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

Bilingualism October 25th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the number of Canadians learning French has increased enormously in the past fifteen years. Thanks to the policy on bilingualism, thousands of young people across Canada are learning French. At first, the debate was fierce, but, little by little, Canadians learned the importance of bilingualism and of the French language.

And so, immersion classes started throughout Canada, and, in British Columbia, 3,000 kilometres from Quebec, many anglophone parents decided their children would learn the second language of their country and join with francophones outside Quebec, who speak both English and French. We have come a long way. The policy on bilingualism has served our country well, and I would like to join the many Canadians who believe in a bilingual Canada and who continue to live together in harmony despite their race, colour and beliefs, and believe in a united Canada.

"Mon Canada inclut le Qu├ębec". My Canada includes Quebec.

British Columbia Treaty Commission October 19th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Surrey North for allowing me to speak.

I would also like to thank the Bloc Quebecois for letting me speak now.

The bill before us marks the culmination of a long and at times difficult struggle. It is born of British Columbia's unique history. It is the product of many years of hard work and goodwill. Fairness, clarity and justice are not issues of party politics. They are elements of principles which we all share as Canadians.

Over the decades many people have played a part: people from various parties and political ideologies, people who shared little in common except a desire to see justice done and to get on with building a brighter future for British Columbia.

To understand why in 1995 we are still talking about negotiating treaties we need to look to our history. Unlike most other provinces where treaties were signed to clarify jurisdiction over land and resources and forge new relationships between First Nations and the newcomers to this great land few were ever concluded in British Columbia. As a result some 124 years after becoming a province, the key question of unextinguished aboriginal rights remains unresolved and the majority of the province remains subject to outstanding aboriginal land claims.

Few treaties were signed because of the position historically taken by the Government of British Columbia. From the late 1800s the position was that aboriginal rights had been extinguished prior to B.C.'s entry into Confederation in 1871 or, if these rights did exist, they were the exclusive responsibility of the federal government.

In 1990 under the leadership of Premier Vander Zalm, a Socred, B.C. reversed its longstanding position and the way was opened to resolving these issues.

I think it only fair to point out that one of the key players in convincing the provincial government to reverse its historic opposition to negotiating treaties was the then B.C. minister of native affairs, Mr. Jack Weisgerber. I know that many of my Reform Party friends would recognize Mr. Weisgerber's name. One of the early and enthusiastic architects of this process, Mr. Weisgerber now leads the provincial Reform Party in British Columbia.

Following on the heels of the B.C. government's decision, the Government of Canada and the B.C. government acted quickly to advance the process. Later the same year the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the hon. Tom Siddon, along with Mr. Weisgerber and Bill Wilson, chairman of the First Nations Congress, agreed to establish a task force to make recommendations on the mandate and process for treaty negotiations.

By June 1991 the B.C. claims task force had released its report. One of its key recommendations was the creation of an arm's length B.C. treaty commission.

In the 10 months that followed, representatives of Canada, B.C. and the First Nations summit negotiated the B.C. treaty commission agreement which was the blueprint for the commission. On September 21, 1992, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon, both Conservatives, B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt and native affairs minister Andrew Petter, both New Democrats, joined with the First Nations summit leadership in signing the B.C. treaty commission agreement. We had all the parties on board.

In the three years since, the commission has made great progress. If there was ever any doubt that the commission was necessary, one need only look at the response it has had for the aboriginal population of British Columbia.

To date, 49 first nation groups representing 79 per cent of B.C.'s aboriginal peoples have submitted a statement of intent to negotiate. One of the terms of the agreement creating the treaty commission was a commitment to establish it in the legislation. In May 1993 both the aboriginal summit and the province fulfilled their part of that commitment.

Now the time has come for the federal government to honour its part of the bargain. These then are the events which have led us to this legislation and to this debate. I welcome all members to this great partnership.

Across the years and across party lines people have joined hands in a common cause. It is their vision and determination that we celebrate and formalize today. Their cause was simple: the desire to bring justice to aboriginal people and certainty to their province.

The costs of that uncertainty has been high. In a Price Waterhouse study prepared in 1990 it was estimated that $1 billion in investment had not occurred because of unresolved land claims. Three hundred badly needed jobs had not been created and $125 million in capital investments had not been made. Yesterday we had the mining industry in town and they were talking to me about the same problem.

Since the time of that study the price has continued to be paid year in and year out. That has been the price of denying the problem or pretending it would go away. That is the price of the status quo for the people of British Columbia. It is a price we can no longer afford. With the passage of this legislation we will be on the way to no longer having to pay.

