Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was reform.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Saskatoon—Humboldt (Saskatchewan)

Lost her last election, in 1997, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Social Security Programs October 6th, 1994

Madam Speaker, as one of the other members from the province of Saskatchewan I feel I cannot let the kind of comments I just heard from the hon. member from my home province go unchallenged.

He has dismissed the discussion paper today as hogwash. I cannot pretend to be more of an expert on hogwash than my colleague in the Reform Party. I will leave that unchallenged.

I listened as well to his analogy about eating the green book. I suspect that is where his difficulty has come from, in not understanding that the green book is for reading and not for eating. Perhaps that is why he is having so much difficulty.

Speaking of reading, I suspect that it is a failure to read the book and the predisposition to eat it that has caused the complete lack of understanding of what this discussion paper is about.

One point the hon. member raised is some notion he has that the federal government is hoping to seize power over provincial concerns. I did not think the Reform Party was concerned about constitutional issues, according to their statements during last year's political campaign. However, leaving that aside for a moment, the green book clearly states that it is the minister's intention to co-operate with the provinces on such things as education-learning in chapter 3.

I refer the member to page 19 of the summary where it clearly states that the federal government is looking for ways to expand access to education by co-operating with the provinces in finding ways to make the most of our shrinking resources and putting our talents to use that way.

If it is not expecting too much for the hon. member to turn to page 19, I refer him to the preface of the book where the minister clearly states that in his consultations with Canadians he hopes to work in partnership with all levels of government.

In all sincerity I listened to the hon. member and his colleagues in last year's campaign. I heard fine words from them about doing a new style of politics, looking at a plan on its merits and not simply criticising every possible aspect without giving time to consider the plan to possibly say: "Well we don't like this part, but we do like that part". Instead, what I am hearing from the hon. member is an outright denial of any merit in this plan.

I would just ask him to justify taking that point of view and then to honestly state to this House that he can find nothing in here. Perhaps he could comment on why he is not prepared to involve himself, as all other Canadians will be doing, in the process of bringing forth their ideas for weaving together our social safety net and making it stronger. Why does he not do that instead of simply taking out his machete, or whatever the proper analogy would be for someone in hogwash, slashing it down and letting Canadians fall with it.

World Habitat Day October 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has designated the first Monday in October as World Habitat Day.

World Habitat Day is marked through the efforts of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. In this, the International Year of the Family, it is fitting that this year's theme for World Habitat Day is called "Home and the Family".

The objective of World Habitat Day is to focus special attention on shelter. The conditions under which we live affect our health, productivity and sense of well-being.

Home is not only a physical space; it is also a symbol of warmth, security and identity.

In other words, home is where the heart is. Canada is among the best housed nations in the world, thanks to organizations like CMHC. Not all are so fortunate however. Over one billion of the world's population are inadequately housed and over one hundred million are absolutely homeless.

We still have work to do here in Canada to ensure all men, women and children have decent shelter. Let us mark World Habitat Day by renewing our commitment to this cause.

The Reform Party September 28th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, last night CBC "Prime Time" exposed secret documents from Reform Party brass which seek to impose the party's right wing agenda on its membership at Reform's national convention in Ottawa next month.

While no surprise to me, no doubt the membership of the so-called party of reform will be alarmed by evidence of such old style politics. Reform campaigned on a promise to speak for the grassroots. Less than a year later the Reform Party brass has reneged on that promise, choosing instead to impose on the grassroots of the party resolutions and policy.

The Reform Party inner circle will impose its secret right wing agenda on its membership, like abolishing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As I recall, or is that recall-oops, a bad choice of words-such old style politics was to be strictly verboten.

The party of teledemocracy stands exposed. To abolish free speech press one. To abolish free assembly press two. To recall your Reform MP press three.

Canadian Wheat Board Act September 27th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am happy to respond to anyone in the Reform Party at any time. I thank him for his support of the bill and our colleagues in the Bloc who have endorsed the broad picture that is before us today.

Admittedly it is a small change. I do not think we get anywhere in this life by saying that if we cannot do the whole thing today we will not do it at all.

I also would like to question the member for Vegreville on his support of the new politics we are supposed to be seeing from the Reform Party, in particular having the decency to come forward from time to time and say: "Yes, this is a good initiative. We give it our support. Let's get this done today and if there is another aspect that we need to worry about, yes, we will continue with that".

