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

National Palliative Care Week May 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the members of the House that May 12 to 19 is National Palliative Care Week.

Canadians are proud of their health care system. As a compassionate society we expect that care and support will be available for those most in need. Part of this need which concerns us all is palliative care.

The Canadian Palliative Care Association is to be commended for its excellent work. The association provides important leadership in the pursuit of excellence for terminally ill persons and their families. Last year Health Canada contributed $70,000 to the Canadian Palliative Care Association to assist with further developments of the association's structure and national services.

Death is a natural part of the life cycle. We need to understand and address the health care needs of those who have terminal diseases.

Canadian Human Rights Act May 9th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, first, let me thank my colleague for taking this issue to heart. It is important that we can express our feelings and our opinions in this country. I believe that we should all propose what we believe in.

Yes, in a way I apologize. In fact, I should have remembered that Ontario has gone through this legislation. My own opinion is that it may have flowed from the human rights act but not necessarily so.

We are not discussing that right now. What we are discussing and what we have to concentrate on is the lack of rights for some people who work in the federal government or in other companies that are under federal jurisdiction. This is what I concentrated on and what I am concerned about. Whenever something else comes on board then I will have to focus on that and consider it for what it is worth.

Canadian Human Rights Act May 9th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, let me first reiterate that the Canadian Human Rights Act only applies to the federal government and to federally regulated businesses like banks, railways, airlines and telecommunications companies, and governs employment and the provision of goods and services in each of these sectors, which covers only 10 per cent of the Canadian workforce.

The rest of the Canadian workforce is covered by the provincial and territorial human rights codes. I am also satisfied that the act does not apply to religious, cultural or educational institutions; they are not under federal jurisdiction.

In 1995 royal assent was given to Bill C-41, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts in consequence thereof. In section 718.2 of that act, the words sexual orientation were added. The act contained many beneficial changes, but what some members of the House focused on was the inclusion of the words sexual orientation in the list of grounds for discrimination. These two words have created a lot of concerns on the part of many people who understandably have brought them forward in various ways.

This debate is here again with the inclusion of sexual orientation in Bill C-33 which is to protect those who work under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Human Rights Act. As we know, this inclusion will prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians. This discrimination is already prohibited in seven provinces and one territory, and B.C. is one of these provinces.

Many Canadians are concerned that the amendment will open the door to other demands, such as same sex benefits. I would like to comment that nothing earthshaking has happened in the above provinces since the legislation was introduced. There was no request to include the same sex benefits.

For me it is a matter of human rights. I believe that everyone in the world should be treated equally. I also believe that I must protect those who suffer discrimination yet have no voice. My role as parliamentarian is to give them a voice. I do not think it is up to me to judge people or the way they behave.

We are also talking about the family, and I would like to say I believe in extended families. Families that include everyone whose presence means comfort and compatibility. Those we are compatible with are not necessarily those closest to us.

The family has changed in recent decades. When I was in Italy, I belonged to a large family. I have only one brother, but my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my uncles and aunts, my cousins and my friends were part of the family. I got along very well with many of them.

My father and my mother were always in the picture. In Canada, my family simply includes a son who is now 28. All the rest of my family is in Italy and I often find comfort in my friends. Believe me, many people in my riding are in the same situation so what is the family? A nucleus of people who choose to be together and rejoice in each other.

If we have concerns about the family, we show little faith in the family because the family has always taken care of itself and has survived through thick and thin. In fact, there is nothing more meaningful or more comforting than a family and its members in the manner in which we choose them. Families are resilient. Families are as strong as their members are.

Let me add that Roget's International Thesaurus on page 884 uses the following synonyms for family: kinfolk, race, brood, lineage, offspring, community; quite a wide choice of synonyms. Is the world not a large family?

Let me add that the proposed legislation will not change the definition of family, marriage or spouse. It will, however, do something extremely important. It will send a message that discrimination is unacceptable under all circumstances, a message that Canadians have been upholding all along.

It is a message which we heard loud and clear when in October 1994 an Angus Reid poll told us that 81 per cent of respondents said they would be bothered if a lesbian or a gay colleague experienced discrimination in the workplace; 81 per cent also indicated their belief that gays and lesbians experience discrimination in the workplace; 48 per cent of Canadians said they personally knew someone who was gay or lesbian; 36 per cent stated that they had a gay or lesbian friend; 12 per cent stated that they had a gay or lesbian co-worker; and 12 per cent said that they had a family member who was gay or lesbian.

Because of these statistics and my convictions, I believe in this bill, which respects the rights of individuals. After all, we are talking about human beings, about people who face serious and often threatening difficulties and who, at the same time, must pretend to be different from what they are because of the consequences.

Why do we permit this hypocrisy in a country like ours, where families are separated because of immigration, life situations or other reasons? We should be able to accept and understand everyone without discrimination. The rights of all our fellow citizens must be protected, and we must understand that, the day after this bill is passed, nothing will change. We will, however, be able to count on a law that will enable us to put a stop to all discrimination and to help those who need help. It is too bad there will still be people who will not enjoy the same rights.

