House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was know.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as NDP MP for Surrey North (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2006, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007 December 10th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, those trades will not go anywhere else in British Columbia because people do not have the skills to take the trades anywhere else. What they are looking for is an opportunity to learn the trades.

There are many companies looking to hire. Absolutely. But there are not the people with the skills to provide those jobs. That is what we are looking for, the opportunities that are affordable for people to gain those skills. And so, the trades will not be going anywhere else because they are not existing to go somewhere.

Budget Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007 December 10th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to comment on the amendment to delete clause 181.

When I look at the economic update, I see that corporate taxes will be cut by 7% in the next four years. Members of the official opposition have applauded this because they say that it was actually their idea in the first place and that they should have credit for it.

Let us be very clear that when the government puts this forward and the official opposition applauds it, they are applauding and celebrating the fact that yes, in some resource industries, oil, gas, mining, we do have increased revenues, but it is not taking into consideration other natural resource industries in which communities are devastated.

I speak of the natural resource of forestry, which is also a manufacturing industry. In British Columbia, forestry will not in any way benefit by these tax cuts. There is actually not a lot of forestry to be benefited at all. We have no mills left on the Fraser River in British Columbia because they have all closed. The forests have been devastated by pine beetle and towns and communities have closed. It has not only affected the workers. It has affected their families and their children, who are then uprooted to go somewhere else for a job that their prime wage earner may or may not find, and retraining that they may or may not find, because with the corporate tax cuts, I do not see a major focus on retraining for these workers.

It is another example of the lack of balance pursued by the government. To rate the economy, what steps can be taken? A number of steps were entirely overlooked in this economic update.

What about apprenticeship support? Surely apprenticeship support aids our economy in major ways. In British Columbia, we have jobs we cannot fill. I realize it is hard to say that after listening to the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, whose town is devastated, but we have well paying jobs in British Columbia that we cannot fill because we do not have the skilled workers. We do not have apprenticeship programs for people to learn those skills.

With the coming of the Olympics and all of the development that comes with it: the housing that develops in the communities where the Olympics will take place; all of the creation of the Olympics; the facilities; and simply the visitors that it brings and the facilities they will need, aids the economy enormously.

However, without apprenticeship support, without support for people in trades and technology, those jobs that support our economy will go unfilled or they will be filled by people who do not really have the skills to do the job. In five years time, as we have all seen happen in B.C., we will back in repairing the work because the work originally done was not necessarily done by people who knew precisely what they should be doing.

My constituents in Surrey North cannot afford the private colleges that offer trades and technology. They do not have the dollars for themselves or for their sons and daughters to pay the high tuition fees. This was a superb opportunity to provide support to those young people and those adults who were looking and wanting to have training.

How do we attract investment? I heard people talking about attracting investment to Canada. If companies are asked what attracts them to a country, they will say that they want to move their company or their manufacturing plant to a country that has skilled workers, strong research and development, has a commitment to assisting companies to renew machinery and equipment and is supportive of green companies.

I cannot open my paper from British Columbia without seeing the housing development embracing the building of a home using the green components that we have learned about. Businesses are looking at that as well. What a wonderful opportunity this would have been to invest in green companies.

My colleague from Etobicoke North, who spoke a moment ago, talked about our national infrastructure deficit. I live in Surrey, a city of 400,000 people, and it has for years been one of the most rapidly growing cities in the country.

If the federal government had worked with the provinces and the municipalities, there could have been a vibrant partnership to renew the infrastructure that is virtually crumbling across this country. One part of the Fraser Highway in Surrey needs about $20 million to upgrade but our city does not have that kind of money.

People move to Surrey because there is affordable housing but they often work in Vancouver, Coquitlam or Langley. We need a massive expansion of buses or light rapid transit along King George Highway or the Fraser Highway but it would cost $800 million to TransLink, which is our overall transit organization and we do not have that kind of money.

All those people who want to live in Surrey but work outside Surrey cannot because there is no viable transportation for them. This is because we have a huge national infrastructure deficit and we are ignoring it and we are ignoring it at the plight of all the people who live in our communities and, in this case, in Surrey and in my riding of Surrey North.

The other problem is our investment in human resources. The first investment in human resources that any of us can make is in child care. If there are people who are able to choose and they choose to be home while their children are small, then that is their choice and I support that choice. However, not everyone can do that. The government gives $1,200 a year for infant care. I do not know how much a person would need to make in order to even enter into the workforce to support their family.

What the NDP looked for in this budget was an investment in people and their communities, targeted tax relief and closing the gap between those who have and those who do not, between working women and men who do not have those opportunities and those who do. How do cuts to corporate taxes help those entrepreneurs and small home businesses that actually support our economy? They do not.

