House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was children.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Nepean (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 1993, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Brain Tumour Foundation November 21st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, brain tumour month is in October of each year. It has come and gone, but the challenge to assist those afflicted remains with us.

Over 10,000 Canadians are diagnosed each year with a brain tumour. A cause or cure has yet to be found for this devastating disease. The key to successful treatment of a tumour is early diagnosis which is only possible if people become aware of the signs and symptoms of the tumour. Researchers are constantly opening new doors to the possible causes.

The mission statement of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is to fund brain tumour research, provide patient and family support services and educate the public. The foundation needs our support.

Sri Lanka November 2nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the secretary of state for foreign affairs.

Canadians are concerned about the Sri Lankan government's current major military offensive on the people of the Jaffna Peninsula. The civil war and massive attack is resulting in a serious threat to the civilian Tamil population and the further displacement of large numbers of people.

Can the secretary tell the House what role Canada is playing to stop this bloodshed?

Small Business Loans Act October 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill C-99.

Since taking office two years ago the government has created an economy of employment that has grown. Good fiscal management is the foundation of the government's jobs in a growth agenda. The 1995 budget marks a decisive turning point, making $7 in cuts to government spending for every new $1 of tax revenue raised. The deficit is being reduced, as planned, and the red book target of 3 per cent of GDP by 1996-97 will be met.

Small business has been the engine of job creation in Canada in the last decade. To fulfil its promise to help them compete, the government has cut red tape and has increased access to government services, financing new technologies and export markets.

Our trade missions to China and Latin American led by the Prime Minister brought home $10 billion in trade deals for Canadian businesses and positive jobs for Canadians. Barriers to trade within Canada are dropping, thanks to the agreement on interprovincial trade. These efforts help Canadian businesses find markets for their products and services at home and abroad.

Changes to the Small Business Loans Act is one of the most significant efforts of the government toward a strong economy and creating opportunity for growth. The changes made by Bill C-99 will enable the completion of the process of modernization and improvement that has brought the SBLA program to full cost recovery. This renewal will relieve the financial burden of the program on Canadian taxpayers while enabling the SBLA to continue to provide its benefits to small business.

Over the years the program carried out under the Small Business Loans Act has been very successful. The SBLA was passed in 1961, and since then more than 420,000 SBLA loans, totalling over $15.5 billion, have been made to small business.

The benefits of SBLA are widely recognized. It provides needed help to small businesses, which are so important to the Canadian economy. The program is open and simple to administer. It is delivered by private sector lenders who have great expertise in the granting of credit and the monitoring of loans.

The program's success both as an economic development tool and as an example of public sector and private sector co-operation has inspired similar guarantee programs at both the federal and provincial levels in Canada.

In recent years the SBLA program has been running on an annual government cost of $20 million to $30 million. However, following a significant program change effective April 1, 1993 the annual activity increased from $500 million to $2.5 billion in 1993-94 and to over $4 billion in 1994-95. Assuming a continuation of the historical loss rate, this meant that the annual program costs would increase by over $100 million. Clearly this was a threat to the sustainability of the program.

Both the potential costs of the program and the government's overall need for deficit control required that the program be brought to full cost recovery. Consequently the government initiated a review of the program. Extensive consultations with major stakeholders representing both borrowers and lenders were held in October and November 1994. Recommendations were also provided by the industry committee and the small business working committee of the House of Commons. The views of the federal Liberal caucus task force on small business were taken into account as well.

The major recommendation of all those consulted was unanimous: the government should act quickly to put the SBLA program on a full cost recovery basis. We have responded.

Two major changes were made through regulatory amendments that came into effect on April 1, 1995. First, a new 1.25 per cent annual fee was levied on each lender's average outstanding balance of SBLA loans made after March 31, 1995. Second, the maximum rate a lender can charge under the SBLA was increased by 1.25 per cent to the prime interest rate plus 3 per cent for floating rate loans and to the residential mortgage rate plus 3 per cent for fixed rate loans.

These changes have put the SBLA program on a sustainable cost recovery basis for all loans made after March 31, 1995. Now Bill C-99 will continue the process of renewal by putting in place additional changes to the SBLA. It will grant an authority respecting the release of security, including personal guarantees taken by lenders for the repayment of SBLA loans. It will grant an authority to make regulations for the establishment of a claims processing fee.

Bill C-99 will improve government guaranteed coverage for low volume lenders. It will enable the SBLA program to respond more quickly in future to changing economic and program circumstances by allowing the guaranteed percentage to be adjusted by regulation, and it will potentially accelerate an already legislated decrease in the percentage of an SBLA loan that is guaranteed by the government from 90 per cent to 85 per cent.

The changes that will be brought about by Bill C-99 will complete the transformation process that has made the SBLA program sustainable. Putting the program on a full cost recovery basis has caused the cost of loans made under the SBLA to increase slightly. However, the federal government's consultations with all parties recognize the need for the program to be self-sustaining.

The changes we are making are entirely in keeping with the need to reduce subsidies to business and the overall need to get the deficit under control. These changes actually mean the SBLA will

be better positioned to target its loans toward those small businesses that really need its help.

