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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was money.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Canadian Alliance MP for South Surrey—White Rock—Langley (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2000, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-U.S. Security Measures November 26th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, despite the government's ridiculous assertions that everything is okay with our security, the Americans obviously do not agree. Canadians who travel to the United States are now being re-examined at mobile border patrol checkpoints up to 40 kilometres from the border, much like the Mexican border.

If Canadian security is so good, could the minister explain why the Americans continue to target Canadians with ever increasing security measures?

National Security November 25th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Congress has passed the new homeland security bill to improve domestic security. The U.S. is moving ahead but in Canada the government keeps our navy and coast guard in port to save fuel. Our air force can only fly minimal hours for the same reason.

The government provides no funds to increase port security. Its biggest security initiative has been a new tax to discourage Canadians from flying. When will the government come up with a real security plan instead of one that just increases our taxes?

Sports November 22nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month Canada's National Women's Soccer Team qualified as one of 16 countries for next year's Women's World Cup in China.

Like the young ladies who proudly play for Canada's National Hockey Team, they are competing for the love of their sport and the pride of representing Canada, not for million dollar contracts. While women's sports are finally starting to get the attention they deserve, we still have a long way to go before we reach parity with men's teams.

After both our men's and women's hockey teams won gold medals at the Winter Olympics, the Vancouver Province newspaper printed a two page, colour photograph of the victorious men's team. Thinking I had missed the same photo of the women's team, I called the paper to purchase the women's team photo. A male editor of the paper informed me that the paper did not run a similar size photo of the women's team because Canadians did not have the same interest in women's sports.

I would like to ensure all athletes who represent Canada that Canadians are equally proud of them regardless of their gender.

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the hon. members comments. How does he feel about the committee process and does he feel that committees should be freed from the control of the executive branch of government?

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I will add that the Americans do not have a perfect system. There are things that they have that I do not particularly like. However they have the ability for these committees to reach beyond the control of the executive branch. They can hold the executive branch and the bureaucrats, who administer the laws that have been created, accountable.

Our committees cannot do that because of the control of the administrative branch. That is one thing we could look at. It would provide a much greater independence from the executive branch of government. It would not get away from the parliamentary system as we know it. It would only enhance it and make it possible for members of parliament, not only from the opposition side but from the government side as well, to make meaningful changes to legislation.

I am distressed that the executive branch of government seems to hold more weight and give more credence to the bureaucrats than they do to the legislators. My understanding of the system is the legislators make the law, the executive branch and the bureaucrats administer the law. Unfortunately, we have completely gone away from that concept of parliamentary democracy.

After 130-odd years it is time that we start looking at our system and see what is required to modernize it and bring it into the 21st century.

As an outside point, I believe we are one of the few democracies, even countries that we do not consider as democratic, to still not elect senators. I do not think there is another nation in the world that appoints somebody to a legislative body. It is time that Canada grew up, modernized and started electing the senators who sit in the upper House.

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be here this morning to speak in this take note debate. It was interesting to listen to some of the comments made prior to my speaking because they reflect many of my thoughts.

It was very interesting to listen to the hon. member for Scarborough East who said that he wished the take note debate could be more than a comfort zone for the executive. That really reflects what I think of take note debates.

Yes, it is nice to express our opinions on issues on an interim basis, quickly thought out, largely to fill in time spaces for which the government has no legislation, but what do they really mean? We have a take note debate and very few government members in here listening to it. The results of it are nothing. The government does not listen to what these take note debates are all about and they certainly are not reflected in any of the decisions or policies it comes forward with.

The questions have to be: Are members of Parliament being effective? Are they doing the best job they possibly can within our parliamentary system? After being in this place for nine years, I would have to say that it is obvious to me and to Canadians that changes have to take place.

I came to this place with that particular point in mind, that changes needed to take place and that we needed to reform our parliamentary system as well as other things within government. It has been a frustration to realize that nobody, particularly on the government side, is really interested in any kind of change or reform.

I have had some positive experiences through the committee process. I have been able to sit in committees that, for the large part, because there were no cameras following the debates and discussions, have been non-partisan and where committee members have tried to come up with changes and good recommendations for the government. However, again, the government does not listen.

I have seen the government take a report from the committee, sometimes a unanimous report, and not only ignore it but come up with some legislation that is contrary to the recommendations coming from the committee.

There are some things that we can do to make this place work a little bit better.

We were elected to represent our constituents. We were elected to come here and express the viewpoints of the people in our constituencies in debates and in committees. We face the frustration of not having the ability to do that through the voting process, which is probably a very meaningful conclusion to debates, but the debates themselves are not necessarily overly important. Sometimes I agree with my colleague; I also wonder why we are debating the issue when the government has already made up its mind what the end result is going to be. However at least the vote records what a member of Parliament is prepared to stand up for.

