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  • Her favourite word is chair.

NDP MP for Scarborough—Rouge River (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 40.60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Child Poverty October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians will be sharing the joy and meals of Thanksgiving with their loved ones. However, for the many who still live in poverty, they will only share their love and hope for a better future.

Twenty-five years ago the House made a commitment to eradicate child poverty, and today we have a higher poverty rate than in 1989. Currently, 967,000 Canadian children, which is 1 in 7 children, live in extreme poverty. In Toronto, the child poverty rate is over 30%.

We are all familiar with the negative effects poverty has on children, not to mention the socio-economic impacts on the future.

We need to act now. The children of Canada are her future.

Let us work collectively to reflect the real image and values of Canada. My Canada does not include children living in poverty.

I recently tabled Motion No. 534 to eradicate child poverty in Canada, and I hope the House will adopt it and work to make the dream of eradicating child poverty in our country a reality.

Petitions October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to submit petitions on behalf of people from all across the GTA on the creation of Rouge national park.

The current Rouge Park is home to the endangered mixed woodland and Carolinian forest, the northernmost point in North America, and the ancestral home of the Mississauga, Huron-Wendat, and Seneca first nations and their sacred burial and village sites.

The proposed legislation for the Rouge national urban park concept ignores the ecological integrity role of the existing Rouge Park and a true Canadian national park.

The petitioners respectfully ask the Government of Canada to protect the irreplaceable 100 square kilometres of public land assembly within a healthy and sustainable Rouge national park.

Citizenship and Immigration September 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, summer is the season of family reunions, fun, and celebrations. However, for constituents caught up in immigration concerns, instead of happiness, it was the season of frustration and sadness as they continued to wait through long, extensive delays.

After our assisting hundreds of constituents with their immigration cases, many other temporary resident visas and parental and spousal sponsorship applications were rejected, and some still remain unprocessed.

Despite the Government's promises about their constant reforms and improvements to the immigration system, the results still reflect nothing but improved justifications, false propaganda, and incompetence. After eight years of irresponsible governance, Canadians believe that the Conservative government is working harder only to protect the interests and well-being of its lobbyist friends and big corporations.

In 2015 we will fix this broken system, because Canadians have long waited for the change that will restore their pride and dignity and ensure their well-being. Canadians have put their trust in the NDP, and we will deliver.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to the proposed Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP): (a) what policies, timelines, actions and monitoring does the draft RNUP legislation and strategic plan specify to protect and restore native habitat in the park to (i) restore the “main ecological corridor” outlined in the Greenbelt Plan (2005), the Rouge North Management Plan (section 4.1.1.2), the Little Rouge Corridor Management Plan (2007), the Rouge Park Natural Heritage Action Plan (2008), and the Rouge River Watershed Strategy (2007), (ii) protect and improve water quality and migratory fish habitat within the Little Rouge River, part of the Toronto Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement “Area of Concern”, (iii) surpass the minimum 30% forest cover and 10% wetland per watershed recommended in the report “How Much Habitat is Enough” for “viable wildlife populations”, (iv) increase the sequestering of precipitation and carbon dioxide to mitigate climatic extremes and reduce the risk to properties and infra-structure from flooding and erosion, (v) improve habitat size, quality and connectivity, (vi) combat adverse edge effects and invasive species, (vii) improve the park's ecological health, resilience and integrity, (viii) increase the proportion of the park accessible to nature and people; (b) what policies, actions and timelines does the draft RNUP legislation and strategic plan outline to respect, strengthen and implement existing federal, provincial and municipal environmental policies, laws and plans, including the (i) Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and Toronto “AOC” Remedial Action Plan, (ii) Rouge River Watershed Strategy (2007), (iii) Canada's Species at Risk Act and associated commitments, (iv) Canadian National Parks Act and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, v) Species at Risk Act and Migratory Birds Act, (vi) Fisheries Act and draft Fisheries Management Plan for Rouge River (2011), (vii) Navigable Waters Protection Act, (viii) Rouge Park Management Plan (1994), (ix) Rouge North Management Plan (2001), (x) Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2002), (xi) Greenbelt Plan (2005), (xii) Little Rouge Corridor Management Plan (2007), (xiii) Rouge Park Natural Heritage Action Plan (2008); (c) how much of the land within the 57 km2 RNUP Study Area is (i) native forest habitat, (ii) wetland habitat, (iii) leased for cash cropping of corn or soy beans, (iv) leased for agricultural uses other than cash cropping, (v) leased for private residences, (vi) within public utility corridors, (vii) not leased, (viii) accessible to the public; (d) what area (in hectares) and percentage of the proposed RNUP Study Area is currently leased to private individuals or corporations; (e) how many individuals currently lease land within the RNUP study area; (f) how many land parcels in the RNUP study area are currently leased to (i) farmers who once owned the subject land parcel but were expropriated in the 1970s, (ii) provincial government employees or their close family members, (iii) federal government employees or their close family members, (iv) Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) employees or their close family members, (v) municipal government employees or their close family members, (vi) non farmers, (vii) lease holders who do not live in the RNUP area; (g) for the most recent year available, what are all the leased properties in the RNUP study area, broken down by (i) geographic location and approximate boundaries of the leased property marked on a map, (ii) land area (hectares) associated with the lease, (iii) buildings associated with the lease (for example 1 house, 900 ft2, 1 barn 1500 ft2, (iv) name of leaseholder and name of tenant(s), (v) annual lease rate and length of lease, (vi) length of time the current leaseholder has leased the property, (vii) true annual public cost of property upkeep and lease administration, (viii) public investment in the property needed to address modern building code, fire, safety and energy conservation standards; (h) what is the current TRCA and Transport Canada process for awarding and renewing land leases in the RNUP study area and what are any proposed changes to improve competition, public transparency, fairness and fair market return on these public land leases; (i) what percentage of the corn grown on leased Rouge Park lands in 2013 was grown for ethanol production; (j) what are the planned staffing expenses and other RNUP expenditures by Parks Canada in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016; and (k) what is the planned utilization of the funding from the Waterfront Regeneration Trust in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 by Parks Canada or the TRCA?

