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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 May 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, unlike the Liberal leader, we are not afraid to say that violence against women is exactly what it is: barbaric. Unlike the Liberal leader, we believe that aboriginal women deserve the same matrimonial rights and protections as all other Canadians. Unlike the Liberal leader, we support the bill.
We are not in way over our heads. Our female members, our aboriginal members and all members of our Conservative government are united. We are proud to stand up for the protection of aboriginal women.
The Economy May 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the Canadian economy gained 12,500 new jobs this month. Our government has created over 900,000 net new jobs. Our strong and steady leadership has ensured that Canada has remained one of the strongest economies in the world, acting as an example for other countries.
By contrast, the NDP is determined to kill jobs through its $20 billion carbon tax. With its $20 billion carbon tax, month after month, year after year, job numbers would be in the red. The contrast is simple. Under our government job numbers have grown by 900,000. Under the NDP, with its reckless $20 billion carbon tax, job numbers would plummet.
Canadian workers and businesses alike know that they simply cannot afford the reckless tax-and-spend agenda of the NDP.
Business of Supply May 9th, 2013
Mr. Chair, aboriginal women are three times more likely to experience violence, including spousal violence. Our government believes that aboriginal women should have access to rights that most other Canadian women take for granted: the right to the equitable distribution of the family home upon a divorce or separation, the right for a spouse and their children to continue to occupy the family home on the death of a spouse and the right to be protected from violent situations in the family home.
We have heard stories about aboriginal women having to leave a violent situation in their family home on reserve for a shelter in a nearby town. We have heard stories about aboriginal women who have paid for the family home on reserve, only to be evicted on the dissolution of the relationship. Some of these women are still paying for the homes in which they are not allowed to stay anymore.
Could the minister please speak to the need for access to justice for these aboriginal women?
Business of Supply May 9th, 2013
Mr. Chair, I have the pleasure of being part of the status of women committee that is currently studying Bill S-2. I hope that the bill will be referred back to the House very soon. If passed by Parliament, Bill S-2 will do much to protect some of the most vulnerable people in Canadian society, specifically women and children living in first nation communities.
This bill must be passed into law in order to ensure that women and children on reserve can benefit from the same rights and protections people living off reserves are afforded. They deserve and expect no less.
Our government believes that family violence, wherever it occurs, should not be tolerated, and that the rights of individuals and families to an equal division of the value of the family home must be protected.
It is shameful that the opposition is not supporting these important measures. If they truly want to stand up for aboriginal women and children, they should support our legislation to protect the rights of women and children on reserves.
Can the minister explain to the committee why aboriginal women and children cannot wait any longer for access to these same rights and protections?
Business of Supply May 9th, 2013
[Bill S-2] is addressing the real human issue of an aboriginal person, something taken for granted by all other Canadians...A spouse within an aboriginal relationship should not be denied, or put out on the street alone and without any recourse, because of a family [or marital] breakdown.
Prevention is the cornerstone of the government's overarching plan to stop the violence perpetrated against aboriginal women. This bill is one important means by which first nation women and children would be protected as it will allow access to emergency protection orders.
Bill S-2 would provide protections in situations of family violence and may prevent future incidents. Furthermore, this legislation would empower first nations to develop their own laws in the area of matrimonial real property, laws designed to meet their particular needs and respect their particular customs.
Under Bill S-2, a first nation could formalize its traditional dispute resolution processes and remedies and finally give them the force of law. The legislation would also ensure that until such time as a first nation would be able to create its own laws, federal rules would provide families with the rights and protections they sought and deserved just like all non-aboriginal citizens and aboriginal people living off reserves.
As a result, all men, women and children living on reserve would have rights related to the occupancy transfer or sale of the family home that were not previously available to individuals living on reserves.
More important, in situations of family violence a spouse would be able to apply for an emergency order to stay in the family home with the exclusion of the other spouse for a period of up to 90 days with a possibility of an extension.
Furthermore, we have committed to the creation of an arm's-length centre of excellence for matrimonial real property, which will assist first nations in the development of their own on-reserve matrimonial real property laws or in the application of the federal provisional rules.
I would like to point out that as part of the development of this legislation, our government undertook an extensive consultation process that included over 100 meetings in 76 cities across Canada.
We have had ample opportunity to review, discuss and debate the bill since it was first introduced in 2008. Since then, more than 40 hours have been dedicated to debate and study of the bill in Parliament. More than half of this time occurred during committee study of the bill, with 60 appearances from first nation organizations individuals and federal and provincial representatives, among others.
As a result of these consultations, Bill S-2 incorporates a number of improvements over previous versions. We are proud of this bill and urge all parties to support it.
To further protect vulnerable aboriginal women and children, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada also supports access to a network of shelters serving on-reserve residents and work in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, first nation people and other stakeholders to develop effective and appropriate solutions to the issue of the domestic violence.
Family violence is an issue that can affect Canadians from all walks of life and can have tremendous costs, particularly for children, so it is important to ensure that help is near. Families and first nation communities that are remote and isolated make these particular challenges in accessing protection and support services. In order to address these challenges, this government invests in the ongoing operation of the family violence prevention program on reserve.
Economic action plan 2013 commits $24 million over two years for this program. These funds will allow the total funding level of the program to remain at $30.4 million for each of the next two years. This investment contributes to enhanced safety, security for on-reserve residents, particularly women and children.
