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

Business of Supply May 8th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I very much welcome the opportunity this afternoon to speak briefly on the non-confidence motion introduced by the New Democratic Party on our opposition day.

Let me make very clear, referring to our motion, the basis for our lost confidence in this government, which we are concentrating on today. There are many different reasons for our lack of confidence, but today our debate is focused on “the harmful effects on working and middle-income Canadians of the growing income gap fostered by this government's unbalanced economic agenda”, which is very punishing for a great many families in this country today.

I want to take a moment to refer to some statistics that apply to Canada as a nation before I focus a little more on my own riding of Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia, from which I am privileged to come.

We have heard that the facts and figures we are sharing with people are some kind of high-blown socialist rhetoric, but I want to try to ground those hysterical Conservative members by referring to the most recent report from Statistics Canada, based on the 2006 census, which is hardly high-blown social democratic rhetoric. I want to refer to three particular facts. There are many others. They all add up to the same picture, which is the damage that has been done by a succession of Liberal and Conservative governments over, I am inclined to say, the last 50 years.

However, what the 2006 census report makes clear in the detailed analysis is that it is actually over 30 years of flawed, unbalanced economic policies that have created what is a growing prosperity gap in this country. It is not only punishing for a great many people, but it is dangerous for a society to have that much division and that much marginalization.

Let me refer to three brief facts.

First, the earnings of average Canadians have stagnated over the last 25 years.

Second, in 2005 a person with a full time job earned a median pre-tax salary of $41,000 and a bit. When adjusted for inflation, that is only about a buck a week more than what the average worker took home in 1980. We are talking about what they took home 28 years ago.

Third, while middle class workers experienced no real growth in earnings, those at the top end got a lot richer, with a 16.4% increase in the 25 year period between 1980 and 2005, and those at the bottom got much poorer, with a 20.6% decline.

I do not know how there can be such denial, both of the statistics themselves and of what the impact of those statistics is on the real lives of real people in the real communities that all of us collectively represent in this country.

I am very proud of the fact that my party has consistently put forward the alternative policies and the alternative solutions. I was very pleased when the member for Toronto—Danforth, who succeeded me as leader, put forward to our membership in this country and to the Canadian people the fact that the role of opposition is an important one in democracy, but an important part of opposition is proposition, that is, to put forward the solutions.

That is why, led by the anti-poverty critic in our caucus, we have worked consistently on a detailed, comprehensive anti-poverty strategy. We are proposing what kinds of policies are needed to reverse the damage that has been done as a result of unbalanced economic policies for over 30 years now in this country, most often under the Liberals but also under the Conservatives. Certainly under today's Conservatives, the damage is deepening every day.

I want to turn to my riding of Halifax for a moment. People will say that Halifax is thriving and that Halifax is a very prosperous place today, and that is absolutely true. I am very privileged to represent that riding. It is not true that my community has gone to hell in a hand-basket because it is represented by a New Democrat. I have been proud to represent this riding now in the House of Commons for 13 and a half years.

The prosperity in Halifax is astounding. In case anyone thinks that is because of Conservative or Liberal provincial members who come along and mop up behind whatever influence I might have on my own community in representing it, let me say that there are five provincial seats within my federal boundary and all five of them are represented by New Democrats. It does not seem to follow directly that as a result of social democratic thinking, things fall apart.

Let me also say that in opposition federally and provincially, we have consistently beseeched both levels of government--and I can only speak for the 29 years I have been in public life, so that is what I will do--the Conservatives and Liberals in office to understand that many of the economic policies they pursue create a growing gap. They create greater disparities all of the time between the wealthiest among us and the rest of Canadians. In particular, they are very punishing to the poor.

In Nova Scotia today, 34,000 children are living in poverty. Nearly four out of every ten Nova Scotians have difficulty reading, understanding and using printed materials, and have difficulty with numeracy. What does that have to do with poverty, some people may ask. It has a lot to do with poverty, and that in itself is a whole separate subject.

There are 7,200 children per month who are forced to rely on food banks in Nova Scotia. Some will say that it is good that charity is there to mop up the damage from flawed economic policies. However, not only is the charitable model not the appropriate one in a modern prosperous community or a modern prosperous country, but it is time for us to recognize that the whole community, the whole country benefits when we operate on the justice model and operate on the basis that we have the means, we have the know-how, we have the resources, we have the knowledge that we need to make sure that we do not have more and more people being left behind in our society. It is shameful that this is happening in the midst of the plenty that exists in this country today.

