House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was atlantic.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Fundy Royal (New Brunswick)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

An Act in Relation to Firearms March 28th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as we look at this situation and the ways that we can try to limit gun violence, we do need to take that holistic approach. As we learn more about things that have happened in people's pasts, the ways that we react to that, the time frames for things like PTSD to set in, and those sorts of things, I think it is really important that we look at the whole picture.

Like I said, the board or council of people that I have been meeting with to discuss firearms brought this up as something that they believe would actually strengthen our firearms regulations. They were very much looking for common-sense ways to strengthen our firearms regulations, and this was one of the things they thought would be important. Therefore, I am pleased to see it in the legislation.

An Act in Relation to Firearms March 28th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, I believe that a gunsmith is a reasonable place to transport a firearm, whether it be for repair or for other reasons. I would ask the minister and the committee to take a look at that issue in more depth and consider including that in the ATT.

An Act in Relation to Firearms March 28th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time today with my colleague, the member for Scarborough—Rouge Park.

I am pleased to rise today and continue my participation in the legislative process to amend firearms regulation. I stand today as the representative of a largely rural New Brunswick riding called Fundy Royal, a riding where firearms are associated with hunting and sport. It is a riding where the vast majority of firearm owners are law-abiding, dedicated to the community, and very aware that there is growing gun crime in Canada, especially in big cities.

It is for this reason that when our party's 2015 election platform was introduced, which did include a section on gun control, I began consulting with those who were interested in the topic to ensure that I had considered it from many different perspectives, and also to counter the Conservative Party's narrative that the long gun registry would be reinstated. To clarify, Bill C-71 does not implement a gun registry, regardless of how many times that is said by the opposition.

When I was elected, I made a conscious decision to carry out my duties as a member of Parliament with the goal of listening and being persuasive rather than playing into partisan games to the detriment of my constituents. An example of my approach is my analysis and vote against Bill C-246, the modernizing animal protections act, because of the detrimental impact it would have had on our rural area.

I am glad to have been consulted by the Minister of Public Safety in advance of the tabling of Bill C-71, which allowed me to seek meaningful feedback from stakeholders in my riding, whom I now consider my firearms advisory council.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Ron Whitehead and the representatives from many of the sportsmen clubs and fish and game clubs in Fundy Royal for lending me their time and for providing candid feedback, which I was pleased to see had an impact on the drafting of this legislation. It has been my priority to identify the realities of firearm ownership in rural Canada, and to bring that perspective to be considered alongside urban concerns, which are legitimate and do need to be addressed.

In my riding, a firearm is seen as a tool. For generations, law-abiding Canadian gun owners have safely used their firearms for hunting and sport shooting, as well as predator and pest control. Canadian farmers, hunters, and sport shooters are among the most safety-conscious gun owners in the world.

This is in stark contrast to other cultures, where firearms are used as weapons. A weapon is something that is used with the intent to injure, defeat, or destroy. Our challenge is to address the crimes that are being carried out by weapons, while respecting law-abiding firearm owners. It is a fine needle to thread, but through consultation, I believe the minister has found that balance.

I am very pleased that the conversations I have had with my advisory council are reflected in the legislation as it was tabled. I would like to take a few minutes to reflect on what I heard from this group.

To begin with, there were several actions that we have already taken as a government that were well received by the council, for instance the recognition that Bill C-71 is part of a larger strategy to ensure that firearms do not find their way into unlawful hands. This is a strategy that has seen an investment of $100 million each year to the provinces and territories to support guns and gangs police task forces to take illegal guns off our streets and reduce gang violence. It is a strategy that has modified the membership of the Canadian firearms advisory committee to include knowledgeable law enforcement officers, public health advocates, representatives from women's groups, and members of the legal community, to work alongside sport shooters and hunters. It is a strategy that has made investments in border infrastructure and technologies to enhance our border guards' ability to detect and halt illegal guns from the United States entering Canada.

