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

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Do you want me to join the Bloc Quebecois?

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Madam Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to rise in this House to participate in this debate on job creation because I believe the government's proposal is full of vision.

The Minister of Industry recently made at a G-7 meeting in Detroit a speech in which he stressed the need to maintain a stable economic environment to stimulate job creation.

The economic challenges facing Canadians are well known. Unemployment is too high and budget deficits undermine governments' capability to take remedial action.

All G-7 nations are facing similar problems. Within most large economies, consumer confidence has generally remained low, reflecting unemployment rates which are high and still rising as well as continued uncertainty with regard to employment. We cannot take a piecemeal approach to these problems. A comprehensive approach is required.

The government recognizes that the task at hand is as simple and at the same time as difficult as setting the economy back on the road to growth, because the solution to our problems is just that, growth.

The government has begun the work of implementing a long term growth strategy for a durable recovery and job creation. It has three elements. The first is reducing the deficit. Canada is committed to reducing its deficit to GDP ratio 6.4 per cent in the fiscal year 1993-94 to 3 per cent by 1996-97. This is a realistic plan based on cutting $5 in expenditures for each $1 in new revenue raised.

Second, it will reduce the impediments to growth by ensuring the right framework for business expansion in the three areas of trade, training and infrastructure. The signing of the GATT and NAFTA agreements will be a major boost to our exports and will lead to many jobs and opportunities in Canada. We are also increasingly focusing on the Asia-Pacific region and was in which Canadian companies can participate.

The Minister of Human Resources Development's initiatives to ensure that Canada's labour force is ready to tackle the new opportunities will be a major determinant of our success. Social security reform will create jobs for Canadians.

Further, the government's infrastructure program is helping the economy to get moving again. This is a short term job creation program that recognizes the impact that smart investments in infrastructure can have on long term job creation.

Third, the government will provide leadership for Canada's transition to the new economy. Growing companies take risks and use science and technology to the fullest. They are, in a word, innovative. There is much that can be done to promote innovation but this was perhaps the area of greatest neglect by Canadian governments in the 1980s. It is the area of greatest potential for restoring growth in the economy in the 1990s.

To provide adequate leadership for transition to this new economy, we must promote the development and use of new, innovative technologies by the private sector; examine the needs of small businesses and the opportunities coming their way, particularly in the case of extremely innovative businesses; co-operate with the private sector to put in place the infrastructure required by the new economy.

The approach to job creation that the government is following relies on the ability of technology, whether newly created through R and D or adopted and more effectively diffused to a greater number of companies to create jobs.

Technology and innovation are central to the solution of the unemployment crisis. Higher productivity brought about through the application of new technology and innovation leads to higher income and to more and better jobs.

A recent study by the Department of Finance found that technology intensive industries produced 47.7 per cent of the new jobs created between 1984 and 1991. Industries that were both high tech and high knowledge users contributed 46 per cent of new jobs, although they accounted for only about one-third of total employment.

In the recent budget we began the process of implementing a new agenda through which technology plays a central role in our approach to job creation.

Another driving force of our economic growth is small business. Not only do the vast majority of existing businesses fall into that category, but they are also our main source of job creation. In fact, during the 1980s, 87 per cent of all new jobs were created in that area. In 1991, 53 per cent of all Canadians in the private sector were either self-employed or working for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Technology, combined with horizontal management structures and flexibility, can help small businesses adjust quickly to respond to changing consumer needs.

According to a recent government study on the growth of some 2,000 small businesses, companies that make use of technology, develop their own innovative technologies or concentrate on technology diffusion or adoption achieve better results in terms of growth.

Although small businesses create jobs they can face serious impediments such as restricted access to capital, inadequate management skills, a lack of skilled employees, limited technological sophistication and underdeveloped marketing abilities, especially abroad.

We must work on removing the impediments they face. We must also encourage small businesses to become aggressive innovators. Therefore, the government is committed to improving the business environment for small business and reshaping government policies and programs in support of small business.

