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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

Rrsps April 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the minister is still refusing to deal with the age difference. By lowering it, he is really harming seniors. By reducing the age of mandatory rollover from seniors' RRSPs, the government will raise close to $100 million by the year 2000.

This is just another Liberal tax grab. Why does the minister not have the courage to be frank with our seniors about what he is doing and admit this is another tax grab at the expense of seniors?

Rrsps April 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of human resources.

This year's budget punishes seniors by reducing the RRSP age limit for contributions from 71 to 69. Why impose this hardship on seniors when they are now living longer and healthier lives and will need their savings over a longer life span?

Department Of Human Resources Development Act March 28th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, with these two amendments I have the same problem I had with the initial clauses. That is why Reform put forward amendments to begin with.

A concern I have is that certain things are done and we do not know about them. I put forward the amendment that we would have an annual report for a very good reason. I hope the government considers that in Bill C-11.

As well, I feel strongly that we do not bypass provinces or appear to bypass provinces. The legislation appears to do that. The wording of it is definitely there. Those are my concerns.

With these two, the government has more opportunity to intervene. This is the concern I as a member of Parliament should be raising. Motion No. 9 adds Canada Post to the list.

I have not yet been answered by the member from the government on what impact this would have. We have had no explanation in the House on how it would impact on us. This should be explained to the House. It concerns me.

Until I hear the explanations clearly, I hesitate to speak in favour of Motions Nos. 9 and 10. In this case the Reform Party would oppose them.

Department Of Human Resources Development Act March 28th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment briefly on what the hon. member said.

I accept that Motions Nos. 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17, which are in Group No. 4 are government amendments and they basically involve the technicalities of Bill C-11. I appreciate that the remarks of the hon. member were valid in that these motions are very much of a technical nature. While I agree that Bill C-11 is basically a housekeeping bill establishing the Department of Human Resources Development, I am concerned about the method and the process we used with respect to the latest amendments.

We do have a democratic process in the House. I wish that we could extend it a bit more to give opposition members time to take a look at these amendments before the ninth hour. In order for democracy to work we have to have time to take an honest look. Regardless of whether the government says they are only housekeeping technicalities, we really do have a right as elected members to be given enough time to study them, to look at their impact and to make sure that what the hon. member on the government side has said is the case.

I would say that overall, without having the time to look at these amendments in depth, I would be prepared to agree with the Group No. 4 amendments put forward by the government at this time.

Department Of Human Resources Development Act March 28th, 1996


Motion No. 5

That Bill C-11 be amended by adding after line 29, on page 10, the following new Clause:

"32.1 The Minister shall cause to be laid before each House of Parliament, not later than the fifth sitting day of that House after January 31 next following the end of each fiscal year, a report showing the operations of the Department of Human Resources Development for that fiscal year."

Madam Speaker, this amendment would require the Minister of Human Resources Development to table an annual report in the House.

Bill C-11 as s presented does not require an annual report to be made from the department. I am concerned that this may be just another way for the government to withhold information from the House of Commons and the people of Canada.

I believe it should be mandatory for all government departments to publish annual reports, and for the purpose of accountability they should be placed before Parliament.

As part of the new program review the federal government is changing the production of the estimates. It suggests that in a few years it will make the estimates more user friendly and that more useful and practical information will be included in the estimates. The government suggests that annual reports are so general that they border on being useless.

Every bill which has been introduced to create a new department has been deleted. The government has deleted the requirement for the production of departmental annual reports. Our amendment would require the government to continue producing annual reports for that department.

We are sceptical of the process for improving the estimates. At minimum, until such improvements have been made, annual reports should be continued. Until the estimates are improved, the lack of annual reports will cause the Canadian public to be in a position to receive less information from government.

We all know about the red book promises which said there would be more open government. This is open government? No more annual reports is open government? I do not think so.

Reform exists to change the government. Liberals have an opportunity to demonstrate to Canadians they are willing to open up government to allow Canadians greater access to all information about how it operates. It should not be a secret. What is the government trying to hide?

It is taxpayer money that the Liberals are spending. Canadians should know how and where their money is going. The government, by opposing our amendment, will prove to Canadians that it does not care about accountability or openness. What is it trying to hide? Again there seems to be something fishy here.

