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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was standing.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Kitchener Centre (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House March 5th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting in favour of this motion.

Committees of the House March 5th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be voting in favour of this motion.

Committees of the House March 5th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if my microphone was still on, but I would like the member for Malpeque to be added to the Liberal votes.

Committees of the House March 5th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Liberals in the House will be voting in favour.

Status of Women March 5th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, as we approach International Women's Day, we take the time to reflect on the progress made to advance the issues important to women and we celebrate these gains. We also take time to assess the challenges still facing women and consider what future steps we can take to enhance the quality of life of women.

Mental health is an important issue to women. We think back to the untimely death of Ashley Smith, an 18-year-old inmate at Grand Valley Institution for Women. This mentally unstable teenage woman had spent most of her sentence in segregation.

Despite being repeatedly told that our federal prison system has become a warehouse for the mentally ill, the Conservative government continues to ignore the fact that our prisons remain ill-equipped to treat those who suffer with mental health issues.

I call on the government to make it a priority to implement a mental health strategy for our federal prison system so another tragic incident like the death of Ashley Smith never happens again.

The Budget March 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I reiterate that we will not succumb to a schoolyard bully. There are many things before Parliament that need to be discussed. There are many things missing from this budget. Again, the budget picks winners and creates losers, and for that reason it is not supportable.

The Budget March 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I believe my hon. friend may be misconstruing the fact that we have decided not to succumb to the schoolyard bully. We have said that we will not have the government fall on the budget. It does not mean that we support it.

I remind the hon. member that when the Liberals were a minority government, we took quite seriously the need to work with other parties. We worked with the NDP because we had an intersecting concern about homelessness, the environment and child care. All those things were for naught because the leader of the NDP and his party decided that it was an opportune time politically to cause the fall of the Liberal minority government. With that, because the Conservative government is driven by ideology, there have been no new child care spaces developed. The government ignored the will of Parliament with the clean air act.

The member should look in her own caucus when she wonders why all the great programming and the thrust of the minority Liberal government did not come to fruition. It was because NDP members decided that they would support their Conservative partners.

The Budget March 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend has to appreciate that when we took over from a former Conservative government, we had a $42 billion deficit that we had to wrestle to the ground. Once we had done that and had our financial house in order, we invested in a lot of things like green technology. We lowered corporate taxes. We actually brought to lower and middle income Canadians the largest tax reductions in the history of Canada.

However, we had a plan and our plan was not retail politics. Our plan looked at the long term fiscal viability not only of our country, but how we could help those in need so when we had good economic times, we did not leave anybody behind. The kind of retail politics we see with the current government is it picks winners and creates losers. Quite frankly, Canadians deserve better than that.

The Budget March 3rd, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in the House today as we continue the debate on the second budget presented by this Conservative minority government.

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Halifax West.

The author of this budget expended an awful lot of energy last week suggesting that investors look outside of Ontario when considering their options in Canada. Frankly, I was shocked to hear the finance minister slam my home province in this way. We can be certain that investors around the world furrowed their brows to hear Canada's finance minister suggest that Ontario's economy is tenuous or unstable.

Those of us in Ontario are well aware of the Minister of Finance's limited credibility. After all, he is the guy who left Ontario with a $5 billion deficit. So, we have little confidence in his ability to manage the nation's coffers.

Ontario, through no efforts from this government, is a vibrant and diverse economy. It cannot be ignored and should not be dismissed. In fact, my constituency of Kitchener Centre, which is in the heart of Waterloo region, is one of those bright lights within the province.

BMO, the Conference Board of Canada and the Royal Bank have all predicted that Waterloo region will sport one of Canada's 10 fastest growing economies beginning in 2009. In spite of deep losses that we have had due to the manufacturing crisis, Waterloo region has low unemployment rates and a strong, healthy housing industry.

