House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was system.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for St. John's West (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Won her last election, in 1993, with 55% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply March 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the words of my colleague from the third party.

He spoke about Newfoundland being a part of Labrador. Newfoundlanders always knew that Labrador was a part of Newfoundland, not Quebec. They have known it for years. We do not have to be told that. We are not dumb.

He also said that we need to get rid of the debt so that the government is not sucking the lifeblood out of Newfoundlanders. During the budget debate and prior to it, if we took what they were saying, those members would have sucked the lifeblood out of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians long ago, not just Newfoundlanders but other Canadians as well.

There is one point the hon. member made to which I take particular exception. It was his comment that the gentleman who took him on a tour of Labrador brought him to a sandpit and he thought he was going to be done in. Newfoundlanders are not like that. Newfoundlanders are responsible, trusting, respectable people. We do not go around doing other people in.

Supply March 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I do represent my constituents and I do represent the province of Newfoundland. I am very glad to be able to do that.

I do not concur with breaking a legitimate agreement that was put in place and which has gone through the courts and has been ruled as a legal and binding agreement. Another member of the third party was asked earlier what he would do to renegotiate the agreement. He was unable to provide an answer. Does the hon. member have any suggestions as to how to renegotiate this?

Supply March 15th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is with great enthusiasm that I participate in today's debate.

I take great exception to the hon. member's motion. Historically the federal government has been a firm supporter of Newfoundland and Labrador and its economic pursuits. I might remind the House that it was a Liberal government that negotiated Newfoundland's entry to Canada.

The Reform Party introduced today's motion because there is a byelection in Labrador and it hopes to gain votes by pretending to be a voice for the people of Labrador. The Reform Party took an interest in Labrador only after its member of Parliament, the hon. Bill Rompkey, moved to the Senate causing the byelection. There is no evidence that this issue was important to the Reform Party before that.

The Reform Party election platform only makes reference to the revenue from hydroelectric projects in relation to equalization. It states:

The Reform Party supports the inclusion of economic rents from hydroelectric activities in the public revenue of all provinces for the purpose of calculating the size of federal-provincial transfer payments.

In general, the Reform Party supports energy policies based on market mechanisms with no government involvement.

What makes the Reform Party think it will be able to find a new resolution to this longstanding issue which has been debated by experts for years and heard by the courts?

The Reform Party, which it says is a strong supporter of free enterprise, is questioning a contract which has been ruled valid by the Supreme Court. By raising this issue the Reform Party may be trying to mask its extreme right wing economic agenda which is not attractive to the voters of Labrador.

The Reform Party plans to turn programs such as employment insurance and the Canada Pension Plan into personalized savings accounts or private insurance. That will not find support among the workers in Labrador. The Reform's opposition to any active role by governments in economic development and creating new employment opportunities would indeed hurt the workers of Labrador.

The Reform Party avoids telling the voters of Labrador about its opposition to regional development programs. It thinks that regional development spending in Atlantic Canada has been a failure and Reform would slash programs and eliminate subsidies. The hon. member for Capilano-Howe Sound sums up what his party thinks about Atlantic Canadians and regional development by saying: "We do not give money to our children after a certain stage because we know if we keep giving them money they will never become independent. Sometimes the best things we can do for our children is say no".

Another Reform member of Parliament in his determination to uncover failed attempts at regional development by ACOA resorted to exaggeration to try to make his point. The member attacked ACOA for giving $22,323 to a food research centre at the University of Moncton for a study to develop blueberry jelly for Mega Bleu, a company in Tracadie, New Brunswick. In fact, ACOA had only granted $6,000 and would increase the amount only if the company decided to market its product. Moreover the money was not for jelly but for blueberry products.

The same Reform MP told Nova Scotians he would run there in the next election. When asked about this by a newspaper in his riding in British Columbia, he said: "I was trying to be nice because I knew it would be in the Atlantic Canadian papers. I did not want to say: Who the hell would want to run there?" That is a quote from the Halifax Chronicle Herald of September 22, 1995.