But, if the price has been high for the general population of B.C., for aboriginal people it has been far higher. For aboriginal people it has meant great hardships and shattering poverty. It has meant the denial of historic rights and future hopes. It has meant generations of dreams deferred and promises unkept. It has meant a quality of life few of us can imagine and none of us should tolerate.

Conditions are appalling. Almost a third of aboriginal homes on reserves lack running water. Diseases such as hepatitis and tuberculosis virtually eradicated in the non-native population persist in aboriginal communities. Death from fires are three and a half times the non-aboriginal level because of unsafe housing and lack of proper sanitation.

Aboriginal people are more than three times as likely to die a violent death and about twice as likely to die before age 65. The

suicide rate among aboriginal people is 50 per cent higher than among non-aboriginal people. That difference is even more pronounced in the age group of 15 to 25.

This country can simply not afford to lose another generation of aboriginal people able and willing to make a contribution to this country. The young aboriginal people of today can be our professionals, our trades people, our inventors of tomorrow. They represent our past and our future. If we lose them it will be an incredible waste.

We cannot afford to continue to condemn aboriginal peoples to lesser lives in lesser lands. We cannot afford to judge any longer. We must start facilitating a process that is indispensable.

In my riding of Vancouver East I have one of the largest aboriginal urban communities in the country. It is an active community. Its members are engaged in bettering their situation by making everybody aware of their past and their plight. In Vancouver East there is the Aboriginal Friendship Centre and the Native Education Centre which help us understand them.

The people of B.C. have told their government to get on with it, to negotiate fair and just agreements which protect the rights of both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people alike, and the sooner the better.

We must do it in an organized manner and this is what the B.C. Treaty Commission has been doing and will continue to do. It wants to establish a stable economic climate which in turn will help to bring in investments, dollars and opportunities for all British Columbians and bring peace to our forests, our waters, our lands.

My colleague from the Bloc has explained very well how important aboriginal peoples are in British Columbia and I thank him. I also want to say that native peoples are very important to our culture, our past and our future in B.C. In fact, they are an extremely important part of the history of British Columbia, which, as you know, Mr. Speaker, is a wonderful part of Canada, where aboriginal peoples, anglophones, francophones and other communities from around the world all live in harmony.

In 1993, speaking in favour of the legislation creating the treaty commission, Jack Weisgerber recounted his experience in 1989 as a member of the premier's advisory council on native affairs: "It became clear to us as we travelled and met with groups around the province that if we were going to address the root of the social and economic problems we had to deal with the land claim question".

Those are wise words from a man who now leads the Reform Party in British Columbia, words echoed by members of all parties in the British Columbia legislature when that great body passed its own enabling legislation; words I commend to my friends across the floor today, words which we now have the opportunity to honour through our actions.

The history of this legislation is a story of partnerships between cultures, between political parties, between generations. Let us continue in that same spirit of partnership now as we open the way for a brighter future for all British Columbians and a prouder day for all Canadians.

We have already waited too long. We should have settled this problem long ago. We now must ensure peace and harmony with our aboriginal brothers and sisters by working with them on the settlement of their land claims and on their needs.

In the last two years we have done a lot of work and with everybody's co-operation we will be able to solve a long and overdue problem and ensure peace and certainty in British Columbia.

Sheila Kingham October 17th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government of Canada I am proud to salute Sheila Kingham of Victoria, British Columbia, for her many years of service on behalf of rural women. Today Ms. Kingham received the Governor General's award in commemoration of the Persons case.

Ms. Kingham's accomplishments have been many. An articulate and persuasive public speaker, she has given countless presentations and briefs on topics ranging from the rape shield law to women's health. She has encouraged others. As a firm believer in the power of collective action, she has helped other women to organize and lobby for advances in all areas of women's political, social and economic equality.

Mrs. Kingham created the position of rural coordinator for the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women and helped establish the Western Manitoba Coalition for equality rights in the Canadian constitution, an organization formed to give voice to the concerns of rural women about constitutional change.

I am sure all members of this House will agree that Sheila Kingham is most worthy recipient of the 1995 Governor General's award.

Interparliamentary Delegation October 17th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in English and in French, the report of the 6th annual meeting of the Canada-Japan Interparliamentary Group, held in Tokyo and Osaka from September 9 to 16, 1995.

Japan is Canada's largest trading partner after the United States. The volume of trade has more than doubled since 1985 and is increasingly diversified in composition.

In 1994 Canada's exports to Japan rose 13 per cent to $9.5 billion, resulting in an increase of over $1 billion for the second year in a row.

Ignoring the impact of liberalized Japanese markets and increased Canadian competitiveness, projected exports from Canada to Japan will climb to $14 billion in the year 2002, which is 80 per cent greater than 1993 levels.