Business of Supply May 9th, 2013
Mr. Chair, before I begin, I would like to indicate that I will use the first 10 minutes of my time to speak and the last five minutes for questions.
Funding for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development programs services and activities allows the department to support aboriginal people and northerners in their efforts to improve social well-being and economic prosperity, develop healthier, more sustainable communities and participate more fully in Canada's political, social and economic development.
One such initiative that aims to improve the rights of families living on reserves is Bill S-2, the family homes on reserves and matrimonial interests or rights act.
Many Canadians are not aware that in the absence of legislation like Bill S-2, if the spouse who holds the interest in an on-reserve family home passes away, the surviving spouse has no legal rights to that home, or that the spouse holds the interest in a family home on-reserve can sell that home without the consent of the other spouse and keep all of the money, or that the spouse who holds the interest in the family home on reserve can bar the other spouse from the residence.
Where do members think they are going to end up?
Constituents in my riding of London North Centre were shocked when I told them that aboriginal women did not have the same matrimonial rights that women off reserves had, or that in the event of domestic violence or abuse a court cannot order the spouse who held the interest in the on-reserve family home to leave their residence, even on a temporary basis.
Domestic violence is a stain on society. To counter it, countries such as ours should continue to maintain effective justice systems and to establish appropriate and specialized legal responses.
For many women living on reserves, however, there is no justice. Aboriginal women are at least three times more likely than non-aboriginal women to experience violence. They are also more likely to experience severe violence that is repeated over time and over and over again.
Aboriginal women who experience this violence and abuse currently have no legal recourse when it comes to the family home. In cases of abuse, women often have to choose between leaving their home or enduring the abuse because there are no emergency protection orders or exclusive occupation orders available to them.
I saw a witness in tears who said that if this bill had been in place, she would still have her home, for which she paid.
Although violence against women that takes place off reserve has similar impacts on individuals and communities, there is at least one fundamental difference off reserve. There are laws that enable women to seek protection and retain access to the family home. Women who live off reserve can go to a judge and secure legal resolutions, such as exclusive occupation orders and emergency protection orders. These tools provide women with the rights to the family home and a way to protect themselves and their children. This has been going on for years all across Canada, but not on reserves.
However, many women living on reserves do not have access to the same protection measures. Aboriginal women on reserves are all too often forced to leave the family home, along with their children, and even leave their reserve community when they experience violence at the hands of their intimate partner.
It is simply unacceptable that in this day and age, people living on reserve are not afforded similar rights and protections as those available to people living off the reserve. Individuals living on reserves should not be penalized simply because of where they live.
Bill S-2, family homes on reserves and matrimonial interests or rights act, if passed, will provide matrimonial real property rights and interests to men and women who live on reserves and will provide protection for spouses in situations of domestic abuse.
Betty Ann Lavallée, national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal People, said before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, that Bill S-2 is addressing the real human issue—
Sutherland Cup May 6th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, after over 60 years, the London Nationals have done it.
This weekend, in front of a capacity crowd at London's Western Fair Sports Centre, the London Nationals defeated the Cambridge Winter Hawks 4 to 2, to win the seventh and deciding game of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League's Sutherland Cup final.
The Nationals are one of many successful sports teams in Canada's London. All year they battled hard and played their heart out. Their hard work and determination was rightfully rewarded with their first Sutherland Cup championship.
I would like to congratulate the entire London Nationals organization and roster, including owner Ken Eansor, head coach Kelly Thomson and the coaching and training staff, and team captain Scott Lombardi. A special congratulations goes to Paul Hopkins, who scored two goals in game seven.
London is proud of the Nationals. Go Nats Go.
Status of Women April 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Miramichi for her hard work on the status of women committee.
We introduced matrimonial property rights legislation that would finally allow judges to enforce emergency protection orders that would save lives and protect women from violence.
Aboriginal women, international organizations and even the Manitoba NDP have been calling for this for many years, but shockingly, the Liberal leader has instructed his caucus to vote against this protection. We call on him to reverse his position now.
I am proud to say that our Conservative government continues to stand up for the rights of aboriginal women.
Aboriginal Affairs April 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hard-working member for Oxford for his very good question.
We have introduced matrimonial property rights legislation that will finally allow judges to enforce emergency protection orders that save lives and protect women from violence. Aboriginal women, and even the United Nations, have been calling for this for many years, but shockingly, the Liberal leader has instructed his caucus to vote against this protection. If he truly wanted to listen to the United Nations, he would support this bill. I am proud to say that our Conservative government continues to stand up for the rights of aboriginal women.
Citizen Culture April 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, thanks to a federal investment of $81,500 the London Arts Council and London Heritage Council are partnering to deliver a program designed to enable London's broader community to engage and explore in all of what London's arts and heritage organizations have to offer.
Citizen Culture encourages newcomers, new Canadians, Londoners, tourists, and students to engage in cultural experiences at 22 participating arts and heritage organizations in London. As the program develops, more arts and heritage organizations will be added.
Through Citizen Culture, the arts and heritage sector in London will encourage new community relationships, and increase visitor attendance, volunteer opportunities, and employment in the sector.
Our government is proud to support London's arts and culture. So far this year, I have been pleased to announce over $245,000 in federal funding for arts and culture projects in London, Ontario. I invite all Canadians to join us in Canada's London and participate in our Citizen Culture program.