House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was let.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as NDP MP for Halifax (Nova Scotia)

Won her last election, in 2006, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Employment Insurance June 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, a former deputy minister of finance in Nova Scotia has called the $54 billion removed from Canada's employment insurance fund the biggest theft in Canadian history.

Shouldering the greatest share of the burden, the EI fund needs $15 billion to support itself, yet only $2 billion is budgeted.

Will the government address the scandal that 68% of women contributing to EI are denied benefits when they become unemployed through no fault of their own, or is it determined to create a permanent legacy of discrimination against women?

Employment Insurance June 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I came to Parliament 11 years ago with some urgent priorities, the inferior status of women and fixing unemployment insurance among them. Perhaps it is because of the pathetic under-representation of women in the Conservative caucus, an unbelievable 11%, that the government refuses to fix employment insurance for women.

Let me rephrase the first ever question I asked in the House of Commons. Will the government set targets and timetables to fix the EI system? If not, will it admit that it has simply given up on those who desperately need its help?

Petitions May 28th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, six months ago the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration adopted a motion calling on the Government of Canada to immediately implement a program to allow war resisters and their families to stay in Canada and to halt all deportation proceedings against them. That has not happened, so today I am pleased to table a petition that calls upon the Government of Canada once again to respect not only international law and international treaties to which it is a signatory, but also the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and the wishes of the people of Canada by immediately making provision for U.S. war resisters to have sanctuary in Canada and halt all deportation proceedings against them.

The petitioners are from the Halifax regional municipality. Among them is peace icon Muriel Duckworth who has just entered her 100th year. We are going to be celebrating that for her contribution to the peace movement in Canada and globally. It is one more reason that I hope the government will pay serious attention.

Cluster Munitions May 28th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, delegates from over 100 countries are meeting in Dublin to finalize a treaty to ban cluster bombs.

Tiny bomblets left behind from cluster bombs pose a mortal threat to innocent civilians, especially children, long after conflicts end.

The cluster munitions ban treaty builds on the Ottawa treaty banning land mines on which Canadian peace organizations, concerned citizens, civil society and progressive politicians worked together across party lines.

Regrettably, the Conservative government today is threatening the integrity of the cluster munitions treaty. Shamefully, the U.S. is boycotting the negotiations. And to our shame, Canada is playing hardball on a provision to allow cluster munitions in joint operations with non-signatory states. That means the U.S. What a dereliction of moral duty.

It is time for Canada to show independent leadership, stop serving as a U.S. lapdog and support a total ban on those inhumane, cowardly, immoral weapons.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act May 27th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a further question with the Liberal member for Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

I certainly respect his very considerable knowledge of agricultural issues. It would not be my intention to challenge his assessment that, on balance, the concerns about the agricultural aspect of this free trade agreement may in fact still warrant supporting the agreement. He has a lot more in-depth knowledge than I do about the agricultural issues at stake here, coming as he does from Prince Edward Island. We do not have a huge agricultural industry in our Halifax riding, not that I would not have a real interest, but I will bow to his superior experience in this regard with respect to agriculture.

I do, though, want to pursue for a moment the question of the shipbuilding sector. To his credit, the member has acknowledged that there are very major concerns of shipyard workers and shipbuilders about the negative impact of this agreement, which is without any real protections for the long term interests and what is really the long term survival of the shipbuilding industry.

I agree with some of the comments he has made about how there are reasons why it would be desirable to reach an agreement with these countries, which generally are higher wage countries with which we have a lot in common and so on. However, I am very surprised that his position and that of his Liberal colleagues is to basically toss the shipbuilding industry overboard with respect to the devastating impact that this agreement could have without having provided some kind of extra carve-out. We know that was not impossible when it came to the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and we had the Jones act absolutely protected, which has had a devastating impact on Canada's shipbuilding. So now this is a sort of double whammy.

I would just like to understand better his view on this. Instead of taking a stand, which we could have done as opposition parties knowing this is going to be devastating for some in Quebec and other parts of the country, certainly in Atlantic Canada, the member and his colleagues decided to not take a united stand. I am surprised and I want to understand that decision. We could have prevailed in insisting upon protections for the shipbuilding industry in Canada, which otherwise may be very adversely impacted by this agreement.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 26th, 2008

With respect to Canada's role and contributions to the United Nations (UN) and other international peace initiatives: (a) what is Canada's assessed contribution to the UN; (b) has Canada fully paid on its assessed UN contribution for the most recent financial year; (c) how much does Canada contribute in voluntary contributions to UN funds, programmes and agencies; (d) how do these voluntary contributions compare with other contributing nations; (e) is Canada a sponsor of international treaty negotiations and, if so, which ones; (f) what are Canada's current treaty priorities, in terms of support for new and ongoing treaty negotiations; (g) does the government have a formal system for monitoring its treaty compliance; (h) what contributions has Canada made to support UN humanitarian operations and peace initiatives in Somalia; (i) what new contributions did the government make to UN humanitarian operations and peace initiatives in Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Haiti in 2007; (j) what new contributions does the government intend to make to UN humanitarian operations and peace initiatives in Sudan, Somalia, DRC and Haiti in 2008; (k) what contributions did the government make to the UN Peacebuilding Commission in 2007; (l) what contributions does the government intend to make to the UN Peacebuilding Commission in 2008; (m) what formal monitoring and evaluation systems are in place in the government to assess how Canadian financial contributions through UN humanitarian and development programmes and agencies are spent; and (n) what is the government doing to ensure Canada's compliance with UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security?

Petitions May 14th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to table a petition that arises out of the 250th anniversary of Nova Scotia as the first representative government in North America. One of the first acts of that government was to establish a lighthouse on Sambro Outer Island, which stands proudly to this day as the oldest working lighthouse in both North America and South America and is a valued national historic site.

The petition calls upon the federal government to show proper respect for the Sambro Island lighthouse, for Atlantic mariners and for the history of democracy in this country by instituting the necessary building repairs and restoring the sound signal upon which local fishermen, to this day, depend in foggy conditions.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 12th, 2008

With respect to the Victoria-class submarine In-Service Support Contract awarded to Canadian Submarine Management Group for the refit of Victoria-class submarines: (a) what criteria were used by the government to compare the estimated costs to the government from competing bids; (b) were the transit costs of moving the submarines from Halifax to Victoria included in this cost comparison between competing bids; (c) does the government’s cost comparison include any costs required to ensure naval facilities are capable of conducting the submarine refit in both Victoria and Halifax; and (d) did the government’s awarding of the contract compare the relative economic benefits to the communities involved?

Burma May 12th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the Burmese crisis is deepening. Projections estimate 200,000 may die, many more if aid delivery is not accelerated. A DART unit of 200 will be too few too late. Thousands of Canadian NGO personnel are already on the front lines in Burma and in the region ready to deliver, and they lack financial and diplomatic support from Canada.

Why is the government focusing on deploying DART instead of financially supporting NGOs already delivering aid, with the capacity and the knowledge to do the job in Burma?

Burma May 12th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Canada's follow-through on Burma's humanitarian crisis is pitiful. Australia's Prime Minister Rudd has committed 10 times Canada's pledge and is personally lobbying world leaders. British Prime Minister Brown is pressing for action at the highest UN levels. New Zealand's Prime Minister Clark is appealing to Southeast Asian countries to step up their efforts.

Has our Prime Minister contacted Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong directly in his capacity as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations?