House of Commons photo

Track Rathika

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • 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

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, 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.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is really funny that the member would say that he does not see me in the park, because the one or two times he has been to the park, I was there. I do not understand what he means. However, it does not matter. Let us not talk about what he does or does not do. I want to talk about the park.

The park is very important to me. He says that I was giving misinformation here. I was reading from existing legislation. I was reading from the Canada National Parks Act, the Provincial Parks Act, the Rouge Park Management Plan, and the Greenbelt Plan. I was reading from the motion from city council, from a release that CPAWS put out, and from the legislation itself. The member said he was listening very hard. Maybe he missed the parts I quoted from the existing legislation and the legislation that is before us.

After he attacked and said I do not spend time in Rouge Park, which is a joke, he asked about the difference between a national park and an urban national park and if I feel the park does not need highways. My vision for this park is that it will be one that conserves and protects the natural habitat and ecosystems of this park while allowing the residents of the area to enjoy the park. It also means making sure that there is not a large oil spill and that the water system is protected.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am one of the stewards of this park, and that is why I am saying that this bill is a good start, but we need to make sure we are protecting this park and making it the best park it can be.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 19th, 2014

Oh, Mr. Speaker, a Conservative member is heckling me and asking if I have been to the park. Of course I have. I go there and plant trees and bushes, and I take care of that park. I personally take care of Rouge Park.