I am very pleased that in seven days' time, on May 15, I will be hosting a public forum, a public dialogue in my own riding to bring various people in the community together to talk about this growing gap and what the solutions are that can be brought to bear.

We know that the labour movement has a contribution. It is making a big contribution in trying to address this problem, having launched on International Women's Day a comprehensive strategy to end poverty once and for all, to advance equality once and for all.

The president of the Canadian Association of Social Workers, who is participating in that forum, has been giving tremendous leadership around issues of equality and diversity. Others in the community will contribute their ideas.

Despite the prosperity in my city of Halifax, there have been enormous job losses in Nova Scotia. We do not hear as much about them because we do not have as many jobs to begin with, so when the jobs are lost, they are not as numerous. However, we have the same concerns that have been raised again and again by members of my caucus from Ontario, from the west, from British Columbia. In comparable terms based on our population, the number of job losses is very serious: 120 jobs lost in one community, 280 in another, 50 in another, 300 in another, 150 in another and 580 in another. Those are very large numbers of job losses. It is time that we began to address those problems with serious solutions.

Business of Supply May 8th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to ask the hon. member a question that concerns me a great deal. I think it would concern her a great deal as well. There is the very dire absence of adequate child care opportunities available to children to get the best possible start in life from such early learning experiences and for parents who are desperate to work in jobs with decent incomes and to raise their families and provide their children with the best possible start in life.

This never comes from the province of Quebec. To its credit, the province of Quebec has done very well. It does not have universal child care available to every family that needs it, but it has a universal program available that can be accessed and that provides the best child care in the country.

As a woman, as a parliamentarian, as someone whom I know to be concerned about family, does the member not recognize the complete failure of the Conservative government, the government in which she sits, to provide the kind of child care that working families, low income families and modest income families need? This is a serious contribution to the crisis being experienced by so many parents and working families in our country. Why has the federal government abandoned those families because they do not happen to live in the province of Quebec?

Burma May 8th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, United Nations humanitarian flights are arriving in Rangoon today. Relief from India, Indonesia and Bangladesh is now getting into Burma, but without experienced disaster relief personnel on the ground, there is no assurance that aid will reach the people in greatest need.

Financial aid is starting to flow but international relief staff are being blocked. What has the government done to ensure that Burmese authorities cannot siphon-off Canadian aid and ensure that the sanctions regime does not restrict humanitarian organizations in their relief operations?

Burma May 8th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. envoy to Burma suggests the death toll from the cyclone could reach 100,000 and 20,000 have died already. Canada needs high level representation to deal with Burmese authorities to ensure that Canadian aid and Canadian relief workers to administer it can get into Burma. A Canadian envoy could play a vital role here, but for now Canada's staff is located in Thailand.

Will the government appoint an envoy to gain access for Canadian relief and relief workers so that Canada's contribution is maximized?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 7th, 2008

With respect to Canada’s contributions and commitments to international peace: (a) how much has the government budgeted for the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre; (b) how has funding for the Centre changed from year to year over the past five years; (c) does the government intend to sustain funding for the Centre; (d) how much does Canada contribute to the UN’s Standing Peacebuilding Fund; (e) how does Canada rank in terms of military personnel and police contributions to UN missions; (f) what plan does the government have to increase its military and police contributions to UN missions; (g) is Canada involved in any UN-sponsored peace initiatives or negotiations and, if so, which ones; (h) what follow-up initiatives has the government undertaken to support the Responsibility to Protect; (i) what steps has Canada undertaken to ensure compliance with Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security; (j) what initiatives is the government undertaking to support nuclear weapons non-proliferation and disarmament in the international arena; and (k) does the government endorse the principle of a nuclear-free Middle East?

Treatment of Rare Disorders May 6th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity this evening to participate in the debate on the private member's Motion No. 426 which addresses the very complex issue of rare diseases and disorders and the toll it takes on the lives of an untold number of Canadian.

