Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was east.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Vancouver East (B.C.)

Lost her last election, in 1997, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions March 1st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, signed by 54 people, is on the subject of euthanasia. The petitioners say that the majority of Canadians respect the law and the sanctity of human life and believe that doctors should try to save lives, not end them.

The petitioners also ask Parliament to ensure that the provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be rigorously upheld, that Parliament not amend the current laws and that assisted suicide and active or passive euthanasia remain illegal.

Petitions March 1st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present five petitions from the Vancouver area. The first one signed by 288 members of the community deals with the practice of female circumcision.

The petitioners feel that education is a priority for those who practice female circumcision and for those unaware of its prevalence. They therefore request that the Criminal Code of Canada be amended to penalize those involved in the practice.

The Budget March 1st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the President of the Treasury Board.

The infrastructure program has been very successful and encouraged all levels of government to work together. In my riding of Vancouver East the projects were enthusiastically received and put many people to work.

Could the Minister responsible for Infrastructure inform the House of the status of the programs following Monday's budget?

The Budget February 16th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the budget is quickly approaching. Canadians are not prepared to pay more taxes. They are in fact letting all of us in government know that they are prepared to react very negatively should taxes be increased.

However, Canadians are prepared to do with less services. They are asking us to cut services and programs and to ensure a fair taxation system so the middle class does not bear an undue burden of taxes.

Being a Liberal is not easy in these times. While we know we must bring down the deficit, we also know that our party has shown compassion over the years and has taken care of individuals in need.

We must and will continue to ensure that we are able to care for all Canadians, both now and in the future. I am committed to working toward these fundamental values. We recognize that difficult choices must be made if we are to ensure Canada's well-being and prosperity.

We are listening to Canadians. We hear that a fair taxation system should be introduced, cuts to services should be implemented, that duplication should be avoided and most important, that those in need should not suffer through this exercise but rather be strengthened by it.

Chinese New Year February 7th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, last week members of the Chinese Canadian community celebrated the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the year of the boar.

In Vancouver the Chinese community celebrated all week. I had the privilege to participate in many of the festivities ushering in the new year.

Parades, lion dances, colourful fairs and rich banquets brought Vancouver East to life. Even the dragon made an appearance.

The Chinese Canadian community is a great asset to our Canadian mosaic. Dedicated members of their community, Chinese Canadians are a good example of Canadian citizenship. Their will to generously share their traditions and culture with the rest of Canada is but another contribution of this great community to the building of a multicultural country.

They once again proved that the values they hold so dear are the values of many other communities: family, respect, friendship, work, hospitality. The Chinese Canadian community also enjoys, as do many other communities, good food, good fun and a great love for celebration.

Let me wish everybody Happy New Year, Kung Hey Fat Choy.

Canada December 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the holiday season is drawing near and I would like to extend to Canadians my very best wishes for a very happy holiday season.

Next year might bring the separation of Quebec, and this is why I would like to take this opportunity to tell Quebecers that Canada is a great country and that their presence in Confederation is extremely important because of the cultural dimension Quebec brings, and especially because of what the Quebec people mean to Canada.

I hope that next year will bring the welcome news that Canada will remain united and that this unity will not be challenged again.

Canada must remain united. Anglophones, francophones and allophones must all work together in a harmonious country as Canadians. We cannot erase years of history and camaraderie between provinces. Canada must keep its state of Confederation with its ten provinces and two territories. Our strength is in unity, not in separation.

Today we are also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Canadian flag. May it continue to be our symbol of unity and harmony.

Happy New Year to all.

Supply December 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I do not think there is a question. Still, I would like to say something about the Charlottetown Accord. This agreement was rejected not only because of Quebec but also for a lot of other reasons, because the agreement proposed to Canadians was too vast, too complicated, and even people conversant with the issue could not understand the whole package in the Charlottetown Accord.