Employment June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Employment and Social Development has been promising to fix the temporary foreign worker program for months, but the mess drags on. No penalties are being applied, no employers are being blacklisted, there is no independent review, and there is no fix to the mess the Conservatives have made of this program.

While businesses from various sectors complain about the uncertainty the Conservatives' mismanagement has created, why are they still leaving it to the media, the workers, and the unions to investigate abuses and problems with this program?

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have not had a chance to visit Jasper National Park, so I look forward to visiting it one day.

Every single one of our national parks in this country is a treasure. Every single one needs to be protected. We need to ensure that every single one is ecologically sustainable and that its habitat is protected. I'm saying this should happen for every single park; I am not saying that one park is more important than the other.

However, for me, Rouge Park is going to be the most important because it is in my backyard. It is the park I go to most frequently, because it is my park. It is the park where I go to hang out. It is the park where I run and go for a walk. Hopefully, some day I will take my children or grandchildren to that park.

However, if it is not protected and if there is a spill in it, as happened in Kalamazoo, then my park, the river, the watershed, and the groundwater tables will be ruined. That is what I want to prevent.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, thank you. I very much appreciate your getting the House to order.

My colleague from Scarborough Southwest is correct in stating that Rouge Park is home to many endangered species. I can list a lot too. It is home to 70 species of trees, 27 species of reptiles, and 20 species of amphibians. More rare species of plants and animals are within Rouge Park than in any other region in Canada. That is not me saying that. That is from research done by the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

To answer the question my hon. colleague asked, which was about the protection of the waterway and the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act that were brought forward by the Conservative government in one of its many omnibus bills, they actually makes it not safe. It was probably in a budget bill. I really do not remember. The changes ensure that the Rouge River, which is the main waterway in Rouge Park, is not a protected waterway. There is a pipeline going through it, and we need to make sure that there are protective measures and that there are valves on each side of the river to stop the flow into the waterway.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, would you like me to continue over these hecklers?

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Scarborough Southwest is correct.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Lois James is known as the grandmother of the park, and the Friends of the Rouge Watershed are the ones who take care of a lot of the tree planting in the area. The activists and community members who care seem to be left out. Who was invited to the announcement about the Rouge Park legislation? All of the Conservatives' friends were invited to it, it seemed, but Friends of the Rouge Watershed was not. My office did not get notice that they were going to be making an announcement about it.

Of course, the announcement was made in Markham, but we know that Rouge Park affects multiple ridings in the area, and we need to make sure that we work together for the creation of Canada's first urban national park. People like the grandmother of the park, Lois James, need to be included in at least the visioning of it.