In summary, the government has outlined its agenda for small business which underlines the government's determination to work closely with all the stakeholders to ensure that this vital sector continues to provide economic growth and create even more jobs.

Another important hallmark of the new economy is the world of telecommunications. In its plans for the future, the government will focus on the development of the information highway as a necessary infrastructure for the new economy. The information highway links the major elements of the new economy: users, content, technology and networks.

Well planned spending on this new type of infrastructure offers the potential for immediate job creation in the short term, while it is being built. As well, there will be a payoff in the longer term through the support of higher levels of economic activity when it is operational.

To conclude, the Government of Canada has carefully examined the international situation with regard to growth and job creation. While high unemployment and the increasing number of low-paying jobs may have many causes, they are basically due to the inability of economies to innovate and adjust to technological progress as well as changes in the international trade structure.

The Canadian program to promote innovation in all economic sectors and invest in people is on track.

Racial Discrimination March 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on March 31, 1966 a group of black South Africans who were holding a peaceful demonstration were massacred in Sharpeville. During the same year the United Nations declared March 21 the International Day to Eliminate Racial Discrimination.

Yesterday International Day to Eliminate Racial Discrimination was celebrated around the world. In Vancouver I was a speaker at the event organized by the Vancouver Multicultural Society in co-operation with the Vancouver Police Department.

The road to democracy is hard and dangerous. Canada is a blessed country where we do not have to endure acts of racism but we are still far from being a racism-free country. A strong message must be sent out that racism and discrimination can no longer be tolerated. These two diseases must be completely stamped out for Canada to become an example to the rest of the world.

March 21 makes people pause and think. Through education and example we can achieve equality for all and respect for each other.

Let me congratulate the many volunteers-

Human Rights March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, a number of Vancouver East constituents have written to ask for the Canadian government's intervention in a very serious infringement of human rights.

Twelve Buddhist nuns in Tibet have recently been sentenced to prison terms for participating in a demonstration to which there are no witnesses. A 15-year old girl is among those arrested. Those women are going to prison without proper trial and are in grave danger of torture and possibly death.

My constituents appeal to the Canadian government to use its authority and ask for the immediate and unconditional release of these women and for international monitoring of the situation in Tibet.

The situation is urgent and for the sake of such people human rights must be protected.

Prostitutes Anonymous March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, there are many success stories among women but some are more touching than others.

Paige was a prostitute sexually abused at a young age. In spite of trying to get into a normal lifestyle she ended up on the streets and became more and more involved in drugs to the point of having seizures when she was clean.

After many years of prostitution Paige had the good fortune of learning of a woman who started Prostitutes Anonymous. This fortunate turn of events helped Paige start on her difficult road to recovery.

Battered women's shelters, drug and alcohol centres and recovery houses became Paige's new environment. In 1991 Paige started Prostitutes Anonymous in B.C. She is now a member of an ad hoc citizens' committee of elected women helping women.

Last week I participated in my first committee meeting. I met Paige and also Cindy-Lou. These women are only two of many who fortunately were able to get out of prostitution. Paige needs help in her task. Transition houses are crucial to give prostitutes a chance.

In this International Women's Week I rise to pay tribute to a young woman who went against all odds and won.

The Budget March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to comment on the second remark of my colleague. The fact that Quebec has tried to separe from Canada for many years did have an impact on our economy. It is well known that problems are not limited to Quebec but affect the whole country. I believe that, as we say in Italy, united we stand, divided we fall. I do not know how they say it in France, but we say that unity is strength.

As to the first remark on a new direction for our country, I must say I am convinced there is indeed a new direction. This is our first budget, and it was tabled only four months after the government came into office. It is the first of two phases, and the second one will come next year. It will then be possible to discuss the budgetary content because we will have all the findings of the consultation process. The opposition may find that we are right in what we do and do it in the best interest of this country.

The Budget March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I can see the concern and I know it is only 10 per cent of what we need.

