House of Commons photo

Track Susan

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is status.

Conservative MP for London North Centre (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 37.00% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Aboriginal Affairs October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our action plan brings together many measures to combat violence against aboriginal women and girls, and we on this side of the House are proud of it.

I am also proud that on October 11, Canada and the world is celebrating the International Day of the Girl. On this day, our government recognizes girls as powerful agents of change and leaders of today and tomorrow. This government, with the help of Plan Canada, has worked tirelessly to make the International Day of the Girl a reality and Canada led the international community of the United Nations in building support for establishing this day, which is now celebrated both domestically and internationally.

We on this side of the House are proud of the International Day of the Girl.

International Day of the Girl October 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, I would like to invite all Canadians to celebrate International Day of the Girl on October 11.

Each year, on this special day, we celebrate the hope and inspiration that girls and young women represent for our families, our communities, and our country.

This day also brings attention to the needs of girls throughout the world, who so often face violence and poverty, as well as inadequate education and health care.

That is why I am proud of the Government of Canada's leadership role in having the United Nations declare the International Day of the Girl.

On October 11, I hope that all Canadians will find ways to support and celebrate girls and young women on this unique and very special day.

Women Entrepreneurs October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, October is Women's History Month in Canada. This year's theme, “Canadian Business Women—A Growing Economic Force”, encourages us to look at Canadian entrepreneurs.

Women have made vital contributions to business and entrepreneurship throughout our history, and this continues today. RBC Economics reports that in 2011, majority-owned women's businesses contributed an estimated $148 billion to the Canadian economy.

Throughout Women's History Month 2014, I invite all Canadians to discover and honour the accomplishments of women in business. Knowing this proud history can inspire enterprising women and girls across Canada to pursue opportunities in business and help build a stronger economy for all.

I am very proud of the women entrepreneurs in London, Ontario.

Business of Supply September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I inadvertently voted twice and my vote should be reflected as opposed.

Committees of the House September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his important speech on this issue.

I am very proud of this action plan and, together with other federal support for shelters, family violence prevention, and increasing economic leadership opportunities, it will result in an investment of the Government of Canada of $200 million over five years.

However, not everyone wants a national action plan. The Minister of Status of Women met with organizations and family members across the country. In my riding of London North Centre, At^lohsa Native Family Healing Services wrapped up a week of activities to honour sisters, daughters, and nieces who were taken too soon. Meg Cywink, a sister of Sonya Cywink, who was slain 20 years ago, said to forget a national inquiry; it would only create more paperwork. That is just one example.

The previous member, a Liberal member, asked something to the effect that, if a woman could not find a safe place, where would she go. If the Liberals had voted for Bill S-2, they would have a safe place; it is called a home.

My colleague and I were both on the committee together when we heard from the family members. Only one asked for a national inquiry at the end of her speech. Would my colleague not agree that the other family members wanted us to hear their stories and know their pain, and wanted Canadians to know who their—

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

First, Mr. Speaker, I point out that when the Liberal government was in power for over 10 years, it did nothing to help women and girls, let alone aboriginal women and girls.

I do not know how the member can wonder what we are doing for women and girls in general, because no government has done more for women and girls and aboriginal women and girls than this government.

What we have accomplished in the last even five years is improved community safety, and that is working well. We have established a national centre for missing persons and unidentified remains. We have launched a new website for tips. We have developed a police database, a compendium of best practices to help communities. We have developed community safety plans, funded awareness materials, and allocated $25 million toward the missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is correct. I did sit on that committee for approximately a year, and I heard the same thing the member heard. When we listened to the families of the victims, only one family member asked for a national inquiry after she was finished her statement.

I am not sure why the member opposite thinks all the organizations and every aboriginal woman and girl is supporting a national inquiry, because that is not so.

Here are some examples. Despite the opposition's assertions that we are not listening to indigenous communities, we have heard some resounding support for our action plan.

The commissioner, James Wilson, of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba had this to say:

The announcement of [this] framework is a solid step towards building a new relationship that will address and overcome this issue. Through this relationship, we can help shape a brighter future for Indigenous women and girls across the country.

The president of the National Association of Friendship Centres spoke up and offered this input:

Experience has shown us that the most effective way to address this critical and troubling issue is in our own communities through targeted and sustained investments that address community needs and priorities. [This action plan] sets us on the right path to advance this important work.

We are listening to them.

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this important debate on the concurrence motion before the House today. I want to thank all the members of the special committee on all sides of the House who participated in this important study.

Our government takes this issue very seriously. I was pleased to be a part of the committee that heard from several expert witnesses, along with the families of the victims.

It is so important to speak to the first nations who have been affected and ask them how we can help. How can we work to break the cycle of violence? I am proud to speak about the special committee's report today and highlight the good work the committee has accomplished.

