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

Agreement On Internal Trade Implementation Act April 22nd, 1996

You are a wise man.

Department Of Health Act April 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, to address some of the comments the hon. member has just brought forward is very significant. Before coming to this place, I came out of the health care profession and I had dealt internationally with Red Cross centres and blood supplies around the world.

Hindsight is wonderful vision. In the early eighties when we were reading the scientific literature regarding HIV and all of the

proposals that were coming forward there had to be a judgment call: Is this significant enough to test at this point; is the test specific enough to identify this particular virus if it can be called a virus? It is an example of a microbe that encapsulates itself and changes over time. It is not something that can be pinpointed very specifically, identified, chased down and a concoction found that would immediately cure or prevent this very dreadful disease. Back in the early eighties it was very much a judgment call. Looking back, perhaps we did not make the best judgment as early as we should have in the history of our blood supply.

I would remind the hon. member for Calgary Centre that the Canadian Red Cross is one of the most honourable institutions in the world. It is one of the most highly respected blood supply sources.

I have worked in that field where there are transmissible diseases such as hepatitis, AIDS and many other things we cannot even begin to test for or identify. We go through a spectrum of tests which is broad enough and significant enough that we can guarantee Canadians and whoever else across this world uses our blood supply that we are giving them the best product that can be tested and identified in the marketplace today.

I have worked internationally in other blood supply systems. It is like setting an aeroplane and navigation system. If one makes the system so absolutely perfect that it is foolproof, there would never be a child flying to Disneyworld to see that great and wonderful spectacular event. Yet we can do things within a realm of safety and predictability that we provide a product which is safe and available for those in need of health care. There will come a time when we have a synthetic and artificial blood supply that can transport oxygen throughout the body and maintain a healthy body without the risk of those transmissible diseases.

The Canadian Red Cross may not be perfect. Perhaps it did not make its decision soon enough to trust that international literature and scientific reports were significant enough that we should challenge and start testing, although it was not as specific or as good as it should have been at the time.

I would challenge the hon. member. There is a lot to be thankful for in our Red Cross in the safety and respect it holds throughout the world in this very valuable blood product.

The Budget April 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has stressed quite vividly the government's position in the budget regarding seniors pensions and benefits. As he has suggested, perhaps we are subsidizing the poorest of the poor seniors through the changes made in the budget.

It comes across that the hon. member is quite opposed to the position the government is taking in benefiting Canadian seniors. We are giving them a long term plan whereby anyone 60 years of age as of January 1 this year can have the existing benefits of OAS and GIS and there will be no changes in that. We have given them the benefit of long term planning so that any of these new changes will only affect younger people. The hon. member seems to be quite opposed to this. I wonder what he and his party would suggest as an alternative for the people of Canada.

The Budget April 15th, 1996

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today to address the 1996-97 budget as presented by the Minister of Finance on March 6.

When our government was elected in October 1993, Canadians from coast to coast to coast told us that reducing the deficit and the debt must be our number one priority. This budget along with our two previous budgets showed Canadians that we have been and continue to be listening.

When this government was elected the annual deficit was more than $42 billion. By the end of the 1995-96 fiscal year we reached the deficit reduction target of approximately $32 billion. We are on target to reach our original goal set for the 1996-97 fiscal year of a deficit of 3 per cent of GDP which will be approximately $24 billion.

The Minister of Finance has already set two rolling targets to take us into the second half of our mandate. These targets will reduce the deficit to 2 per cent of GDP by fiscal year 1997-98. By the turn of the century, by the year 2000, I personally hope to see that the deficit is realized to zero and the introduction of a balanced budget to this House.

The 1996 budget continues on the track of reinventing government. Last year through a major program review we managed to protect vital programs while reducing spending to its lowest level of GDP in almost 50 years. This year we have further reduced program spending in order to move closer to a balanced budget. Federal program spending this year will represent 12 per cent of GDP, its lowest level since 1949 and down from 20 per cent only a decade ago.

Liberal governments over the years have played a leading role in building Canada's social programs. Today faced with dramatic changes to our society and our economy, the Liberal government must ensure that these programs remain effective and financially sustainable.