With the infrastructure program it is not just roads and the infrastructure we need. Some moneys are also set aside for arts centres. Fifteen per cent of it is earmarked for other programs.

I would like to say that this is another opportunity to increase jobs. I would also like to say that we cannot get 1.2 million jobs on the first budget and we cannot get the deficit down while trying to do some work in the area of the economics of the country.

The Budget March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, tansi. Tansi means hello in Cree, one of the languages of the aboriginal people.

Being an immigrant I feel it is appropriate for me to use it in my maiden speech. I have risen in the House before to make statements or ask questions but this is the first time I have delivered a speech in this House where so many important people before me stood and delivered their maiden speeches.

My riding of Vancouver East is surely one of the most interesting and diversified ridings in Canada. It stretches from Cambie Street on the west side to Boundary Road on the east side and from the waterfront on the north side to Grandview Highway in a zigzag on the south side.

I cannot imagine myself representing another area. I chose Vancouver East for the work I have done in that area over 20 years and I am glad I did. Vancouver is a very seductive city.

Since my arrival from Italy in 1966 Vancouver has grown by leaps and bounds and is becoming an international metropolis by the day. Vancouver East is a microcosm of Canada with its many immigrants and interesting people representing the fabric of the entire nation.

In Vancouver East the Chinese population at over 30 per cent outnumbers the British group at 16 per cent, followed by the Italians, who used to be the largest group, the aboriginal people and all other ethnicities such as Filipinos, Vietnamese, Indo-Canadians and Latin Americans, to mention a few.

In Vancouver East 45 per cent of the population is classified as immigrants. Almost six people out of ten do not speak English. Vancouver East also has one of the largest aboriginal urban populations in Canada. The port of Vancouver is in Vancouver East and so are many of the labour unions.

In Vancouver East one can find several cultural centres, such as the Aboriginal Friendship Centre, the Native Education Centre, the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Italian Cultural Centre, the Croatian Community Centre and the Sikh Gudwara.

In Vancouver East we have the police department and several small business owned by families. A colourful part of the city with core streets such as Commercial Drive, Powell Street with Gastown, Pender Street with Chinatown and Hastings Street, Vancouver East counts on a large number of caring people who provide support to the many needy in the area and who are the heart and soul of the riding. These people operate from centres such as the Carnegie Centre, the neighbourhood houses, the churches and the non-profit organizations' headquarters.

I thank them for the tremendous job they do. I want to thank the constituents of Vancouver East for believing in what I have to offer and for voting for me. They will not be disappointed. But I need them now more than ever. I also thank my son David and

all the people who supported me, those who worked with me in my campaign and ensured my victory.

The human element was the most important factor in my campaign. Because of the nature of Vancouver East, I asked to speak to the budget which contains much of what is needed in a riding like Vancouver East. This was the new government's first budget and was a blueprint of the red book that got the Liberal Party elected.

This budget is the first step of this new government to bring back dignity to our population by creating jobs and restoring faith in government. However, let me speak to some of the important issues for Vancouver East and for Canada.

No tax increases. What a challenge. A fairer use of UIC and lower UIC premiums, giving businesses a chance to reinvest the premium money they save in creating more jobs. This was another challenge and this time it came from the business people.

The support for housing through the RRAP, the continuation of subsidies to the needy on reserve housing, projects to help victims of family violence and the use of RRSP for first house purchases. We would like to see more funding for new subsidized housing but I feel we must become innovative and find private funding as well to be able to continue a subsidized housing system which is the envy of the world.

The infrastructure program for the present and future of our transportation network and of tourism. The prenatal nutrition and the aboriginal head start programs are two very important programs for our newborns. The court challenges program and the establishment of the Canadian race relations committee needed for all minorities.

The centre of excellence for women's health and the national forum on health are two very important initiatives for the prevention of illnesses. The youth services corps, the youth internship program, the literacy programs to help our youth become independent and start their lives. The unification of families during the year of the family.