I remind all members of the House that this federal government has a long history of partnership and co-operation with all the provinces and territories. In no way would this government hinder responsible resource development in Newfoundland and Labrador. It has a solid record of working with that province to resolve outstanding issues and dismantle barricades to resource development.

For example, I look at how the federal government is working with Newfoundland and Labrador and other stakeholders to resolve issues surrounding mineral development in Voisey Bay. For more than three decades the federal government has been working with Newfoundland and Labrador on the development of its hydroelectric resources. I can cite countless examples of federal support to my province. Recent examples include the Hibernia development project. We are encouraged with the progress that is being made in connection with the Terra Nova project.

We should establish at the outset that the rights of the provinces in the area of natural resources are clearly set out in the 1982 amendment to the Constitution Act, 1867. Those rights are exactly the same for every province.

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has the complete right to enjoy its own natural resources. It further has the right to control the development of these resources and any benefits from financial gains by way of royalties and taxes. The same is true again for all provinces.

All crown lands within Newfoundland are owned by the province of Newfoundland. These ownership rights give the province the right to royalties from mineral developments such as in Voisey Bay, as well as for all oil and gas development within the province's boundaries. The province also has the right to royalties from offshore oil and gas development such as Hibernia. The same would be true for any other similar projects brought on line.

These rights are clearly set out under the legislation and are further guaranteed under a number of co-operative agreements between the federal government and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

That ownership of crown lands also gives the province the right to control the development of forestry resources. That right has allowed Newfoundland to develop and maintain a sustainable forest resource.

The ownership of crown lands is only one way in which Newfoundland has the right to benefit from its natural resources. There are many other ways which are equally important. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has the constitutional authority to legislate natural resource related works and undertakings within its boundaries. That constitutional responsibility also gives the province jurisdiction over the generation and distribution of electricity.

I mentioned the amendment to the Constitution Act which clarifies the rights of provinces to control their own natural

resources. The amendment deals with provincial rights concerning non-renewable natural resources and it includes forestry resources and electricity. The amendment states that provinces can make laws regarding the exploration for natural resources. Again, all provinces have this right, including Newfoundland.

The provinces may further pass laws covering the development, conservation and management of non-renewable resources as well as forestry. Again all provinces have the right to make laws concerning the generation and production of electricity including everything from development to conservation to the management of the sites and facilities. In addition, Newfoundland and all other provinces have the constitutional right to pass laws regarding the export of electricity. They can pass legislation covering the taxation of electrical generating facilities.

Some members may feel these rights should be changed, expanded or perhaps cutback. My own view is that they represent a reasonable and fair allocation of authority. These rights are clearly outlined and equally applied. I cannot see how these rights have in any way been denied to Newfoundland or any other province.

Newfoundland has constitutional control of its natural resources as do all other provinces. It is Newfoundland that decided how those natural resources would be developed, how they would be conserved and it is Newfoundland that will decide what the best advantage is.

Conference Of Parliamentarians Of The Arctic Region March 14th, 1996

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Over 100 delegates and observers are participating in this week's conference. They came from the circumpolar nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and include representation from their aboriginal peoples.

The conference provides a forum for the Arctic governments to share information, exchange ideas and gain valuable insight into the problems and opportunities in the Arctic. It will serve as preparation for a minister's conference being held next week in Inuvik.

I would like to wish the members of this conference much luck in their pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world.

Conference Of Parliamentarians Of The Arctic Region March 14th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the first Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region was held in Reykjavik. At the conference it was agreed to form a standing committee. Canada was invited to become a member which was accepted.

Today Canada is the host of the second Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Mr. Clifford Lincoln is the chair of the conference and Karen Kraft Sloan is leading the Canadian delegation. Over 100 delegates-

International Women's Day March 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I am also honoured to rise in the House today to mark International Women's Day and pay tribute to women's accomplishments in Canada and around the world.