The Fundy Royal firearms advisory council also brought forward the concept of taking a closer look at mental health to combat gun violence. It implored the government to make sure there are enough resources available to do thorough background checks and to find a way to identify red flags.

Bill C-71 proposes to strengthen background checks. Authorities determining eligibility would need to consider certain police-reported information, including criminal and drug offences, a history of violent behaviour, and mental illness spanning a person's life, rather than just the last five years. The licensees will continue to undergo eligibility screening, as they do today.

Through the course of my discussions with constituents, the following items each resulted in recommendations that I would like to bring to the attention of the minister and to our committee as we enter that part of the process.

Currently, most gun retailers across Canada are keeping track of who buys guns and ammunition. Bill C-71 proposes to make that best practice standard across Canada. My constituents voiced concerned about the accessibility of the information gathered, and I am pleased to see that the bill requires law enforcement to have judicial authorization to attain this information in the course of an investigation.

Up until this point, legislation has required that only those licensed can purchase firearms and ammunition. However, there is no verification required. Bill C-71 proposes that the seller verify the validity of the licence to make sure that the licence is not under review or has not lapsed. I have heard from those in my constituency who are seeking clarification on how they would complete that verification, something many constituents assumed was already the current practice.

Canada currently issues an authorization to transport, or ATT, for the transportation of restricted and prohibited firearms. There will be no change for those who transport from home to an approved range in the owner's home province. However, to better track the movement of restricted firearms to gun shows, gunsmiths, across the border, or to other uncustomary locations, a separate authorization to transport would be required. I would ask the minister to consider a few points on this measure as well.

First is that consideration be given to including transportation to a gunsmith in the ATT. A firearm that is damaged or not functioning properly could be a safety hazard, and adding an additional step to transport the firearm for repair may not be in the best interest of public safety.

Second, I would like to recommend, on behalf of my constituents, that ample resources be committed to the Canadian firearms program so that the processing of ATTs and verifications of licences could be done in a timely and efficient manner so as not to impede the normal activities of firearms owners.

I think it is agreed in Canada that we all want to make our communities safe from the illegal possession and use of firearms. Doing so does not mean making radical changes or placing unreasonable measures on responsible firearms owners, but it does begin by recognizing that we have an issue. We may not in Fundy Royal, but it is happening in areas across Canada, and we must allow some flexibility to address the fact that there was a 23% increase in firearm-related homicides in 2016 compared to 2015. That is the highest rate since 2005. In 2016, shootings were the most common method of committing murder in this country, exceeding stabbings for the first time since 2012.

My family and I are blessed to have been born in Atlantic Canada, and I grew up in a time when the term “lockdown” did not exist. Kids today cannot say that. They practice them all the time. We really need to acknowledge that even in Atlantic Canada, 56% of violent gun crimes occur outside of cities.

I appreciate the approach taken by Robert Snider, president of the Moncton Fish and Game Association, in reviewing this legislation. He recently said in the Times & Transcipt:

We have looked thoroughly at the recently introduced legislation and while we neither endorse the legislation nor vehemently oppose it, we have taken a more pragmatic, neutral position of “we can live with it” for now.

The legislation will have minimal or no impact on our members who hunt.

As I said before, from the beginning of my term I have worked to engage and listen to my constituents, concerned firearms owners, and stakeholders from across New Brunswick, and I can personally say that I have learned a great many things through those discussions. I was proud that the president of the Moncton Fish & Game Association chose to publicly compliment my approach, but I want to thank everyone who took the time to speak up.

At the end of this stage of debate, this legislation will proceed to the public safety committee, where MPs from both sides of the House will have an opportunity to hear from witnesses, stakeholders, and concerned Canadians. I very much believe that better policy will be achieved because of MPs speaking to their constituents, and I look forward to ongoing discussions on the path forward.