At present, an estimated 30 per cent to 40 per cent of SBLA loans go to enterprises that are able to take advantage of normal business financing. Without the subsidy implicit in the present interest rate, the higher cost of SBLA loans will mean that these financially strong businesses will probably now switch to lower cost commercial financing.

Even the most successful programs must be kept relevant and responsive and must be run in an effective manner, especially in these days of deficit fighting and limited government resources. The increase in government costs resulting from the surge increase in SBLA activity was a challenge that had to be met if the SBLA was to continue to serve the needs of small business. That challenge was met, and now the changes we are proposing will further enhance the administration of the SBLA program.

I bring to the attention of the businesses and people in Quebec who have been part of this program and who have participated in it in an effort to better not only the economy of Quebec but also the economy of Canada that this is very beneficial to the province of Quebec. Obviously we hope that all those businesses, when it comes to voting on Monday in the referendum, will recognize the importance of staying within Canada and vote with the rest of Canadians with a resounding no.

British Columbia Treaty Commission October 23rd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I too am very pleased to speak to Bill C-107. This is a very important bill and is long overdue. However the understanding should be that we are now at this stage and let us get on with it.

Today marks the culmination of a long and at times very difficult struggle. It is born of British Columbia's history and is the product of many years of hard work and a lot of acrimonious debate.

The issue of aboriginal rights in B.C. has remained unresolved for years. The negotiation process has gone on for decades. Many people have played a part. Many times the negotiators did not understand the cultural differences they were dealing with.

My comments this afternoon will be very short. I will address only what one company in British Columbia has done to improve cross-cultural awareness which not only improves relations but improves business for all concerned.

Aboriginal and non-aboriginal people often work in the same circles in both the private and public sectors, yet the level of awareness across cultures is often lower than it should be. Misinformation about the culture and beliefs of First Nations can create tension within an office and across the boardroom table. This tension negatively impacts on interpersonal and business relations.

One of the best ways to increase knowledge about First Nations is through cross-cultural awareness training. An example of this is what I am going to speak about today.

B.C. Hydro is a leader in this field. Once B.C. Hydro realized the benefits of working with aboriginal peoples it developed the aboriginal cross-cultural awareness training program to increase employee knowledge of First Nations culture. "Taking an interest in learning about First Nations issues was the first step in improving relationships between two cultures," says Patrick Kelly, training co-ordinator of B.C. Hydro.

The program has been so successful it is now offered to organizations outside B.C. The hydro program was developed in collaboration with aboriginal people and is delivered by First Nations people familiar with community, corporate and government operations.

The program has three levels. Participants start with an information session about First Nations history, culture and languages. An overview on relationship building and conducting business with aboriginal people is also presented. Participants then progress to the next level which provides in depth information about a specific aboriginal group relevant to the client. The client also has the opportunity to acquaint the aboriginal group with its structure and interest. The third level of the program includes a facilitated face to face meeting between the client and the aboriginal group.

To date B.C. Hydro has provided training for several organizations and businesses such as CN Rail, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Insurance Corporation of B.C., and the B.C. Lottery Corporation. Reaction to the program has been very positive. Two CN Rail employees who recently attended the session noted that the training will strengthen partnerships with First Nations and stimulate new ideas and strategies.

Cross-culture awareness training can assist any organization that deals with First Nations. Ian Tait, B.C. Hydro's manager of business development and communications says: "In light of the current treaty making process in B.C., it has become even more important for companies to build stronger relationships with First Nations". I am sure anyone who is wishing to have information on this could contact someone at B.C. Hydro with regard to its aboriginal cross-culture awareness training program.

I have recently been assigned to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. If ever we are to have an interest in the heritage of this country and who probably has the most to gain or to lose, we certainly have a lot to gain by knowing our aboriginal and our

First Nations people and knowing more about their history and their culture. It is important that we understand what their culture is and try to work with it. If First Nations would understand our culture too, I believe that all in the community would be better served and business would be better served.

My comments are very short. It is only to create awareness, which in turn will give better understanding, which will lead to a resolution and hopefully, passage of Bill C-107.

Petitions October 23rd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from 94 petitioners who say that job experience is a vital part of an individual's education and that we need to positively influence all aspects of business potential.

Therefore the petitioners request that Parliament increase the co-operative aspect between productive business enterprises and education systems.

Petitions October 23rd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have two sets of petitions to present. The first group of petitioners, some 63 of them, is saying that the cutting of old growth forests diminishes the national diversity of our environment, our country, our culture and our people.

The petitioners request that Parliament order an immediate moratorium on the cutting of old growth forest reserves to promote the policy internationally.

Petitions October 20th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the third petition has 43 signatures. The petitioners request that Parliament honour the treaties made between the settlers of this country and its original inhabitants.

Petitions October 20th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has 47 names. These petitioners request that Parliament commission the publication and study of a privately developed economic system by Mr. Roger Collver.

Petitions October 20th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have three sets of petitions to present.

The first petition has 56 signatures. The petitioners request that Parliament legislate a maximum level of profit taking from the private brokerage of all licences and permits.

Breast Cancer October 20th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, this is breast cancer awareness month. Although progress has been made, much more needs to be done to eliminate breast cancer. Can the Minister of Health tell the House if the government has met its goals and what is further being done to eliminate breast cancer in Canada?