It may seem like something of an oxymoron to say that because, at first glance, a person might think that if the diseases and disorders are so very rare then how can it be that so many people's lives are affected. The reality is that there is a vast array of rare diseases and uncommon disorders that afflict the lives of a great many Canadians and, in many cases, cost them their lives, but the number of Canadians affected by any one of those rare disorders or rare diseases is relatively small.

That poses some very serious challenges for the individuals who are suffering from the effects of those rare disorders and diseases, for their families and for the health care system.

I want to say at the outset how much I admire the leadership that has been shown by the member for North Vancouver, not only in bringing this issue to the attention of parliamentarians and educating us, through a variety of means, about the real impact of the current inadequacy of our health care system to respond to this situation, but for going so much further than that, so much further than just making us aware.

I am one of many members of Parliament who was privileged to be in attendance at an awareness event that was co-sponsored with the Speaker of the House. I want to express my appreciation to the Speaker for having shown an interest and a commitment to support the efforts of the member for North Vancouver when he hosted an event here on Parliament Hill. Some of the good work that does get done is not often evident to the public. The member and members of his family shared the devastating story of losing first one and then a second grandchild to a rare disease for which there was no treatment available that might have saved or prolonged the life of those grandchildren.

I want to express my deep admiration for the courage and persistence the member has shown in bringing this issue forward. To state the obvious, the member, having done this, will never bring back his loved ones but I think it has been evident that this is a labour of love and it is not only in support of his son and daughter-in-law but also other families who are struggling with similar circumstances. I am sure it cannot be easy to again and again muster the energy, the inner resources and the courage to share that story because it is so devastating.

Not only did the member himself but his son, who suffered the loss of his two young children to a rare disease, stood among parliamentarians to tell this very difficult story about such a deep loss to him, his wife and the extended family.

However, the efforts did not stop there. The member serves as president, or certainly did, although I am not sure if he still does, of an organization formed to bring this fight to life, an organization known as CORD, the Canadian Organization for Rare Diseases.

This has been a persistent information campaign and advocacy group to bring to the light of day, to bring to the attention of Canadians, to lobby parliamentarians and to say that our current government's response to the plight of so many people is simply inadequate.

Some might ask, how can we expect to develop the kind of resources that would be needed, very expensive treatment regimes and pharmaceuticals, when only small numbers of people are afflicted by each of these different disorders?

If one closely examines the motion brought forward by the member, some very practical considerations are contained in it. I do not have time to go through them in detail, but they seem eminently reasonable and practical. There is nothing unrealistic about what has been put forward. I think that is why there has been absolutely no hesitation about members coming forward to indicate their support.

The fact is we are one of the few remaining countries in the developed world that does not have a comprehensive policy to address this very challenging problem. We do not have an official definition of a rare disorder. Nor do we have an orphan drug policy. There is no reason for us not to move on this. I hope all members will see the wisdom of supporting the motion.

I know the member from Quebec has raised a jurisdictional question. It is really a question about what often arises in regard to Quebec's handling of similar social-economic policies. I hope this would not in any way, shape or form be used as a reason not to achieve unanimous consent on the motion.

Although there has been some compromise, some elements lost in the motion as a result of the government indicating that it would support some amendments, it is nevertheless some kind of progress that we can move forward to put in place some very specific recommendations. It is unfortunate that the government, as I understand it, has insisted that the requirement for it to come forward with report within six months not be contained in the motion. Instead the government has indicated 12 months is the only timeframe to which it is prepared to commit. At least it gets us on a path to begin to look seriously at what kinds of policies and programs need to be put in place to deal with this.

When I first began to become sensitized to the devastation of the rare diseases and disorders, which have such an impact on families, I knew only second-hand of some of the persons who were struggling with such disorders. As chance would have it, during the last year, I had a very close family member who was stricken initially by a completely undiagnosed illness. It went on for a considerable period of time. It turned out to be an extremely rare disorder. The good news is there is progress in dealing with such disorders.

One very important thing in the motion is the recognition that there needs to be accommodations for the kinds of clinical trials that would be conducted and what the regulations to govern those trials would be. We are talking small populations, and one has to accommodate that reality.

It is too easy to say that we cannot really do that, that this is very expensive. An appeal was appropriately made to the intended universality of the Canada Health Act that because we had small numbers afflicted by these various rare disorders and diseases, that did not mean people should not expect to be covered by the intended provisions of the act. Regardless of where one lives and how much money one has or one's family has, people should receive as close to equal treatment as is possible.

