Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Edmonton Centre (Alberta)

Lost her last election, in 2006, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Justice Gomery was very clear. He said that the Prime Minister, then minister of finance, discharged his obligations ethically and appropriately.

Supply November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

It is with pride that I rise in the House today to talk about our government and its record and to explain to Canadians why they should have confidence in this government. The people of Canada exercised their democratic choice in June 2004 when they elected a Liberal government, albeit a minority government. We have respected that democratic choice and have tried to make this Parliament work in the best interests of Canadians.

It is with regret that today I have to say plainly to Canadians that while we have tried to make this Parliament work, as Canadians expected and deserved, the opposition parties have been focused over these past months in designing ploys to defeat us and send the people back to the polls.

It is only today that the opposition parties have had the honesty to put a clear motion of non-confidence before this House. For us, the government of this great country, we will stand proudly in our places and vote no to this opportunistic motion.

If the leaders of the opposition parties decide to withdraw their confidence in the government now, they are entitled to do so. They will have to explain why they are forcing an election at a time when Canadians least want one. They will have to tell them why they are ending this Parliament, a mere eight weeks ahead of schedule.

The motion means that the opposition no longer wants Parliament to work for Canadians. For weeks, those members have focused on one thing only, election timing. For months, the leader of the official opposition and the leader of the Bloc Québécois have been obsessed with the defeat of this government and sending Canadians back to the polls.

Interestingly, at one point the New Democratic leader offered the leader of the official opposition some sound advice. He said of that leader:

He should start working and talking about the issues that matter to people in their daily lives instead of talking always about an election and who's going to call it.

What a difference a day makes. There they sit, the united alternative: one party that thinks government can do everything, another party that thinks government can do nothing, and a party that wants to break up our country. Talk about the grinch who stole Christmas.

The Prime Minister committed to call an election 30 days after the second Gomery report. At that time, Canadians would have all the facts and a clear outline of recommended changes to make sure certain things never happened again.

This government welcomes the opportunity to talk about accountability and transparency. This Prime Minister cancelled the sponsorship program. This Prime Minister established the Gomery inquiry. This Prime Minister was found to have discharged his duties as finance minister ethically and appropriately. Most important, this Prime Minister made a commitment to the people of Canada and the people of Canada accepted that commitment.

It is quite telling that today's motion is silent on the government's policy agenda. Canadians elected our government to implement the priorities we outlined in the last election, priorities outlined in the Speech from the Throne in September 2004, in our budget in February 2005 and in our economic update earlier this month. The opposition simply repeats its partisan attacks, showing again, with laser-like clarity, that those members have failed to present any positive alternatives to Canadians.

By contrast, as the House leader mentioned this morning, the Prime Minister has set out his vision of what a government must be:

I believe in the good that government can do, that government must be the leader of national undertakings that express our highest aspirations and reflect our deepest values. I believe that the role of government is to set the national objectives of its time and then to mobilize the national will to achieve them.

In this minority government, we have worked to realize our goals. The government has introduced 89 bills, 40 of which have received royal assent, and these bills have made a difference in the lives of Canadians, for example, the veterans charter and the Atlantic accord, to name only two.

I am proud of this government's accomplishments in ensuring economic prosperity for Canadians. Canada has had eight balanced budgets in a row. We are the only G-7 country not in deficit. Unemployment is at a 30 year low. This is simply the best fiscal record of any government since Confederation.

In 2000, we implemented the largest tax cut in Canadian history and $100 billion was returned to taxpayers. Yesterday, the House of Commons again expressed its confidence in our government, endorsing a variety of tax reductions. We put forward legislation to split unanticipated surpluses in a balanced way among investments, tax reduction and debt relief. Last week, the Minister of Finance announced significant investments in Canada's future prosperity to create opportunities for all Canadians, to advance an innovative economy and to place Canada at the centre of global commerce.

For the opposition to call this a record a gross abuse of public funds is simply a gross distortion.

Canadians told us in the last election that sustaining and building a public health care system was their number one priority. In September 2004, the Prime Minister concluded a successful first ministers meeting by agreeing to a 10 year plan to strengthen health care. We have provided $40 billion of new health care funding over the next 10 years so that waiting times can be reduced in all the provinces.

We committed in the last election to a system of early learning and child care, perhaps the single best investment we could make in young Canadians. Budget 2005 set aside $5 billion over the next five years to implement a national system based on equality, universality, accessibility and development. So far, nine provinces have signed agreements. So far, the Conservatives are still opposed.

The government fulfilled its commitment to a historic new deal for Canada's cities and communities, pledging in budget 2005 to share $5 billion in gas tax revenue over the next five years. These funds will enhance the quality of life in communities across our country. For instance, in Alberta, cities and communities, the fastest growing in Canada, are providing for sustainable investments in infrastructure and mass transit.