While in Japan, members of the delegation were able to express Canadian concerns and promote Canadian excellence with our Japanese counterparts. This will help ensure a growing Canadian presence in the Japanese market and allow us to work with our business communities in encouraging increased commercial activity with Japan.

Witness Protection Program Act October 5th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank RCMP officers for the consistently good work they do for Canadians. I am satisfied that they will continue to have operational control over this program.

The protection of witnesses is one of the most useful and efficient tools to fight crime. In order to be effective, witness protection programs must provide the best possible protection to likely sources and witnesses. This is precisely what the Witness Protection Program Act seeks to do.

The proposed changes to the legislation will allow sources and witnesses participating in the program to fully understand the terms and conditions under which they will be protected. As well, the decisions and the measures taken by the authority responsible for the program, namely the RCMP, will be more transparent. This will result in a more transparent and efficient operation of the program, while also contributing to the government's efforts to implement the act and thus stop crime, particularly organized crime.

The proposed changes in the Witness Protection Program Act will provide sound statutory and regulatory authority to the RCMP program by establishing a federally legislated witness protection program.

The new legislation will provide the following: clearly defined eligibility criteria for witnesses; identical treatment all across the country; a clear statement on the responsibilities and obligations of program officials and participants; a better defined management structure within the RCMP regarding the daily operation of the programs, so as to strengthen accountability; a complaint settlement process as well as the presentation, by the RCMP commissioner, of an annual report to the solicitor general on the operation of the program.

The RCMP source witness protection program was established in 1984 to meet the specific needs of that police force regarding the protection of sources and witnesses. Other witness protection programs are run by a number of provinces and municipalities.

Police departments using these programs also rely on the RCMP source witness protection program, under a cost recovery system, and this will continue to be the case. The RCMP helps other protection programs by obtaining I.D. documents delivered by the federal government-including passports and social insurance cards-when a name change is necessary, or by facilitating the relocation of witnesses in another province.

During the 1994-95 fiscal year, the RCMP was able, through its source witness protection program, to provide protection services to 70 new clients. In 30 of these cases, the services were provided at the request of other organizations. The RCMP currently allocates $3.4 million annually to witness protection activities.

The changes made to the RCMP source witness protection program will not result in additional spending. The program will continue to be financed with current resources.

The provinces and territories were consulted and they support the proposed changes in the Witness Protection Program Act.

When a decision is made to admit an applicant to the RCMP's source witness protection program, the following factors will be taken into consideration: the potential contribution that the witness or source can make toward a particular police investigation, the nature of the offence under investigation, the nature of the risk to the individual, what alternate methods of protection are available, the danger to the community if the individual is admitted to the program, the potential effects on any family arrangements, the likelihood of the individual being able to adjust, their maturity, their ability to make judgments and other personal characteristics, the cost of maintaining the individual in the program and other factors as the commissioner of the RCMP may find to be relevant.

Under the witness protection program act, there will be a clear and defined decision making process to admit an individual into the program. In serious cases, such as those requiring a change of identity or admission of a foreign national, the decision to admit an individual will be made only by the assistant commissioner in charge of the program. A decision to terminate protection must also be made by the assistant commissioner.

In less serious cases, the decision to protect an individual may be made by the incumbent of a position at the level of chief superintendent.

Finally, the changes introduced in the witness protection program act were drafted following consultations with the RCMP and various police forces across the country who were asked to

contribute their views. These changes will help make the RCMP's source witness protection program more open.

I am very pleased that the House has agreed to support this important bill, and I hope it will be passed very shortly.

The French Language October 4th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, recently the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society said that if Quebec did not start protecting the French language, francophone Quebecers would become a minority.

Language is one of the most important aspects of a culture. The richness of the French language is recognized throughout the world. For many centuries, French was spoken not only in France, but in many other countries as well. In fact, French was the language of diplomacy.

Today, in Canada, there are thousands of French immersion courses. In my riding, in Vancouver East, Hastings School offers French immersion courses. When I visited the school, I was surprised at the level of language knowledge and comprehension among sixth and seventh grade students.

I believe in a bilingual and united Canada. We must keep it that way.

General Motors Place September 26th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to announce the opening of General Motors Place, in my riding of Vancouver East.

Last week international recording superstar Bryan Adams, a Vancouverite, opened GM Place. Home of the Vancouver Canucks and the Vancouver Grizzlies, General Motors Place is the most highly advanced sports and entertainment complex in North America.

General Motors Place is truly the eighth wonder of the world, with excellent viewing, luxurious seating for 20,000 and state of the art sound. GM Place has one of three diamond vision scoreboards in North America. With four giant video boards, it offers the highest resolution colour technology in the world.

