Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was yukon.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as NDP MP for Yukon (Yukon)

Lost her last election, in 2000, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Yukon Act February 14th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, Yukon government leader Piers McDonald and opposition leader Pat Duncan are in Ottawa in a co-operative effort to lobby to modernize the Yukon Act.

The Yukon Act does not but needs to recognize the current system of democratic government and give effect to the devolution of power over land and resources to the elected legislature. This transfer is critical to the future of the Yukon and must include first nations and the federal government.

The Yukon needs the support of parliament to update the Yukon Act for economic development and to create a fireweed fund, the first labour sponsored fund in all of the north.

Income Tax Act February 14th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I also support Bill C-205 which would amend the Income Tax Act so that mechanics can deduct the cost of their tools.

It seems that bills similar to this have been brought forward by different parties over the past years and, at different times, supported by all the parties. We now have an opportunity to vote on this. If we all vote at the same time to support it, it would obviously pass. Historically we have seen support for this bill and for the mechanics in question.

It is hardly fair to mechanics, who are self-employed or employed by someone else, to have to provide their own tools. That is the equalizing effect. Whether they are running their own business or working for someone else, it is up to the mechanics to buy their own tools, and those tools are expensive.

If there is one thing I know, having many family members in the trades, they never dream of showing up to a job site without their own tool kit. They also have to upgrade their tools and update their knowledge. As machines become more sophisticated, the tools become more sophisticated and more expensive.

On top of that, those living in the north may need industrial, high quality tools which are not easily available and are more expensive. This adds more expense to the cost of people getting trades and going through their apprenticeships. Apprentices do not make a lot of money because they must work for somebody else. They should be able to deduct the cost of their tools.

Fairness, as it is being distributed right now, is certainly in question. The Liberal member who stood up made outright excuses for not supporting the bill. He said that it should be fair, that it is complex, that it should be easy to comply with and that it should be consistent with the fiscal situation. That is just putting up roadblocks.

As it stands, mechanics are facing a situation that is blatantly unfair. What is wrong with treating someone fairly? Is it that it would encourage other people to expect to be treated fairly? I do not think that is an adequate excuse for not supporting this bill.

It is also not an excuse to say that it would make a lot of work for the new Canada tax agency to treat Canadians fairly. Every Canadian deserves the right to be treated fairly. When it comes to the cost of doing business and carrying out one's trade or profession, it should be treated equally. The question should not be based on whether a person is in a trade or in a profession, or that somehow trades do not rank equally with other professions. We should never entertain that sort of thought. Whether people are doctors, mechanics or carpenters, they should be eligible to deduct the cost of their tools to do their business in the country.

Any move forward to a fairer tax system is a good position to take. As a private member in the House, I will certainly support the bill. I hope other Liberal members will see it as a cause to support as well.

Petitions February 11th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is about nuclear weapons and has been signed by people from B.C. and the Yukon. They want the government to take the lead in abolishing the use of nuclear weapons in any form as they have no place in our modern society.

Petitions February 11th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.

The first petition is from the people of Yukon who are incredibly concerned with the growing rate of child poverty. They are calling on the federal government to take positive action to remedy this in the upcoming budget.

Leukemia Awareness Month February 10th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support the motion to recognize the month of June as leukemia awareness month as this would increase our awareness of the disease.

One of the things we need to be aware of is that 2,000 people will die from this disease. We also need to know what causes the disease and why it affects some people but not others. What are the implications concerning our environment? What are the environmental factors that may or may not play a part in this disease? What are the genetic factors?

There is so much to know but so little that people in general do know about this disease because of their busy lives. They only find out about it if someone they know and love is suffering from the disease, but they do not know enough to be of any help.

We have to be aware of what we can do as a community and what we can provide in terms of medicare and home care. We need good hospitals and good research.

The whole cycle of research that was just described may take a long time. If we want to decrease the number of deaths from this disease we must always be proactive and one step ahead. We want to prevent those 2,000 deaths as a country, but more importantly, the deaths that each family may have to face.

The idea of cancer alone induces fear in people. The more awareness we can bring to them, the more we can help our communities. Most people think of cancer as a deadly disease. Hopefully, as we move further along in our research, there will be far fewer deaths and far fewer children being taken away from their families and out of our lives.

The fact that this disease affects so many children and is the leading cause of death in children is enough for us to single it out as being a disease for which people need to develop an awareness. As a mother of four children and having seen families lose their children, it is our deepest fear that our children will die ahead us. I do not know how a family would cope with that. The loss of a child to a family and to a community makes us want to take the extra effort to become more aware of this disease and to bring the issue forward.

Last year a man in our community died. A lot of treatment cannot be done in the north so people have to fly out, which is quite a difficult endeavour in itself. It means the waiting period can be far longer for people in the north than for people who are in a community where treatment can be easily accessed. The man who died had left the Yukon to undergo a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, it was too late for Ben Sheardown.

I will say a few words about Ben because he was an integral part of our community. He was a a coach, an athlete, a teacher, a counsellor, a husband and a father. To every person he came into contact with, he was far more than that. Anyone who met him could not help but be inspired by his kindness, his passion and his ferocious nature.

