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

Multiple Sclerosis Day May 5th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, all members know that today is Multiple Sclerosis Day and that is why we are all wearing carnations.

It is estimated that 50,000 Canadians have MS but the number of people affected goes far beyond those who actually have the disease. Family and friends deal with the associated health problems each and every day. I have seen up close the impact MS can have on people.

Medical research is needed to find the causes of MS, effective treatments and ultimately a cure for the disease. However research is expensive and requires a lot of money.

I urge the people of St. John's West to support the National Carnation Campaign for the MS Society of Canada in its efforts to raise $2 million for medical research. This Mother's Day please buy a carnation to help find a cure.

East Coast Fisheries April 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, today the ministers of fisheries and human resources announced a new five-year $1.9 billion package to assist east coast fisherpeople and plant workers.

This government has taken a long term approach to ensure the future prosperity of the people of Newfoundland, including St. John's West. The money will be an investment in their future, the future of the fishery and the future of the people.

Training programs and green projects will allow people to improve themselves and their working environment. The people of St. John's West can take comfort in the fact that this government has listened to their concerns.

I want to commend the ministers and this government for the manner in which they have so humanely dealt with this difficult problem.

The Budget April 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, there is an old Chinese proverb which says that a long journey starts with the first step.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank my colleague, the Minister of Finance, because his budget is a giant step toward the journey back to fiscal stability in Canada.

His budget is a realistic approach to the problems that have plagued our nation for a long time. The measures the budget proposes will allow us to both provide the jobs people need and gradually reduce the deficit in a sensible manner.

The provision of employment is especially important in the riding of St. John's West which I have the honour to represent. It is especially important to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is also important to Atlantic Canada where unemployment has been unacceptably high for as long as anybody can remember.

The benefits of this budget have already been seen. Recent unemployment figures are down nationally and in Newfoundland. We should continue our efforts to reduce those figures and that is going to be the goal of this government.

It is encouraging to note the extremely strong commitment this government has demonstrated toward the survival of the fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the riding of St. John's West. During the next five years the government has committed $1.9 billion in assistance to Atlantic Canadian fisherpeople and plant workers. The government is putting the money where it is really needed.

It should be noted well that this long term approach is a vote of confidence in the fishing industry that is so vital to the people of St. John's West and to the entire province.

Commemorative Medal April 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a few words regarding motion M-143 as proposed by the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona. I am a great supporter of any honours for our veterans and I sympathize with the intent of the hon. member in putting this motion forward.

I certainly commend the hon. member for bringing the issue to the attention of this House. In that regard the consultative process now under way with the interested parties is commendable. I am certain all hon. members trust that the discussions will arrive at a successful conclusion.

I must also point out that this is a sensitive issue. It must be considered within the context of the protocol and traditions of the Commonwealth system of honours and awards to which we as a nation have agreed.

The Dieppe raid was a catastrophic moment in Canadian history. Every Canadian was touched in some way by the horrifying losses Canadians suffered on that day in 1942.

It was also of tremendous importance to the allied war effort. No matter how one interprets the events surrounding the plan of the operation, the hard lessons learned from the disaster contributed to the successful D-Day landings, the 50th anniversary of which we will mark this June.

The veterans of the Dieppe raid have made an enormous contribution to our country and they should be honoured in every way.

I understand the Dieppe veterans' frustrations and I sincerely hope their desire for further recognition can in some way be accommodated. I do want to remind the House that the Dieppe veterans have been honoured in many other ways.

The Dieppe veterans have not been forgotten. They have been eligible for Canada's outstanding veterans program, including POW compensation, a very tangible recognition of their contribution to the war effort and to this country.

Regimental memorials have been erected along the beaches where the Canadians fought that day. Monuments are also located at Puys, Pourville and Dieppe, as the hon. member has already mentioned.

These memorials pay tribute to the members of the Royal Regiment of Canada, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Les Fusiliers Mont Royal, the Calgary Regiment, the South Saskatchewan Regiment and the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada who gave their lives in the raid. These regiments also proudly display the Dieppe battle honour on their regimental colours.

The town of Dieppe has also created a small park where it has erected a monument of its own recounting the long relationship between Canadians and the people of Normandy, commemorating the raid on Dieppe.

At war's end Dieppe veterans also received a number of war service medals, including the 1939-45 star, the Canadian volunteer service medal, the war medal of 1939-45 and in many cases the defence medal. Many Dieppe veterans have also received individual awards for personal valour.

Perhaps best known among them are Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt and John Weir Foote, recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Merritt landed that day at Pourville. As the men struggled to cross the bridge over the river Scie he walked calmly into the storm of enemy fire on the bridge and led party after party across the bridge with his example.