I think that is why it was rejected, because Native people say the same thing, everybody says the same thing, namely that the Charlottetown Accord was rejected because of its complexity. I am talking about separation, not sovereignty. In British Columbia, everybody talks about separation. I am sorry, but I found Quebec in Canada on my arrival here; I think it is a great country and that we should stay together, especially since Quebecers have contributed much to Canada and because Quebec provides a dimension that Canada needs.

Supply December 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, the Official Opposition and the government of Mr. Parizeau are trying to convince Quebecers and Canadians that Quebec's separation is unavoidable, that federalism adversely affects development in that province, and that the consultation process recently announced is eminently democratic. At a time when countries want to unite together, including European nations, Quebec wants to separate.

I wish to take this opportunity to correct certain facts and denounce some exaggerations and overstatement by those in favour of separation.

Is Canadian federalism really an obstacle to Quebec's development? I usually do not agree with Mr. Parizeau's views.

However, I must say that I think he is absolutely right when he says that Quebec has achieved a lot over the last 30 years.

In his speech, Mr. Parizeau mentioned, among others things, that in the 1960s Quebec was a modern state with a dynamic cultural life, that in the 1970s it had become a leader in democratization and education, and that in the 1980s Quebecers

had taken the reins of economic power and greatly increased their international presence.

Mr. Parizeau is absolutely right when he says that Quebecers should be proud of these exceptional achievements.

But where I do not agree with him and those who support separation in general is when they say that Canadian federalism is hampering Quebec's development. How can they make such a claim when the facts show unequivocally that Quebec made tremendous progress over the last 30 years, while being a part of Canada?

Indeed, it is within the Canadian federation that Quebec's quiet revolution got started and that companies such as Bombardier and Cascades were able to penetrate world markets. It is also within the Canadian federation that the work and talent of Céline Dion and the Cirque du soleil gained international recognition.

Make no mistake. I am not trying to tell you that Quebecers became so successful strictly because of Canadian federalism. What I am saying is that it is wrong to claim that federalism has impeded Quebec's development.

Is Canada really unable to recognize Quebec's specificity?

In his speech, Mr. Parizeau said that the failure of the Meech Lake Accord indicated English Canada's refusal to recognize, even symbolically, that specificity. This statement does not seem fair to me.

The Canadian federation recognized even before Meech and continues to recognize Quebec's specificity and to preserve the French fact, and not just symbolically. Let me give you some examples.

Even in 1867, the Constitution Act guaranteed the use of French in Parliament and in courts. The Constitution Act of 1982 reinforced this guarantee and made French one of the two official languages of Canada by recognizing its use in all institutions of Parliament and the government of Canada. Also, the Canadian Constitution allowed Quebec to pass language laws to promote French in Quebec.

Under the Canadian Constitution, Quebec has jurisdiction over education and has a justice system based on the Civil Code, the only one of its kind in North America. Control over these two areas is crucial to preserve and enhance Quebec's specificity.

Three out of the nine judges appointed to the Supreme Court must come from Quebec. None of the other provinces has such a guarantee.

For any issue relating to education and culture, Quebec can opt out of any Constitutional amendment to transfer provincial powers to the federal government and get full financial compensation.

Four consecutive immigration agreements have progressively increased the role Quebec plays in this area and let the province choose its immigrants and facilitate their integration into Quebec society. The Leader of the Official Opposition himself publicly recognized the merits of these federal-provincial agreements on immigration. Let me remind members that the other provinces do not have the same rights as Quebec does in the immigration area.

According to the economic development agreement reached by Prime Minister Pearson and Mr. Lesage, then Premier of Quebec, during the 1960s, Quebec was able to create its own pension plan and set up its own deposit and investment fund.

At the international level, Ottawa-Quebec framework agreements allow Quebec to sign agreements directly with France and Belgium and, pursuant to yet another agreement, Quebec has its own seat at the Francophone Summit, something other provinces do not have.

All these examples show how biased and full of half-truths the separatists' rhetoric is.