One way the government is doing this is through the new Canada health and social transfer which consolidates transfers for health care, post-secondary education and social services. The transfer is a block fund which offers more flexibility to the provinces. This flexibility will allow for the development of innovative programs for Canadians receiving social assistance. Greater flexibility will also reduce administrative costs and will allow provinces to adjust to the new funding levels while still protecting programs that Canadians desire.

This budget introduces a five year funding arrangement for the CHST for the years 1998-99 through to 2002-03. The CHST will be stabilized at the 1998-99 levels for another two years and then will begin to grow. There will not be any cuts to the CHST beyond those announced in last year's budget. When the CHST begins to grow beyond the year 2000, federal transfers will increase for the first time since the mid-1980s.

The CHST will allow provinces to plan programs to meet their needs with clearly set levels of federal funding. By providing predictable funding, the government is demonstrating its commitment to safeguarding health care and other social programs that are valued by all Canadians.

As we all know, part of the CHST is made up of a cash transfer which was scheduled to gradually decline. However, in response to concerns about diminishing cash transfers, this government has announced that the cash component will be kept above a floor of $11 billion per year for the five years between 1998 and 2003.

While the CHST will give more power to the provinces, the cash transfer will guarantee a strong federal presence for programs of national priority such as post-secondary education and social assistance.

In addition, the government will continue to vigorously defend the five principles of the Canadian health care system: comprehensiveness, universality, accessibility, portability, and public administration. The federal government will also work with the provinces to develop other shared principles and objectives for this new transfer.

This budget is good for Canadians. For the third year in a row there will be no increase in personal income tax rates nor will there be any increase in excise taxes.

Additionally, the budget marks a significant turning point. In our first two budgets we were forced to make a lot of tough but necessary decisions in order to clean up the economic mess left by the previous government. Unlike those budgets, this budget has a more direct focus on the future, a more sustainable plan, a long term plan for Canadians. This focus is reflected in our attention to our youth, our attention to working families and in particular to seniors.

February's throne speech put the problems facing Canadian youth into the spotlight. Youth unemployment and underemployment are a serious concern in my riding of Cumberland-Colchester. Young people throughout the area feel that they have to leave home, in fact many of them must leave the country to find employment.

This budget announces concrete measures which demonstrate that the Liberal government is serious about improving opportunities for young Canadians. To make education more affordable, tax credits for university and college students and their parents will increase. This budget will also stabilize the funding that we transfer to the provinces for post-secondary education. In addition, it lays out a plan to increase that funding over time.

This budget will double federal funding for summer jobs. In 1996-97 we doubled the number. There are 200 more jobs in my riding. The deadline was April 12 and we encouraged employers in all sectors of our society to get out there and employ our youth this summer allowing an extra 30,000 young Canadians to gain vital experience and help finance their education. It also challenges the

private sector and other levels of government to do their share to create opportunities and to assist our youth in finding their first job.

My riding of Cumberland-Colchester consists of hard working families who work long hours with fewer benefits to try and stretch that paycheque as far as they can. These families will benefit from this year's budget.

Parents who wish to return to school in order to find better jobs will now be able to make full use of the child tax credit. This includes parents who show the courage to return to high school. We are raising the age limit for the child care deduction from 14 to 16 years so that more parents who work nights can claim it. As well, we are doubling the working income supplement of the child tax benefit. This will mean an extra $500 a year for low income working parents.

This budget is also committed to security for the elderly through the availability of old age security and the guaranteed income supplement. The budget includes a new seniors benefit to be implemented in the year 2001. This tax free benefit will replace the existing OAS and GIS programs. More than 70 per cent of our seniors will actually receive higher benefits under this new system, many of whom are single women.

Pensions for today's seniors, near seniors and their spouses will be protected. Seniors will be guaranteed to receive an amount that is no less than the current pension plan. The new system will better respond to the needs of low income seniors and will ensure a responsive, affordable system for our children and grandchildren. Let there be no doubt that we will look after our elderly and that this budget is the first step in doing so.

There are a record number of single parent households in this country. When a marriage breaks down, the children are always the first to suffer. I have received many letters from men and women alike who are concerned about the current child support system. This budget speaks to those concerns and introduces measures to improve the system, measures that include a revised tax treatment of child support payments.