Business of Supply March 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I find it unfortunate that my colleague has decided not to participate in this program. In the past, I have taken considerable time to look at the organizations in my riding that are doing very valuable work. As members of Parliament we have a very intimate relationship with many of these organizations, and know exactly the good work they are doing. I find it unfortunate that the member is not taking a leadership role, and ensuring the students in his riding have the best quality job experience that they can this summer.

Business of Supply March 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as I have seen with other issues in the past, often the words that are so offensive to groups do not come from our side of the House. We did not talk about a broad-based approach to faith groups. In fact, many of us have reached out to the faith groups in our communities to thank them for the good work they are doing in our communities, and encourage them to apply.

I would also like to take this opportunity to read the actual attestation, because nowhere in it does it talk about beliefs or values.

CSJ applicants will be required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

This is not a values test. This is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Business of Supply March 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for Cambridge.

It is a privilege to rise in this House and speak about Canada summer jobs and our government's commitment to quality youth employment in this country.

In fact, it is youth that inspired me to enter politics. I looked at my daughter and her friends, and the future that they aspired to, and felt that I could make a difference in the lives of these young girls as well as young girls across Canada. I am sure all members of this House would agree that the Canada summer jobs program is an important part of how government helps young Canadians gain important job experience, which ultimately helps grow our economy and our middle class.

The program is very well received by both employers and students in my riding of Fundy Royal. In fact, I am so impressed by the number of organizations and small businesses that embrace this opportunity to offer students that valuable experience while also benefiting from more hands on deck during peak times. I thank these organizations for their commitment and contribution to our communities.

Unfortunately, we have had concerns raised by Canadians about funding going to organizations that actively undermine the rights of Canadians, meaning that we had youth undertaking activities funded by the government, that worked against the rights of women and LGBTQ2 communities, for example. It is these concerns that spurred our government to take action. That action was to make changes to the Canada summer jobs application process, changes to ensure that a young person in a job funded by the government would work in an environment that respects the rights of all Canadians, including women and the LGBTQ2 community, and that funded organizations realize their responsibility as employers to provide this environment.

In contrast, we know the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, has a long-standing relationship with the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, an organization that fights against a woman's right to choose. Nine months ago, during his leadership campaign, he spoke with the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform's director of communications, Jonathon Van Maren, who said, “Like most of you, I’ve known who my top choices are for months...Scheer actually is pro-life and has a record to prove it.” He knew this because the Leader of the Opposition told the centre, “I have always voted in favour of pro-life legislation. I voted according to my conscience every time. I spoke out when Henry Morgentaler received the Order of Canada.”

With the support of the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform having been so critical to the leadership victory, it is not difficult to understand why the Leader of the Opposition has a vested interested in continuing to ensure that the centre can continue to rely on taxpayer funds to promote this anti-abortion agenda. This lack of respect for the rights of Canadians is not new, or from just the leader. In fact, in 2005, the former member for Fundy Royal, Rob Moore, put forth a private member's bill, an act to confirm the definition of marriage. He said:

There is now a great concern in Canada that if same sex marriage is legalized, it will have a profound and long-lasting implication for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, and it will become increasingly difficult for people who do not agree with same sex marriage to participate in public life.

That is not what we stand for.

The Canada summer jobs program is an important part of our government's youth employment strategy. We must ensure that funding from this program is not used to undermine individual human rights. Simply put, Canadians expect us to make sure that Canada summer jobs funding respects the hard-earned rights of all Canadians.

Our youth employment strategy is the Government of Canada's commitment to help Canada's newest workers get a strong start to their careers. We need to take a whole-of-government approach when it comes to administering this strategy. In fact, the youth employment strategy is delivered by 11 federal departments and agencies across government. It helps Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30 obtain the information, and develop the job skills, abilities, and experience they need to get quality jobs.

Since 2005, the strategy has helped more than 900,000 young Canadians get the skills, competences, and experience they need to get those quality jobs, something we can all be proud of. This important strategy has three complementary programs; first, skills link; second, career focus; and third, summer work experience, which is part of the Canada summer jobs program.