Is this just another way for the Liberals to hide their dismal failure on the deficit fight? They will not make public or even produce an annual report for this department.

This department is huge. Canadians, thanks to the Liberals, will not be able to keep track of the developments. Sure, the government says the estimates will be improved, but it said it would scrap the GST, so why should we believe it now?

Is this a case of what we do not know will not hurt us? Maybe that is why the government did not mention the debt in the budget speech. Ignore it and it will go away. The Liberals should talk about it. They should admit that they have been responsible for the growth in the debt since 1968 and honestly attack the debt problem. We are seeing nothing.

I insist we need an annual account of this department. I believe with the inclusion of the amendments the Reform Party suggested Bill C-11 will be a much better bill. The amendments will make the department more forward in its approach to problems and more accountable to Parliament.

Department Of Human Resources Development Act March 28th, 1996


Motion No. 3

That Bill C-11, in Clause 20, be amended by replacing lines 8 to 16, on page 6, with the following:

"20. For the purpose of facilitating the formulation, coordination and implementation of any program or policy relating to the powers, duties and functions referred to in section 6, the Minister may enter into an agreement with an agency of a province, after obtaining the approval of the lieutenant governor in council of the province, and may enter into agreements with a province or group of provinces, financial institutions and such other persons or bodies, other than an agency of the province, as the Minister considers appropriate."

Madam Speaker, we are now on group no. 2, Motion No. 3, an amendment to clause 20. The clause as presently written gives the federal government the power to bypass provincial governments, giving grants and so on the emanations of these governments, without first seeking approval of the provincial governments. This is unacceptable. The minister should not be able to circumvent provincial governments.

If this government believes in decentralization, as it says it does, it should be willing to consult with provincial governments rather than be involved in asking for legislation which allows it to give provincial governments the bypass.

Under such a clause the minister may choose to privatize or to contract out certain human resources department services. If this is to happen it should happen in direct relation to provincial governments, not leave open a door to go to some other agencies. Power should go directly to provincial governments and not through a roundabout route to one of these agencies as the bill would allow.

Therefore my amendment would change clause 20 to read:

For the purpose of facilitating the formulation, co-ordination and implementation of any program or policy relating to the powers, duties and functions referred to in section 6, the minister may enter into an agreement with an agency of a province, after obtaining the approval of the lieutenant governor in council of the province, and may enter into agreements with a province or group of provinces, financial institutions and such other persons or bodies, other an an agency of the province, as the minister considers appropriate.

I believe this amendment is a reasonable compromise. Is it not? The federal government has direct input into the lieutenant governors of each province. Surely consulting them is not too much to ask. I believe again this is more than a reasonable compromise.

I also believe the government is misleading Canadians and not dealing honestly with the provinces. I remind the government of a recent visit by the new minister of human resources to metro Toronto. The minister bypassed the provincial government, went straight to an agency or a group and announced a $4 million grant to child care. What is the federal government saying to the provinces? "We will give you less in transfer payments, but we still

want to look like the good guys so we will independently bypass provincial governments and play Santa Clause. Rather than work with our provincial governments, we will portray them in a very poor light. We will portray them as Scrooge".

Even worse, the appropriate minister involved in the Ontario government, Mr. Tsubouchi, did not even know about this. He read the announcement in the newspapers.

The government is always making great noise about how it works with the provinces, how it gets along so well and how it discusses things. I wonder if Mr. Tsubouchi would agree.

This clause, which allows the minister to bypass negotiating with the provinces for services delivery and enables him to deal with lower level agencies, should be changed. We are not asking for anything unreasonable from the government. The lieutenant governor is very closely associated with the federal government. This is most reasonable. This a compromise we could work together.

The Reform Party wants to work with the government when it can. If the government has legislation we feel is good, we will work to pass it. If it is legislation we feel needs to be amended, we will work to amend it and still pass it. The government must show that it too is willing to work with the elected representatives of the people of Canada. To date we have not seen that in the House.

