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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was children.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Hamilton Mountain (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2004, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Social Programs November 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, as a Hamilton member of Parliament I would like to recognize Friends for Success Incorporated, an organization that provides low income citizens with appropriate clothing for work and, more importantly, encouragement to prepare them for job interviews and the workplace. The slogan on the front door reads “Helping people move toward independence”.

Since opening its Hamilton location on October 1, Friends for Success has aided many citizens in their quest for dignity and independence. The response from the community has been huge in the few weeks since Friends for Success has opened its Hamilton centre.

I would like to congratulate this volunteer organization and wish it all the best in its effort to help those seeking to enter or re-enter the workplace.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply October 8th, 2002

Madam Speaker, there was a problem where some people did not realize they were eligible for the guaranteed income supplement.

The government has done a very good job of finding out where these people are, finding out who has not received this money in the past and ensuring that they get it. It did not have to be in the throne speech because the government did a good job of correcting the issue.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply October 8th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I know the hon. member takes his job as a member of Parliament very seriously. The role of the opposition is very important but it is not just to criticize, it is to take part and help with solutions for the government as well. I hope that between now and when the budget comes out, probably in February, the hon. member will take part in the prebudget discussions and help with his ideas.

I have had some problems in my riding with the disability tax credit. People have spoken with me about it. We have been able to straighten out the problem for those who have approached me. They were able to get the amount they had before. I am not sure whether I am just lucky in my riding and have been able to solve the problems.

I hope it is not being cut back, unless people do not meet the criteria. That may be the case where a criteria was set up by the government and maybe some bureaucrats let people through who did not meet that criteria. Now they now are tightening up the procedure. That is the best I can answer the question for the hon. member.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply October 8th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Mississauga West.

I am pleased to respond to our government's throne speech because it gives me an opportunity to outline some of the ways in which Hamiltonians and my constituents of Hamilton Mountain will benefit from the agenda the government has outlined.

The government has indicated its commitment to the values and institutions that Canadians hold dear and has introduced a socially progressive agenda. It is an inclusive vision which demonstrates that the government intends to follow through on its commitments to create opportunities for all Canadians and to ensure that no individual or family is left behind, while at the same time continuing to be fiscally responsible as we move forward in the new millennium.

There were many good programs announced in the Speech from the Throne. I will talk about several of them. I would like to highlight infrastructure, affordable housing, a commitment to alleviate child poverty, and long term investment in health care.

Cities are vital to our economic growth and well-being. Many of the residents of Hamilton, the ninth largest city in the country, live and work within the core of the city. The local politicians are working hard to make it a dynamic and safe place to live. Because of a restricted tax base, cities cannot do this alone.

Hamilton Mayor Bob Wade has particularly welcomed the government's plan to continue investment in urban infrastructure. The government has pledged to put in place a ten year program for infrastructure development. As an older city facing much needed repairs and upgrades in sewer, water and road systems, the City of Hamilton will benefit from this commitment.

In the Speech from the Throne, homelessness and affordable housing is another area the government pledged to address. Since 1998, homelessness in Hamilton has increased dramatically. The number of people staying in emergency shelters on a given night has increased from 172 in 1998 to 343 in November of last year. To date the government has invested $753 million over three years in the national strategy to alleviate homelessness.

The supporting community initiatives project is administered by the Minister of Labour and Federal Coordinator on Homelessness. I must congratulate her. She has done a great job. She has allowed emergency housing services in Hamilton to meet the needs of a growing clientele by increasing the capacity of organizations in the city to provide these services. The federal government will be extending funding for the program.

It is hoped that the need for these programs will be temporary. The government has committed to work with our provincial and other partners to address shortages of affordable housing. There are approximately 3,600 families on the waiting list for affordable housing in Hamilton, with average waits of up to five years. We need affordable housing urgently. In addition to $680 million that the government has already invested over the previous five years to address shortages of affordable housing, the Prime Minister has announced that the government will increase its investment in this area.

While a strong economy has improved conditions for many Canadians, including many Hamiltonians, there are some individuals and families who have been left behind. The government is committed to rectifying this situation. According to the Social Research and Planning Council of Hamilton, approximately 20,000 children in the city of Hamilton are living in poverty. This is an unacceptably high number.

To date, the Government of Canada has committed $2.2 billion to the early childhood development agreement in partnership with provinces and territories. The agreement provides education and funding for healthy pregnancies, births, and infants, parenting and family support, and early childhood development. We have reaffirmed our commitment to continue working with our partners to increase access to early learning opportunities and to quality child care, particularly for poor and lone-parent families.

Currently the national child benefit supplement introduced by the government in 1998 provides $2,444 for low-income families at the birth of a first child. In the throne speech we committed to increasing this amount. We will also put in place targeted measures for low-income families caring for severely disabled children and will work to improve services and education for first nations children.

