House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was cultural.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Parkdale—High Park (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2006, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Lithuania February 16th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the people of Lithuania who today celebrate the 80th anniversary of their country's independence.

Since the founding of the first Lithuanian state in 1236 Lithuania has been occupied by the former Soviet Union for a majority of its history. But with the collapse of czarist Russia at the end of World War I, Lithuanians took advantage of the opportunity to regain their independence and on February 16, 1918 Lithuania's independence was restored.

However, with the outbreak of World War II this freedom was short lived. Lithuania was again occupied for some 50 years beginning in 1939. However, in the late 1980s, as changes were taking place throughout the Soviet Union, Lithuanians organized a powerful independence movement whose protests culminated with the re-establishment of the independent Lithuanian state on March 11, 1990.

Canada's steadfast refusal to recognize the occupation of the Baltic states during the Soviet era is greatly appreciated by people of Baltic origin and among the tens of thousands of Canadians of Lithuanian heritage.

European Common Market February 16th, 1998

Madam Speaker, Canada has launched a joint study with the European Commission to reduce trade barriers and facilitate trade. This study is one of the provisions of the joint Canada-European Union action plan signed by the Prime Minister in December 1996.

By May 1998 we hope to have first, a list of barriers identified in terms of their economic significance for Canada and the European Union; second, options for reducing or eliminating these barriers, including trilateral agreements with the United States and multilateral agreements; and third, an identification of the best means of addressing the most significant barriers.

Canada has identified the European Union's phytosanitary regulations affecting Canadian lumber exports as a barrier for the purposes of this study. Canada has been making strong representations in an effort to resolve this issue bilaterally and is now considering its options under the World Trade Organization.

As a WTO member which is bound by the agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, Canada recognizes the rights of all members to adopt measures necessary to protect plant health. Canada and other members, like the European Union, regulate the importation of plant material in their territories in order to prevent the introduction and spread of pests or disease that could threaten the health of their forests.

Sanitary and phytosanitary measures by their very nature can result in some restrictions on trade. This is currently the case with respect to Canadian exports of certain plant products to the European Union.

With respect to live trees or forestry products with bark and needles attached, like Christmas trees, the European Union has been concerned for many years with a number of pests that can be found on coniferous trees. Canadian plant health officials have similar concerns with respect to imports from the European Union. In addition, the European Union is regulating the importation of green coniferous lumber from Canada and other countries to prevent the entry of pinewood nematode, a pest which the European Union fears can cause damage to its forests.

The Canadian government, with the co-operation of the Canadian industry, has conducted various surveys and studies to analyse the risk of transmission of pinewood nematode to the forests of Europe. The Canadian government has also worked with the Canadian industry on control measures to mitigate the risk of transmission of pinewood nematode from Canadian shipments of green lumber.

To date, however, European Union plant officials are not prepared to provide access for Canadian green coniferous lumber or other untreated forestry products.

The new WTO agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary measures builds on previous trade rules to restrict the use of unjustified and unnecessary sanitary and phytosanitary measures while maintaining the right of every country to provide the level of protection it deems appropriate.

The government will continue to work with the industry and the provinces to ensure that Canada's rights and obligations under the agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary measures are protected along with the interests of the Canadian forest industry.

Dean Ott February 11th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, January 30, 1998, Canada's theatre community suffered a tragic loss. Dean Ott, a member of my riding association, a former colleague and my friend, passed away suddenly at the age of 34.

Dean began his career at Sunshine Theatre in Kelowna, B.C., at the age of 14. His career advanced rapidly from shop supervisor at JV Theatre Productions to stage carpenter at Theatre Calgary, technical director at Alberta Theatre Projects, and project manager at F&D Scene Changes in Calgary.

Dean came to Toronto in 1990 as the production manager at the Canadian Stage Company and later the associate producer and director of production. During his tenure at Canadian Stage he was responsible for initiating and implementing with the city of Toronto the renovations to the Dream in High Park site. The Dream in High Park is the free outdoor Shakespearian production that takes place every summer in my riding.

Dean will be missed by everyone in the theatre community and by everyone he touched.

Multilateral Agreement On Investment February 6th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister for International Trade a question regarding the multilateral agreement on investment.

