House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was border.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Newmarket—Aurora (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2006, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Marriage June 20th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, a recent poll shows that 62% of Canadians believe that this issue has been settled. Even the Minister of Fisheries does not want this issue revisited. Does the Prime Minister want to keep on having votes on this issue until he gets his way, like separatists on a referendum?

Marriage June 20th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, when did taking away the rights of Canadians become one of this government's five priorities? The Prime Minister is insisting on having another vote on same sex marriage when Parliament voted on this a year ago. The only way we are going to have a different result this time is if the NDP continues to compromise its principles on equality to support the government.

When will the Prime Minister stand up for all Canadians and start to defend the rights of same sex couples?

The Environment June 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, based on that answer, I do not think she is going to get a climate change badge to sew on her outfit.

If the minister really cared about air quality, she would have been at the smog summit yesterday in Toronto.

The minister claims to have a plan to deal with smog. Then, why did she decline to attend the obvious forum in which to share the details of this plan? Does she not care about air quality? Or, does she simply share the Prime Minister's low opinion of Toronto?

The Environment June 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, at the luncheon she compared doing a good job for the environment to earning a Boy Scout badge. We checked it out and it turns out that the Boy Scouts actually have a climate change program, which would put them light years ahead of this minister.

When will the minister follow the example of the Boy Scouts and introduce her climate change program?

The Environment June 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, for the first time in seven years, the smog summit in Toronto was without a federal presence. Where was the minister? As one newspaper described it, she was speaking to a blue chip luncheon crowd where she compared--

Business of Supply June 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, if we understand how the global economy works, how business works and how competition works, we realize that we cannot change the global economy, nor can we turn it backwards, but we can create the foundation for greater success.

The Liberal government put forward a number of great initiatives and took the leadership on something I and many of my colleagues are very passionate about, which is education. We looked toward making education a top priority and worked with the provinces to address the challenges of globalization. Education means creating a culture of lifelong learning and developing a program for older workers who are affected by change. We were working very well with the Quebec government at the time to analyze the effect of our older worker pilot program. It is unfortunate that all of that has been dropped to the wayside. We put forward the biggest investment that this country has seen in education over a decade. We were on the right track.

It is unfortunate that in the November economic update that was not allowed to continue to benefit Canadians. It would have benefited hundreds of thousands of young people and older workers.

We signed labour market partnership agreements with Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We were having good discussions with Quebec to do the same thing. That would have brought much needed investment dollars to those provinces to address the challenges of globalization and ensure people had the skills and the opportunities to learn those skills so that at the end of the day we could keep jobs here in Canada and in Quebec, which is so important.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I talked about economic prosperity being linked with economic and environmental success. This is what we have to focus on. We must ensure we lay the foundation now, and not look backward, so Canada will be prosperous and successful in the future.

However, that does not mean it should be at the exclusion of the environment. I believe Canada can take a leadership role in the world. The two can be done hand in hand. We need to look, in a very broad way, at creating the incentives where not only the economy will prosper but enterprise and the environment will prosper. By doing it that way it will have a huge impact on achieving our Kyoto targets in the long term.

The great shame is that Canada took a leadership position in rallying other nations to sign on to Kyoto. Many will say that Kyoto is not perfect, but the good thing about it is that it did bring the world's attention to the issues of climate change and to make it a priority. The other shame is that the government has not recognized that and has let the momentum fall to the wayside.

I am not saying that the government does not have some good initiatives but it is missing the big picture, which is unfortunate. We want to ensure the environment does not take a back seat. The government did not include the environment in its top five priorities, which does great injustice to Canadians.

Business of Supply June 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, right now across our country there are Canadians at work in some of our most important industries: manufacturing, high tech, financial services, and resource management. There are Canadians who are recognized the world over as being at the top in their fields in mathematics, computers, and engineering. There are Canadian families enjoying the benefits of our strong economy, buying new homes in a time of low interest rates and finding good jobs that pay well.

For many this is a prosperous age, and Canada ranks among the world's leading economies, but let us look beyond our borders. In the city of Bangalore in India, new skyscrapers are jammed along the horizon, each filled with thousands of people at work in banking, high tech and research and development, jobs that used to be the privileged domain of the world's established industrialized nations and those of us who live in them. In China, new universities are being built by the dozens. Hundreds of thousands of new engineers and scientists are graduating. They are entering into a better paid, better educated workforce.

They and so many others have abruptly become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing and members of a burgeoning middle class. For China, for India and for other nations such as Brazil, this brings a tremendous potential for growth. It means the world is now their marketplace.

During the latter stages of the 20th century, even in the context of an evolving world, there were some things that stayed constant: the United States as the world's largest and most dominant economy and China and India as populous countries seemingly doomed to repeat the cycle of poverty.

Meanwhile, the baby boomers ensured for decades through demographic might that we had the resources to expand and support our social foundations, including medicare. The century has changed and so has the story. The baby boomers are retiring, which will put serious financial pressures on governments as they strive to protect social services.

Moreover, we are in the midst of a reordering of economic power. In a globalized world, that reordering will bring unprecedented challenges to all nations and certainly to Canada. We will need to move faster just to stay in the same place.

As for those Canadians at work today in our most crucial industries, will their jobs be protected? And those Canadians at the top of their fields, can they remain there? Will the next generation be able to reach those same heights? Will Canadian families be able to continue to rely on the tangible benefits that come from a strong and dynamic economy?

China and India are two great nations with 2 billion people and one undeniable message for the world: everything we know is about to change.