Canadian federalism is not so centralized or centralizing that it negates or irons out regional and provincial differences. In fact, Canada is one of the least centralized countries in the whole world. Canadian federalism is not against promoting the French fact. On the contrary, it contributes to the French influence in North America.

To conclude, I want to say that the PQ option troubles me a lot as it does most Canadians, especially francophones outside Quebec.

In British Columbia, most francophones are not only troubled but sad. Like me, they feel betrayed. In 1980, I fought with petitions and letters, etc, from Vancouver, to keep Quebec inside Canada. On the night of the referendum, I was extremely happy and, the next day, I gave the wives of eight Quebec police officers visiting Vancouver a rose and a note of thanks.

I hope to be able to do the same next year, on the night of the referendum. This time, if Quebecers say no, I will give roses to my colleagues, the women of the Bloc Quebecois.

Tragedy At L'École Polytechnique December 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, December 6, 1989, began like any other day, but by the time it ended, 14 female students at l'École polytechnique in Montreal had been killed by a man who could not accept women invading what he considered to be an exclusive male preserve.

Fourteen young lives were sacrificed, leaving 14 families, many friends and all Canadians in dismay. Violence against women is the most despicable act society has to face because it is an act of weakness.

In Vancouver a women's monument will be inaugurated in my riding of Vancouver East in the summer of 1995. "Marker of Change" by Beth Albert is comprised of 14 benches of pink Quebec granite. Each bench will bear the name of one of the women murdered at l'École polytechnique.

This monument will be an official declaration that women's lives are precious and that violence cannot be forgiven.

Today I would like to assure the 14 families and the many friends of the women killed on December 6, 1989 that we mourn their loss and that, like them, we will not forget.

Student Loans December 5th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to be able to address the House on the crucial subject of federal support for post-secondary education.

The motion before us which was introduced in the spring by the Reform Party has taken on new meaning in the context that has evolved since then. Not only has legislation been passed to overhaul the Canada student loans program but the government has released its social security reform discussion paper. Both these initiatives reinforce the notion that income contingent repayment of student loans is a potential important component of the future post-secondary education financing scene in Canada.

As a further example of the interest in income contingent repayment loans demonstrated in the past few months, I would like to point to the conference in September sponsored by the Government of Ontario with financial assistance from the federal Department of Human Resources Development. It brought together leading experts from across Canada, Australia and the United States and gave some 300 participants a chance to exchange views and argue the issues.

The arguments in this area often involve strongly held views as we have seen in the debate in the House. Throughout the debate all sides of the House stress the importance of post-secondary education to the future of individual Canadians and of our country.

I believe none of us questions this basic value but we do have differing views as to how best the federal government can contribute to ensuring that Canadians continue to enjoy access to post-secondary education over the long term.

In our red book we did admit that "we must make better use of the $44 billion we spend on education every year". Many Canadian students already receive assistance from the federal and provincial governments to finance their studies. The costs to students of post-secondary education have increased significantly in recent years. The government has introduced reforms to the Canada student loans program to help today's students handle the increased costs.

There is no doubt that in the past significant numbers of students have difficulty repaying existing fixed payment loans. The government has moved to address the problem by introducing grants and expanding interest relief to include borrowers of low incomes.

The government will soon be entering into contracts with lenders for the Canada student loans program whereby the institutions making the loans will assume greater responsibility for servicing and collecting them.

Under this new financing arrangement lenders will have a much greater incentive to provide income sensitive terms to borrowers. This flexibility will assist former students in repaying their loans.

More fundamental than the question of the operation of existing student loans problems is that of the share which tuition represents of higher education costs. Canadian post-secondary students contribute through their fees on the average about 20 per cent of university operating costs. We know that post-secondary graduates have much greater employment prospects and income potential than those who have not undertaken such studies. Should they perhaps contribute more toward the costs of this education?

As the House knows, the standing committee on human resources-