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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
150th Anniversary of Huron University College December 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House, today, to extend congratulations, on behalf of the Government of Canada, to London's Huron University College on its 150th birthday.
Over the years, Huron College has established a reputation for being one of Canada's leading liberal arts colleges. Chosen by many for its charming campus, diverse and inclusive student body, and academic excellence, Huron has always stood out as a leader in post-secondary education.
During my time as an MP, I have been privileged to work with Dr. Stephen McClatchie, principal of Huron College, and so many remarkable Huron students, graduates and alumni. In fact, I happen to have a Huron graduate right here in my own office in Ottawa.
Congratulations to Huron University College and all who are gathered in London today to celebrate this tremendous milestone. I am honoured to have Huron College in my riding of London North Centre. May the next 150 years be as meaningful and inspiring as the past 150.
Financial Administration Act November 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to voice my concerns about Bill C-473. Before I start, I want to correct the record and indicate that funds at Status of Women are actually at their highest level ever.
The bill put forward by the hon. member opposite would use legislated quotas to force the government to balance the representation of women and men on the boards of directors of crown corporations.
The government agrees that the presence of women on corporate boards brings a different perspective and an important voice to crown corporations. However, legislated quotas come with many potential problems, and that is why we cannot support the bill. For example, there are rigid and arbitrary thresholds that could get in the way of appointing people who reflect Canada's diversity in terms of linguistic, regional and employment equity representation, including women.
Legislated quotas could also result in the potential disruption of commercial operations and good corporate governance. For instance, gender quotas could restrict or limit the pool of potential candidates for a vacant position, leaving the board unable to meet quorum while the minister searches for an appropriate person. In short, the problems with imposed quotas far outweigh the benefits.
However, no one should doubt our government's commitment to women having a voice in Canada's public and private sector boardrooms. We know that women contribute in every respect to corporate enterprises throughout Canada, but we believe that a more competitive corporate Canada requires that appointments to boards are based on merit and excellence. That is why we support a voluntary approach. The voluntary approach is a more flexible way of meeting the government's objectives of appointing the most suitable candidate, based on a number of requirements and competencies.
At the same time, we believe in taking concrete action to advance more women into leadership roles across the country and our economy. For example, working in partnership with private sector firms, we supported the work of the Canadian Board Diversity Council. This group is educating the business community on the value of board diversity. It is also equipping a diversity of board-ready, high-potential candidates, including women, with the tools to pursue board positions.
In addition, in economic action plan 2012, we announced the creation of an advisory council to increase opportunities for women's leadership on corporate boards and to keep our economy strong. Its members were announced by the Minister of Status of Women in April.
The advisory council is comprised of women and men representing a wide range of experience within the corporate sector. All have distinguished themselves as inspired, forward-thinking leaders and decision-makers, committed to the principles of equality, diversity and excellence in our country's boardrooms. These prominent Canadians include John Manley, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Monique Leroux, head of Desjardins; and Charles Winograd, chair of the TMX Group.
The role of the advisory council is to advise the minister on how businesses in the private sector can increase the number of women on their corporate boards. The council is also being asked to suggest how industry and government can track and measure progress under this initiative, and what tools, if any, the government should employ to achieve this goal. It will suggest ways of recognizing or rewarding companies that meet their targets for increasing the representation of women on their boards. Finally, the advisory council will report back with its recommendations this fall, and we look forward to its input and ideas.
Another example of actions that our government has taken to empower women is in economic action plan 2013. Economic action plan 2013 includes a number of measures to better connect Canadians with job opportunities, which will help increase the representation of women in all types of careers.
In addition, since 2007, more than $46 million has been approved through the women's program at Status of Women Canada for projects that promote women's economic security and prosperity. This past July we announced that, through Status of Women Canada, we were providing $266,630 in funding for a 36-month project called Roots/Routes to Women's Leadership and Empowerment: Best Practices.
The project promotes leadership through economic empowerment for women in Toronto. Participants receive leadership training and mentorship to help strengthen their skills and confidence and assist them in taking on leadership roles in their communities. Our support for this project reflects our government's desire to empower women, by putting in place the building blocks of success for more women and girls to prosper in their own lives.
We understand that Canada is better off when the talents and skills of women and girls are represented in every sector of society, in government at every level, and from the grassroots all the way to the boardroom. We know that the more we break down barriers and inspire young women and girls to pursue a wide variety of career options, the stronger Canada will be.
Where we differ from the hon. member opposite is that we believe in creating sustainable pathways to success rather than legislating them. That is why we do not support Bill C-473 with its legislated quotas as the best way to achieve gender balance on the boards of crown corporations.
The voluntary way is the more effective way, and we believe it is the better way for Canadian women, crown corporations and Canada's economy to succeed.
Financial Administration Act November 29th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would just like to mention that crown corporations operate at arm's length from the government and that we on this side of the House believe in having women on boards.