The federal theme for International Women's Day 1996 is Strategy for Equality: Managing Change. Its focus is our need to maintain the momentum toward gender equality in the face of deep societal change. The Liberal government continues to support Canadian women in these times of fiscal restraint, globalization, restructuring, and new technologies.

In the federal plan for gender equality we outlined specific actions we are taking to advance women's equality to the brink of the 21st century. The foundation of that plan is a new policy of gender based analysis of all federal government policies, programs and legislation.

I am certain all members of the House will join me today in pledging our commitment to achieving gender equality and in celebrating the important gains women have made over the years.

The Budget March 7th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite did not hear what I said. The budget does address the needs of seniors. It addresses the needs of young people. It addresses the needs of the people who need it most. It addresses the needs of women who have been living well below the poverty line and who, for the first time, are seeing their incomes increase.

This budget does take care of those who need it most.

The Budget March 7th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his comments and for the statistics that he quoted.

If we were to listen to what the members across the way would do, they would reduce the debt to zero before the end of this year. I cannot help wondering what would happen to those people in my riding in particular who are dependent on the social programs, the elderly who are dependent on old age pensions, the young people who need to be able to get assistance to continue their education.

This party earlier this year said that it should reduce social housing by $11 million. What would that do to the social programs in ridings like mine? These people talk a good talk, but they do not walk a good walk. I am afraid that their program is not acceptable.

The program that we have under this budget is an acceptable one. It is fair, as I said before. It is a compassionate budget and it is one that will work for Canadians.

The Budget March 7th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Vaudreuil.

It is with great pleasure that I rise to speak on the debate on the budget. The Minister of Finance last night presented to Canadians a budget that is fair, compassionate and visionary.

Last night, as part of my budget night activities, I held a teleconference with representatives from industry, municipal governments, business, social services, education and health in my riding of St. John's West, all of whom wanted to convey their reaction to the budget.

While these individuals had some concerns, the reaction to the budget was largely positive. While my colleagues on the other side of the House earlier mentioned that the Chambers of Commerce were not in favour of the budget, last night I had representatives from the Chamber of Commerce who were very positive about the budget and had nothing but good things to say about it.

I will now touch on some of the key points raised during the teleconference and discuss the impact on my riding of St. John's West. As a government not only are we meeting our deficit reduction targets, we are surpassing them. The budget ensures that we will meet our red book commitment of reducing the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP within our first three years in office.

In addition, by 1997-98 we will be meeting our new interim target of 2 per cent. By 1997-98, due to the consistent efforts of the Liberal government, the economy will finally be growing faster than the debt, the first time since 1974-75.

Program spending will be reduced by 12 per cent of GDP by 1998-99, which translates in the lowest level in 50 years. Also, Canada's fiscal requirements will be cut by $6 billion in 1997-98, the lowest of all the G-7 countries.

Earlier my colleague from the third party spoke about fishery violations and offences occurring and he went through a great litany of these violations taking place on the west coast.

For his information, the department of fisheries raised its enforcement budget to provide greater enforcement. The government cannot possibly have enforcement offices at every location to control all the people who want to violate our fishery agreement.

The residents of St. John's West are particularly pleased that there are no tax increases in the budget, no increases in personal income tax, no increases in corporate tax and no increases in excise tax. The government has not increased personal income tax since we took office three years ago.

Canadians have told us they want the deficit and the debt reduced, but they also want to protect the most vulnerable, and the people of St. John's West are no exception.

Again the finance minister has listened to Canadians and has safeguarded our social programs for the next century. Over the next five years the CHST, federal transfers to the provinces for health, post secondary education and social assistance, will be maintained. Funding will remain constant at $25.1 billion for the first two years and will actually increase over the three remaining years.

Although the initial cash component in Newfoundland's CHST will decline initially, transfers will resume growth some time over the five-year arrangement. The federal government is guaranteeing that the cash component of the transfer will never be lower than $11 billion during this five-year period. Newfoundland will benefit from the tax component as well as from the cash guarantee.

Also, by putting a floor of $11 billion under the cash part of the CHST, the federal government is ensuring the principles of the Canada Health Act can and will be enforced throughout Canada.