Despite their best efforts, however, the Canadians were forced to withdraw and again Cecil Merritt displayed his courage. Twice wounded, he led a vigorous rear guard action that enabled many men to reach the landing craft that waited to rescue them. Lieutenant-Colonel Merritt and his men were unfortunately not lucky. They could not reach the craft and were captured and taken prisoners of war.

Similar courage was shown by Reverend Foote that day. Through eight hours of fighting John Foote repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he worked again and again to move the injured to an aid post. He saved many lives with his selfless effort.

Then at the end of the battle when he could have sailed away safely, he climbed back down from the landing craft and walked toward the enemy lines to be taken prisoner. In this way he made himself available to minister to his fellow Canadians as they were held prisoners of war. Foote and his comrades were held captive for the next three years.

Cecil Merritt and John Weir Foote were most deserving recipients of the Commonwealth's highest military decoration for bravery. Their stories of courage deserve to be told again and again, as do many others.

For this reason, I am glad this issue has come to public attention. I am very pleased the story of Dieppe presented on national television not long ago has been brought to our attention. It is fitting that Canadians be reminded of the courage and valour displayed by their countrymen at Dieppe more than 50 years ago. We must never forget this chapter in our history.

That is why I heartily support a new commemorative program called Canada Remembers. Over the next one and a half years the Canada Remembers program will mark the 50th anniversaries of the final events of the second world war. It will honour the contributions of the Canadians who served overseas during wartime and the millions of Canadians who supported them back home.

I am particularly excited that this program will reach out to younger Canadians, providing them with an opportunity to learn more about the sacrifices made by a whole generation of Canadians to secure peace and freedom for all of us.

Initiatives such as these are important if we are to maintain an understanding of the impact of the second world war on the development of this country and if we are going to keep a sense of our military history alive.

Canada Remembers is for all of our veterans, the Dieppe veterans included. I hope they will attend the many national and local events being planned for them. The honours and tributes they receive will be well deserved. They have earned them many times over.

In response to the hon. member's motion I would like to recommend that the motion be amended in view of the remarks I have just made.

I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting the words "striking a distinctive medal" and substituting therefor the words "establishing an appropriate decoration".

I am sure the hon. member is aware of the reasons for this amendment. I thank him once again for the motion.

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am not sure that the hon. member asked a question. I think it was more a comment than a question. However, I do understand the hon. member's problem there. I suspect that there probably are some communities that will not be able to take advantage of this infrastructure program.

However, I have talked to all of the municipal people from every community in my riding over the past couple of weeks. We have worked out a plan whereby almost every community will be able to take advantage.

I do not say that there are not some exceptions. There certainly are. However, I believe that with some ingenuity and some imagination almost every community in my riding will be able to take advantage of this program in one way or another.

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I am not sure if the hon. member is aware of the fact that I am from Newfoundland and not from New Brunswick. As the hon. member realizes, in Newfoundland we have more of a fisheries crisis than we do of anything else.

The problems that the hon. member spoke about in forestry and in farming certainly to a lesser degree are experienced in Newfoundland.

I want to say again to the hon. member that the infrastructure program that was announced by this government was very welcome in my riding. As I said in my remarks earlier we in St. John's West cannot wait for that program to come into place. In my riding we have a very high unemployment rate because of the fisheries crisis and for other reasons.

We certainly look forward to these programs being put into place in order to create even the short term employment which at this point in time will be very welcome. However, this program was not meant to create short term employment solely. It is also a means to kick-start the economy so that other businesses will in turn create long term jobs.

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am not sure if it has been 10 minutes or 20 minutes that has been allotted to me. If it is 20 minutes, I would like to split the time and give the last 10 minutes to the member for Vancouver East.

It is a pleasure for me to speak this afternoon to the motion put forward by the Bloc Quebecois on job creation. If we are to listen to my colleagues in the Bloc, it would be our belief that the opposition believes that this government has no plan for job creation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The entire Liberal platform as outlined in the red book is about job creation. I and every other Liberal member of Parliament campaigned for 47 days about job creation with a concrete plan of action. No government in Canadian history has moved as quickly as this government has to create jobs. For over two years the government has advocated a $6 billion cost shared program to improve public infrastructure in Canada. Just two months

after the election the Prime Minister received the agreement of 10 premiers to implement this program.

If the members of the opposition want to see a concrete plan to create jobs, they should wait for a few more weeks until the construction season starts. Canadians will then see real concrete being poured across this country creating real jobs, and it will not be only with picks and shovels.

In the next two years tens of thousands of jobs will be created in the construction industry alone, building projects under the infrastructure program. If that is not vision then I do not know what is.

The government's job creation policies do not stop at the infrastructure program. The budget paper called For Growing Small Businesses provides a litany of government proposals and initiatives to help small businesses grow and create jobs. The decision of the government to reduce unemployment insurance premiums next year will reduce payroll costs to businesses and free up money to hire new employees.