The unemployment rate in the Kitchener metropolitan area was 5.3% in January. That is half a percentage lower than it was a year ago. There were 256,100 people working in the area in January, which is 3,200 more than were employed the year earlier. Statistics Canada says that 14,300 people were unemployed. That is down from the previous year when that number was 15,400. The percentage of workers who are employed in the region has remained stable at 67% for the last two years. That number is four percentage points higher than the national average, which itself is at an all-time high.

Instead of dismissing Waterloo region, Canada's finance minister should be heralding our success.

That being said, we cannot ignore the devastating impact that the crisis in manufacturing has had in Kitchener Centre. The loss of good, well-paying jobs has had a significant impact, even on a diversified economy such as ours.

However, this Conservative government has turned a blind eye to the manufacturing industry. In fact, on a visit last spring, the Prime Minister himself suggested to the Canadian Auto Workers that those out of work should seek employment in Alberta. That is unbelievable.

I think it would be generous to describe the lastest Conservative budget as bland at best. It does very little, good or bad. In fact, its greatest failing lies in what is missing from this budget.

Homelessness persists as a problem coast to coast to coast in this country. Some estimates suggest that there are upward of 200,000 people experiencing homelessness in Canada. Further, about 700,000 households are believed to be spending more than half of their income on shelter, leaving them exposed to the possibility of being homeless.

Waterloo region has displayed considerable leadership on addressing the needs of the homeless population in the community that I represent. At this time, in Waterloo region, there are more than 4,800 people who use emergency shelters each and every year.

The regional municipality of Waterloo recently completed a housing strategy that provides direction in allocating federal, provincial and local resources to address homelessness locally. It is thorough and it is comprehensive. The strategy looks forward to long term solutions. It looks to this federal government for a long term financial commitment to this important issue.

The current homelessness partnering strategy has not had funding allocated beyond the year 2009.

When I was reading through Waterloo region's report, one of the remarks from a service provider really struck a chord with me. It read, “We as a society somehow think vulnerable populations don't deserve the same quality of life. We need to be careful about keeping our humanity”.

Everyone has a role to play in ending homelessness. I implore the government to accept its role.

While the Conservative government thinks short term on homelessness, its environmental policies are so long term that they are rendered irrelevant and ineffective. Climate change, the biggest ecological threat facing humanity, has become an issue of health, security, prosperity and survival for our planet. At this critical time, Canada cannot be a laggard. Canada must dedicate attention, resources and commitment to the climate change crisis. Canada must commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, compared to the 1990 levels, by the year 2020.

There is nothing particularly offensive in the document that was presented by the Minister of Finance. The only things that are remarkable about the budget are how it misses the mark on so many issues that are of great importance to Canadians. The budget would have been more effective if the Conservatives had not already spent the cupboard bare with their previous budgets and fall economic and fiscal update, leaving a razor thin surplus to protect Canada's economy should it continue to falter.

It is a significant concern that the Conservative's projected surpluses of $2.3 billion for 2008-09 and $1.3 billion for the next year are well below the minimum $3 billion contingency fund that the Liberals consider a bare minimum to cushion against unanticipated economic shocks.

Do I need to remind the other side of the House that the government inherited the largest surplus in Canadian history a short two years ago. Two years of reckless spending and haphazard economic planning have left a minimal economic cushion. We are quite simply one SARS crisis away from deficit. That is bad enough. Worse still is the fact that we as a nation have nothing to show for this spending binge.

The government needs to demonstrate that it takes our nation's finances and our national issues seriously. Certainly we are entering a time where fiscal restraint is encouraged, however, we never should let a slowing economy become an excuse to abandon those in greatest need. Let us not let politics get in the way of fundamental humanity.

Ethics February 28th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Dona Cadman has said that Chuck told her about this bribe himself. The Conservative Party operatives offered a dying man a $1 million life insurance policy in exchange for his vote. The insurance policy was only one of a list of things they were willing to offer. Obviously, these men were in positions of power.

Why did the Prime Minister send these two people to offer a bribe to a dying man?