Statistics show that companies that have women on their boards are more profitable, but that does not mean that we have to legislate quotas. Women have earned the right to be appointed based on their hard work and their experience, not simply because they are women.
As Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, I am proud to say that since 2007, more than $46 million has been approved through the women's program at Status of Women Canada for projects that promote women's economic security and prosperity. We believe that a more competitive, corporate Canada requires appointments based on merit and excellence.
There are many very qualified women across Canada. I have had the privilege of meeting many very talented women in my riding of London North Centre. For example, there are three female presidents of our hospitals, but there are many more just like them. I know that they would not want to sit on a board simply because they are female and someone needed to fill a quota. It is an insult to women.
I would like to ask the member opposite why she thinks women are not qualified enough to sit on their own merit when they sit on a board.
Status of Women November 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Mississauga South for her question on this very important issue.
Our government is committed to preventing all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment. These are very serious allegations, and if authorities find the Liberal senator responsible, he should face the full force of the law.
I would like to express my deepest sympathies to his former assistant, who blew the whistle on his disserving actions, and anyone else who may have been victimized. We on this side of the House are listening. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing for the Liberal leader's chief of staff, Cyrus Reporter, who did nothing to immediately help this poor girl who was reaching out in a time of need.
Violence Against Women November 25th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and day one of 16 days of activism against gender violence in Canada.
Our government knows that, sadly, violence remains a daily reality for women and girls. That is why we are taking action in communities across the country. For example, we have launched a national action plan to combat human trafficking, invested $25 million over five years to address the high number of missing and murdered aboriginal women, funded innovative projects engaging men and boys in addressing violence against women and girls, and recently tabled legislation to address cyberbullying.
Through the Public Health Agency of Canada, our government also supports a range of programs for building healthier relationships, addressing violence in the home, and increasing resilience and self-esteem.
Today and throughout the rest of the year, let us all take a stand against violence.
Ethics November 22nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned the shocking reports that disgraced Liberal Senator Colin Kenny was removed from his caucus over accusations of sexual harassment.
The victim says he made inappropriate sexual comments, asked her to wear high-heeled shoes and repeatedly put his hand on her waist when the office door was closed. Even worse, the leader of the Liberal Party's office ignored the victim's plea for help for three months, as she had notified them in August that she was being harassed.
On behalf of Canadian women from coast to coast, I would like to express our outrage and my deepest sympathies to the alleged victim. The Standing Committee on the Status of Women is currently finalizing a study on sexual harassment. We have learned that sexual harassment is a form of violence, with a tremendous impact on the health, well-being and economic security of women.
Our government will continue to focus on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.
Abuse of Women November 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, today, for the third consecutive year, I am wearing purple, along with members from both sides of the House in support of the London Abused Women's Centre's “Shine the Light on Woman Abuse” campaign. Since its inception, the goal of this campaign has been to raise awareness around the issue of woman abuse and its effect on society. Organizations, schools, neighbourhoods, sports teams and places of worship in London will be asked to participate by wearing purple. I am proud that the London campaign has grown to 16 cities and 4 counties across Ontario.
This year we honoured Jocelyn Bishop, 21 years old, killed by her boyfriend in July 2010 in London, and Shannon Scromeda, only 25, a Winnipeg mother killed in April 2008 by her common-law partner in front of their four-year-old son. Since 2007, our government has funded more than $62 million for projects to end violence against women and girls through the women's program at Status of Women Canada.
I would like to congratulate the London Abused Women's Centre, especially director Megan Walker, for shining the light on woman abuse.
Persons Case Awards October 30th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, this week the Governor General presented the 2013 Persons Case Awards to five outstanding individuals who had advanced equality for women in our country.
This year's recipients are: Constance Backhouse and Julie Lalonde from Ottawa, Nahanni Fontaine from Winnipeg, Susan Shiner from St. John's and Cherry Smiley from Vancouver.
These women's scholarly work has contributed to ending violence against aboriginal women, ending sexual assault and harassment and supporting safety for women and girls in Canada.
I join with all Canadians to congratulate this year's Persons Case Award winners and I thank all of those who, like them, work in their own community to support equality for women across our great country.
Interparliamentary Delegations October 23rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian section of the ParlAmericas respecting its participation at the Annual Gathering of the Group of Women Parliamentarians, Paramaribo, Suriname, May 16-17, 2013.
First Nations Elections Act June 14th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the Indian Act election system contains several weaknesses that contribute significantly to unstable first nations governments. Among these principal weaknesses is the two-year term of office. The short period of time simply does not allow first nations to plan and implement important long-term projects for the benefit of their members. In many cases, when an election is held and the leadership changes, progress can be set back. This instability does not make first nations attractive for long-term investment.
I would like to ask my hon. colleague why it is so necessary for Bill S-6 to go through right now.