House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was grandparents.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Mission—Coquitlam (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 1993, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions May 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on behalf of my own riding and a neighbouring one in the Vancouver area. It asks the government to consider seriously that Parliament ensure that all transgenic foods and food products be clearly labelled that they are transgenic foods so that the public is aware of what it is purchasing and all food products are thereby safe to consume.

Petitions May 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour to present on behalf of British Columbians in the lower mainland two petitions.

In the first the petitioners pray that the government proceed immediately with amendments to the Criminal Code that will ensure the punishment given to anyone convicted of causing death by driving while impaired carries a minimum sentence of seven years and a maximum of fourteen years as outlined in private member's Bill C-201 sponsored by the member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley.

This issue is of such consequence in the country today that we all must take it seriously.

Rights Of Grandparents May 14th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, grandparents are often the forgotten ones on the divorce battlefield, and the important relationship children have with their grandparents often gets ignored.

Bill C-245, an act to amend the Divorce Act, seeks to help grandparents establish a right to ask for access to their grandchildren.

Today I will be appearing before the justice committee as a witness once more presenting my arguments in favour of grandchildren and grandparents. I am hoping members of the justice committee will do what the House already did with my bill at second reading and pass it unanimously.

Witnesses appearing on this bill in the last session testified to its constitutionality, the fact the bill was needed and the fact it would not add extra litigation in the courts. Its effect would ensure all matters concerning the children are dealt with at the same time.

Government members say they support family values. This afternoon in the justice committee they will have the opportunity to demonstrate their support.

Petitions May 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the honour to present petitions today on behalf of my constituents in Mission-Coquitlam asking the government to not amend the human rights act to include the undefined phrase of sexual orientation.

Canada Pension Plan April 26th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the minister that his worker in the field has already mentioned this doubling of CPP contributions so we are concerned about the issue.

You cannot expect the workers to pay an additional 5 per cent or more of their income without reducing benefits to seniors. Will the Minister of Finance tell the House how much the CPP payment to seniors is going to come down? Will it be 50 per cent or more?

Canada Pension Plan April 26th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister.

Yesterday, the finance minister rejected tripling CPP contributions from 5 per cent of worker's income to 15 per cent. Does that mean he intends to double them now and take only 10 per cent of worker's income?

Council Of Canadians April 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a senior citizen in my riding came into my office very concerned and anxious about a letter he had received from the Council of Canadians. Basically this letter was nothing short of a scam and fear mongering against one of our most vulnerable groups in society, our seniors.

By distorting and misrepresenting the true facts, this Council of Canadians plays on the fears of our seniors and attempts to extort money from them. This group wants the seniors of Canada to pay for what they are entitled to get for nothing: a petition presented to the government on behalf of seniors. Every member of Parliament provides that service free of charge. I know from the past three years in this House that we all present all constituents' petitions on a regular basis.

This group, which professes to care about seniors' lack of money, asks for money 10 times throughout its letter. And if they cannot commit to paying monthly contributions to this group, then $35, $50 or $75 now will protect their hard earned pensions.

The confidence men of old were pikers compared with this group.

Pensions April 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the member appears to me to be waffling.

In essence we have been waiting now for almost three years for direction. Could he please be specific on just what is the government's position?

Pensions April 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Canada pension plan is going bankrupt quickly. This government has a decision to make. In the seniors benefit it has guaranteed seniors the right to "continue in their retirement secure the change will not affect them; that is guaranteed". However, the government's own ministers have warned that changes must be made: "You have got to take a look both at premiums and at benefits".

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. What is the government's position on protecting pensions to seniors?

The Budget April 15th, 1996

Madam Speaker, this is the third federal budget I have spoken on since I came to Ottawa. In each budget I have expressed major disappointment: in the first, because it did not deal with the fiscal realities that faced Canada in 1994, the deficit and the debt; in the 1995 budget, because it missed a tremendous opportunity to put Canada on a positive fiscal course which would see the deficit eliminated and the debt paid down within the next five years.

Like Liberals of old, the Liberals who started deficit financing rather than making tough decisions, these present day Liberals again put off tough decisions. This refusal to come to grips with Canada's debt problem plus interest on the deficit means that the debt has continued to soar. By the end of March it was over $578 billion. The Liberals by failing to address this issue have added over $200 billion to the national debt.

As the debt grows, so does the interest that must be paid. The government now pays $47 billion in interest on the debt. This is more than it pays on elderly benefits, unemployment insurance, payments to aboriginal peoples, foreign aid, the CBC, and science and technology combined.

Let us face it. This is not just a waste of the taxpayers' money. It affects how business and industry reacts to our country. This kind of mismanagement of the country's economy does not create a climate for investment, it does not create confidence.

If the government had proceeded immediately in the 1994 budget to address Canada's problems with the economy, the confidence for investment and job creation would now be with us. The job creation proposals in the budget which we all know will not create a single long term job would not have been necessary and would not be with us now eating up taxpayers' dollars.