The minister has indicated his willingness to constantly be improving and helping the effectiveness of the Canadian Wheat Board. Perhaps that is a matter for another day. We welcome the member's input to that process and consultation can take place in that regard.

For the moment we have before us a bill that will permit increased research funding right away. We should just get down to it and keep our minds focused on what we are talking about.

Canadian Wheat Board Act September 27th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. The point I would like make on consultation, and where I had some concern with the remarks made by the member for Vegreville, has to do with what appears to be a mixing of strategies.

The amendments before the House today deal specifically with amendments to the Canadian Wheat Board Act that will permit an additional $4.7 million to go into research funding. There seems to be broad grassroots support as represented by the 12 members in the foundation, who, I would expect, speak in a large part for their membership, for the producers themselves.

My comment to my colleague earlier had to do with the wastefulness of delaying the accumulation of these research dollars that can be immediately put into plant breeding research for the benefit of the producers, the industry and, as I said in my comments, all Canadians.

Perhaps I misunderstood the member for Vegreville, but it seems to me what he was suggesting was a giant overview of the Canadian Wheat Board and how it functions. That would be time consuming. It would involve delay and it would impede the very valuable contribution that this research initiative as proposed in Bill C-50 would have. Those were my comments and that was my intention.

Canadian Wheat Board Act September 27th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to the bill today, the amendments to the Canadian Wheat Board Act, particularly so in view of the comments I just heard from my colleague in the Reform Party. I shall be splitting my time with my colleague from Dauphin-Swan River.

As the minister said earlier the amendment will allow a check-off to Canadian Wheat Board sales of wheat in the four western provinces and of barley sales in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

There are two very good reasons the bill deserves the support of all in the House. The amendments will pave the way for an additional $4.7 million annually in research funding, specifically in the area of plant breeding. I raise for the consideration of the House why the Reform Party would favour a long consultation process with the farm groups that are already supporting these amendments which would delay that kind of valuable research. It makes no sense to me because we already have grassroots support for the initiative.

Second and more important, and it ties into the point I was just making, Bill C-50 is a result of a specific request by the grain industry. The speedy response of our government to the request recognizes the importance of such research initiatives as well as the fact that no longer can government solely be relied on for research. Results can be achieved only through strategic alliances with industry.

My riding of Saskatoon-Humboldt includes a portion of the city of Saskatoon and a large rural area. It is an urban rural split of about 60:40 respectively. In fact this time last year I spent many hours on the road driving around the farm area of my riding during the election campaign. I remember stopping along the road north of Domremy to talk to a couple of farmers. I guess the Reform Party would call that consulting with the farmers on

their views. Lawrence and André Georget took a moment to tell me some of their concerns.

Just last week I had a most enjoyable and informative half-hour meeting with one of the Canadian Wheat Board representatives from my province of Saskatchewan. We discussed many things, including the check-off provisions which are under discussion today. That fellow made the point, and I think it is a good one, that the additional research that will be carried out as a result of these amendments will benefit not just the producers but all Canadians. All Canadians will have the benefit of better credit as a result of increased research funding.

How did this check-off scheme come about? It should be noted that the Western Grains Research Foundation, made up of 12 prairie farm organizations, asked the government to enact legislation that would enable producers to invest a portion of their own profits into plant breeding research.

The Western Grains Research Foundation is accountable directly to the producers as well as the federal government for the way in which research funds are spent. Producers believe that plant breeding research will help find new varieties and, in turn, enable the industry to maintain and increase its market share. All of this, for a farmer's investment of about half a cent a bushel or 20 cents a tonne.

Another interesting point is that studies have shown the return on investment in agricultural research can be more than 50 per cent. In the case of the legislation before the House this could translate into an extra $400 million to prairie farmers annually. That is because research and plant breeding has a potential to lead the development of varieties that are 15 per cent higher yielding and equal in protein content to existing varieties.

This brings me to another point. As I noted in my opening remarks, my riding of Saskatoon-Humboldt includes a large rural area as well as approximately one-third of the city of Saskatoon. That one-third of the city of Saskatoon includes the University of Saskatchewan and our College of Agriculture, which was one of the founding colleges in 1907 and enjoys a stellar reputation in the area of agricultural research.

Just north of the university in the lovely area along the South Saskatchewan River bank we have Innovation Place, a business research cluster whose focus is biotechnological research, development and commercialization. Hence my particular delight in having an opportunity to speak to the bill before the House today.

