House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Don Valley East (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 34.60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 21st, 2011

With regard to Building Canada Fund projects in Quebec: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, instead of investing in the police, who are underfunded and under-resourced, the government is creating mega prisons for unreported crimes. The government needs to invest in resources. The police need money, so let us invest in the right resources. Let us be smart on crime, not stupid on crime.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am quite amused by this. If there is a three for one credit, I have to wonder whether the senators who were charged with fraud in elections will be going to jail and what time they will serve.

When it comes to Conservatives committing a crime, why is it that the government absolutely refuses to put them in prison or ensures that due process takes place? Ordinary citizens who commit crimes are put wherever and the Conservatives think they are being tough on crime. But when it comes to the Conservative senators, members and ministers who are implicated in fraud in elections, where will they be going?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the member's question brought me back to the fact that the Prime Minister went to Mr. Chen's store for electioneering purposes.

It was the member for Eglinton—Lawrence and the member for Trinity—Spadina who were the proponents of this private member's bill to move it forward.

I can only speculate that this was electioneering because if it was for the law and order agenda and I as a private citizen am not protected, it must be speculation time.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-60, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).

The genesis of the bill was the arrest of Toronto grocer, David Chen, who apprehended a man who had previously stolen from his store. Mr. Chen was arrested and charged with forcible confinement after the perpetrator of the theft was caught outside his store by Mr. Chen who effected what, in his mind, was a citizen's arrest.

Under the current provisions of the Criminal Code, a citizen may make an arrest only when a criminal offence is being committed or has been committed and the alleged criminal is in the process of fleeing. Eventually, the court, after a lengthy period of time and a large public outcry, found Mr. Chen not guilty due to a reasonable doubt being identified by the judge.

As I look at Bill C-60, it tries to amend subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code to enable private citizens who own or have lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest, within a reasonable time, a person who they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. This power of arrest would only be authorized when there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible in the circumstances for the arrest to be made by a police officer. It would also amend the Criminal Code to simplify the provision relating to the defence of property and persons.

We must be careful that the passage of this bill does not give the public the erroneous impression that individuals have the right to mete out any form of vigilante justice. The government has taken too long to introduce a bill on this issue, and when it came up with this wording, there are some issues around clarity. There is ambiguity. What are these things that need to be clarified? The ambiguity that is most concerning is what is meant by a reasonable amount of time between the act of violence that is committed on a personal property and when a citizen's arrest is made.

If this ambiguity is left unresolved it could lead others to inadvertently commit a criminal act. For example, let us say that we see someone breaking into our house or garage and stealling tools but we are not able to apprehend the person, if we were to meet that person next week in a park could we apprehend him or her then? What is a reasonable time? How does one get around it? If I see somebody breaking into my neighbour's house, what is my job as a citizen? Should I make a citizen's arrest? Where are the parameters? Those are the parameters of the citizen's arrest that are missing from this explanation or change to the act.

How do we ensure clarity? We need to have clarity so we do not have a repeat of what happened to Mr. Chen. Mr. Chen did what he thought was helping the police. He arrested the guy who was a repeat offender and because it was his personal property he thought he was doing the right thing. Unfortunately, the police arrested Mr. Chen and told him that he was doing the wrong thing.

I wonder how many of us would stop if we saw a theft taking place, take a picture and ensure the picture was correct so we could give it to the police do they could find the person. We know the police force is underfunded. It needs all the citizen help it can get. Where is this clarity that we are looking for? I know police officers have also raised concern about the legislation and I look forward to hearing those concerns. I would look forward to sending this bill to committee.

For a government that says it is a law and order agenda government, why did it take so long to bring about changes?

The member for Eglinton—Lawrence and the member for Trinity—Spadina both addressed this issue many months ago when they brought in a private member's bill. It was after they brought in the private member's bill that the government decided that it should get around to this issue as well.

I want the government to be smart on crime and to be alert on crime, not to make crime some election issue. These are crimes that affect citizens and that affect my daily life. I would like the government to clarify due process. How does the judge know what due process is? The judiciary should be given that clarity.

What determines a citizen's arrest? The police need to be given clarity so they do not repeat the mistakes that happened in Mr. Chen's case. If the police do not understand the interpretation of this bill, we will have another repeat of Mr. Chen's situation.

This is important for all of us. I will give an example that is very interesting. Spitting is not allowed on many streets, especially in Europe. People cannot spit on the street. Is spitting a crime? Do I take a picture? If I do take a picture, what do I do with it? How do I make a citizen's arrest? If I see a member's computer being stolen, what do I do about it? What is a reasonable time? When do I enforce it? As I mentioned, the police force does not have the wherewithal to arrive on time sometimes. It needs all the help it can get.