I am very pleased we are now looking at this motion, which I hope will be universally endorsed. With the modern breakthroughs in scientific advances and modern research, this is an area in which there is no question we can make enormous gains and have a huge impact on the lives of people who are afflicted by such diseases and disorders, on their families and on the health care system to apply these new breakthroughs in knowledge.

The most shocking and obscene thing is the amount of money spent on using new information and technology to develop new weaponry, weapons of war, for example, as if this is some kind of a step in the direction of civilization. We need to recognize that we have to harness new knowledge and new research advances for the betterment of humankind. What better example could we have than the one now before us, as a result of the hard work by the member for North Vancouver. He would be the first to—

Committees of the House May 6th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate today. As the member for Burnaby—Douglas has just indicated, members of the New Democratic Party, actually I think all members, have been very much engaged in the debate around immigration issues in the last while precisely because we have seen a systematic, if not a somewhat subversive, tearing down by the government of some of the most important traditions and practices which have made our immigration policies so successful over time.

What has made this country strong and enviable in the eyes of the rest of the world is our policy of openness to people coming to this country and deciding to build a better life and contributing to the building of a better world. That is a fact. That is reality. That meant we had to be open to families who were fleeing desperate conditions. That meant we had to be open to policies that would allow new immigrants to occupy jobs that were building the infrastructure of this country. The heart of a successful immigration policy is family reunification.

What we have seen over the last while is a surreptitious shift by the government, not well disguised at all, in developing policies for future immigration practices. These practices have a lot more to do with the narrow notion of exploiting cheap foreign labour that is the antithesis of the openness to welcome new immigrants into the Canadian family as full participants. The window is also narrowing with respect to family reunification.

That is why today the New Democratic Party immigration critic, with the support of the caucus, has brought forward a concurrence motion to support a simple proposition, one that was supported by the majority of the members of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

The committee is recommending that the government allow any applicants, unless they have serious criminality, who have filed their first in-Canada spousal or common law sponsorship application, to be entitled to a temporary work permit and an automatic stay of removal until a decision is rendered on their application.

We are all strongly endorsing this recommendation because evidence shows that reinforcing the strength of partnerships and family relationships is key to the successful settlement of new immigrants in this country. It is the single most important thing we can do to ensure that families thrive, that people who go into the workforce have the strength of family behind them, and that in general, they become much more happily and easily integrated into the larger society.

What is being recognized here is that it is inconsistent with that evidence and inconsistent with past practices that we should contemplate this, unless there is evidence of some kind of criminal record. I think all who have spoken have reinforced and reaffirmed our belief that a criminal record is a reasonable basis for not accepting, for not giving the benefit of the doubt, which is what we are really saying, and that otherwise we should recognize that it is a very shortsighted, counterproductive policy to actually require the breakup of a relationship and the expulsion from Canada of somebody who is stuck in that lineup of over 900,000 delayed cases being dealt with through our clogged-up immigration system. It is a very shortsighted, counterproductive policy to actually require that they leave the country when, in the overwhelming number of cases, they will be given approval because they are exactly the kind of people who we want coming to Canada and helping to build this country.

It is a very practical policy as well as a humanitarian and compassionate policy to recognize that we are constantly telling the world and telling each other, because it is a fact, that we need a lot more immigrants in this country. I remember somebody saying something once, although I do not remember who it was, in the context of Atlantic Canada, where we struggle with out-migration. We struggle with the fact that we lose so much of our productive workforce to greener pastures. We struggle because so many of our young people are forced to leave Atlantic Canada these days just to get the mountain of debt off their shoulders from having paid very heavy costs for education. They are forced to leave for where they can earn the level of income that will allow them to pay off those debts in a timely way, so they are attracted away, to where they can get better paying jobs and so on.

In the context of Atlantic Canada, I remember someone saying once that there is nothing wrong with Atlantic Canada that two or three million more immigrants could not solve. That is the situation we are faced with in this country. We need more immigrants, so why are we not embracing the policies which we know will ensure that new Canadians get the best possible start in building their new lives?