My hon. colleague from Elk Island brought up the issue of every vote being taken as a confidence vote. That is ludicrous. Why can we not vote openly as members of Parliament, representing our constituents, and defeat bad legislation without the threat of defeating the government? It is done in other nations. It is done in the mother of all Parliaments in Great Britain where a motion or piece of legislation of the government that is defeated does not constitute a non-confidence vote. A non-confidence vote would be held afterward and only if that vote passed would the government fall. That is an easy thing to change and it would make the workings of the House much more open and transparent.

What we have is a real lack of commitment from members on the government side. It would appear to me that the backbenchers of the government do not see a great problem with handing over all the control to the executive branch, or, if they do, they are not prepared to do anything about it.

Our system of allowing only the government to put serious bills on the floor of the House is wrong. It is wrong that government members are forced to support that government legislation. It is wrong that the committees are not allowed to openly research and debate the merits of government legislation and to make necessary changes. It is wrong that the executive branch has that kind of control over our parliamentary system.

Maybe it is not possible to separate the executive branch of government from the legislative branch. I would hope that it would be possible but maybe it is not. If it is not, it can at least function better than it is now. It can at least function in a way that allows the members of the government side to challenge the executive branch of government. Right now we do not have that.

I do not know whether we can legislate that change to separate the executive branch from the legislative branch but it would be nice if we could at least legislate backbone for the government members.

It is unfortunate that members of Parliament have to rely completely on their parties. It is unfortunate that resources are divvied out based on a party and given to the party as opposed to members of Parliament.

I am a representative of the Canada-U.S. interparliamentary group. When we meet with our American colleagues it is interesting to see how they operate. The legislation they put on the floor of the congress is not government nor administration legislation. It is legislation that each and every one of the members, who have something to contribute, feels is necessary. They then are able to go to both sides of the house and find support. If it is a good change and a good piece of legislation, they do not have any problem building the support for that legislation to pass.

It is not government's and not the administration's legislation. it is the elected representatives of the Congress who put legislation forward. I am envious that they have that opportunity. More important, because of that process they are given the resources, as members of congress, to research the legislation as to how it affects their constituency and what impact it will have on the nation and are able to make their decision on voting based on facts and on the research they have been able to do. The way our structure works is that resources are given to the party instead of an individual member of Parliament, which does not give us that same ability to look at each piece of legislation in detail.

The other thing that I feel is an important item in the United States is the responsibility and the jurisdiction that it gives to its committees. Its committees have the ability to look into issues on a very serious matter and to call in witnesses without any controls placed on it by the administration. I would suggest that is another thing that has to be changed within our system. Committees have to be removed from the control of the executive branch of government.

Committees are supposedly the child of the House of Commons. They are the arm of the chamber in order to follow legislation through the process. However, what I have seen in the nine years that I have been here, is committees controlled by the executive branch of government. The executive branch of government is the only one that puts in legislation. It is the control of the committees by the executive branch of government that determines the legislation will not be amended or changed. It is the executive branch of government that controls who the members will be and how they will vote on issues. Until we remove the control of the executive branch of our government from the legislative branch and from the responsibilities that the legislative branch has to the Canadian public, we will not change the way the system operates.

I would suggest that part of the result of how we operate as a legislative body is part of the reason, if not the reason, that Canadians are disconnecting from the governance of their country. We are constantly concerned that every time we have an election fewer and fewer Canadians come to the polls. I would argue that it is because we have ignored them. We have removed our connection to them. We continue to do so with the way we operate.

If we want Canadians to be truly engaged, whether it is in the voting process or providing us with issues and their comments on issues, we have to be a more open and transparent organization which respects that each member of parliament has a role to do here. The member has been given a mandate by the voters to be here and to represent them.

It is our duty to change the system to allow a member of parliament to function in a meaningful way in the future of our country.

Port Security November 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the minister claims that the Liberal government is taking the necessary steps but just last week the president of the Vancouver Port Authority stated “Despite increasing demands to enhance our security, no federal funds have been forthcoming”.

The government has done no reviews of port security and has not put a single dollar into improving port security, yet it claims that it is taking the necessary steps.

Is this the government's idea of protecting the security of Canadians?

Port Security November 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, in its October response to the Senate report on Canadian security, the government claimed it was taking the necessary steps to secure Canada's ports.

However, in early November, in response to an access request, Transport Canada admitted that it had done no reports or reviews on the security at Canada's ports since September 11, 2001.

How can the government claim to be taking the necessary steps to secure our ports when it has failed to conduct a review of port security in the last 14 months?

Petitions November 18th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, like many in other constituencies, my constituents are also concerned about child pornography. I would like to add another 120 names to the other wise petitions I have presented before, whereby the petitioners are calling upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

Border Security November 7th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, individuals who claim refugee status at a port of entry into Canada are given a preliminary interview and invariably released into Canadian society. About 25% of these claimants fail to show up for any subsequent immigration proceedings. That is almost 10,000 people. The government has no idea who they are and where they are.

Is this one of the reasons that the Americans are strengthening their border controls?