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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was cbc.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Mississauga East—Cooksville (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2008, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Commonwealth Youth May 30th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his statement.

I would like to thank the minister especially for finding the time in his schedule to journey to the Bahamas to participate in the Commonwealth conference on youth and to promote the Halifax bid for the Commonwealth Games. Of course, there could be few better places to engage Commonwealth ministers on the challenges of youth poverty, crime and the devastation of HIV.

The Commonwealth is fortunate to have a leader who has been focused for half a century on finding promise and potential among the perils of youth, a leader who set out on a personal crusade to create a better world by making the world better one young person at a time. That leader, of course, is the Duke of Edinburgh, with his Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Across the globe, the efforts of this leading Commonwealth organization have touched the lives of thousands of young people from every possible background. Projects have given hope to struggling youth across Africa, turned young men away from the path to prison, released the possible, and set their futures free.

This privately funded group, with its august leadership, has achieved where governments have failed and has found hope where others have found despair. The breadth of projects, the scope of innovation and the depth of genuine concern that we find in the Duke of Edinburgh's organization should be an inspiration to NGOs and governments everywhere.

I trust that the minister will continue to connect with his new-found colleagues among the Commonwealth ministers for youth and will agree that the inspiration and success of the Duke of Edinburgh awards needs to be followed by imitation and resources. The Commonwealth needs to match the challenge of youth poverty, crime and disease with its own commitment to reach young people across the ocean with the resources to reach for a better future.

May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, no oil baron could have asked for a more enthusiastic defence than from the member opposite. The people in our country who need defending are not the oil barons, I would argue. They are honest, hard-working immigrants who are tarred with discrimination and mired in an oil spill of collective guilt.

The government tabled a letter of clarification, which did not have a single word of retraction. What we need from the member and government opposite is a commitment that this will be the last time we hear officials from his government undermining the futures of immigrants by unfairly associating their communities with crime and unjustly questioning their fitness to be Canadians. Will the government at least do that much?

May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, tonight we are pursuing the unanswered question of weeks past, the question as to why the government chose to appoint someone to public office immediately after he made statements that were hurtful to Jamaican Canadians, Vietnamese Canadians and refugees.

The problem is not that there is just one man with these views, but that these views might be more widely held in the government and must be challenged.

Here is the view of the appointments commissioner and I quote directly and at some length without any editing lest my hon. friends think it out of context. He said:

Immigration groups blame “poverty” or “police discrimination” or “lack of opportunity”. Once again, these are symptoms, but not the root cause.

Here is the root cause they all know, but don't talk about: the vast majority of violent, lawless immigrants come from countries where the culture is dominated by violence and lawlessness. Jamaica has one of the world's highest crime rates driven mainly by the violence between gangs competing for dominance in the Caribbean drug trade. Why do we expect different behaviour in Toronto, Ontario than in Kingston, Jamaica?

He goes on:

Similarly, a portion of our Indo-Chinese immigrants have lived in situations where violence is necessary to survive. Again, the violent behaviour continues in Canada. It's fair to say that most immigrants who abuse our society have come in as refugee claimants rather than “economic immigrants”.

This not only means they are more likely to have violent tendencies, but also much less likely to have the skills, training and attitude necessary to contribute to our society.

So, we need to remember this when we consider admitting refugee claimants.

This is from the man appointed to review appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board. What is wrong with this statement? What is wrong is that Canada is not about putting people down. It is about lifting people up.

Canada is a land of great expectations, a nation of pride, not prejudice, where the government must have both sense and sensibility. This is a country where very few immigrants left a better life back home to come here. So we must always challenge those who tell us to lower our expectations of immigrants.

There are those who say that country x has a corrupt government, is plagued with crime, drugs and poverty, so they do not want x people here because they will make our country become like theirs. The many countries that fit that description also have victims of crime and poverty, but mostly these people are victims of indeed a lack of opportunity.

Opportunity changes everything and changes everyone. Canada must always be that land of opportunity where immigrants are not chained by their past, but are free to pursue a future that is free from the chains of prejudice and discrimination.

I would call on the government to never again allow or appoint government officials who dare to diminish our expectations of the future that each and every immigrant is capable of building in Canada.

Citizenship and Immigration April 28th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said he was proud of Gwyn Morgan and his rogue views of Jamaican and Vietnamese immigrants. Mr. Morgan also believes that refugees abuse our society and refugees are “more likely to have violent tendencies”.

I ask the minister to guarantee that refugees fleeing persecution will not face prejudice from Mr. Morgan's appointments to the IRB and that Mr. Morgan will have no impact on IRB appointments. Will he at least do that much?

Citizenship and Immigration April 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, obviously the member is more concerned about the reputation of one oil baron. He should be more concerned about the reputation of thousands of hard-working immigrants and new Canadians here in this country.

Gwyn Morgan is responsible for more than his own opinions. He is now responsible for overseeing appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board. Mr. Morgan said that “most immigrants who abuse our society have come in as refugee claimants--

Citizenship and Immigration April 27th, 2006

First, Mr. Speaker, the fate of Portuguese construction workers was declared a low priority by the government. Now we have an appointments commissioner who has declared that immigration from Jamaica and Vietnam is to blame for gang violence in our cities. He says that Jamaican and Vietnamese cultures are “dominated by violence and lawlessness”. We have not heard a public figure slander immigrants like this since the days of the Reform Party.

I ask the Minister of Immigration to apologize to Jamaican and Vietnamese Canadians for the appointment of Gwyn Morgan.

Veterans Affairs November 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the record. Earlier the member asserted that the U.S. used the presumptive model on U.S. bases where agent orange was sprayed. The member knows that the claim he made is not factual. We are using exactly the same criteria as is used in the U.S. for spraying on domestic bases. We recognize exactly the same conditions.

The member would have us believe that a department that has awarded 10,000 pensions so far for veterans this year is not doing everything it can for our veterans. We have awarded 14 pensions for agent orange--

Veterans Affairs October 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in the year of the veteran, of course we want to honour all those who served honourably in the second world war. I have asked my department officials to consult with veterans organizations. I am working closely with DND to excavate the facts and dig up the truth. If there are any individuals who have been misclassified, we will do justice.

Veterans Affairs June 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can expect that this government will treat our veterans fairly and with proper due diligence. We will take the time necessary to review the cases so that we can be accurate and fair and not a minute longer.

Veterans Affairs June 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is never easy to correct the errors of history, but this is a government that has always put the interests of veterans first. There was nothing quiet about delivering pensions for three veterans who were affected by agent orange. We will deliver for Canadians who are suffering from decisions of the past, and that is a record we will maintain.