A new seniors benefit will replace the existing old age security and guaranteed income supplement. This new system is designed to help those who need it most. In my riding of St. John's West there are many single seniors and many senior couples who live on incomes well below $40,000 a year. To these seniors I want to say they will be as well off, indeed better off, than they are under the current system.

The new benefit will be tax free and fully indexed to inflation. The new system targets those who need it most and ensures the system is sustainable in the future.

In keeping with our red book commitment, the federal government is introducing a new child support system. These changes were a long time coming and are long overdue. The child support paid under the orders or agreements made on or after May 1, 1997 will no longer be taxed as income to the recipient, nor will it be tax deductible for the payer.

The federal government will introduced guidelines to assist parents, lawyers and judges to see that fair and consistent child support is awarded in divorce cases. The federal government will introduce comprehensive measures to help provincial enforcement agencies ensure that support is paid in full and on time.

The maximum level of working income supplement of the child tax benefit will double; it will increase from $500 to $750 in July 1997 and will increase again to $1,000 in July 1998.

Jobs and economic growth continue to be the government's top priority.

Since we took office in 1993 the Liberal government has and will continue to provide the private sector with an environment for growth. The economic climate in Canada is improving. Interest rates have declined three percentage points in the last year. Inflation is at its lowest level in 30 years and Canada's economy is more competitive now than ever.

More than 500,000 private sector jobs have been created. With this in mind the Liberal government is investing in the future. No longer do we have the resources to do everything. We must make some strategic choices. We must invest in areas where we can get the biggest bang for our buck.

The federal government therefore is reallocating existing funds into three areas, youth, technology and trade. We are providing an additional $165 million over three years to help students and their families deal with the increased costs of education. The government has increased education tax credits, raised the limits on the transfer of tuition fees and education credits, and increased the limits to contributions to RESPs. Also, the eligibility for the child care expense allowance will be broadened.

The government will also provide $315 million over three years to create new youth employment opportunities. We will double funding for summer student jobs. We remain committed to Team Canada style partnerships between business and government in order to create entry level jobs for youth.

I understand the Minister of Industry will soon announce technology partnership Canada, which will encourage develop-

ment of the environmental technologies, advanced manufacturing of material as well as biotechnology. In addition, funding to the Federal Business Development Bank will increase so that the bank will be able to provide more loans to knowledge based exporting and growth businesses.

The government is assisting small business by bringing it all of the advantages of access to the information highway. We are introducing a program in which 2,000 computer students will connect to some 50,000 small businesses on the Internet.

Canada's trade performance in the last few years has been nothing less than remarkable. Team Canada's approach has proven a major success with $20 billion in new business deals resulting from three major trade missions led by the Prime Minister.

Exports are vital to the creation of jobs. Every billion dollars in exports translates into 11,000 to 12,000 new jobs. Because export financing is so critical, the government will provide $50 million to the Export Development Corporation for further innovative types of export financing.

I will briefly mention the measures taken in relation to RRSP and RPP limits to increase flexibility for individuals saving for their retirement. A seven-year carry forward for RRSPs is being removed to permit individuals to continue to save for their retirement. The age limit for maturing RPPs and RRSPs will be reduced from 71 to 69. RRSP limits will be frozen at $13,500 through to the year 2003 and then increased to $14,500 in 2004, and $15,500 in 2005. These measures will limit the cost of the tax deferrals associated with retirement savings, while ensuring tax assistance is targeted at modest and middle income Canadians.

This is a fair budget, a realistic budget and a compassionate budget. While the economy is finally improving, the government must continue to stay the course on debt and deficit reduction. We have made some tough choices to ensure the programs we cherish as Canadians will continue into the next century. This budget will ensure that.

Petitions March 6th, 1996

Madam Speaker, on behalf of constituents in my riding I wish to present a petition that calls upon Parliament to consider the extension of benefits and compensation for veterans of World War II to the merchant navy wartime veterans.