort for those who are particularly in need of special care. I know that UN humanitarian coordinator, Valerie Amos, has highlighted that particular need in this situation.
Crisis in the Philippines November 20th, 2013
Mr. Chair, I am very happy to participate in this important debate this evening on the crisis in the Philippines.
Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda, has had an absolutely devastating effect on Filipinos. As we understand, it has displaced an estimated four million people, which is more than those displaced by the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina combined, with more than half a million homes completely destroyed. It is our understanding that at least 13 million people have been affected throughout the Philippines, with over 4,000 people estimated to have died, 18,000 injured and 16,000 people still missing.
I want to begin my comments this evening by extending my sincere sympathies to all those affected, obviously the Filipino population who have been so devastated by this terrible event, but also the many friends and family members and colleagues around the world who have been affected as well. It has created terrible uncertainty, terrible worry, and it has also mobilized people around the world to act as quickly as possible.
I want to especially extend sympathies to the Filipino community in my riding of Parkdale—High Park. I have reached out to the community centre, to Kababayan Multicultural Centre, which is the heart of the Filipino community in Parkdale—High Park. I know it has served many newcomers of Filipino descent to our area, and today continues to work with those Canadians of Filipino descent, including seniors and young people as well as other community members needing assistance. The people at the community centre perform wonderful work in services, language training and job help. I want to specifically offer to the executive director, Flordeliz Dandal, with whom I have worked so often in the community, and all of the staff and volunteers and to Aguido Dela Cruz, the chairperson of the board, and to all the board members and all members of the Filipino community, my sincere sympathies.
I did have the opportunity last week to meet briefly with the ambassador from the Philippines. I asked him what we as members of Parliament can do. He encouraged us to encourage people to donate, to contribute funds so we can get aid as quickly as possible to those affected. I went this week to the embassy here in Ottawa and signed a book of condolences that the ambassador is compiling and will be sent to the Filipino Canadian community.
I note that the international community has pulled together quite quickly to work to provide aid for relief efforts, and the international aid commitment so far has reached nearly $248 million. In addition, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank have readied $500 million in loans to help finance the reconstruction, because of course reconstruction will be enormous once the immediate needs of people in terms of water, food, shelter and clothing have been taken care of. Canada's commitment of $20 million so far, including $15 million to match funds that have been donated by Canadians, as well as mobilizing relief efforts and our DART members to provide direct assistance is extremely welcome. We thank the government for this very quick action.
I want to hit home to people who are listening from our community in Parkdale—High Park, or anywhere in the Toronto area, or indeed across Canada. We have an opportunity right now to secure matching funds from the federal government. We applaud this initiative, so the best relief, the best initiative that people can offer is to donate so that the money can get quickly translated into relief and aid on the ground.
There are a number of fundraising initiatives taking place in local communities. People can donate online through organizations such as Migrante Canada, which does such terrific work with caregivers from the Filipino community. They can work through Kababayan in Parkdale—High Park, or people can donate directly to humanitarian organizations, the Humanitarian Coalition, the Canadian Red Cross, World Vision, UNICEF, whatever their preferred recognized charity is that knows how to translate this money quickly into action on the ground.
I also note one specific event in which I am going to be participating in a couple of weeks. It is being organized by Long & McQuade Musical Instruments in Toronto. There is a singing contest with John Santos and we are going to be singing to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. That is Friday, December 6, at Casa Da Madeira Community Centre on Dupont Street in Toronto.
One further point I would like to make is that this typhoon was especially hard-hitting for the Filipino community because so many people of Filipino origin in Canada, and indeed in other countries around the world, are separated from families back home. Many people of Filipino origin have come here to Canada to work as caregivers in people's homes, or in the health care sector. Often these are people who have left their own families and children behind. They have missed milestones in their children's lives because they may be caring for other people's children. That presents its own special hardship, but when they are separated and something disastrous happens such as this typhoon, it is especially gut-wrenching for people separated from their loved ones.
