Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was women.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Cumberland—Colchester (Nova Scotia)

Lost her last election, in 2004, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Excise Tax Act February 10th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to clarify a point. The hon. member for Calgary Centre indicated that we did not go to the Atlantic region in January. That is a fact and true. The finance committee was there in November. We invited anyone in the region to come to Ottawa for the hearings and paid their-

Excise Tax Act February 10th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to stand before this House today as a

member from the Atlantic region to talk about the Atlantic region. I wish to clarify the point that some of the members from the third party have referred to it as the maritime region when in fact we are talking about the Atlantic region of Canada. The harmonized sales tax is indeed an issue for intelligent discussion in this House.

The member indicated that members of the finance committee did not go to the Atlantic region because we were afraid to hear what the people might have had to say. That is not the case. We were in the Atlantic region in November. We held hearings across the country on the GST and we had open discussions. We even had political leaders from other parties attend our hearings here in Ottawa. It was the generous availability and the invitation of members of the finance committee that brought them to Ottawa.

Some key points in the harmonized sales tax that are being missed are really valuable. A point of fact is that on average, a Canadian consumer and in fact a consumer in the Atlantic region visits the grocery store approximately two times each week. In the items the average consumer will buy, approximately 40 per cent of them are taxable. What this means in the Atlantic region is a reduction of that tax through a harmonized process. In Nova Scotia alone that reduction is almost four percentage points. In the other Atlantic provinces, such as Newfoundland, it goes down even much further. In fact consumers at the grocery store will see a benefit in a reduced tax of up to four percentage points at the minimum in buying approximately 40 per cent of their goods on average twice a week in the average consumer pattern.

There is another important point. I talked to farmers in Atlantic Canada this very morning. The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture are very pleased with what this tax will do in the farm sector. Barns and new silos are being built across my constituency already. This is in the event that when the tax comes into place on April 1 these farmers will get a rebate of 15 per cent on all capital expenditures.

Let me tell this House that Ontario farmers are now saying: "Why can't we have this in Ontario?". That is the message which is coming from the farm sector in this country. They want what Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and New Brunswick are getting in the farm sector. This 15 per cent tax credit looks a heck of a lot better to the average farmer than does a 7 per cent GST rebate.

When we talk about the input tax credit, the 15 per cent input tax credit that is available to all manufacturing sectors in the harmonized zone is a benefit to the Atlantic region. Why is it a benefit? Because it will sustain those who are manufacturing and creating long term jobs in our area.

This is the real benefit to our harmonized tax and the single tax system. Why is it a benefit? People have been asking us what to do in terms of simplifying tax. We have heard the hon. member speak about a flat tax here today. This is not about a flat tax and this is not part of this reform. It is about a harmonized tax.

In the Standing Committee on Finance we had companies in Ontario that manufacture goods for this nation say to our committee: "We will be looking at the harmonized zone. There is an incentive in that for us to even look at relocating to a harmonized zone because a simplification of a single tax, no tax on tax, is beneficial to the manufacturing sector and to the long term sustainable sector of our society that will keep our economy employing young people and generating an economy that will sustain us as we move into the 21st century".

A controversial point in this whole debate is a tax in pricing. Those who are making the most noise regarding tax in pricing are the multinationals and the internationals. When they come to Atlantic Canada they have told us that they do not benefit from the 15 per cent input tax credit because they do very little infrastructure in the harmonized zone. They have cashiers and people who work at the front line who stock shelves but the money for the most part is simply in employment wages and it leaves the region in the benefits from the sales. My invitation to the multinationals, if they really wanted to get the maximum benefits from the harmonized sales tax, was to come to the Atlantic region, to the harmonized tax zone and set up basic infrastructure, develop the long term sustainable businesses that will generate our economy.

For several decades now, maybe even a century, we have lost a large part of our economy. We have been an underprivileged region accepting large transfer payments. That is not because we want to, that is not because we are hard workers and that we do not have large numbers of entrepreneurs. I can give the history of my own businesses. We had put money where our mouth was and started a scientific company that has since went on to the stock exchange to become a very successful international company. We wanted to manufacture in the Atlantic region. We wanted to hire young scientists to create jobs and to be sustainable so that we would not have to be that have not province and have to take those transfer payments that we have depended for so long.

Some of the hon. members are advocating that this is not good news for the Atlantic region because they would like to continue for us to be that transfer receiving province and dependent on the provinces that are more sustainable economically. This is a chance for us to change that pattern.

There are comments from APEC, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, that this harmonized tax is good news for the Atlantic region. There are comments from the CIBC this morning saying the Nova Scotia resale sector was strong in 1996 and the introduction of the harmonized sales tax is expected to further increase sales.

The harmonized tax does many things for our region but above all it allows us as Atlantic Canadians to have a stronger resource sector, a stronger manufacturing sector and to develop those jobs that can be sustained through a modern global competitive economy, and that is what we want. There will be some costs associated with the transfer of new cash registers or change over but these are minimal to the benefits of the overall 15 per cent harmonized tax and that 15 per cent input tax credit.