This government is actually reducing taxes to create employment. The Canada investment fund will provide capital assistance to businesses. Capital funding is essential if new technologies are to be properly developed and marketed. This will directly lead to the creation of highly skilled jobs in all parts of this country.

The government will sponsor the creation of business networks. These networks will allow smaller companies to pool their resources and realize some of the benefits that only large companies now enjoy.

This government also realizes that such networks can only work if they are controlled by the private sector. However, we will be providing matching grants to make the networks as broad ranging as possible. These networks will allow small businesses to expand their operations and hire new employees.

The information highway will also help job creation. Most experts believe that information industries will become dominant in the coming years. With the advent of the information highway companies in all parts of this country, in towns large and small, will be able to access, process and sell information. As telecommunications networks improve it will not matter where you or your business is located. All you will need basically is a computer and a telephone line and you can be in business.

As we rebuild resource based industries like the fishery for the small communities in my district, information based companies may be the provider of jobs. The highway will reduce communication costs for existing businesses and allow information based businesses to set up shop almost anywhere in the country, including my riding of St. John's West.

The restoration of the RRAP will also help low and middle income families renovate their homes and live more comfortably. On top of this, the money supplied by the federal government for this program will be spent in small building supply companies, many of which my riding consists of, and will be used to hire skilled trades people like carpenters and electricians. Restoring the RRAP will create jobs in communities large and small across Newfoundland and Canada.

The apprenticeship program will help our young people learn valuable work skills and increase their opportunities for employment. We are all well aware that there are shortages of skilled labour in some parts of Canada. The apprenticeship program will train young people to perform some of these jobs, thus providing employment to a generation faced with staggering unemployment and a pessimistic outlook to the future.

The apprenticeship program will also help break the vicious cycle of no job without experience and no experience without a job. When they graduate from their programs, young people will have the skills and experience to fill the job.

For the Reform Party any investment by the federal government to create jobs is too much. They would rather see the government cut untold billions from the budget and set every unemployed worker adrift. The Reform policy is a do nothing policy. This government was elected with a strong mandate to do something and that is what we intend to do.

For the Bloc, its main interest is to prove that the federal government does not work and cannot do anything to solve the problems of Quebecers or other Canadians. If the government spent $100 billion in Quebec the Bloc would complain that there is one worker in Montreal who does not have a job, and therefore Canada does not work.

For those few Tories left in the country, they say that our policies are exactly the same as theirs. This is not true. The Tories put together half measures and hoped that the problems would disappear. In the election we saw that the only thing that disappeared was the Conservative Party. The truth is that we have prepared a balanced approach to job creation.

Government can no longer do it all when it comes to job creation. There is not a bottomless pit of money to throw at the problem. This government is using its scarce resources to stimulate the economy and prod businesses to create jobs.

No one person or group of persons has all the answers and we do not claim to. However, this government is prepared to work with business, labour and individuals to provide real job creation opportunities.

With goodwill and a sense of determination from all parties we will recover from the recession and provide lasting employment to Canadians in all regions including Newfoundland, including St. John's West.

Sealing March 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, recently we have heard through the media and in the House some reports that the government is promoting a contract which allows for the harvesting and sale of seals.

Would the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans please tell the House whether or not the contract includes the sale of seals for the purposes of providing seal penises? Would the minister also tell the House why Canada is supporting a deal that allows for the export of seals to China?

Fisherwomen Of Newfoundland And Labrador March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate International Women's Week I would like to draw the attention of this House to a unique group of women comprised of the fisherwomen of Newfoundland and Labrador.

While we often talk about the men who earn a living from the sea, the lives of women who fish for a living are almost forgotten. These brave souls face the cold ocean day in and day out to help support their families. In the fishing boat everybody is equal.

In these days of declining fishery activity there is a difficult job to be done and the fisherwomen of Newfoundland and Labrador have proven they are up to the task. Their efforts are a great part of the Newfoundland culture. During International Women's Week their spirit and determination should be applauded.

Canadian Olympic Hockey Team March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to pay tribute to the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team that made us all proud to be Canadians.

The Canadian hockey team displayed the true meaning of sportsmanship in the final game. Its silver medal performance was outstanding and allowed Canada to finish the Olympics with 13 medals. This was the best Canadian Olympic effort ever.

I would like to offer special congratulations to Dwayne Morris from the riding of St. John's West. Dwayne is the first Newfoundlander ever to win an Olympic medal and his effort in setting up the winning goal in the game against the Czech Republic sent Canada to the medal round.

I extend to Dwayne and to the Olympic hockey team and all Canadian Olympians heartfelt congratulations for making us so proud.