House of Commons photo

Track Peggy

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is clause.

NDP MP for Parkdale—High Park (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 47.20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Manufacturing Industry October 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, let us talk jobs. Four hundred thousand lost manufacturing jobs speak for themselves. Eleven hundred jobs have been lost in Leamington, 600 lost in London, 550 lost in Bradford, 300 lost in Mississauga, 300 lost in Bramalea, and 525 jobs have been lost in Oakville. That is just part of the losses from last year.

Communities across southern Ontario are being devastated by these cuts. Families are struggling to pay the bills. Where is the Conservative strategy to create good manufacturing jobs?

Manufacturing Industry October 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while the Conservatives are happy to help the rich get richer, they completely abandon middle-class Canadians.

Four hundred thousand good manufacturing jobs have disappeared under the Conservatives, 4,100 in the city of Peterborough alone, yet they cannot seem to stir themselves to action. Last week we lost out on another 1,000 jobs because the government refused the investment needed to get another Ford assembly line in Windsor.

How many good manufacturing jobs do we have to lose before the Conservatives are going to do something about it?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley for his pertinent question, because we see across the country far too many of what I would call precarious jobs: part-time jobs, temporary jobs, low-wage jobs, and jobs with no benefits. There is no hope associated with those jobs. I think of young people coming into the job market today who are sometimes carrying thousands of dollars of debt. They cannot afford to get a home or start a family, because they cannot get a decent job.

In most developed countries, governments prize their manufacturing sector. They defend it and fight for it. They work hard to make sure they have those jobs, because they are high tech jobs, value-added jobs. It is where they get the great spinoffs. For example, in the auto industry, there are seven jobs for every auto assembly job.

Under the Conservative government and the previous Liberal government our country has fallen from one of the top four auto-producing countries to number 10. Australia lost its auto industry altogether.

We do not see any plan. There is no auto strategy. There is no manufacturing strategy. We do not see anything except giving more money back to companies and hoping they have a nice day.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my Liberal colleague for that question, and he is quite right. I did not have enough time to address all the problems in the bill, but certainly the collapsing of these two bodies dealing with the Arctic is problematic.

The Conservative government has a history of muzzling scientists and not allowing independent thought and independent action by government scientists. There is real concern, given the rapid environmental and development changes that are taking place in the Arctic.

Will there really be independence for scientists? Will we get the information we need to make proper decisions? Because of the centralization of power in the hands of ministers that the government is well known for, there are real concerns, which I think may well be justified.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise once again on behalf of the riding of Parkdale—High Park and my constituents to speak to Bill C-43, which is the second budget implementation act introduced for the 2014 budget.

I would like to focus my remarks in my remaining time on three areas. First of all, I would like to focus on the nature of this omnibus bill that is before us and some of the problems I see within the bill. There are many, but I will focus on just a couple. Then I would like to look at some of the things that should be in this bill but are, in fact, missing. That is also extremely problematic.

Let us begin with the bill itself, Bill C-43, which is a rather large tome. Once again, it is 450-some pages. It is called the budget implementation act, but it actually contains a number of things that are not in the budget. It contains a number of items that ought to be separate bills and that have nothing at all to do with the budget.

My Conservative colleagues across the way will say that I am talking about process, that no one cares about process, and that I should be talking about substance. I will talk about the substance of the bill in just a moment, but let me say that what the Conservatives slough off as process is, in fact, the essence of our democracy. It is about the opportunity for parliamentarians, on behalf of the people of Canada, to adequately scrutinize, debate, and horror of horrors, on Halloween, possibly even amend some of the provisions in a bill.

The reason the government puts everything in one big omnibus is the following. There are two reasons. The first is that there are some changes the Conservatives would make that even they are embarrassed about. They do not want to shine the light of day on those changes, so they put them in an omnibus budget bill that faces very little scrutiny and that has time allocation so that the people of Canada will not fully see what is in the bill. At least, the Conservatives think they do not see what is in it.

The other thing is that, of course, there are some positive things in this massive tome. Goodness gracious, the dart has to hit the dartboard sometimes, and the Conservatives do actually have a couple of good things in there. However, they will then take this back to their communities and say that the NDP voted against x, y, or z, which we ourselves advocated.

For example, our New Democrat members for Sudbury and Davenport have been campaigning on behalf of consumers specifically to end the practice of pay-to-pay billing, where people have to pay a couple of bucks just to pay their bills if they do not want to do it online. The Conservatives are bringing in a half-measure. They are eliminating it for telecoms and utilities, which we of course support, but they are not going all the way and doing it for the banks. A member opposite was mistaken about that yesterday. Even he thought that they were, because there is so much in this omnibus bill.

Fundamentally, it is anti-democratic to have these omnibus bills brought before the House again and again. On this side, we say that it is wrong and it is undemocratic, and we will not stand for it. We will keep protesting that.

Let me move, in the limited time I have, to some of the problems in the bill as it is presented. I would like to spend time on two of them.

The first one concerns refugee claimants. Canada has had a reputation in the past of being a compassionate country and one that cares about its role in the world. With so much conflict and so many natural disasters taking place, sadly, there are a growing number of refugees in the world, the majority of whom are women and children. The majority end up fleeing by foot or over land across the border, so they end up in a neighbouring country. Often these are countries that really do not have adequate resources to care for the number of refugees they have, but they are taking on the burden of the majority of refugees in the world.