If the right economic road had been followed in the beginning by these Liberals, they would now be in a position to reduce taxes. A reduction in income taxes, a reduction in payroll taxes, unemployment insurance premiums and the elimination of the heavy regulatory burden which follows Canadian companies would go a long way to stimulate investment in Canada. These are the measures that should have been announced in this budget.

A failure to deal with the deficit and Canada's accumulated debt is not the only shortcoming of this budget. This budget also has severe human consequences. The finance minister and the Minister of Justice through their combined wisdom have seen fit to get involved through the budget in the payments made by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent after divorce. Starting in May 1997 these payments will no longer be tax deductible by the

paying ex-spouse and will not have to be included in the income of the receiving spouse.

Why the government will not leave the issue of taxation of child support payments to be dealt with by the parties themselves with the help of a mediator is beyond me. However what worries me even more is the fact that this new rule can be made retroactive. It can be made to apply to payments that are now being made. This means that thousands of Canadians, who prior to budget day thought the matter of child support was well settled, are now reviewing their child support agreements to see how this budget will affect them.

Now that the paying ex-spouse may no longer claim a tax deduction for the support payments, he or she will have less money to look after their new family as well as to help the ex-spouse and the children of the first marriage. Who is going to benefit from this massive tax grab? Not the parents involved in the divorce, not the custodial or the non-custodial parent and certainly not the children.

Who will benefit? The government. No new taxes in this budget. That is a very dishonest statement. The government already knows it will make over $250 million on this new program in a major tax grab.

What if some of these ex-spouses are already having a difficult time making support payments and keeping up with the demands of a new family? Without the help of a tax deduction might they be less inclined to make full support payments? Is the government building a new monster, another social problem on the backs of divorced parents?

As well, thousands of family law lawyers across the country are down on their knees thanking the justice minister for increasing their billable income for at least the coming two years. This piece of legislation has opened the floodgates to more litigation. How dare the Minister of Justice and indeed the Liberal members of the House of Commons justice committee decide to vote down my private members' bill on grandparents rights because it might increase litigation and then support this budget measure which virtually by definition will increase litigation. Perhaps my bill in reality did not increase litigation enough for them to support it.

What about seniors issues? Seniors issues are put off to be dealt with in the next century. If the old age security and the guaranteed income supplement need to be changed or need to be replaced, why put it off for four years? Again, if a tough decision which might affect the government's popularity could be made, the Liberal solution is to put it off at least until after the next election.

More than that, I believe the Liberals in this budget have broken faith with our seniors. During the Quebec referendum period and in the run-up to the budget, the Prime Minister repeatedly assured Canadian seniors their retirement incomes were safe. In a supplementary document entitled: "The Seniors Benefit: Securing the Future" the government stated: "Current seniors have the right to continue in their retirement secure the change will not affect them. That is guaranteed". This is what the government said but this is not what it has done.

Let us look carefully at the actions of this government. The government reduced the mandatory withdrawal age for RRSP contributors from 71 to 69. Seniors will pay more in taxes over their retirement. Because of this budget, seniors will have to remove their retirement savings from the their RRSP accounts attracting tax a full two years earlier than would otherwise be the case.

Could it be that when reality hits our seniors and they realize they will not be better off, that in fact they will be forced to roll over their RRSPs at 69 years of age instead of 71, they will realize that this Liberal government has increased their tax burden and taken away direct savings from their many long years of hard work as dependable Canadian taxpayers?

Is it that by placing the proposed new seniors benefit to come into force in the year 2001 the government hopes to coast in on the next election and by the time that our seniors realize they have been hit with a new and higher tax on their retirement income it will be too late?

This government seems to be maintaining its do nothing attitude and closing its eyes to an increasing debt of close to $600 billion. No change that negatively affects seniors, I do not think so.

What else did this budget do? The government froze the RRSP contribution limit at $13,500 until 2003, lifting it marginally thereafter. Again this affects the ability of Canadians to provide for their own retirement. Again the government's promise to seniors has been broken.

As I said earlier, seniors are living longer healthier lives, retiring later by some. They want the right to service their own retirement. They want the government to live up to its promises.

Then there are the Liberal make work programs. The Liberals will spend over $65 million in the next five years to establish a commission to study health care needs. Canada's health care needs no more studies. This is simply a way to put Liberal friends on the commission. Then there are the other make work projects for youth. None of them create meaningful long term jobs. I know it, my party knows it and worst of all, the Liberals know it but again, it looks good and it sounds good to the electorate.

The only long term permanent jobs are created by industry in a healthy marketplace. Industry will only create these jobs when it is

confident the government is moving in the right direction. Tax relief might have been a good answer in part of this budget.

With this budget the Liberal government has missed a great opportunity to do something for the future of Canada. It did not. Perhaps it is time it stepped aside and let the people of Canada decide on the future of this country.