We have done Canadians a great service by bringing attention to this serious issue and shedding light on this complex problem. Our government is deeply committed to ensuring justice for all Canadians and to cracking down on crime.

The research is clear. Aboriginal women experience high rates of violence. The RCMP's recent report, for example, has confirmed that aboriginal women are overrepresented among murdered and missing women. Far too many aboriginal families have felt the effects of violent crime and have lived with the aftermath. This is unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour.

Canada is a country where those who break the law are punished, where penalties match the severity of the crimes committed and where the rights of the victims are fully recognized. Abhorrent acts of violence are not tolerated in our society. These violent crimes must be strongly denounced by the communities in which they occur and by all Canadians.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Status of Women met with aboriginal leaders and community groups to talk about violence against aboriginal women and girls. She also met with some of the families of the women who had been murdered or gone missing. At those meetings, they discussed what the government should do to address this serious problem. The minister was told repeatedly that the time for talk was over. What we needed now was action. It was time to stop these terrible acts in our communities and to rally around victims and their families.

The Government of Canada has put in place a range of measures totalling nearly $200 million to address violence against aboriginal women and girls. This includes supporting the DNA missing persons index, with $8.1 million over five years, as well as $1.3 million per year in ongoing funding; continuing to support police investigations through the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains; and providing safe haven for victims by funding shelters and prevention activities on reserve, with $158.7 million over five years.

In addition to these ongoing initiatives, our government has taken steps to improve the status and protect the rights of aboriginal women. For example, we passed the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act to ensure that people living on first nation reserves would have similar access to similar matrimonial real property and protections to those living off reserve. Both sides of the House voted against that.

We also introduced the Canadian victim bill of rights, which sets out for the first time in Canadian history clear rights for victims of crime.

Finally, there is our Safe Streets and Communities Act which eliminates the use of conditional sentences, or house arrest for serious and violent crimes.

This brings me to the action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women and girls. This action plan is our government's response to the report of the House of Commons Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women. It sets out how we will allocate our new investment of $25 million to reduce violence against aboriginal women and girls. The plan identifies how we will work with partners in three priority areas: preventing violence, supporting victims, and protecting aboriginal women and girls from violence.

Over the next five years, we will provide funding to aboriginal organizations and communities to develop local solutions to address these priorities.

By bringing together a broad range of initiatives, the action plan builds on the valuable work that is already under way to address violence against aboriginal women and girls. The goal is to leverage these earlier successes so we can build upon previous investments, while expanding our efforts. For example, under this action plan, more communities, both on and off reserve, will develop community safety plans. That is $8.6 million over five years.

These plans work because they are designed and implemented by community members who understand better than anyone the unique safety challenges of the community in which they live. This initiative has been very successful in empowering communities to take charge of their own safety.

In addition to community safety planning, we will fund projects aimed at breaking intergenerational cycles of violence and encouraging healthy relationships. That is $2.5 million over five years. We will work with communities to empower women and girls to speak out. We will engage men and boys in preventing violence against women and girls.

The action plan also sets out a range of initiatives to support victims. That is $7.5 million over five years. This includes support for family-police liaison positions. Family-police liaison improves communication between police and victims families by ensuring that family members have access to timely information on cases.

Violence against aboriginal women and girls is a serious issue that requires a multifaceted response. No government or organization can tackle this problem alone. This work must be done in partnership across federal organizations with provinces and territories and through the leadership of the aboriginal communities and organizations.

The action plan is one important step toward safer communities for aboriginal women and girls. Specifically, we will continue to work with federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for justice and public safety to coordinate actions across the law enforcement and justice systems. We will ensure that aboriginal organizations and communities play a direct role in the community safety planning initiative and other efforts. We will provide communities and organizations with easier access to funding for a variety of projects to address violence against aboriginal women and girls, including those to raise awareness, promote healthy relationships and prevent violence on reserves.

By working together, we must ensure that aboriginal women and girls are no longer victimized, but are able to reach their full potential as mothers, as daughters, as sisters and as Canadians.

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, certainly our thoughts and prayers go out to the families. No one can even imagine what they have be going through for the last 20 to 30 years.

I am very proud of our action plan. I would like to ask the member opposite this: Does he not think that raising awareness to break intergenerational cycles of violence is important? Does he not think engaging men and boys is important? Does he not think that addressing underlying causes of violence through structured training initiatives is important?

We are doing many things in this action plan, and it will help aboriginal women and girls on reserve, and I am very proud of it.

Status of Women September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share another quote with the House, this time from Bernadette Smith. Her sister, Claudette Osborne, has been missing since July 2008. She said:

This Action Plan is something that our families have been waiting for. I would like to thank...the Government for their commitment to addressing this issue.... We've had numerous studies on this issue and the time for action is now. We can't stand idly by and talk about this without taking significant action. This Action Plan will have a direct impact on families and it will help keep our women and girls safe.

I am proud of the action our government is taking.