Therefore, when we are looking at making changes to that act, we should let the police do their justice job. If we are trying to apprehend a perpetrator and the perpetrator has a gun, what do we do? How do we protect ourselves? Yes, the police should do their job and, yes, the police cannot always be there, but when we are talking about citizen's arrests, let us be clear about what we want.

It is unfortunate that the government took so long. It is unfortunate that Mr. Chen had to go through this lengthy and costly legal process due to the ambiguity. I do not think the ambiguity has been clarified by what the government has introduced.

I hope the committee and its members will look at these concerns and that they will come up with a solution that provides clarity to the public, the police and the judiciary.

Business of Supply March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, today's motion deals with electoral fraud. It deals with the issue of a moral compass, that the government has lost its moral compass. It does not have economic competency. It has lost its moral compass.

The government keeps saying that this is an administrative matter. There are no administrative jails, unless the Conservatives are preparing to build one.

Those forged invoices resulted in the headquarters of the Conservative Party being raided. Could the member explain why the Conservatives are so scared of admitting the truth and returning the ill-gotten, dirty money back to Canadians?

Year of India in Canada March 7th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Year of India event last Friday was supposed to be a non-partisan celebration. That was until the PMO got involved. After the Prime Minister spoke, the PMO tried to embarrass the next speaker, the Leader of the Opposition, by removing the podium and ushering the media out of the room. This childish behaviour is not becoming of a prime minister. Clearly, the PMO has taken the concept of owning the podium too literally.

Like the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, I guess the Prime Minister will make sure his staff takes the blame for his mistakes, but the buck stops at the top for those who misuse government resources and treat Canada's ethnic communities like mere political pawns.

This nonsense has got to stop. I call on all members to proudly celebrate our historic and burgeoning ties with India, but let us do it free from partisan politics.

March 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I have a few simple questions for the government.

Why is the Conservative government increasing payroll taxes for individuals to the tune of $8 billion while giving a tax break of $6 billion to the wealthy corporations?

Why is the government imposing airport fees and other indirect taxes on working Canadians while allowing big business tax breaks which Canada can ill afford, especially since the corporate tax rate is the lowest in the G7?

Why is the government increasing debt on the backs of all Canadians?

Canadians are tired of this arrogant, secretive, contemptuous government. Liberals are in favour of lower taxes and have given huge breaks to Canadians after cleaning up Conservative mismanagement.

Can the government explain why putting an extra $6 billion of debt on the shoulders of all Canadians to give benefits to large successful corporations is fair?

March 3rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to continue the Liberals' attempt to get answers from the government in relation to its fixation on giving unaffordable tax breaks to large businesses. These corporate tax cuts, to the tune of $6 billion per annum, translate to $8 million per day. The Conservatives will be borrowing $6 billion during a time of high deficits to give tax breaks to large corporations. This is unbelievable. It shows the government's lack of economic competence.

Each and every working Canadian, therefore, will be burdened with extra taxes so that the Prime Minister can give his friends a huge profit. Small and medium-size enterprises employ 53% of all working individuals. They are the economic engines, but will not receive one penny from the $6 billion. Working Canadians also will not see a penny of these $6 billion, but will be forced to pay extra taxes as this unaffordable corporate gift will increase the government's deficit and debt.

When Liberals left office, they left the treasury with a healthy surplus of $13 billion, which was a result of sound fiscal management. The Liberals had to clean out the horrendous mess the previous Conservatives had left. As sound economic managers, the Liberals brought Canada back to a healthy fiscal framework. This ensured better services and billions of dollars in personal and corporate tax cuts.

The Conservatives have blown the surplus through mismanagement. They now have a deficit of $56 billion, to which they will add another $6 billion per annum, with more likely for their ideological spending.

The government is creating a further disadvantage to small and medium-size businesses. By cutting taxes for large corporations, they are effectively taking away the competitive advantage for the SMEs. This will allow the big box store chains even greater ability to force their smaller competitors out of business.

Canadians may be facing an election soon over the upcoming budget, which will implement this giveaway of taxpayers' money. The choice at the ballot box will be clear. Do people favour a tax break for big business that will cause greater debt for all Canadians and put small and medium-size business at a competitive disadvantage or do they want a Liberal government that looks after every Canadian?

Can the minister explain to Canadians why he favours this corporate giveaway?

International Co-operation February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, now that the minister is finally answering questions, I have a few specific questions for her on KAIROS.

Did the minister originally sign the document that approved the funding for KAIROS before later rescinding it? Who ordered her to make the change? Who specifically added the handwritten word “not” to the document, and why did she not reveal all of this to the committee last December?