The skills link stream helps vulnerable and underrepresented youth, facing barriers to employment, develop the skills they need to find a job or to go back to school. With skills link, we are focusing on single parents, youth with disabilities, indigenous youth, young newcomers, and youth in rural and remote areas.

Career focus is our second stream, and it helps post-secondary graduates find work through paid internships. This important stream provides youth with the information and experience they need to make informed career decisions, find a job, or pursue advanced studies.

The third component is a summer work experience stream, which includes Canada summer jobs. It offers subsidies to employers to create summer jobs for high school and post-secondary students.

Taken together, these three streams form the core of our youth employment strategy. This important strategy is helping youth get the much needed employment, while helping meet the changing needs of a new and increasingly globalized economy.

That is why each year we have invested over $330 million into this strategy. Investments in our last two budgets will help more than 33,000 vulnerable youths, create 15,000 new green jobs for youth, and provide more than 1,600 jobs for youth which focus on Canadian heritage.

Since 2016, we have created up to 35,000 additional summer jobs for youth every year. In 2017, Canada summer jobs doubled the number of jobs created in 2015. To further expand the strategy, our government committed to providing an additional $395 million in our 2017 budget. In budget 2018, our government proposed to provide an additional $448.5 million over five years to the strategy, starting in 2018-2019.

This funding will support the continued doubling of the number of job placements funded under the Canada summer jobs program in the 2019-2020 years, and provide additional resources for a modernized youth employment strategy in the following years, building on the input of an expert panel on youth employment. A renewed youth employment strategy will be announced over the course of this year.

That is how much importance we place on this program, because we know Canada summer jobs is critical to ensuring Canada's youth across the country have an opportunity to gain valuable work experience. That is what this program is about, job experience for youth.

As I have said, our government is focused on ensuring all government funding respects the rights of Canadians, especially women and the LGBTQ2 community who fought hard for those rights. These changes we made to Canada summer jobs will ensure we avoid any funding going to organizations that actively undermine those rights. We asked organizations this year to confirm that both the job and the organization's core mandate respect individual human rights and labour laws, and that they do not support discriminatory activities.

As our government has already stated, the changes we have made to the program are not about excluding faith-based groups. Religious and faith-based groups often undertake work that focuses on helping those most in need in our society, which is exactly what we have welcomed and encouraged for organizations throughout Fundy Royal, as they have done in the past. We value their contribution.

We are committed to the continued support of the Canada summer jobs program that funds jobs that respect the rights of all Canadians. The changes we have made to the program will help ensure a young person in a job funded by the government will work in an environment that respects every Canadian's human rights.

This is the right thing to do to make sure that Canada summer jobs is not used to pursue the removal or undermining of established individual human rights in Canada. These changes have strengthened our Canada summer jobs program, as well as our employment youth strategy.

Becca Schofield February 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I stand today, with the hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, to honour an incredible young woman who impacted lives around the world with her simple yet profound wish.

Becca Schofield of Riverview of New Brunswick was just 15 when she began her battle with cancer. She found clarity, meaning, and purpose during her battle and had a simple wish to spread kindness in the world. Becca's inspiration led to a global online movement to do something to make someone smile and to share it with #BeccaToldMeTo.

Becca touched people's hearts and inspired acts of kindness from Riverview to Iqaluit to Kuwait. Humankind responded with thousands of acts of kindness.

Last week, we said goodbye to Becca, but her story does not end here. Becca reminded us and then showed us how easy it is to be kind to each other.

I thank Darren, Anne, and Gabrielle for sharing her precious time here on earth with us. I want them to know that Becca will be in our hearts forever.

Natural Resources February 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear. We did not change the rules midstream.