Producers know that research is vital to our agricultural industry. They know that their future livelihood depends on their ability to grow crops which will meet the shifting demands of the marketplace. Producers know as well that unless they start investing in research they risk lagging behind their competitors.

Farmers in Australia, United States and the European Union have been taking a direct role in renewing plant breeding programs in wheat and barley for years. In the United States over 15 states have check-offs on wheat. These are made at the state level and are deducted at first point of sale. The check-offs are generally voluntary and enjoy a high level of participation as we anticipate this will be. The Australian wheat board has had a non-voluntary levy in place for the past five years.

I mentioned partnerships between government and industry in my opening remarks. The industry strongly supports Bill C-50. This producer initiative has enjoyed broad industry support in its development and it will continue to do so, supporting a form of 12 prairie farm organizations that make up the Western Grains Research Foundation.

Perhaps not everyone is aware of who the members of this organization are: the United Grain Growers, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, Manitoba Pool Elevators, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Alberta Wheat Pool, Prairie Canola Growers Council, the Flax Growers of Western Canada, Keystone Agricultural Producers, Western Barley Growers Association, the Oat Producers Association of Alberta, Canadian Seed Growers Association, and Unifarm.

Five of these organizations are also members of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and, most important, all these organizations have taken this issue to their membership and have received a strong vote of confidence. Again I would suggest this indicates some form of consultation. I doubt very much if the membership of those organizations would thank the government for going through yet another consultation period, at the taxpayers' expense, to find out the answer to the question that producers are in favour of this kind of research check-off.

What contribution does government currently make to agricultural research? Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada spent over $2.5 million on wheat research in the last crop year and a further $8 million on barley research. The department will continue its commitment to research but this check-off proposed by producers will help us catch up to our competitors by providing additional research funding. These additional funds will allow us to double our wheat and barley breeding research programs. Government cannot do it alone and that is why we are so pleased to enter this research partnership with Canadian producers.

I would like to take a moment to review the minister's explanation of how the system will work. Western wheat and barley producers will pay voluntary levies of 20 cents a tonne on wheat and 40 cents a tonne on barley.

I should point out for some of our urban listeners that this constant reference to check-off has nothing to do with Russian literature. These levies or check-offs from the Canadian Wheat Board payments will be put into the research fund.

The amendments before us today are necessary to permit the use of the moneys collected by the Canadian Wheat Board for this cause. The Canadian Wheat Board will not be distributing the moneys collected. The funds from the check-offs will be distributed under the direction of the producer driven Western Grains Research Foundation.

The foundation will establish two research committees, one for barley and one for wheat. These committees will ensure research moneys are spent on research projects in western research centres that focus on the development of improved wheat and barley varieties.

Participation in this check-off is voluntary. Producers who want to opt out need only to submit a written request. As I said earlier, this check-off will garner additional research funds. It does not replace existing funding for agricultural research.

Supporting the legislation will mean that the levies collected will assist in providing the Canadian agricultural industry with the means to develop and use new technologies, technologies that will boost our competitive edge.

The ultimate objective of the legislation is to improve farm income through two main mechanisms; first, by improving the field performance of barley and wheat through new varieties that mature earlier, have higher yields and offer increased resistance to disease and insect pests; and, second, by maintaining and improving sales of wheat and barley by developing varieties with specific qualities required by the marketplace.

The government is committed to strategic partnerships to secure our research goals. We have invited the industry to share the responsibility for the future with us as equal partners and it has accepted.

I recommend the legislation be enacted to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act for the purpose of initiating voluntary producer levies in the interest of plant breeding research. We will be financially supporting the legislation because it is directly accountable to the producers of western Canada and because at its heart the legislation is motivated by producers who want to work with government in partnership to increase their competitive edge.

Saskatchewan September 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have three topics, Saskatchewan, immigration and birthdays.

My province of Saskatchewan joined Confederation in 1905. It was another Liberal Prime Minister, Laurier, whose visionary immigration policies opened the west to settlement by immigrants from around the world.

Settlers came to a land that Saskatchewan's Connie Kaldor describes as harsh and unforgiving. This land offered independence and opportunity, treasures precious enough to be worth a little dust and frostbite.

Next year marks Saskatchewan's 90th birthday, the 90th anniversary of Laurier's western visit. In only 90 years, less than one lifetime, Saskatchewan pioneers have taken us from oxcarts to fax machines.