Anyone who had the chance to meet him in the last month of his life knew immediately how privileged they were. He went through incredible suffering with tremendous grace and almost transcended the daily world that we live in. I think he attained a different spiritual level, one which we all would like to bring to our lives.

The worst part is that he left us too soon. He still had so much of himself to give to his children, his wife and his community. He was someone I had known throughout my whole life as a teacher, a neighbour and a friend. He is still deeply missed. If we could have prevented his death or given him even a few more years of life we would have all benefited.

Just last month I had to say goodbye to a friend who died of leukemia. She did not even have a chance for a bone marrow transplant. Her name was Effie Croft and she had started a small community newspaper in Faro. She found out quite late that she had the disease because she would never have imagined herself sick no matter how tired she was. She was a counsellor, but more than anything she brought an incredible joy to the people around her. Even through the time of her whole town's decamping and moving away when the mine closed she was a real source of energy and great love to her town.

When people found out how sick Ben was with leukemia and that they could possibly donate bone marrow, there was a huge outpouring of people wanting to do that. As was described by the member of parliament who is also a doctor, it is a long process and it is not easy to find a match. People were not aware that if they had made themselves available to a donor bank beforehand they could have helped. It could have been easily accessible to Ben and anyone else who might need a bone marrow transplant.

There is another thing about organ donations, bone marrow donations or donations of whatever piece of our bodies we are able to donate. People need to know that in the case of donating bone marrow we do not have to die to do it. There is a lot of fear for people trying to come to grips with what it means to be a donor, with what it means to be able to help each other. Canada does not have a good record for doing that, but I know people would do it if they were only aware of how to do it. Then they would be more than generous in any way they could to help their fellow citizens.

Sometimes when we talk about diseases we talk about them in terms of numbers and names instead of in terms of individuals, children, friends, parents, sisters and the other people they affect. If we appeal to the better instincts of our friends and neighbours in our communities I know they would respond.

This idea deserves action. We can do no wrong by tightening the awareness of this terrible disease. If we help just one family it would be worth it, but I think this awareness will help our whole country.

Porcupine Caribou Agreement February 10th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, for centuries the lives of the Gwich'in people of Yukon and Alaska have been ecologically connected to the migration of the porcupine caribou herd. Their name means people of the caribou.

Now, while the caribou are safely in their wintering grounds, it is a little known fact but the Gwich'in people themselves have been making an annual migration to the southern United States. They have been going there for years to lobby to preserve the calving grounds of the caribou and they just left Washington yesterday.

In 1987 the Porcupine Caribou Agreement was signed by both countries to protect the herd. Canada created two national parks, Aulavik and Vuntut, to safeguard the calving grounds.

The U.S. still allows oil drilling in the Arctic wildlife refuge and these sensitive and ancient calving grounds are under unnecessary pressure. Just 2% of the refuge needs to be protected and it needs to be done now.

Canada has been true to its word. We must make sure the U.S. is true to its commitment. I implore all members of parliament to think about the Gwich'in who need our help and to raise this issue until the caribou are safe.

Supply February 8th, 2000

Madam Speaker, my concern is in the real disparity in accountability. It is clear that there was no accountability with this program. I have to say that I do support the transitional jobs fund. It has been important in the Yukon.

There was accountability in other programs, such as the young entrepreneurs program where everything was filled out in triplicate. It did an incredible job. However, its funding was cut by two-thirds without any warning after the agreement had been signed. This volunteer group was left high and dry and scrambling to find money to cover the unexplainable cut in its funding, which was never to be returned. This was a volunteer group that was unbelievably scrutinized. It had to present everything in triplicate. It was accountable. What bothers me is that there is not the same kind of accountability on the other side.

Supply February 8th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I know members of the Bloc have fought very hard and very long for a fair employment insurance system. I would like to hear their comments because many aspects of it have bothered me. One was the minister's comment that there was no witch hunt of those within her department.

I was surprised at how quick they were to let themselves off the hook, that they would presume innocence on their own part, but when it comes to any poor soul who has ever made a mistake on an employment insurance form there is never a presumption of innocence. I know of people who have been hounded for two to three years for an innocent error on an employment insurance card.

If the minister is to be so quick to assume that everyone in her department and herself are innocent, that everything was just a bit of a mistake, then that sort of standard should be applied to Canadian citizens who have made innocent mistakes on their employment insurance forms. I would like the member's comments on that.

Employment Insurance December 2nd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Considering that women have borne so much of the brunt of changes to the EI program and she has initiated extended maternity benefits, there are so many women who are now on benefits who would love to stay home with their children. Would the minister extend those benefits and make an early intervention so that they can stay home with their children now?

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act December 2nd, 1999

Probably not all of them, but the majority of their people have voted that this agreement will give them a chance to determine their lives, their future and their government. There is room in the country for Nisga'a people to be Nisga'a and still be Canadians. There is no reason to fear the freedom of the Nisga'a people to determine what will suit them in their lives. I stand here to say I oppose the amendments made by the Reform Party because all it wants to do is slow down the process and deny these people the right to govern themselves. If they make mistakes, they will make them on their own merit and they will be responsible for their own mistakes. It will not be us who have nothing to be proud of when it comes to first nations people and telling them what is good or what is bad for them.