Canada has to play a role in accepting refugees. I think even the Conservatives would agree that Canada has to play a role.

However, through the bill, the Conservatives would further crack down on refugees and their being able to survive here in Canada. In a past budget implementation act, the Conservatives removed the ability of some refugees to get health care, which the Federal Court called cruel and unusual. The medical community, human rights activists, and many others have been protesting against that. Now the government would impose residency requirements for people receiving basic social assistance.

I know what the Conservatives are doing. Someone asked me at a community meeting a week ago why it is that these refugees can come here and get money from the government, social assistance, when Canadians cannot. I told the person that it was because refugees cannot work, and if they do not get this money, they cannot live. The person said, “Oh, I didn't know that”. It is basic human decency and common sense that these people are able to get this help.

I also want to criticize and point out the small business job credit the Conservative government would implement, which has been condemned even by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. It would take $550 million out of the EI fund, which is money that workers and employers have put in to get EI benefits, but it would create only 850 jobs. This is rather outrageous for that amount of money. My goodness, I do not think even the Conservative and Liberal senators cost us quite that much. There are many more effective job measures the Conservatives could be bringing in without taking money from the EI fund.

What is missing from this? The Conservatives would not create one job, except for their $550-million jobs, which is a ridiculous program. They do not have a manufacturing strategy. We have lost over 400,000 manufacturing jobs. They do not redress the cuts to EI; the vast majority of people who are unemployed do not get EI. They do not create one single child care space for Canadian parents. They do not address the housing crisis that forces too many people into poverty, especially in my community. There is nothing for the environment. They do not take away the more than $1 billion in subsidies to the oil and gas sector.

The budget implementation bill, like the Conservatives' budget, is a failure. It does not address the key issues facing Canadians today. I am proud to stand here on behalf of my community and denounce the omnibus budget bill, denounce the contents of it, and say very proudly that we will be voting against it.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I understand that I have just a couple of minutes before we end debate on the bill this afternoon and that it will be resuming tomorrow morning.

I am happy to begin my remarks this afternoon on the budget implementation act, Bill C-43, on behalf of my constituents in my riding of Parkdale—High Park, an urban riding that borders Lake Ontario in Canada's largest city, Toronto.

When I go door to door and speak with members of my community, I hear people concerned about the lack of decent jobs. We have far too many people who are falling through the cracks and are either underemployed or unemployed. People are falling into the cycle of temporary work or part-time precarious work.

Young families are paying sometimes $2,000 a month for child care and are strapped with massively high housing prices, whether in rent that rises constantly or with mortgages that are unbelievably high because of the dramatic increase in housing prices in our city. I also hear from seniors who are very concerned about rising costs and fixed incomes.

I speak to small businesses, where the owners are working long and hard. They are doing their best to provide goods and services in our community, but they are just getting by, in many cases.

Nevertheless, it is a wonderful community. What we hear from people in Parkdale—High Park is that they need to have government on their side. Sadly, the budget implementation bill fails the needs of the vast majority of my community members in Parkdale—High Park.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kitchener—Conestoga for his speech on the budget implementation bill. There are many aspects of his speech that I could engage him with and debate him on, but there was one specific comment he made that caught my ears.

The New Democrats, especially our members for Sudbury and Davenport, have been campaigning for some time to end the practice of charging people for getting a paper bill. That extra charge, which is often a couple of dollars, really penalizes people who have lower incomes, do not have a computer, or who are seniors. It is a practice we have called pay to pay, meaning they have to pay money to pay their bill. We have campaigned long and hard on that. In this budget there was a promise of ending the pay to pay fees, but only for telecom companies. My friend across the way said that it also includes banks. I do not believe that is correct. I would like him to clarify his comments.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, like the member opposite, I have been knocking on the doors of many of my constituents in Parkdale—High Park, and like the member's opposite, many of our constituents are certainly concerned about how the dollars they send to Ottawa are being spent and how the money that goes into the employment insurance fund, for example, is spent.

One of the highlights of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report is looking into the Conservatives' small-business hiring credit. We in the NDP are big promoters of small business, and we certainly want to do whatever we can to encourage them to hire. We have put forward a number of proposals to assist small businesses, including reducing credit card transaction fees. However, what the Parliamentary Budget Officer said was that the credit that the federal government is proposing would cost $0.5 billion and only create 800 jobs. That means it would cost $550,000 for each job created.

My question for the member opposite is this. Does he think that is good value for Canadian tax dollars?

Manufacturing Industry October 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, deregulating safety is working so well.

While the Conservatives allowed employers to bring in cheap labour to replace Canadian workers, they were also allowing good, high-paying Canadian jobs to disappear at an astonishing rate.

Over the last decade, Liberal and Conservative governments, under their watch, 600,000 manufacturing jobs have vanished. Far too many communities have been devastated by the government's unwillingness to act.

Where is the government strategy to create good manufacturing jobs here in Canada?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we have been asked a number of questions by the Liberal Party during this debate. I find its position a little hard to understand, because its trade critic has already said it would sign absolutely any trade deal. Liberals are now asking questions about what they might have supported, given that they gave blind support. I also noticed that they have been willing to sign trade deals with countries with very bad human rights records, like Honduras, where civil liberties have been undermined and people have been killed.

I would like the member to reiterate the basis on which the New Democrats looked at this particular agreement and made a decision to support it, in contrast to the open-ended, frankly incomprehensible trade position of the Liberal Party.