I think of Herbert S. Wright, born on this date in 1907. An English immigrant, Stan and his wife Peggy raised three children. Starting a family at the beginning of the great depression was not easy, yet the Wrights faced the challenge, prospered and were stronger for it.

Thanks to immigrants, pioneers we sometimes call them, Canada is stronger too.

Quill Lakes May 30th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, last Friday over 500 people gathered in rural Saskatchewan to mark the designation of Quill Lakes as an international site in the western hemisphere shorebird reserve network.

Prairie wetlands are vital habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl. Prudent management of delicate ecosystems like the Quill Lakes is crucial to the survival of many North American migratory species.

The designation of Quill Lakes will help Canada meet its international commitment as a signatory to the global convention on biological diversity.

The Quill Lakes designation is an accomplishment in partnerships. This project succeeded because of co-operation at all levels of government, international, federal, provincial and municipal. Experts, officials and local citizens co-operated to safeguard this wetland area.

There is good news. I am told that on Friday one keen-eyed participant spotted a piping plover, one of the endangered species that will benefit from the project.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by making the following comment. I am concerned that my hon. friend is operating under certain false premises in terms of his feeling that the motion put forward by the Reform Party is speaking for all westerners.

As a westerner I would like to tell the House and my colleague that the policies that underlie the motion we have heard from the Reform Party which seem to favour punishment over any kind of analysis of the problems facing our young offenders are certainly not the policies or the approach favoured by western Canadians and certainly not by me or my other western colleagues in the government.

I would like to invite him to visit us in the west and I personally will tour him to meet various people who will show him another side of western viewpoints on this issue.

Second, I can understand why my hon. friend would come away with this notion, assuming he sees the Reform Party as speaking for some westerners, given the nature of the motion put forward which are debating today. I say that because this motion offers simplistic solutions to complex problems. It reflects the Reform Party's obsession with cuts and saving a penny no matter what the cost. It also reflects a rather slogan approach to solving very complex difficulties that face us as a society.

I come from the west and I also have a Scottish background. No one could be more concerned with saving a few pennies than my ancestors from Scotland. Therefore, I would like to say to this House and my friends in the Reform Party that I would put to them three slogans for their consideration of this very serious problem. One is that we consider the old comment about being penny wise and pound foolish.

I would also ask them to consider another slogan dealing with money, pay me now or pay me later. The third slogan is haste makes waste. I feel quite qualified to speak on all three of those and to expand on why I mention those.

On penny wise and pound foolish, certainly we may throw a few young offenders into prison today and maybe that will make us feel that we are saving money in some ways because we do not have to bother rehabilitating them, but we will ultimately pay the price because, as my learned friend points out, they go to the university of crime in prison and they learn very well. If there is no money to help with their difficulties we end up with more serious criminals.

Pay me now or pay me later is on the same theme. I will not bother repeating myself.

Finally, on haste makes waste, we are dealing here with young offenders who have a multitude of problems. As my friend from Quebec has pointed out it is not a simple matter of saying this person wanted to steal a car, lock him up. To proceed in an analysis of this issue in a hasty manner, possibly a knee-jerk response to such things as the tragedy in Britain which was brought up earlier today will only make us pay a much higher price down the road.

I congratulate my friend from Quebec for his thoughtful analysis of the root problems. I agree with him that careful study is warranted. I congratulate the Minister of Justice on taking this kind of approach to the young offenders. I urge the minister and this government and all thoughtful members of this House to proceed on a slow and steady course to analyse the root problems, to balance the dual concerns of protection of society and dealing with the problems facing our young people.

I would conclude by saying I am pleased to have my friend from Quebec on the justice committee with me and I look forward to working with him to provide solutions to all of these very complex problems.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian public will realize this government is very serious about doing something by the fact that the justice minister has moved swiftly to introduce immediate changes in June. That is something he has committed to do from the beginning. Also the entire act will be turned over to the non-partisan parliamentary committee for a thorough review which will involve a careful study of what works and does not work in the act and what can be improved upon.

I know the hon. member opposite enjoys giving us his views on how we should listen to the constituents by referendum and other measures. I can think of no better way than to ensure that the parliamentary committee system is following that process by permitting Canadians to bring forth their views, people who are involved in the criminal justice system from all aspects. Canadians will be reassured to know that the justice minister is committed to providing a process by which their concerns can be heard and action taken.