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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was health.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Thornhill (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2000, with 65% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Points of Order June 11th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this is in reply to a point of order that was raised by the member for St. Albert and refers to the funding of relief for the home heating expenses program.

In December 2000, the government confirmed through an order in council that it would provide ex gratia payments to individuals and families as a relief for heating expenses. The eligibility to receive the payment would be determined similarly to the eligibility for the goods and services tax credit, with some exclusions for dependants.

As is the case for the goods and services tax credit, the eligibility is founded on the information contained in the income tax and benefit returns filed under the Income Tax Act, in this case the returns for the 1999 tax year.

In order to ensure fairness to all Canadians, payments after 2000-01 have been required for: all eligible Canadians filing a 1999 tax return; Canadians whose 1999 tax returns were reassessed and are now entitled to the payment; or eligible Canadians whose addresses were invalid at the time of the initial issuance of the payment and were subsequently updated.

All of the RHE payments were made as ex gratia payments and charged to CCRA's Vote 1 operating expenditures, as approved by Parliament each year. The ex gratia payments do not require specific parliamentary approval or authority.

Funds for the program were appropriated by Parliament and placed in the CCRA Vote 1 operating expenditures through two Governor General's Special Warrants. No administrative or other limitations were placed on any of these funds other than the requirement to use them for operating purposes.

Subsection 30(2) of the Financial Administration Act deems the Governor General's Special Warrants to be an appropriation, in this case to CCRA's Vote 1 operating expenditures.

Subsection 60(1) of the CCRA act provides authority to carry forward its unused Vote 1 appropriations into the following fiscal year, and these carry-forward funds are the first ones to be used in any subsequent fiscal year, pursuant to subsection 7(2) of the Appropriation Acts. As mentioned earlier, the only limitation is that these funds had to be used for operating purposes. All ex gratia payments made by CCRA for the relief for heating expenses were properly charged in each year to general Vote 1 operating expenditures.

Consequently, CCRA had the necessary authorities to make the RHE payments, both in terms of an order in council for ex gratia payments and the necessary appropriations approved by Parliament. In addition, there is no basis to reduce the CCRA's main estimates as Parliament has already agreed that CCRA may carry forward its unused appropriations.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond, Mr. Speaker. I have tabled my statement, in both official languages, with the Clerk.

Canada Elections Act June 9th, 2003


That Bill C-24 be amended by adding after line 31 on page 99 the following new clause:

“63.1 The Act is amended by adding the following after section 536:

536.1 After the submission to the House of Commons of a report under section 535 in relation to the first general election following the coming into force of this section, any committee of that House to which the report is referred shall, in addition to considering the report, consider the effects of the provisions of this Act concerning political financing that came into force on the same day as this section.”

Question No. 200 May 14th, 2003

The answer is: (a) and (b): Discussions to discontinue reporting losses from GST fraud as a separate item in the Public Accounts, except when public servants were involved, occurred in 1994 or 1995, when the former departments of Revenue Canada Taxation and Revenue Canada Customs and Excise merged into a single department. The change in practice was motivated by a need to adopt a consistent approach, given that the practices for reporting losses in the two former departments had differed. Unfortunately, the period for retention of general records is 6 years, as per Records Disposition Authority 86/100, and there are no remaining records of any relevant discussions leading up to the decision, nor of approvals given. For this reason we cannot be more precise with respect to the persons involved and the timing of discussions and decisions leading up to the change in reporting practice. The earliest documentation that we have concerns our response to questions raised by the Treasury Board Secretariat in 1996. At that time, a policy interpretation to support the changed reporting practice was provided to Treasury Board Secretariat officials and confirmed in writing.

(c): Prior to the administrative consolidation, that is merger, of the former departments of Revenue Canada Taxation and Revenue Canada Customs and Excise, the two respective departments had different practices with respect to the reporting in the Public Accounts of losses of revenue due to fraud.

At the time of the merger, reporting requirements were reconsidered. Based on the Treasury Board Secretariat, TBS, policy reporting requirements, Revenue Canada officials arrived at what they considered an appropriate interpretation of the policy that could be applied to all taxes and duties, including the GST. As noted above, there are no records going back to that time. Revenue Canada’s explanation provided to TBS officials in 1996 reflects the reasons for continuing the changed Public Accounts reporting practices.

Revenue Canada believed that the reporting practices in place in 1994 with regard to losses of money due to GST input tax credit fraud did not meet the spirit of the TB policy, because the amount of the loss would be confirmed only through a court conviction, which could be handed down years after the incident occurred. Moreover, such convictions immediately resulted in assessments, which would be set up as receivables and either collected or subjected to a formal debt write off process. Both receivables and debt write offs would continue to be reported in the Public Accounts, and when combined with increased reporting on enforcement activities in the Estimates, part III, there was considered to be adequate disclosure.

Canada-U.S. Border May 13th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, an interesting but little known fact is that traditionally on the Canadian side of the border, prior to 9/11, we had 40% more resources in customs officers than on the American side. The Americans have beefed up their people. They have been hiring and training.

We are working very hard at this point now, as part of the smart border initiative, to develop those kinds of initiatives to ensure that the border is safer and more efficient. I can assure the member opposite that we have the resources to do that.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency May 13th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this gives me a very good opportunity to let people know how important this program is, because everyone who qualifies for this program must have a clear criminal record, have no security concerns and no customs violations. The terms have been agreed to by both Canada and the United States. This is a new program. We are watching it to see how effective it is and if the member has suggestions on how it could be further improved. However, this program rewards those people who have no blemish at all on their records. Those are the people we trust and those are the people who qualify.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency May 13th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in fact there has been no delay. We are very proud of the fact that the Nexus program, which is two way with the United States and negotiated as part of the smart border, is rolling out across the country. There has been a lot of interest. People are signing up and 39,000 to date have already applied. It is an example of how we can make the border function smarter. That means safer and more efficiently for both Americans and Canadians.

Taxation May 8th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite should know, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled some time ago. That ruling is under review by the Department of Finance because we want to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.

Taxation May 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is trying to create an impression that is absolutely not true. No one has been discriminated against. All hockey teams are expected to obey the law. When there is a problem they are subject to fines.

However, in this particular case, we are doing a public education outreach via the Canadian Hockey Association. It is the Canadian Hockey Association that is helping us to ensure that all teams know what their obligations are, that all teams live up to those obligations and that those young players have access to the social programs--

Taxation May 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency administers the Income Tax Act equally so that all Canadians properly pay their fair share and no one pays more than their fair share.

We have initiated an outreach program with the Canadian Hockey Association regarding the employment status of hockey players and their eligibility for access to Canada's social safety net.

I want to assure the member opposite that all Canadians are treated equally under the Income Tax Act, the Canada pension plan and the Employment Insurance Act.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency April 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, nothing in the member's preamble is true. In fact, we have said very clearly that customs officers who are on the front line in the primary inspection at our ports, land borders and airports do an excellent job in identifying individuals and goods which are inadmissible to Canada. They have an excellent record in doing that. We should all be very proud of them.

I have said that on a continuous basis and I would ask the member to stand up and acknowledge that.