Another issue that greatly concerns my constituents is the future of our health care system. Last June I sent out a survey to every household in my riding asking them for opinions on the current health care system and their priorities for the future. Over a thousand people took the time to respond and many of these same individuals also came to my town hall meeting on health. We heard that Hamiltonians want a public and universal health care system that addresses their health care needs in the doctor's office, in the hospital, and at home. They want more doctors and nurses, more home care, support for caregivers, a greater focus on overall health and wellness, pharmacare, and accountability of government money spent on health care. Responses from the questionnaires and the public meeting were sent to Mr. Romanow, the chair of the federal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, which reports to Canada next month.

The government has been listening to the concerns of Canadians regarding health care and has acted on their priorities. Last year, total Canada health and social transfer contributions amounted to $34.6 billion: $18.3 billion in cash transfers and $16.3 billion in tax point transfers.

The Prime Minister has announced that he will convene a first ministers meeting early next year to discuss a comprehensive plan for the reform of the health care system. This will include long-term investment from the federal government to ensure that Canadians, including the citizens of Hamilton, get the health care system that they want and deserve.

At my public forum on health, we listened to the stories of several people caring at home for ill spouses, parents or family members. The personal difficulties of caring for a loved one are often compounded by financial constraints placed upon individuals who may have to quit or decrease their hours of work to take on this task. In 1998, the government introduced a tax credit for caregivers to ease this aspect of their problem. In the throne speech last week, the government further pledged to modify existing programs to ensure that Canadians can provide compassionate care for a gravely ill family member without putting their jobs or incomes at risk.

I would point out to my hon. colleagues that there exists a tremendous opportunity here for us to move forward to address the priorities of Canadians and to implement a progressive and socially inclusive agenda for our country. The throne speech illustrates our government commitment to the values that Canadians hold dear: universal health care, the reduction of child poverty, functioning cities, and homes for the homeless. I look forward to working with our partners to implement this agenda for the betterment of all Canadians.

The Environment October 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the Prime Minister of Canada reiterated the government's intention to ratify the Kyoto protocol on climate change by the end of this year.

The agreement has strong support among Canadians. Last week the City of Hamilton joined municipalities across the country, from Kelowna and Canmore to Saint John and Pictou, in publicly declaring its support for ratification of the Kyoto accord.

Hamilton Mayor Bob Wade and the city council recognized that it is important to make a commitment to environmental sustainability, to ratify the Kyoto protocol now. The City of Hamilton is confident of the government's ability to develop a fair plan of action.

I congratulate the City of Hamilton on its commitment. The federal government looks forward to working with our partners on implementing the principles of the Kyoto accord.

International Co-operation June 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, an estimated 60 million people in the southern African region are suffering from political upheaval and what has been described as the worst regional drought since 1992.

Could the Minister for International Cooperation inform the House how the Government of Canada intends to address this urgent situation?

Employment June 18th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the federal government on its summer work strategy for students. Human Resources Development Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage are running a summer work student exchange program. This will allow students in English and French-speaking regions across the country to change places for five weeks. The program matches students with jobs in local communities.

This experience allows them to practice and improve their second official language skills. This gives them the opportunity to live with a host family promoting cross-country and cross-cultural understanding and experiences between our two linguistic groups.

This July 1, five students from Hamilton Mountain will be going to various cities in Quebec to do just this. Their Quebec counterparts will be spending the same time in Hamilton. I hope the students have a fabulous time. I wish to congratulate the federal government on this initiative.

Millennium Scholarships June 13th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate 15 Hamilton and area students recognized by the federal government for academic achievement and community service.

Established by the government three years ago, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation excellence awards are divided into local, provincial and national levels and give students either a one-time gift of $4,000, an annual scholarship of $4,000 for four years, or $4,800 annually for four years.

These scholarship awards ensure that the best and brightest of Canadian students receive recognition for their hard work, academic excellence and community involvement.

Sidra Abid, Danny Auron, Catherine Kates, Adrian Brook, Krista Cranston, Julian Tam, Bikramjit Nahal, Anna Chew, Sarah Muller, Lindsay Scott, Julie Strychowsky, Brynne Stainsby, Megan Bauer and Leslie Allchin have all been rewarded with--

Girl Guides June 10th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate a resident of Hamilton Mountain, Amanda Charlebois, on receiving the prestigious Lady Baden-Powell Award for achievement in the girl guides.

The Girl Guides of Canada was founded in 1910 to help young women become responsible citizens, able to give leadership and service in the community, whether local, national or global. The girl guides work to inspire an ethic of co-operation while encouraging leadership potential, giving girls opportunities to experiment with various roles, allowing them to develop diverse skills and a sense of pride and confidence that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Amanda personifies this ethic, having earned 72 community badges through participation in volunteer work and camp. She has experienced activities from snowshoeing to photography, to aviation and first aid.

I wish to congratulate both Amanda on her achievement and the Girl Guides of Canada for their good work in organizing and encouraging young girls and women like Amanda to develop their potential.

Petitions June 3rd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by many hundreds of Canadians who are calling upon parliament to enact legislation that would allow the federal government to work in tandem with provincial and municipal governments to ensure that the ongoing needs and potential for growth of each and every Canadian humane society, SPCA and registered wildlife sanctuary shelter are met without infringing upon the operational philosophy of any of the above mentioned animal facilities.