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

Land Mines October 2nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Canadian summit on land mines begins tomorrow, with more than 70 countries represented. Parliamentarians from the new Republic of South Africa visiting this House today told us last evening that in Mozambique alone at least one child per day, every day, is killed by a land mine while walking to school. What does the minister hope to achieve that will stop this human tragedy?

Supply September 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, $2 billion of the $6 billion went to the province of Quebec. That is the point. We have shared in that liberalism. It is my hope that the infrastucture program will be part of the next platform of the government. The hon. member believes it is very valuable in the province of Quebec. I know that province quite well myself. I have many friends there.

It is important because of the antiquated infrastructure that exists. It is the same in the province of Nova Scotia and the eastern region. There is much need to build basic infrastructure, sewage treatment plants, water systems for industry, preventing sewage from going into the Bay of Fundy and into our oceans. We have advocated this for many years but it has never been done. It is extremely important as we move into the 21st century that we have another infrastructure program.

Supply September 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, and hon. members of this House, I would like each one of you to be aware that $2 billion-

Supply September 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asks where is our liberalism and are we not defenders of liberalism. I would say that yes, indeed we are and part of the restructuring that we have done is to secure Canada's financial future and the future for our youth.

When we talk about infrastructure and the past, the program costs over the past two and a half years totalled $6 billion: one-third for municipal, one-third for provincial and one-third for federal. Ladies and gentlemen, do you know that $2 billion-

Supply September 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, that is a hard act to follow.

These days it is fashionable to talk about fiscal responsibility and the need to reduce spending at all levels of government. While it is not difficult simply to cut spending without regard for the consequences, it requires great care to meet necessary fiscal targets while ensuring that the government policies support the priorities of Canadian society.

In asking the House to concur with the appropriation bill, I would like to remind members that the estimates we have considered effecting today are taken to reduce program spending and at the same time to target spending on what is most important to the Canadian public.

For example, we have reduced direct support to industry in favour of policies that will stimulate growth and jobs. We have reduced costs by transferring the air navigation system and airports to not for profit corporations. We have taken steps to reduce subsidies to Canada Post and to VIA Rail. We have reduced defence spending by $200 million in 1997-98 and another $600 million in 1998-99. These are just a few examples of the actions we have taken to meet our fiscal responsibilities.

Under program reduction, many costs in services have been cut to the Canadian people. But one program brought in over the last three years was the infrastructure program. In Quebec alone, there were more than 2,400 projects. That brought in a total of more than $2 billion to the Quebec economy, resulting in more than 29,000 jobs.

In my province of Nova Scotia, there were more than 316 projects, which brought more than $200 million to the economy and more than 4,000 direct jobs. This is significant and it is particularly significant in the east, not only in Quebec but in Nova Scotia where the infrastructure is antiquated and much in need of a boost.

I would remind the House that this year's estimates are a vital component of that program spending regardless of the program cuts, and this year's estimates alone call for $157 billion in planned budgetary spending compared with $164 billion last year. This is a significant reduction while at the same time serving the Canadian people in programs they desire.

That intent and the reality has been that we wish to secure our nation's financial future, and that has been done that through serious, very methodical but very fair cuts, and through very serious methodical consideration of what the Canadian people want, while at the same time investing in the future which is the future of our youth.

When we went to the Canadian people looking for a mandate to govern the country, we set targets as a government and we set goals. The first goal was to reduce the deficit. When we took power in 1993, members will know that the deficit was around $42 billion a year. That is nearly 6 per cent of gross domestic product which had a very negative impact on the economy.

It was mandatory that we set responsible, credible financial targets that we could meet. For the first time in many years, the government has been credible. It has written the plan and it has followed through. There is confidence from the Canadian people.

The goal is that by the end of the fiscal year 1996-97, we will be at that real target of 3 per cent of GDP in deficit reduction and be around an annual deficit of $24 billion.

This is extremely important as we vote tonight on estimates that will pay for program spending over the next few months. What it has done is send a message to the Canadian people and to the world markets that the Canadian government is a very credible, very realistic government.

What it has done is bring inflation under control and interest rates down. Short term interest rates have declined by more than 3 percentage points since March 1995, which has brought the debt charges down. We are paying less money out on debt servicing as well.

We have also provided cost competitiveness in this country. This is the best it has been for the Canadian public for more than 45 years. That is a significant component of the Canadian economy.

We also have the largest trade surplus that we have had in decades. It is this trade surplus that sets Canadians in the front on the world stage. We can manufacture, we can market and deliver those goods competitively throughout the world. This is a very vital and a very important component of the overall economy.

As well, by reducing the deficit we have reduced our foreign dependency on dollars to simply manage the economy on a day to day basis. That alone is a significant part of the stability in our financial segment and of presenting ourself as a great leader among the G-7 nations.

The economy has generated more than 650,000 jobs over the past three years. That is also important because it is not the government that is creating the jobs, but it is government policies that are allowing the private sector to create the jobs.

It seems to me that the government has focused on the goals it set. It has delivered on what was offered to the Canadian public. The job is not all done but it will continue.