With the recent tabling of the first report of the standing committee on international trade, trade disputes and investment came a number of recommendations regarding the MAI. However the agreement continues to raise issues of concern for people in my riding.

Could the minister assure the House that the best interests of all Canadians will determine the terms by which Canada would become a signatory to this very important agreement?

Alex Ling December 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, today an outstanding member of my constituency, Mr. Alex Ling, received the Award of Merit from the city of Toronto. This award is given to people who have helped to improve the quality of life in Toronto through endeavours outside of their chosen vocation.

Mr. Ling, a small business owner in Bloor West Village, has been integral to the development of the Bloor West Business Improvement Area. Most recently Mr. Ling and the BIA were successful in implementing the construction of a fountain at the intersection of Bloor and Jane Streets in partnership with federal infrastructure moneys.

Mr. Ling has shared his knowledge and experience with other BIAs in the Toronto area. As founding member and current chairman of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, he has championed the cause of small business in Toronto.

I congratulate Mr. Ling on his Award of Merit. I draw inspiration from his contribution. I encourage all Canadians to follow his example of tireless volunteerism.

Postal Services Continuation Act, 1997 December 2nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, these negotiations have not been about one issue. These negotiations are about a number of issues which we all agree are best to be left to the two parties at the table to resolve.

One issue cannot be looked at, such as why this, why not that. I think that is something the mediator probably asked. I was not the mediator and it is what the two parties have tried to do.

With respect to the member's second question about 4,000 employees being laid off, no one knows how many people are going to be laid off. Where do we get these figures? We look to see what has happened in the last two weeks. We see the people who have been laid off, the part time people, the people who need work now, especially at Christmas so that they can buy their families the things they need.

What about those people? How can we quantify? What I am asking everyone to do today is to bring us together and to make sure that we try to make this thing much better. Vote for the legislation today.

Postal Services Continuation Act, 1997 December 2nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I can only say to the hon. member the same thing that he has heard time and time again from the members on this side of the floor. The Liberal government believes in the collective bargaining process.

We have negotiated. We have mediated, but we also believe in the right to strike, the right to settlement. We have tried and again it is our Liberal government that believes in the importance of negotiating.

Two weeks after that strike, after opportunities for people to negotiate and the minister's bringing in Canada's top mediator to solve this problem, we have negotiated solutions working in partnership. Those are the solutions.

When those partnerships fail and they cannot be brought together, then it is our duty to bring in legislation. With all due respect, we are doing just that. I would ask that member to join me in voting for this legislation this evening.

Postal Services Continuation Act, 1997 December 2nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time this morning with the hon. member for Abitibi.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on Bill C-24. I regret that this government has been forced to legislate an end to this postal strike which started two weeks ago, but it is time. The circumstances are right. It is appropriate and I ask all members of the House to join today to support this legislation.

Last weekend when I went back to my riding, I was stopped time and time again by individuals, small business owners and volunteers at the local church, who said to me “Please, it is time now, it is time. We believe in the collective bargaining process but it is time. We need your help”.

In Canada we are fortunate to have an excellent system of labour management relations. A majority of disputes are resolved without a strike or lockout. The system does work. The government has repeatedly said that it would allow the collective bargaining process to run its course. Despite the appointment of a mediator and every effort to support a negotiated settlement, a settlement could not be reached.

For whatever reason, the parties have been either unable or unwilling to make difficult decisions needed to resolve the dispute. The Minister of Labour has been advised by one of the country's top mediators that the parties have become deadlocked and that it is unlikely that an agreement can be reached. We cannot ignore this advice from the mediator. With the advice from the mediator and under the minister's leadership, the government has been left with no other choice but to introduce legislation and resolve this matter.

I believe that both parties have tried to negotiate a settlement to the best of their abilities. We can no longer wait. Yes, small business has been affected. Unfortunately, small business relies very much on the mail, but small businesses continue to pay their employees. At times cash flow is very tight for the small business. As we know, small business is the engine of our economy, it runs our economy. We must now extend our hand to help it.