The National Energy Board, an independent federal regulator, chose to expand the scope of its regulatory review on energy east, but we made it clear to the company that we, as the Government of Canada, would ultimately use the same process that resulted in the approval of the TMX and Line 3 replacement pipelines. We even offered to the NEB to conduct the upstream and downstream GHG assessments to avoid any costs to the proponent. Nothing has changed, nor was anything going to change, no matter what the member opposite claims. The facts are clear on this.

Natural Resources February 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Saskatoon—Grasswood for his question and also for acknowledging that Atlantic Canada does exist. It must be the 32 loud voices of the Atlantic MPs that has brought this back to reality for the Conservatives.

Canadians know how important the energy sector is to our economy and our country. It is a major source of employment and investment, and it produces significant revenues for governments at all levels. In 2016, the oil and gas industry directly employed almost 400,000 Canadians and contributed approximately $100 billion to our nominal GDP. It also produced billions of dollars in government revenues, revenues that pay for our hospitals, schools, new bridges and safer roads, and for the social programs that make us who we are.

No country would ever think about leaving the reserves that we are fortunate enough to have in the ground, no country would turn its back on the jobs and opportunities that it represents, and no country would put all of its oil and gas exports in a single American basket. That is why we launched a comprehensive review of Canada's environmental and regulatory systems. We know the energy sector's future depends on project reviews that are more predictable and timely without compromising on public consultation, indigenous reconciliation, and environmental protections, but we also moved quickly to introduce a set of interim principles to review major projects already in the queue.

What has been the result? Our government has approved a number of major resource projects, including the Trans Mountain expansion and Line 3 replacement pipelines. These new pipelines will diversify our markets, are being built with improved environmental safety and relationships with our indigenous partners, and will create thousands of good middle-class jobs. These approvals were the right decision then, and they are the right decision now.

I want to be very clear on that. Those two pipelines were approved because they are in the national interest. They were approved based on solid science, an assessment of the upstream GHG emissions, and meaningful consultations with indigenous peoples. What is more, we would have had the same approach with energy east and no one wanted that to happen any more than my New Brunswick colleagues and I.

Contrary to what the member opposite says, there was no changing of the rules midway through. In fact, just the opposite is true. We implemented our interim principles in January 2016, three months before TransCanada resubmitted its plans for energy east. I cannot speak for TransCanada, but I think it is reasonable to infer that it looked at our interim approach and decided that it could work with it. Why else would it have proceeded with its submission?

As the Minister of Natural Resources has said numerous times, nothing has changed from our perspective. Why did TransCanada choose to abandon the energy east project? Again, I cannot speak for the company, but I know what one of our country's leading experts said. Andrew Leach is an associate professor at the Alberta School of Business and claims the main culprit in energy east's demise was the re-emergence of TransCanada's Keystone XL project south of the border. In fact, Professor Leach called Keystone XL “an 800,000-barrel-a-day express line to refining centres in the United States” and that it “presented a more attractive option for shippers than Energy East”. In short, Professor Leach concluded that TransCanada made a business decision, and that is its right.

Canada 150 Awards February 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I had the honour of presenting Canada 150 community leadership awards to 20 Fundy Royal constituents in December.

These awards showcased individuals who were not usually recognized for their work, those who continue day in and day out to work for those that are less fortunate, those who welcome newcomers to our communities, those who preserve and safeguard our environment, and those who help us recognize and reconcile with our past.

To Darryl Tozer, Scott Costain, John Whitmore, Barry Wanamaker, Andrew Fry, Ida MacPherson, Yennah Hurley, Austin Henderson, Zack Vogel, Sarah Arrowsmith, Lynda Carey, Dustine Rodier, Joan Routledge, Kharissma Williamson, Ben Whalen, Eric Cunningham, Beverley Franklin, Judy LeBlanc, Moranda Van Geest, and Phyllis Sutherland, I thank them for their service and commitment to our communities.

In 2018, let us reflect on how fortunate we are to call this beautiful country home, and remember that being Canadian means supporting each other and opening our hearts to those who need it the most.