Why are we not embracing the policies which will ensure, as this particular recommendation from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration stipulates, that such persons, while awaiting a final determination on their ability to remain in the country with their spouse or partner, should be entitled to a temporary work permit? The reality is that we have many jobs in many parts of the country that are going unfilled, or there are long delays in employers filling those jobs because of the shortages of labour in many parts of the country.

Coming back to the importance of family reunification again, what we know is that there is nothing more devastating to any family than being forced, for whatever reasons of economic pressure, economic hardship or flawed immigration policy, to split up a family and require in this case that somebody leave not just the community but the country.

This is a practical but also a humanitarian response.

Along with my colleagues, I think all of us have been very dismayed at the thinly disguised shift in policy, but it is not well enough disguised for us to not be able to recognize how dangerous it is. We now have an attempt by the government to usher in some major changes in the thrust of our immigration policy by burying it in the budget, knowing that this is exactly the wrong direction in which to go.

I am very glad today that we have had the opportunity to debate this issue. I think it reflects the compassionate considerations of most Canadians, but it also is a very practical policy with respect to what makes for both successful immigration and settlement and also a sound economy.

Committees of the House May 6th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, as usual the member for Burnaby—Douglas, as the member for Trinity—Spadina, who spoke in support of this concurrence motion, both have outlined in very practical terms why this recommendation coming from the immigration committee is the one that makes sense to endorse. It surprises no one that we would have a dissenting view from the Conservative Party that argues against the very simple, straightforward proposition that has been approved by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and now is before this House in the current debate.

I am pleased to hear the member for Burnaby—Douglas spell out why family reunification needs to be an absolutely fundamental plank in our immigration platform as a nation because of the many aspects of family reunification that make for a strong citizen, that make for the best possible start for immigrant families in their new land and so on.

I know the member has endorsed and given some examples, but I wonder if I might ask him to further speak about the current policies that are pulling away from that family reunification strength that needs to be at the centre of our policy with respect to the kinds of concerns that have been brought forward to the town hall meetings, to the round tables, that he and other New Democratic Party colleagues have been holding, as we watch the government try to slip through in a surreptitious way some changes to the immigration act that actually could cause untold irreparable damage to the lives of new immigrant families.

Committees of the House May 6th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary has indicated that this is all about balance. It is no surprise to us that he and his colleagues on the Conservative side are opposing this concurrence motion, as they opposed the report itself at committee, which gave rise to this debate on the concurrence motion.

I have to say I think it noteworthy that the Liberals have seen fit to play their role as official opposition in this case and actually stand behind the work that is done in the minority government situation at committee and now in Parliament. We would like to see more of that.

I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary a question. In opposing the motion and the report, he says that existing measures strike an appropriate balance between family reunification and the need to maintain the integrity of the immigration program. I am wondering if the parliamentary secretary would address the question of these horrendous backlogs that continue, and what that says about the government's notion of balance in what is clearly case after case after case where humanitarian and compassionate consideration should be brought to bear.

Where is the balance between continuing with serious shortages of staff trained and qualified to carry out these kinds of processes and making a decision to virtually gut the treasury by giving away very large sums of money to those who least need tax giveaways in our society today, those being big oil, big banks and big polluters? Where is the balance between that and those who are facing desperate family crises in many cases as a result of the policy that the parliamentary secretary and his government insist on standing behind, which is--

National Defence Act April 30th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak briefly in the debate on Bill C-513, An Act to amend the National Defence Act, introduced by my colleague in the Bloc, the member for Ahuntsic. I welcome the opportunity to speak to the bill, and I commend the member for bringing forward a bill that generates an important debate.

At the very heart of the issue is the notion that there needs to be, to the maximum extent possible and feasible, parliamentary oversight for one of the most serious decisions, if not the most serious decisions a government makes and in which a Parliament either participates in a democratic, constructive way or is shut out. That decision is to send into harm's way the women and men of the Canadian armed forces to serve their country.

No one in this chamber questions the depth of commitment and the severity of the demands that places on what are largely the young men and women of our country and the impact it can have on their lives. I think we all are seized, whatever our particular perspective is on the details of this proposal, with the severity of such a decision. One hopes we are all committed to ensuring that the best possible reflection of the views, desires and wishes of the Canadian people is taken into account when such a decision is made.