Let us think back to the mid-1990s. Then, the primary challenge facing the federal government was different but equally clear: deficit and rising debt, which threatened our national prosperity and held us back from achieving our potential. The government of the time made the right choice. It chose to attack the deficit, to fight it and eliminate it. We dug ourselves out of that hole and all Canadians today are enjoying the benefits of that shared sacrifice.

Even as we marvel at the difference a decade can make in our national life, we need to be aware that a changing world is calling on Canada to make a new choice. Government cannot single-handedly prepare Canada for what is to come, but it has an obligation to do what it can. It has a duty to the Canadians of today, and to the Canadians yet unborn, to understand that the events of this time are no less crucial to the future success of our country than the battle to overcome the deficit.

The challenge is different and the choices are different, but what we do now will go a long way to determining to what extent Canada thrives in the 21st century. Economists have some pretty dull words for it. They talk about maximizing productivity and human capital. The terms we use are not important, but the truth they reveal sure is.

We are a country with a small population. Canada has 32 million people and we cannot afford to waste the potential of even one of them. For Canada to succeed, Canadians need to succeed. And for Canadians to succeed in our new world, they are going to have to be among the best educated and best trained on earth.

That is why government needs to lower the financial barriers to post-secondary education, countering high tuition with more grants, to make certain that more Canadians get the education they will need to compete for work and thrive on a global playing field.

That is why government needs to ensure that the youngest Canadians get the best possible start in life, with quality early learning, because everything in research tells us that an early start makes for more successful kids.

The government needs to invest in research and in our universities to ensure post-secondary education is valuable and that Canada stays on the cutting edge of ingenuity, pioneering, new technologies and medicines.

The government has an obligation to work with the provinces and the territories to help foster and support a culture of training and lifelong learning so Canadians have the talent and the ability to adapt and to seize the opportunity in new trends and areas, whether at the beginning or the end of their careers.

This need for skills training and development is especially great among immigrants who we need to succeed as new Canadians, and among aboriginals who, for far too long, have been denied the opportunity to share in Canada's success.

A focus on education, innovation, training and lifelong learning has to be our driving focus at the national level, the touchstone for our performance as politicians over the next decade.

As a result of the choice the government made in the mid-1990s as a result of strong fiscal management, we have the means to make those kinds of investments. We have the freedom to think big and to make smart choices.

What is lacking is the political will of the government. In an era that demands that Canada takes two steps forward, we have a government that is taking a big step back.

The members across want to terminate the agreements on child care and early learning that we signed with all 10 provinces, agreements that would have provided funding to create a real choice in child care: affordable, high quality spaces with a focus on development and on ensuring our youngest Canadians, regardless of family income, get every chance to enter school, ready to learn and leave school ready to succeed.

The times are calling for a government with the foresight and the determination to invest in our collective future but what we are seeing is a government of tinkering and tax credits.

The Prime Minister will give us 80 bucks if we have a kid who plays organized sports. He will give us of a few more bucks to help us pay for our tools or work clothes. It is not that the money is not welcome, it is that Canadians want more, expect more and deserve so much more from their government and for their country.

Canadians have big aspirations for themselves and for their nation. We learned in school that our country has accomplished great things and we want our children to grow up to see Canada do more great things and to accomplish them together.

When the Liberal government talked about child care and early learning it often referred back to the creation of medicare, which came into being in very much the same way: a series of agreements with the provinces.

The story of medicare is an integral part of Canada's history and of Canadian lore. It speaks to the values of fairness and generosity that have defined our country and to a sense of determination, a tribute to those who, throughout our history, have fought to overcome the challenges of the times and to make our nation a better place to live.

We need that kind of leadership, leadership that understands the value of action, not complacency, and a government that understands that Canadians want to help build a country, not just live in one.

The government and the Prime Minister have taken office at a time when Canada stands confronted by two challenges of such magnitude that they could easily come to define our new century: the rise of China and India as economic powers and the threats inherent in climate change.

Each challenge demands a prime minister who recognizes that Canada is bigger in its aspirations and richer in its potential than is reflected in the practice of modest ambition and custodial governance.

Each challenge demands a government willing to turn its gaze away from the Holy Grail of a majority government and to focus, not on tinkering and tax credits, but on guiding Canada's economic destiny and putting in place a long term plan that will ensure Canada's continued success.

The Canada that I love, that we love, is a progressive force that should lead change in the world, not resist it. On global warming, that means rallying the nations of the world, not turning away from them. On the new economy, it means making a priority of acting today to ensure we are competitive tomorrow.

Prosperity is not a birthright of Canadians. Our accomplishments are the result of the hard work and ingenuity of Canadians and the foresight and resolve of past governments. Our success in the decades ahead depends on the same kind of hard work, foresight and determination on the part of Canadians, on the part of business and certainly on the part of government.

If we all do our part and if government does it duty, then the world in the 21st century will have its own constant: the ongoing success, through change and in spite of challenge, of the great nation of Canada.

Natural Resources June 7th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, a tax credit for bus passes is not enough to reduce emissions, neither is setting biofuel targets without any federal support for research and development. The minister should know this. If the minister does not know it, the Prime Minister certainly should.

On May 29 economists wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to ensure that Canada benefited from the economic, environmental and health advantages of Kyoto.

Why has the government not put any incentives in place to secure Canada's environmental and economic success in the new economy?

Natural Resources June 7th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, what does the Prime Minister have against downtown Toronto?

Canada's potential as a world leader in green technologies seemed limitless. However, thanks to the government's failure to invest in these technologies any illusion of environmental leadership quickly evaporated.

Incentives for wind power production more than quadrupled Canada's capacity since 2004. It also encouraged provinces to come forward with plans to see production increase another 10 times.

This initiative has now been scrapped along with hundreds of millions in provincial funding to promote a greener economy. My question is simple, why?