In conclusion, in my opinion all the amendments proposed to the legislation were a travesty because this bill addresses the concerns of people discriminated against and nothing else. Therefore, I support the bill and I have been voting in its favour.

Petitions May 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table two petitions, the first one with over 200

signatures of people from Vancouver Island who request Parliament not to increase the federal excise tax on gasoline.

The second petition is from 75 people living in the greater Vancouver area who request Parliament not to increase the federal excise tax on gasoline, and to strongly consider reallocating its current revenues to rehabilitate Canada's national highways.

Canada Day Poster Challenge May 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the pleasure of participating in the ceremony held to announce the British Columbia winners of the Canada Day poster challenge.

In British Columbia, the winner is 9 year old Eric Stockand, a young man who loves to draw, play the piano, swim and go camping.

This is the second time I have had the pleasure of presenting the first prize for B.C. to one of my young constituents. Kevin Su won in 1994. Both Eric and Kevin had the same teacher, Mr. Kenson Seto. Mr. Seto is an art teacher who believes in Canada's multicultural nature and its unity.

Eric Stockand was also one of the Honda poster finalists for the Future of Transportation competition and has won several colouring contests. His drawing, representing a dove in a Canadian context, has been described by Eric as reflecting Canada as a land of joy, a land where all people can live together in peace and harmony.

Canada is lucky to have young people like Eric Stockand and Kevin Su and teachers like Kenson Seto. Congratulations to all of them.

National Volunteer Week April 24th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, this is National Volunteer Week, an opportunity for us to thank those Canadians who devote their time and energy to helping individuals and causes and to improving the quality of life in our communities.

As a volunteer for many years, I know the dedication necessary to get involved in important causes to improve our society.

In my riding of Vancouver East life would be much worse without the help of our volunteers.

Volunteerism is a tradition as old as Canada itself and is quite unique to Canadians. Active, caring citizens have always played a critical role in our society. In celebrating National Volunteer Week we are recognizing the vital contribution of today's volunteers. At the same time, in highlighting their example, we are helping to nurture volunteers for the future.

I urge my colleagues and all Canadians to join me in thanking all the volunteers in Canada. They are undoubtedly our greatest asset.

Nisga'A Land Claims March 28th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, on March 22 we made history in B.C. An agreement in principle with the Nisga'a people was signed on their land, the Nass Valley, by Chief Joe Gosnell, Minister John Cashore, and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

It was a great event for all British Columbians and for those invited participants who attended. I was there. There was a full house. Unfortunately for some reason the member of Parliament for Skeena chose to miss the occasion.

It took the Nisga'a over 20 years of negotiations to reach an agreement. It took hours and weeks of work and talks to arrive at the signing of the agreement. It took 129 years to complete the process.

Mr. Speaker, do you not think we should all celebrate for making a historic wrong right through an honourable process? To call this apartheid, as some of my colleagues in the Reform Party are doing, does not recognize the reality that apartheid was not achieved through negotiation but by decree.

I know there are some concerns on both sides, but let us be proud of this achievement. Let us all work together as equals.

Foreign Affairs March 12th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the situation between China and Taiwan is becoming more and more tense.

Vancouver has a large community of Taiwanese, which is a great addition to the fabric of our society. They are serious participants in the life of our city and country. So are the Chinese, who have been in this country for over a century and who have worked hard, through difficulties and great challenges, to contribute a great deal, not only to Canadian multiculturalism but to the building of this great country.

Both communities are distraught to hear that a serious conflict is taking place between their countries of origin, a conflict that may bring grief and sorrow to a lot of people whose goal is the welfare of their families and country.

I would like to make mention of the government's efforts to create dialogue between China and Taiwan. Canada has always been considered a peaceful country, whose people have always been able to negotiate differences of opinion and reach compromise. We must avoid what has happened in other countries. Conflict must be avoided.

Our government must continue to offer its assistance to both China and Taiwan.

International Women's Day March 6th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, Friday is International Women's Day. I would like to wish a happy day to all Canadian women and to congratulate them on the progress made on promoting women's rights.

But women are vulnerable. For example, 52,000 North American women die of breast cancer each year. In the ten years of the Vietnam war, 48,000 women died on the battlefield. Over the same period, more than 300,000 American women died of breast cancer. This terrible disease is usually hereditary, but no one is safe.

Last year, in Vancouver, more than 3,000 people showed that they care about other people's lives by taking part in the walk against breast cancer. We must remind everyone, and particularly women, to be on the lookout and to learn to recognize the symptoms of this disease, which can be beaten if detected early enough.

A word of warning for all but especially to women that life is often up to us. Congratulations to the BC Breast Cancer Foundation for its work in this area.

Petitions March 5th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the pleasure to present a petition on behalf of 175 signatories from the riding of my colleague, the hon. member for Victoria, urging Parliament not to increase the federal excise tax on gasoline in the next federal budget.