In fairness, both the member for Richmond Hill on the Liberal bench and the parliamentary secretary from Edmonton Centre have raised some very practical questions and legitimate concerns about the workability of the private member's bill. However, without equivocation and without reservation, I and my colleagues support the intent of the bill, which is to ensure the Canadian people have, to the maximum extent possible, an opportunity to have their views and wishes on what is agreeably one of the most serious decisions we are ever compelled to make on their behalf as their elected representatives in Parliament.

I am also pleased a Bloc member has introduced this bill, at least bringing into the light of day the real issue about how we exercise responsibility around such issues. I was both surprised and disappointed, as I think a lot of people in Quebec were, that the Bloc, when given the opportunity to vote on the question of the Afghan mission, saw fit to give support the extension of it in what seemed at the time to be a very surprising decision, particularly given how extremely truncated and shrunken down that debate was. I am not talking about the most recent vote, but the previous one,

I remember, with a real sense of horror and dismay, the environment in which that debate took place here. It took place when I and the member for Richmond Hill had been back less than 72 hours from having visited Kandahar and Kabul, having come to the realization that there were many problems with the mission. Not a word was said by the foreign affairs minister at the time, now the defence minister, about the fact that this would be rammed through Parliament on very short notice, with absolutely no opportunity for there to be any real consideration of the implications. Also very little information was forthcoming on the basis that one could make a responsible decision.

Therefore, if this means Bloc members have thought about this and perhaps even have had second thoughts and some regrets about their decision in that context, then I would applaud them for giving it that further consideration. This may be one of the motivations behind the bill.

A great deal would be served by the bill going forward for further detailed consideration.

It did not surprise me but I was disappointed when the parliamentary secretary opened his comments by showing that it has taken the Conservative government less than two years to become every bit as arrogant as the Liberals. I do not want to misquote him but he basically suggested that since the Liberals and the Conservatives are the only parties that will ever govern this country it therefore is only what they think that matters and since both parties think this is a ridiculous idea then we should not even consider it.

I could spend a lot of time talking about how often those words were spoken by Liberals or Conservatives in the provinces and territories across this country where it turned out to be a ridiculous assertion. We just need to look at Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I hope this time next year I can say we can look at Nova Scotia where people said that when I sat alone in the Nova Scotia legislature.

It does not surprise me that kind of arrogant comment is made but it disappoints me in the context of such a serious debate.

I want to briefly quote from Professor David Bercuson, a witness who appeared before the national defence committee in the fall of 2006. I very much agree with his comments. He said:

... there ought to be much greater parliamentary control over troop deployments abroad. I have called for the necessity for Parliament to approve deployments of as small as 200 to 300 troops being sent overseas. I believe this is extremely necessary, not simply because of the forms of parliamentary democracy, but to engage the Canadian people in the debate about whether or not troops should be sent overseas.

That sentiment used to be expressed very often by members on the Conservative bench when they were in opposition, and now it is just like a closed door, not even worth a discussion, and mostly hurling insults at how inadequate this proposal is.

The bill merits further consideration. I think we all agree that this is the most serious thing that we are asked to do. We should be looking at this bill in detail. Other private members' bills have come forward that were inadequate and needed the expertise that comes before a committee. I think of Bill C-293 that was originally introduced as a private member's bill by the NDP and then taken up by the Liberals. It has been worked over both at the Senate committee and at our own foreign affairs committee. The bill has been improved to the point where I hope every member is ready to pass it after a huge investment of time and resources at committee level both in the Senate and in the House.

Private members' bills often start out as good ideas, with good intentions and in response to a genuine aspiration by the Canadian people. It is our responsibility to take those bills into a committee, discuss them, do further research, improve them and then move them forward. This bill is one that I genuinely believe Canadians would support.

I will finish by further quoting David Bercuson who said the following:

The people whom we are deploying abroad are also going in harm's way. By signing up to the Canadian military they have taken up, in a sense, an unlimited liability. They will lay their lives on the line for the people and the Government of Canada if necessary. There is no other citizen in this country, including the police, who has a liability that is unlimited. That is why I think your committee needs to have more power and authority than other committees in Parliament and why Parliament should vote on overseas deployments.

I hope we can move this bill forward and improve it to where it is a genuine reflection of what is needed in this country by way of accountability.