As it stands, this clause amounts to a federal tax grab, a power grab, if you will. We believe power should be left in the hands of the provinces. This clause allows the government to avoid dealing directly with provincial governments, especially those that may not be sympathetic to some federal initiatives. Therein lies the problem. I do not think the government is being honest. If there is a problem with some governments, and it knows ahead of time that the governments may opposed federal initiatives, this is one way it can get around that problem. I do not think that is being honest. It is something we should address and the compromise addresses it.

If the government is adamant that it does not have this intention and that they are more than willing to work with all provincial governments, not worried that some provincial governments may disagree with it and therefore not go ahead with the legislation, all it has to do is go along with the Reform Party on this good amendment. Go along with the compromise and show provincial governments that it does trust them and that it does want to work with them and that it will not attempt to bypass them in such a shoddy method.

Department Of Human Resources Development Act March 28th, 1996


Motion No. 1

That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 4.

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-11, in Clause 5, be amended by deleting lines 6 to 9, on page 3.

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-11, in Clause 21, be amended by replacing lines 17 to 21, on page 6, with the following:

"21. The Minister may authorize the Commission, any other body or member of a class of bodies, or a person, or member of a class of persons to exercise any power or perform any duty or function of the Minister."

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 37.

Mr. Speaker, in speaking to my proposed amendments to Bill C-11, I will address them in their groupings and begin with Group No. 1. Reform's amendments, Motions Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 6, all address the new position of minister of labour and his or her department.

With respect to Reform's Motion No. 1, clause 4 of the bill allows the Prime Minister to appoint a minister of labour. We oppose this clause. The only reason we have a minister of labour is that the Prime Minister felt he needed to find a place in cabinet for the hon. member for Saint-Henri-Westmount.

The government found it unnecessary for the first two years of its mandate to have a minister of labour. In effect there is no need for this position. This clause allows the Prime Minister the pleasure of appointing or not appointing one. Quite simply, this new ministry is expensive and unnecessary. The responsibilities could be maintained within the human resources development department.

I am aware that there have been ministries of labour in the past. However, cabinets have been huge. Today Canadians want to see less government, not more.

Motion No. 2 refers to clause 5(3). Our amendment is to delete subclause (3). This subclause allows for a deputy minister of labour, an unnecessary position if there is no need for a minister of labour.

Moving to clause 21, which is Motion No. 4 of Group No. 1, the amendment would remove the minister of labour from the clause. There is no need for the minister of labour to be mentioned at all in the bill. There is certainly no need to give the minister of labour the power to act in the place of the minister of human resources.

I propose that clause 21 be amended to read as follows: "The minister may authorize the commission, any other body or member of a class of bodies, or a person, or a member of a class of persons to exercise any power or perform any duty or function of the minister".

In keeping with Motion No. 1, given that we oppose the creation of the ministry of labour, we oppose such a minister's having delegatory powers.

Group No. 1 contains Motion No. 6. This clause provides for cases when no minister of labour is appointed. The said duties are redistributed by this clause.

If there is no need for a minister of labour, there should be no explicit need to reallocate the minister's responsibilities. They should normally be absorbed by the department without being included in the enabling legislation.

Divorce Act March 25th, 1996

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-245, an act to amend the Divorce Act (granting of access to, or custody of, a child to a grandparent).

Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-232 at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 35th Parliament.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Nisga'A Land Claims March 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, once the agreement is ratified today it will be very difficult to change anything.

This agreement in principle will encode different treatment of Canadians based on race, different constitutional status based on race, different taxes based on race. If this is put into the Constitution Canadians will never again be one people. We will be permanently divided by race. This will affect our children and our grandchildren, all of us.

On behalf of all Canadians, will the government postpone the signing of this agreement until a broad consultation of all Canadians has occurred? This is too important to leave in the hands of a few politicians. Postpone it.

Nisga'A Land Claims March 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Deputy Prime Minister.

There has been a shroud of secrecy over the Nisga'a deal. The process has been manipulated by the politicians and taken out of the hands of Canadians.

Nisga'a members have said they did not even know they were to vote on this agreement. They were invited to an informational meeting. The vote was by show of hands instead of a secret ballot. This is not democracy, it is a fraud.

Will the government respond to these disturbing allegations and resubmit the deal to the Nisga'a people for real consultation and for a real vote?