It seems to me that the reason the Reform Party put this motion to abolish the other place is because the government has set the goals financially and has been responsible fiscally and it has no argument on the financial front and so we now have to take a new debate and put it in place. The government has spoiled Reform's platform because it has delivered and provided a credible, fiscally responsible and socially responsible government.

I say to the members of this House that the opposition parties had plenty of opportunity through the Meech Lake accord, through the Charlottetown accord, for which both parties expressed their distaste and their opposition. However, they had the opposition at that time to deal with the other place. It would have provided an opportunity for restructuring and for looking at some of these issues that we are looking at here in the government. The government has been about restructuring for three years, about program cuts, program spending and it is dealing with it in a realistic manner. It will have the opportunity again to deal with the other place.

It is my belief that every member in the other place probably would look for restructuring as well because as this century closes and we move into the 21st century time is moving so rapidly with so many changes that it is imperative that every institution in all parts of society must come forward and look at restructuring in order to keep pace with the rapid changes.

Over the summer months I did a survey in my constituency and throughout Nova Scotia. I made the statement that the government had set a strategy at the outset of reducing the deficit, keeping inflation at a manageable level and lowering interest rates to generate a fiscally responsible climate so that the private sector might come forward and the entrepreneurs flourish in creating jobs and developing that very competitive economy. That strategy was set by this government in 1993. I asked my constituents: "Are you in favour of the government strategy".

I would like to tell the House tonight that in those questionnaires that came back to me through the summer months more than 97 per cent of respondents indicated they were in favour of the government's financial strategy and their policies and that we should proceed in that direction.

The public is in favour of this fiscal strategy, of the program cuts that the government has made. They are not all perfect but they are done fairly and equitably across the country. I have suffered them as many members have in their ridings, but the public is aware of how difficult it is.

I believe that this is why we are debating the other place tonight. It is because the government has followed through on its financial commitments and delivered a responsible government. It is my belief that in fiscal year 1997-98 the size of the debt in relation to Canada's economy will decline. It will be the first time in many years that the economy will grow faster than the debt and deficit.

I believe we have answered the challenge from the opposition parties as the Government of Canada. We have fulfilled our promises. We have set the stage and have been responsible financially. The passing of the estimates tonight will support what Canadians believe, that what we are doing is appropriate for them. Because we have become responsible fiscally, we have stolen the platform from the opposition. That is why they would rather debate the other House. The time has come to restructure the other House as well.

Trade September 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade.

Since the Helms-Burton bill in the United States is very prominent in the news these days and its adverse effect on Canadian business, and as Canada opposes the Helms-Burton bill, does this mean that we are soft on Cuba? Does it mean that we endorse the Castro administration?

Upper Londonderry Pastoral Charge September 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, this past August marked the 225th anniversary of the Upper Londonderry Pastoral Charge with three churches serving the communities of Glenholme, Debert and Masstown. Descendants, both local and international, of the first minister of the charge returned home to celebrate this historic anniversary.

Originally founded in 1771 by Presbyterian minister David Smith, this charge continues to thrive as a vital part of the United Church of Canada. As the oldest pastoral charge in Canada, it has influenced community values and inspired a sense of pride and hope among all its parishioners.

I ask that all members join with me in thanking the charge for the communion, prayer and spiritual guidance it has provided to Canadians for over two centuries. As well, I extend my congratulations to successive ministers and parishioners who have sustained this sanctuary of fundamental values and religious freedom.

Jonathan McCully School June 20th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the wonderful opportunity to present a Canadian flag to the children at the Jonathan McCully school in Napan. As we stood around the flag pole we talked about the importance of the flag as a symbol of nationhood and unity and about the respect and care that our flag deserves.

Also I learned about the Napan Pond demonstration project which is a collaborative effort between the school, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Ducks Unlimited. Together they are developing a small wetland/woodland site on the Napan Research Farm. This site will be used to educate school children about wildlife and farming and to demonstrate to farmers the potential value of wildlife habitat on farmland.

Today I congratulate and commend the principal and the students of the Jonathan McCully school for their efforts to improve environmental awareness and to promote Canadian nationalism.

Petitions June 12th, 1996

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 131, I present a petition today with 150 names from citizens united for safety and justice.

The petitioners pray that Parliament enact Bill C-205, which prohibits criminals from exploiting their victims through profiting from their crimes. I would like to add that I endorse this petition 100 per cent and have already spoken on this bill in the House.

Youth Employment May 31st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, this past month many members of Parliament and their staff have taken to the road to talk to Canada's youth regarding employment needs and opportunities. This information will be used to provide a report to the ministerial task force on youth and ultimately to develop a national youth strategy to be unveiled this fall.

In Cumberland-Colchester my staff has met with students from many schools across the riding to gain insight on what can and should be done to alleviate the problem of high youth unemployment in the Atlantic region. Both my staff and I were very impressed with the thoughtful and intelligent ideas our youth had to share.

It is my hope the ministerial task force on youth will seriously consider and act on suggestions made by these bright young minds. Canada's youth must be our priority. They are the future of the country and their opinions must weigh heavy in our policy decisions.