I could go through sector by sector, whether it is fishing, farming or manufacturing, but all those sectors in our economy, the building supply sector, the grocery store sector, have invited us to push forward with this harmonized tax and to make it forceful and make it strong. As I indicated moments ago, talking to our farmers this morning from the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, they are pleased with this. They are being told from the Ontario farmers they would like to have the same thing. I expect that farmers in Ontario, a strong, vibrant part of our economy, will put the push on the government there that it join in and get a harmonized tax as well.

To display some of the myths about this whole tax is that it is a two package deal. It is a harmonized tax at the manufacturing and business level and it is a tax in pricing at the consumer level. The reason it is a package deal is want the consumers of the Atlantic Canada and of our nation to eventually receive this through put in the reduction of prices of a tax in pricing. When we see a commodity on a shelf, whether cat food, dog food, lumbering supplies or whatever, we will know that the price which is marked on the shelf is the price we will pay when we go through the cash and exit the store. That is the benefit-

Community Action Program For Children February 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the community action program for children, CAPC, is a Health Canada program which provides funds to community organizations that deliver direct services to those families that need it most.

In my riding, Maggie's Place is a family support centre that promotes positive parenting and offers programs in budgeting, nutrition, self-esteem for parents and social development for children. These services are essential to the mental and physical well-being of many families in Cumberland-Colchester.

The CAPC program has been effective and efficient in delivering services to low income families and poor children across Canada. It is imperative that we as a government make a renewed funding commitment to this program which is helping thousands of deserving Canadians in the fight against child poverty.

Violence Against Women December 5th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to those 14 young women who died tragically seven years ago at École Polytechnique in Montreal.

This day reminds us that we must continue to take action to eliminate violence against women in all its forms in all of society.

Statistics show that 51 per cent of Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. We must remember that all violence is an assault on the sanctity of human life. Violence against women not only violates the body, it robs women of their dignity and scars their souls.

That is why the government has worked extremely hard in the past three years to introduce measures that address not only violence against women but violence against all persons.

Still, there is more work to do and we must all work together, in government, in communities and in homes across this country to ensure that women, men and children are truly free from the threat and fear of violence in Canadian society.

Employment November 27th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

In Canada today firms led by women are creating jobs at four times the rate of all other firms. In Atlantic Canada the number of women owned businesses employing five or more people has increased from 16 to 28 per cent in less than six years.

Can the minister explain why women are having this extraordinary success as entrepreneurs? What is the government doing to enhance this opportunity for job creation?

Canada Elections Act November 26th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member of the Reform Party brings up a very valid and important point.

The province of Nova Scotia used electronic voting in a leadership campaign a few years ago. That was one of the times it was used and it was very successful when the technology was initiated. It is something we could look at.

This is the first step in electoral reform in the elections act. It is the beginning step. I am sure with technology improvements and the rapid pace of change that we will be forward looking in addressing any amendments which might be brought forward.

Canada Elections Act November 26th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question of the hon. Bloc Quebecois member.

It is a very interesting topic of discussion, as to who should contribute or could contribute to the democratic process and what kind of credit they should receive. Under the current system it is a tax credit which goes to any individual. By no means would we obstruct anyone from donating to the political process, to the democratic process of this country.

We take pride in having one of the freest and greatest democratic countries in the world. That is evident by the fact that we have a separatist opposition party requesting a change today. There is probably not another country in the world which would have as its

official opposition a separatist party attempting to pull the country apart.

I feel confident that the Canadian taxpayers choose freely how, when and who might give to the political process through the credit taxation system.

Canada Elections Act November 26th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to support Bill C-63, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act. The bottom line is that this legislation is good news for taxpayers. It is good news because it will make election campaigns shorter and simpler and it will save Canadians money.

The purpose of this legislation is to establish a permanent voters' list. This list will be used for federal general elections, byelections, referendums, municipal and provincial elections, even school board elections and will eliminate the need for door to door enumeration.

Above all, it reduces overlap and duplication. For many years there has been considerable interest and support for the idea of a permanent voters' list. Indeed, a great deal of research has gone into determining the best system to bring Canada in line with other Commonwealth countries.

As Patrick Boyer writes in "Election Law in Canada," no other country has a system where the lists of voters are prepared afresh on a systematic basic and so close to the time of voting as does Canada. While it is true that our current system produces extremely accurate voters' lists it is also the most expensive component of the election process.

There would be one last enumeration done in the spring of 1997. Currently in most provinces all three levels of government spend resources compiling their own voters' lists. This results in considerable duplication and expense. In these times of economic responsibility and fiscal restraint all levels of government must learn to work together on behalf of the Canadian taxpayer and there is only one. We must produce legislation and policies that are both cost efficient and effective.

That is what Bill C-63 is all about. It is in the spirit of restraint and responsibility that election officials from across the country have expressed a willingness to explore options and possibilities for establishing this permanent and shared voters' list. The province of British Columbia has successfully employed a permanent and shared voters' list since 1946 and several other provinces are currently working on establishing similar registers of data.