The government brought forward a new international policy statement to give Canada a role of pride and influence in the world. We pledged $12.8 billion toward the Canadian military and committed to increase the regular force by 5,000 and the reserves by 3,000. My colleague, the Minister of National Defence, announced this week the acquisition of a new fleet of transport aircraft. We on this side of the House are proud of our Canadian armed forces and the role they play here and around the world.

As an Albertan, let me say how pride I am of our accomplishments. We have worked with aboriginal communities and the private sector and with the government of the Northwest Territories to help move the Mackenzie gas project forward. This will mean thousands of jobs and new opportunities for the north and our whole country. We worked to reopen the U.S. border to Canadian cattle and to provide assistance for beef producers hit by BSE. Investments and innovation are helping make the universities of Alberta and Calgary true world leaders in health sciences, nanotechnology and energy research, to name but three. The government's vision for the Pacific gateway will see expanded opportunity for Alberta exporters.

At the last election Canadians gave us a mandate to govern. Opposition members will have to answer to Canadians for why they forced an election before Parliament could complete its work. It is a selfish vision of the democratic process to want and to force an election simply because they lost last one.

I wish to conclude by asking this. What kind of Prime Minister would the leader of the official opposition make, a man who says that he thinks it is wrong to remind the separatists they cannot tear up our country by breaking the law, who will not defend the importance of the Clarity Act and even criticizes its mention by our Prime Minister? Perhaps he is thinking about a future where he will need the parliamentary support of a separatist Bloc Québécois. For our part, we are thinking of a higher obligation, to keep the nation united and strong.

If we are defeated in the House, the government will campaign not only on its record of accomplishment for Canadians but on our vision for the future of our great country. While the opposition will practise the politics of grievance and petty jealousies, we will continue to talk to Canadians about the positive, activist, future oriented plans that we have for our families, our communities and our country.

As the Prime Minister said, and I repeat, “government should set great national objectives and mobilize national will to achieve them”. We pledge nothing less to the Canadian people.

Supply November 24th, 2005

Is that a threat from you, Jay?

Correctional Service of Canada November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member understands that if an accused person who is incarcerated has reached his warrant expiry date, there is absolutely no legal way that we can continue to hold him in a federal prison.

In fact, the police in the local jurisdiction can seek a section 810 order. Local prosecutors can, obviously at an earlier stage in the process, seek to have the person declared either a dangerous or a long term offender, but that has to be done at the time of the conviction and sentencing. Therefore, I think the--

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I find it amazing. The hon. member should know, because he serves on the public safety and emergency preparedness subcommittee of the justice committee, that there is not a police force in the western world that did not reallocate police resources after 9/11 to deal with the terrorist threat. I just hope he is not suggesting that.

Let me also tell the hon. member that in fact, RCMP Depot in Regina has received new resources. It is training more officers than ever. We are going to put more resources into RCMP Depot to increase its ability to train more resources.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, one could not do much better than quote the Commissioner of the RCMP before committee. This is what the commissioner had to say:

It took the RCMP years to go from a zero budget to a $2 billion budget, but in the last six years our budget has gone from $2 billion to over $3 billion. I think that speaks to how much the government and society have supported our endeavours. We have received a lot of money.

Therefore, that means a lot of new resources.

Public Safety November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I have no knowledge that any planes were used in relation to the act of extraordinary rendition.

I have received the hon. member's letter and I have asked my officials to follow up on his letter. In fact, if he has some secret information it might be very useful if he shared it with us.

Public Safety November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, I received the letter yesterday. I referred the letter to my department officials and have asked them to follow up.

Let me again go back to what I have said. I have received no information that would indicate that any plane has landed in Canada anywhere that has been involved in the act of extraordinary rendition.

However I received the letter and I have asked my officials to follow up.

Public Safety November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I did receive such a letter yesterday afternoon after question period. I have referred the letter to my department officials and have asked them to follow up on the issues raised by the hon. member.

I go back to what I said before. I have received no information or evidence whatsoever that those planes were involved in any act that one would describe as extraordinary rendition.

I want it to be absolutely clear that we have not in this country returned anyone to a country where they would face a substantial risk of torture.

Air-India November 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as I have just indicated, I will accept the recommendations of the Hon. Bob Rae in relation to the second stage of this investigation or inquiry. He has identified for us the questions that we can answer and that will ensure, we hope, that this kind of tragedy does not happen again and does not befall the families of other victims.

I also want to inform the House that I had the opportunity to meet with the families just a little while ago. I have indicated that I will look at their additional questions and some of them will be added--