General Motors Place has already created 250 jobs and will soon create another 1,000 full and part time jobs. GM Place was completed in 20 months and immediately became one of Vancouver's largest and most important buildings.

The people of Vancouver are pleased to be able to count on entrepreneurs like Arthur Griffiths, John Mcaw and Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, who gave them a great building like GM Place.

Congratulations to all.

United States Sugar Import Restrictions Retaliation Act September 25th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill before us to protest the trade practices exhibited by the United States against the Canadian sugar industry and against Canadians.

The U.S. imposed severe new trade restrictions against Canadian sugar and products containing sugar on January 1, 1995, effectively closing its borders to imports of Canadian refined sugar and food products containing sugar. Its actions unfairly penalize the efficiencies of the Canadian sugar industry and unfairly penalize Canadians.

The United States extended the coverage of a tariff rate quota on products containing sugar by including crystal drink mixes, for which Canada is the main supplier. Also, on January 1, 1995, the United States limited Canadian exports of refined sugar to 8,000 tonnes until September 30, 1995, further eroding Canada's access to the U.S. markets.

The unwillingness of the United States government to act fairly in attempts to resolve the dispute and its disregard and violation of general fair trading principles has resulted in undue harm to Canadians, with potential consequences for the sugar beet growers, sugar beet processors and Canadian cane refiners in the long term.

There is a severe reduction in sales of Canadian sugar and products containing sugar in the United States and an increase in American sugar sales in Canada. Canadian producers are paying dearly for this and Canadian jobs are being cut.

Entire communities have suffered, and additional job losses are predicted. According to the Canadian industry, the Americans constitute about one quarter of the Canadian market, while Canadians represent only 3 per cent of the American market. That difference is remarkable. Far worse, while the American share of the Canadian market is on the upswing, the Canadian share of the American market is decreasing. American exports to Canada are four times greater than Canadian exports to the U.S.

Our market is open and barrier free. On the other hand, Canadians are faced with tariffs which discourage free trade between the two countries.

Signatories to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which include both Canada and the United States, agreed that they would reduce barriers to trade and increase market access over time, with the objective of creating a more open and stable trading environment.

I myself have seen the damage to communities and individuals. BC Sugar Refinery Ltd. is located in the Port of Vancouver in my constituency of Vancouver East.

On June first of this year, the company's western Canadian operations were consolidated under the name Rogers Sugar Ltd. Rogers Sugar is the main sugar outlet in the west but it has had to lay off 17 per cent of its employees in the last 16 months. Most of the lost jobs were in Vancouver, the others in Alberta and Manitoba.

Unless the restrictions against Canadian sugar are lifted, Rogers Sugar may be forced to lay off more of its employees. Across Canada the situation is equally as dire, if not more so.

Since 1980 we have seen the closure of four Canadian sugar refineries and job losses in excess of 40 per cent are a direct result of these practices. We risk the closure and the relocation of many Canadian companies to the United States lured by lower prices for sugar.

The U.S. trade restrictions also hurt Canadians as consumers as they result in higher sugar prices and may lead to the decline of high quality domestic sugar.

The sugar industry has enjoyed years of success and has provided meaningful employment for hundreds of Canadians across the country. It has demonstrated it is efficient and cost competitive, but the viability and very existence of our sugar industry is threatened by unfair trade practices. The Canadian government has acted in good faith throughout and has worked diligently to resolve this dispute and is left with this option, the measures contained in the bill.

I would like to conclude by stating how proud I am of the efforts of Canadian parliamentarians to resolve these differences. A parliamentary caucus has been set up by my colleague for Fundy-Royal and I am very proud to have also been a member.

The participating MPs and senators represent all parties in the House. They, along with representatives of the sugar industry, have worked very hard to resolve the matter. I am sure that this co-operation will help Canada persuade the Americans of the importance of reducing tariffs in this area.

Petitions September 22nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of submitting a petition on behalf of the residents of Vancouver.

The petition concerns the issue of sexual orientation. The petitioners state that discrimination based on one's sexual orientation is real and hurtful and contravenes the Canadian charter, and further that all forms of families based on financial and emotional interdependency are meaningful and important to the social well-being of this country.

The petitioners therefore call on Parliament to amend all legislation that discriminates against homosexuals and to recognize all relationships of mutual love, support, and dependency.

Coinage September 22nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Yesterday we launched the $2 coin. We also know the $2 coin will cause some problems, some concerns, some inconvenience and also some expense to certain sectors of our economy. What is the minister prepared to do to minimize the problems for the new coin?