All that was done by the Minister of Finance with the advice and support of government members. The Minister of Finance took into account the requests made by Canadians and often changed the course of his budget according to the advice given to him by his colleagues.

The Minister of Finance also considered the fact that, next year, we will have the results of the consultations that will be held in the areas of defence, human resources and immigration. I think that this budget is a very good example of the government's determination to change course.

What I feel is so important is the slight shift of the work burden from the government to the business sector. We have been counting for too long on the government for our jobs. By offering incentives to businesses, the Minister of Finance is beginning to give the business sector a chance of expanding and creating more jobs. Even the change in UIC is a good step toward creating more commitment on the part of the worker.

During the campaign many single mothers living in my riding called. They want to get off welfare, get some training and start working. This is the answer to their requests.

As a woman, I am quite happy to see that for the first time women's needs are reflected in the budget. I am sure this is the beginning of something.

Sure we would like to see more funding for various programs, but unfortunately due to our financial constraints we all have to share the burden and co-operate. Sure we would like to see a much lower deficit forecast, but this cannot be done without the suffering of all Canadians who are asking for jobs.

Mark Hill, an Ottawa writer, has tried to get rid of the deficit and the debt, but after much general cutting, after: "slashing old age security, unemployment insurance, health care, social assistance and education by 25 per cent", and this on top of what he has already cut, he has concluded by writing: "what if we allowed our elderly to fall into poverty, our sick to go without treatment and our poor to go without decent food or shelter? How many years would we have to suffer after we paid off our debt"? The answer is 22 years of suffering.

In conclusion, I would like to bring up an issue that troubles me a great deal. In 1976, I took part in various initiatives aimed at keeping Quebec within Canada. When I arrived in this country in 1966, Quebec was part of Canada and it must stay that way.

I want to offer my assistance to Quebec members who want a united Canada and who would like the support of a Canadian of Italian origin, from Western Canada, who speaks French and who is interested in keeping Canada together.

Sheila Genaille March 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, today on the occasion of International Women's Day we have in the House Ms. Sheila Genaille, president of the Métis National Council of Women.

Ms. Genaille is sixth generation Métis and a strong advocate of Canada and aboriginal peoples. She has a long experience in federal, provincial and Métis government processes.

The research director of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Ms. Genaille has been instrumental in helping the Métis find their proper place in history by managing the Métis Cultural Centre and developing and collecting historical and cultural information pertaining to the Métis.

Ms. Genaille has been the president of several organizations, including the Louis Riel Historical Society and the Edmonton branch of the Alberta Geological Society. Currently Ms. Genaille is the Minister of the Status of Women and Minister of Culture for the Métis Nation Provisional Government.

On International Women's Day it is an honour and a privilege for me to pay tribute to a woman who has performed in an outstanding manner not only for her peoples but for all Canadians.

On behalf of all my colleagues in the House I wish to congratulate and thank Ms. Genaille for her efforts and commitment.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 February 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her comments. I represent a riding which badly needs social housing. I must say that I have been very active in this area and I believe the government has done a lot. I had the opportunity to meet many foreign visitors who came to see what we had done, including in terms of social housing units, and to be among those who were able to make a difference in this area, in Vancouver.

I certainly understand the hon. member, but we must not forget that Canada is a vast country with a small population. The money has to come from somewhere.

As you know, a consultation exercise on all social programs will take place, and social housing will of course be included in that consultation. I think that work in this area started a while ago.

As you know, housing is very costly and the federal and provincial governments both help pay housing costs for those who live in social housing units.

I hope that once the study and the consultation process is completed, we will be able to pursue these programs. In the meantime, the $2 billion provided in the budget are strictly to help those who already live in social housing units.

I will continue to fight for social housing, because it is something very important. I am told that there are 8,000 people in my constituency who do not live in decent dwellings. I know that there is a need, but I also understand that funds and opportunities are limited.

Again, I will keep fighting and I hope that the hon. member will do the same, so that together we can do something and hopefully get additional money.