Many who come here to Canada want to sponsor family members. We meet with people from the Filipino community in our constituency office regularly. They are trying to sponsor family members and it is a very long wait. This has an even bigger impact on them.
In addition to urging people to donate so that we can get matching funds from the federal government, I would also urge the federal government to do what it can to speed up family reunification, applications for permanent residence, the immigration process, so that people who are separated from family members can be reunited and be assured that their loved ones are safe and sound.
With that I welcome any questions or comments from my colleagues in the House.
Business of Supply November 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to stand up for Canadians and for the Canadian environment in supporting this motion. I want to read it so that Canadians are clear what we are discussing:
That, in the opinion of the House, the Keystone XL pipeline would intensify the export of unprocessed raw bitumen and would export more than 40,000 well-paying Canadian jobs, and is therefore not in Canada’s best interest.
I wholeheartedly agree with this motion. This opposition day is an opportunity for the parties in Parliament to show Canadians where they stand on the export of jobs and on the export of our raw resources, or whether perhaps they stand with Canadian workers and for action on the environment. That is the opportunity we have today.
The Conservatives and the Liberals have joined together to promote the Keystone XL pipeline, despite the fact that it would export tens of thousands of Canadian jobs to the U.S. along with our raw resources. It is the same old story we have seen before.
As Canadians know, the Keystone is a massive pipeline network owned by TransCanada. It is designed to move Canadian oil sands crude to U.S. markets and its refineries. The Keystone XL extension would connect the network to the largest segment of U.S. refineries, located on the Gulf Coast. If it goes ahead, it would have a capacity of 830,000 barrels a day, making it the largest export pipeline under consideration.
The Canadian section would consist of 529 kilometres. The National Energy Board here in Canada approved that section back in March 2010. However, the pipeline requires the approval of President Obama in order to proceed, and he has repeatedly delayed the decision. The President has made energy security a priority, but he has expressed serious concerns about Canada's environmental record.
President Obama said:
I'm going to evaluate this based on whether or not this is going to significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere. And there is no doubt that Canada at the source in those tar sands could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release.
He said that in July of this year, so clearly the U.S. has concerns about the environmental impact.
In terms of emissions in Canada, right now the oil sands account for about 7% of Canada's emissions. That is from 2010 statistics, but those emissions are forecast to double to about 14% of our emissions in 2020.
The Conservatives have promised emissions regulations for the oil and gas sector since they were elected so many long years ago in 2006, but they have repeatedly missed their own deadlines for presenting these regulations. We are still waiting to see them.
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency analysis found that greenhouse gas emissions linked to the Keystone XL pipeline would be 20% higher than emissions compared to existing sources of crude oil, so we would see a very significant increase in emissions.
However, let us also talk about jobs, because Canadians want good-quality jobs. It is what leads to a good standard of living, a standard of living that supports people and their families, and that is fundamentally important in Canada.
Based on an independent study, the export of unprocessed bitumen envisioned in this Keystone XL project could result in the loss of over 40,000 jobs. These are potential jobs, direct and indirect jobs, induced jobs, related jobs. An analysis by the U.S. State Department found that the Keystone XL would support more than 42,000 jobs during the one- to two-year construction period, with total wages of about $2 billion. That is in the U.S.
Alberta has traditionally upgraded about two-thirds of its bitumen, but that would drop from two-thirds down to about 47%, less than half, by 2017, according to the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board.
We know where the Prime Minister stands on this matter. He has gone from calling the Keystone approval a no-brainer to basically saying he won't take no for an answer, which was an interesting approach to our export capacity.
In Washington this spring, the Minister of Finance talked up the job benefits of the pipeline in the United States. He is talking about the creation of good-quality jobs for Americans, not for Canadians. I want to quote him:
I emphasized that the State Department report indicates this is a very important project for both economies, particularly for employment in the United States—more than 40,000 well-paying jobs.
That was back in April. Those are jobs that we could have here in Canada.
However, he is not alone. The Liberal leader, who also came out strongly in support of this pipeline, recently said, “My support for Keystone is steadfast.... There are lots of American jobs involved and there's lots of opportunities for the United States as well”. He said that just last month.