Currently child support payments are taxable for the recipient and tax deductible for the parent paying support. This is wrong. Payments are supposed to provide support for children. They are not income for parents. The budget proposes that all child support awards agreed to on or before May 1, 1997 will not be included as income of the custodial parent for tax purposes, nor will they be tax deductible for the parent paying the support. The government will also introduce new guidelines and enhance enforcement for the collection of child support payments.

Learning Disabilities April 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, last month was designated as Learning Disabilities Month. There is not a lot of recognition paid to learning disabili-

ties even though one in ten or 2.9 million Canadians have this type of disability.

Learning disabilities are permanent disorders which affect the way individuals with normal or above normal intelligence receive, store, organize, retrieve and use information. These difficulties show up in five distinct areas: visual, auditory, motor, organizational and conceptual. Such difficulties extend to school, work, social functions and employment and can impede learning to read, to write or to do mathematics.

We can help to increase public awareness of learning disabilities by talking about them whenever there is an opportunity and educating the public to help these individuals live a fuller more productive life.

Fisheries March 27th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Most often when we talk about the Atlantic fishery we hear only of the downturn of the cod fishery. However, the shell fishery in my riding and across the Atlantic provinces is doing extremely well and is a mainstay of the economy of the fishery at this time.

Will the minister tell the House of the growth and the success of this bright sector?

Aquaculture Industry March 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, at the same time that Atlantic Canada's marine fishery continues to decline, world aquaculture production is expanding. In fact, it will account for 25 per cent of the total global fish harvest by the turn of the century.

I am proud to announce an important initiative in the Atlantic aquaculture industry. Recently at the Nova Scotia Agriculture College in Truro I had the pleasure of announcing a Bachelor of Science degree program in aquaculture. This program was made possible by more than $1 million in funding from Atlantic Canada Opportunities.

The aquaculture science degree program will provide our youth with the opportunity to train in a sector where there is tremendous potential for economic growth.

The University of British Columbia and now the Nova Scotia Agriculture College in Truro are the only two degree granting programs in aquaculture in Canada. With the huge coastline of the Atlantic provinces, this is a bold step forward in partnership to educate our youth for future jobs in fish farming.

First Baptist Girls Choir March 13th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to welcome the First Baptist Girls Choir from Truro, Nova Scotia to this honourable House. This young choir is an ecumenical group comprised of secondary school girls.

Under the able directorship of Jeff Joudrey, this choir has performed internationally both in Europe and in the United States winning awards of very high acclaim.

During the March break the choir is touring Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. I am very pleased that they can enjoy a visit to Parliament Hill today.

Through their music and message of song, these young Canadians are excellent ambassadors for this great country.

I offer my congratulations to the First Baptist Girls Choir of Truro. I invite all members of the House to meet these girls at a reception in the Commonwealth room immediately following question period.

Huntington's Disease March 5th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, Huntington's disease invades the body of one in every 1,000 Canadians in the prime of their life. Over its 10 to 25-year course, Huntington's leads to incapacitation and eventual death. There is no known cure and no effective treatment to date.

In 1993 scientists found the gene that causes Huntington's disease. Every child who has a parent with Huntington's has a 50 per cent chance of developing the disease.

Many know that May is Huntington's awareness month. In order to help local chapters in my riding spread their message, I am declaring May 19 to 26 Huntington's Awareness Week in Cumberland-Colchester. It is my hope that this initiative will help to heighten the local awareness and generate greater local support for research programs and education. With increased support for this dreadful disease, we can find a cure.

Speech From The Throne March 5th, 1996

Madam Speaker, to the hon. member for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia, that was quite a speech.

I would like to know what he thinks about entrepreneurship and if he has ever in his life looked at the history of the Bombardier company. Perhaps 40 years ago a French Canadian family from rural Quebec started a company in its garage from nothing. It repaired snowmobiles. It was building and looking to the future, employing young Quebecers, young Canadians.

Does the hon. member not see Bombardier today as an international company which sells high speed rapid transit vehicles throughout the world? It is a success story not only for Quebec but for Canada. Does the hon. member not appreciate that?