I want to speak with respect to the concern of the hon. member from the opposition about charities and his allegation that we as the government have not cared about charities. It is because the government is concerned about the well-being of the nation's charities that we are asking the House to join and pass this legislation and resume the postal service. We have been monitoring on a daily, weekly and monthly basis the amount of hardship that has been faced by the charitable sector. This postal situation has hurt charities in four ways. I am going to share those concerns of the charities with the member.

Charities are reluctant to mail and consumers are reluctant to respond. Charities may now have to lay off operational staff due to declining work. The most important giving season, the Christmas season, is now in jeopardy. The shortfall in revenues will have direct impact on charities' abilities to provide programs and services. We are aware. We are aware of what their needs are. Therefore being aware, it is time for us to legislate.

Again with respect to charities, the impact of the initial build-up and uncertainty about the postal situation has hurt a number of organizations. Some funds, diminished though they were, flowed into charities during the lead-up to the current situation. Cash flow for a number of organizations which are heavily dependent on direct mail revenues have now completely stopped. To put this in perspective, I know of several organizations that receive 90% or more of their fund raising revenues through the mail. The current postal disruption means that there is no need for gift processors or volunteers. Some organizations are now faced with laying off their processing staff.

Given that the Christmas season is now upon us, the anticipated revenues that are so vital to so many organizations are now in jeopardy. Fund-raising goals based on the needs of organizations are likewise in jeopardy.

I know of an organization in my riding that after a successful year prior to this strike is now looking at a 15% shortfall in revenues. There is no fat to trim in this organization. This shortfall will mean that it cannot sustain the same charitable activities in which it has been engaged.

Over the last 10 days articles have been appearing in a Toronto newspaper regarding the important and vital role played by our charities. I urge members again, in light of what the charities do for Canada and the people of Canada, it is now time to legislate back to work.

While most of us may not recognize it, charities also face a new threat once the postal strike comes to an end. These charities will be competing with each other with an intensity few have experienced within a compressed timeframe. Every organization that has delayed its mailing and every organization that has already postponed its mailing is going to be out there asking Canadians to help support them.

The charities are losing $10 million a day. It is important now that we put postal workers back to work.

I would like to say to the hon. member from the opposition that instead of bemoaning the fact that the government has done nothing and does not care about charities, I would urge him to not only vote for the legislation but to stand in the House the following day and speak to all Canadians. Tell them just how important those charities are. Ask them to look for their mail and to give more than they have given before and be responsible in that way. I will be doing that.

I regret that we have had to do this. I believe in the collective bargaining system. However, my constituents want the postal workers returned to work. I care and the government cares about those individuals and the charities. I would ask all members of the House to please vote for the legislation.

Canada Television And Cable Production Fund November 26th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, television is our most powerful communications tool. Canadians watch it at least 24 hours a week but what they watch is what is in abundance, American programming.

Canadians deserve Canadian programming. The renewal of the Canada television and cable production fund will go a long way to achieve this end.

The fund represents a uniquely successful partnership of public and private funding. It couples government and cable industry contributed moneys to increase the presence of high quality Canadian programming.

Last year the fund supported 376 projects and employed over 19,000 Canadians, with direct and indirect economic benefits estimated at $525 million.

A fine example of this was the Avro Arrow mini-series which was produced by two of my constituents. It was written by Keith Leckie and co-produced by Marie Young-Leckie. This show has now been sold throughout the world.

The renewal of the fund represents not only the government's commitment to Canadian television, but also recognizes the positive economic impact of Canada's arts industry.

Latvian And Polish Independence Days November 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, today Canadians of Latvian origin celebrate the 79th anniversary of their independence, and on November 11 Canadians of Polish origin celebrated theirs.

As the first member of Parliament of Baltic heritage, it gives me great pride to recognize these important dates.

It is an occasion to contemplate the rich traditions of these countries that serve as an inspiration for all who cherish the values of freedom and democracy.

In the aftermath of World War I, in 1918 the Republic of Latvia gained its independence and, at the same time, Poland regained its. However, this freedom was very shortlived. Under Soviet occupation it was lost. However, even a half century of totalitarian rule did not stifle the love of freedom and cultural heritage. In Poland it gave rise to solidarity.

In 1991, after the tragic killings in Vilnius and Riga, the Canadian government was the first to recognize the independence of—