That is very nice for American jobs. We did not hear him say anything at the time about the environment, so we do not know where he stands on that, but we do know his party's record on the environment, which was to sign the Kyoto accord and then do nothing except watch greenhouse gas emissions skyrocket in Canada.
The Liberal leader's chief of staff was previously a lobbyist for Nexen oil, for Syncrude Canada, for BP Energy, so maybe that had some kind of influence. We do not know, but we have to wonder.
We are very concerned about the Canadian environment and we are very concerned about Canadian jobs. Even the Conservatives' finance minister admits that the Keystone XL pipeline will ship tens of thousands of quality, well-paid Canadian jobs south of the border.
Unlike Conservatives and Liberals, New Democrats do not believe in promoting a massive export of our raw, unprocessed resources. We do not think that is a good economic policy. We believe pipeline projects done properly, with good environmental standards, can benefit Canada, but not when they ship away tens of thousands of good-quality jobs and raw resources, leaving the environmental risks and liabilities on the shoulders of future generations of Canadians. That just makes no good sense.
New Democrats want to develop our economy and develop our resources to serve Canada's long-term environmental and economic prosperity. Instead of holding Conservatives to account, we have seen the Liberal Party stand for shipping out tens of thousands of jobs and the Liberal leader cheering them on. We do not believe in putting the interests of one industry before the interests of all Canadians or before the interests of future generations and the Canadian environment.
That is why I am proud to stand in support of this motion. Canadians can count on New Democrats to defend their interests here in Ottawa and across Canada.
National Day of the Midwife Act November 6th, 2013
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-548, An Act respecting a National Day of the Midwife.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a private member's bill entitled “an act respecting a national day of the midwife”.
I am very pleased to be able to present this important legislation. I would like to thank my NDP colleague, the member for Hochelaga, for seconding the bill and for supporting efforts to promote midwifery and maternal health in Canada.
Access to quality maternity care close to home not only contributes to maternal and newborn health but also strengthens our communities and our families.
Just yesterday, I and my NDP colleague from Vancouver East, the official opposition health critic, hosted a panel on maternal and child health in Canada. We heard repeatedly about the vital role midwives and midwifery services play in the maternity care system in all provinces and territories of Canada. Midwives provide safe, accessible, cost-effective services and quality health care. They are key to decreasing infant mortality and morbidity across Canada, including in rural, remote, and aboriginal communities.
The International Day of the Midwife is observed in over 50 countries around the world. Declaring May 5 as national day of the midwife in Canada would increase public awareness of the contribution midwives make to our communities.
This week the Canadian Association of Midwives is holding its annual national conference here in Ottawa. It is the perfect opportunity for us to recognize the essential role midwives play in ensuring a continuum of care throughout pregnancy, birth, and beyond for the health and welfare of mothers and their babies.
Therefore, I encourage my colleagues on all sides of the House to support this bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
Taxation November 5th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, today representatives of nearly 40 credit unions from across Canada are meeting on the Hill.
Credit unions are solid, dependable, and innovative. They are important to our economy. In 350 rural communities, the credit union is the only financial institution in town, but rural branches are at risk. In their budget, the Conservatives raised taxes on credit unions.
Will the government reverse its short-sighted decision to raise taxes?
The Conservative Party of Canada November 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, Conservatives showed us this weekend that they are more right wing than ever. Conservatives voted for a less progressive tax system. They voted to attack collective bargaining and reduce public pensions. They rejected any form of any gun control. They even want to reopen the abortion debate by restricting a woman's right to choose. The same proposal was rejected by the House. However, while Conservatives were showing Canadians how right wing they are, missing from the convention was anyone taking any responsibility for any part of the Senate expense scandal.
When the Prime Minister is losing the credibility war to Mike Duffy and the contrition war to Mayor Rob Ford, we know he has serious problems. Fortunately, in 2015, Canadians will have a real choice: to elect an NDP government to finally clean up Conservative and Liberal corruption once and for all.