From the position of someone living in Surrey and representing the riding of Surrey North, I support the amendment to delete clause 181.

Public Safety December 6th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the United States has had this program in place for well over 30 years.

Presidents of the Canadian Police Association, the Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Association of Police Boards have all told the government that they need the regulation in place.

However, gun lobbyists are thrilled and thank the minister and Prime Minister for their “clear understanding of this important issue”.

Will the minister acknowledge that we are clearly violating UN firearms protocol and the Organization of American States Firearms Convention to which Canada is a signatory?

Public Safety December 6th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the United States has had gun marking import regulations since 1968. Canadian police chiefs have now called on both Liberal and Conservative governments to put this marking system in place.

Why does the government continue to delay the implementation of a program that police say will save lives?

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007 November 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I actually want to agree although I have a question. For single moms, particularly working single moms, like the one who I saw at our food bank who was there with her little girl, who was about seven, and she tugged on her mother's sleeve and said, “Don't worry mommy, I will try not to eat so much”, this budget makes absolutely no difference.

For the parent who has to pay $1,400 a month for licensed infant care, this budget has made no difference whatsoever. There is no support, there is no education, there is no child care, and it makes no difference for the single mom.

I am wondering, for that single mom who the member describes in his riding and who I see in mine, what does that mean when the Liberal caucus refused to stand up, take a position, and say that it cares about those single mothers who are not able to make ends meet without the food bank, who are not able to get child care? When they see the entire Liberal caucus sitting there, and abstention is really a yes, what is the message that goes to that parent?

Let me tell you, the parents who have talked to me have said that means they will talk about it, but they will not stand up for it.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 21st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the taser company has some serious explaining to do. At least five police officers in the U.S. and one in Canada have launched lawsuits after taser training went awry. American states across the U.S. have launched lawsuits and investigations into taser use.

The government has a duty to gather all the information available. Does the minister support a parliamentary investigation into tasers and their use and misuse in Canada? Would he support calling the founders and the directors of Taser International to testify at committee?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police November 21st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the death of a new Canadian at the Vancouver airport has put a sharp focus on the use of tasers in Canada. There are no national rules governing the use of tasers, no standard operating procedures for the devices and no mandatory reporting of incidents.

The Toronto police plan to spend $8.5 million on tasers is now on hold. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has halted a plan to buy tasers.

Will the minister do what responsible forces are doing and suspend the RCMP use of tasers until standards and retraining are in place?

Home Support Program November 21st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize the many people in Surrey North who are looking after aging parents, spouses and other family members.

Caring for a loved one at home can mean greater dignity for people who have made a lifetime of contributions to their families and communities, but it can also require great sacrifices.

Sometimes these sacrifices are so great, people are forced to choose a care home over home care. I have heard pain in the voices of people telling me of loving marriages split up by the difficult decision to place their spouse in a facility. I have seen tears from those who could no longer carry alone the responsibility of looking after those who require extra care.

Today, only those with significant financial resources have choices available to them, but there should be options for everyone regardless of income. Home support is less expensive than long term care. It is more humane and it is the right thing to do.

I call upon the government to show leadership in this area and help to deliver a national home support program now.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act November 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I think this is the easiest way to try to fix the order from the Supreme Court, that came down that this did not meet the charter. I do not think this will withstand a charter challenge either. I am sure there will be a challenge should this pass and it will be not upheld as legislation that protects people.

There are other examples, and the Liberal critic spoke to them earlier, of the SIRC process where full information is available to council. There is no example, ever, of there having been an error made by a lawyer who disclosed too much. A skilled lawyer knows how to put those questions. Therefore, I think it is the easiest way to do it.

Perhaps if the House had not prorogued for so long, we might have had an opportunity to have a more thorough look at whether there was a better way to do this. Unfortunately, we were denied that opportunity by a government that did not wish to return to the House for this debate.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act November 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, are there cells throughout the country? I do not know, but I believe there to be.

I think the member said earlier that he liked the English words of gathering intelligence. The process of gathering intelligence alerts our security to the fact that those people may exist. However, if people are in Canada living an exemplary life and breaking no laws, perhaps they have changed their minds or disavowed themselves from their original training. I do not know.

However, to walk into someone's home, someone who lives here, who has committed no crime and lives an exemplary life, seems to be an extreme violation under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Should those people commit an illegal act or be proven to be planning something, let us arrest them. Let us charge them for criminal activity.

Because the security certificates have had pieces added to them to try to make a flawed system better is not enough to convince me to support the bill at this time.