Establishing a permanent voters list will reduce the cost of an election by eliminating door to door enumeration and also by shortening the time of the election campaign. Door to door enumeration is the single largest cost of an electoral event. It is extremely labour intensive and must be completed within a very demanding short time frame. In addition, the public is often

inconvenienced by enumeration, particularly when the same information is being sought by several levels of government.

The realities of the 1990s dictate that fewer people are at home during the daytime, forcing enumerators to make their rounds in the evening. Given that much of this work is done on foot, this raises security concerns for enumerators and makes residents more reluctant to participate. A permanent voters list would also help to ensure the inclusion of people who are not at home during the enumeration period and on election day.

While some concerns have been raised that a permanent voters register would eliminate thousands of jobs for enumerators at election time, it is important to realize that other more permanent jobs would be created at the registry offices across the country.

Concerns have also been voiced about the privacy and confidentiality of the list and the information it will contain. Canadians need not worry. The permanent register will only contain the elector's name, mailing address, municipal address, electoral district, gender and date of birth, all of which will be updated using existing federal and provincial data sources. There will be legislative and administrative safeguards to guarantee that the list can only be used for electoral purposes. In addition, individuals with privacy concerns will be able to opt out of the permanent list.

The most important advantage of a permanent voters list is undeniably the money it will save Canadian taxpayers. Indeed, the projected cost savings to the federal government will total $30 million per electoral event by eliminating the need for door to door enumeration.

Bill C-63 will also allow the election period to be shortened from 47 days to a more efficient time of 36 days. A shorter campaign will still allow voters an opportunity to get to know the candidates and their policies. At the same time, it will eliminate time for campaign rhetoric. How often have we heard the public say enough is enough, get on with the vote. Candidates will have to be effective and efficient in their use of campaign time which is exactly how it should be. The shorter campaign period will save the government and taxpayers an additional $8 million per election.

There is widespread support for this initiative across the country. In fact, a survey conducted by Elections Canada in 1996 found that over 90 per cent of Canadians responded and supported the idea of a permanent register. Representatives from three recognized parties in this House have indicated their support in principle for Bill C-63.

While our current method of enumeration is highly accurate, the cost of the system in terms of financial and human resources is too high to be maintained. That is why this government is looking ahead and planning for the future of the democratic process. Now is the time to implement a more effective and more efficient system, one that is keeping pace with technology and with other Commonwealth countries and one that will save taxpayers almost $40 million in the next election alone.

For these reasons, I urge all hon. members in this House to join with me in supporting Bill C-63 and supporting these cost saving and efficient measures that will guarantee engendering taxpayers' support in the democratic process.

Constitution Act, 1867 November 19th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Cumberland-Colchester is a very old historic riding, a very rural riding. Five Fathers of Confederation came from that riding and many of the communities were built in coastal areas at a time when transportation was only by means of wooden boats on the coastal waterways. As a result of this long history, we have gone through a transition period where wooden boats no longer are the mode of transportation and changes in sectoral employment have varied immensely.

The unemployment rate in my riding today is 14.3 per cent at the regional level for the northern region. However, in certain sectors it probably reaches 16 per cent to 18 per cent. In my riding there are many seasonal workers.

The people in my riding, because of this long history, do not always have access to the jobs in the larger urban centres. When we designed the employment insurance bill this past year, there was a recognition that high unemployment regions such as mine would

have a difficult move through the new Employment Insurance Act, that there may be great difficulties in this transition to finding full employment without additional support mechanisms to aid in the transition period.

As a result, our government brought in some measures that would help people to excel in entrepreneurial skills. There was a self-employment fund and a transitional job fund. We were also targeting supplements to families who would need them to take them above the poverty line.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development as to how well this additional transitory assistance to families who are in need is working and if it is helping those people achieve self-sustaining income through the new Employment Insurance Act.

Divorce Act November 18th, 1996

Madam Speaker, land mines are an inexpensive, easy way to terrorize enemies, as they cost less than $3 each and can be dropped by the millions from helicopters.

There are more than 110 million land mines scattered throughout some 69 countries and about as many in stockpiles around the world. In addition, another five million are sold each year.

It is an estimated 25,000 people who are maimed or killed by land mines each year. Nearly one-third of these people lose one or two legs in the accidents. Land mines have also turned huge areas of agricultural land into no man's land in Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Bosnia, Croatia and many other countries throughout the globe.

International Red Cross officials also point out that land mines increase the cost of delivering food and medical aid by hundreds of thousands of dollars than ordinarily would be necessary.

We had parliamentarians from South Africa in this House visiting this government a few weeks ago. Those parliamentarians told us that in the little country of Mozambique alone at least one child every day is maimed or killed by a land mine while they are walking to school. The cost to the health care system and the cost to children is abhorrent.

Our Minister for Foreign Affairs held a summit in this country a few weeks ago. What did that summit conclude that Canada and the whole world could do to eliminate this human tragedy of killing children inadvertently?