House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was know.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Situation in Egypt February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I, like Canadians and many people around the world, am watching and listening in real time to what is happening in Egypt. I find myself reminded of previous conflicts, most particularly the Gulf War where, for the first time, people in the world stayed glued to their television sets as they watched a war being played out before them.

Yet today, it is social media, Twitter, Facebook, which not only changed the way the world learned of the events in Egypt, but was in fact the very catalyst of the demonstrations throughout the region, beginning in Tunisia. I, like many Canadians, have been transfixed and engaged and I expect we will be so in the upcoming days and weeks.

As my colleague from Toronto Centre has said, it is not for us to determine the outcome of events in Egypt, but we are undoubtedly witnessing a powerful movement for change, which underscores the importance of peace, stability and the universal values of free and fair elections, free assemblies, freedom of the press, equality of men and women, freedom for minority groups and, indeed, non-violence.

After the recent peaceful transition to democracy in Tunisia, the world watched with great concern, anticipation and hope as peaceful demonstrations in Egypt progressed. Until today, we saw huge, peaceful gatherings and we were relieved to see an absence of real and widespread violence.

As we all know, today's events, however, have reiterated the importance of an orderly and non-violent transition to democracy that respects the will of the Egyptians and that reaffirms the civil liberties and universal rights of the Egyptian people and all of Egypt's neighbours.

According to some reports, and some of them have been coming through Twitter, three people have died today alone, over 600 have been injured and we have learned that some clinics are receiving 20 new patients every five minutes. There have also been reports of attacks against foreign journalists, including a cameraman for Radio Canada, who was apparently beaten by an angry mob in Cairo. These are disturbing developments and only underscore the need for a peaceful and orderly transition to democracy, which has been the wish of the Egyptian people.

I think all members in the House share the real concern of Canadians, concerns for family members living in Egypt, concerns for family and friends who are among the over 6,000 Canadian citizens who were in Egypt when the demonstrations began on January 25 and a profound concern for the future of Egypt and the region as a whole. We are concerned for the well-being of those Egyptians who have been a part of the peaceful demonstrations. Once again, today's violence must stop and an orderly and peaceful transition must continue.

In terms of Canadian citizens caught in Egypt, as the situation escalated, I was pleased to see that flights were leaving Egypt and that additional consular services had in fact been deployed by the Department of Foreign Affairs. It was concerning, however, and remains concerning, that the Canadian government failed to move quickly when the crisis began, so sufficient consular service were available to all Canadian citizens who required them. I have heard too many stories of Canadians who were unable to get through to a representative of Foreign Affairs, their phone calls not answered, their emails neglected and great concern about family members in Egypt.

I would hope this is not due to an under-investment in consular services by the government. I know my colleague from Toronto Centre has raised this issue a number of times. If this is the case, it has to be addressed and it has to be addressed quickly. We cannot leave Canadians in jeopardy.

As we go forward over the coming days and as the Egyptian people continue their demonstration, we must emphasize that democratic elections are not enough. The civil liberties of all Egyptians must be upheld. Universal human rights of minorities, of women and the civil liberties of Egypt's neighbours must be upheld through positive engagement and the enshrinement of the peace treaty with Israel.

All members in this House understand the critical role that Egypt plays in the stability of that region, particularly the key role that Egypt's 30-year peace treaty with Israel has played in ensuring stability, not only for the two countries but for the region as a whole. For this reason, it is not only Egyptians but its neighbours who look forward to not only democratic elections, but to a future where stability, respect for the peace process and the promotion of human rights and values are firm.

In this country, it is not time for partisan rhetoric and politics. The issues are too important and the stakes are too high. We must respect the will of the Egyptian people and support a bottom-up, real political reform. We must make clear our resolve that the future of Egypt and of the region must be premised on a continuance of respect of past peace agreements between Israel and Egypt and a continuing recognition of the state of Israel.

I was pleased to hear Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say in the Knesset today:

All those who value freedom are inspired by the calls for democratic reforms in Egypt. An Egypt that will adopt these reforms will be a source of hope for the world. As much as the foundations for democracy are stronger, the foundations for peace are stronger.

We support the will of the Egyptian people to transition to democracy but we must keep in mind the critical importance of stability and respect for the peace agreements and for the universal values that we hold dear. Any government must renounce violence and respect and adopt democratic values and norms.

I had an occasion not too many minutes ago to speak to an Egyptian-born relative living here in Canada. I asked him what was happening and what he wished for. He told me of the tremendous longing of members of his family for democracy, for free and fair elections and for a free press. He spoke of the importance of Canada's role in assisting this to come about. Whether it is through diplomatic processes, aid or support for the institutions of democracy, there is a role for Canada and it is an important one. It should be to assist the Egyptian people as they undergo this historical transformation while guaranteeing the civil liberties of all Egyptians and of Egypt's neighbours.

Jordan River Anderson February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, today is the sixth anniversary of the passing of the late Jordan River Anderson, a young boy from the Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba in whose memory is named “Jordan's Principle”.

Jordan was born with a rare neuromuscular disorder and was ready to go home from the hospital when he was two years old. However, he spent over two more years in the hospital due to a jurisdictional dispute over who should pay for his home care. Tragically, Jordan passed away at five years of age without ever leaving the hospital.

Jordan's Principle honours his memory by affirming that the needs of the child must always supersede jurisdictional disputes.

In December 2007, the House passed a motion unanimously calling on the government to immediately adopt a child-first principle based on Jordan's Principle.

I ask my colleagues in all parties to join me in honouring the memory of Jordan Anderson and call on the government to respect the will of Parliament and fully implement Jordan's Principle without delay.

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

Since the 2008-2009 fiscal year, what are all the contracts of less than $10,000 awarded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, including the vendor’s name, the date, the description and the value?

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

Since the 2008-2009 fiscal year, what are all the contracts of less than $10,000 awarded by Health Canada, including the vendor’s name, the date, the description and the value?

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

Since the 2008-2009 fiscal year, what are all the contracts of less than $10,000 awarded by Public Safety Canada, including the vendor’s name, the date, the description and the value?

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

Since the 2008-2009 fiscal year, what are all the contracts of less than $10,000 awarded by Western Economic Diversification Canada, including the vendor’s name, the date, the description and the value?

Points of Order January 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would ask you to please review the response by the Minister of Public Safety to my question. I would submit that the language he used was unparliamentary and misleading. One can have one's opinion, but one does not make up the facts. I do ask that you review Hansard and come to a conclusion on it.

Public Safety January 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' decision to cancel funding for successful anti-gang programs in Winnipeg is going to drive at-risk youth back into the streets. These anti-gang programs are low cost and highly effective and were announced with great fanfare by two Conservative ministers in 2007. Today, however, Manitoba Conservative MPs refuse to explain the cuts.

I ask the Minister of Public Safety, how do bigger prisons and cuts to crime prevention make the streets of Winnipeg safer?

Mining Industry December 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has failed to protect jobs in Thompson and bring Vale to the negotiating table. Vale Inco's decision to shut down its nickel smelting and refining operations in Thompson will eliminate 500 jobs and stifle economic development in northern Manitoba.

The city of Thompson and the province has made it clear that they want to work with Vale to find a solution. Will the nine Manitoba Conservative members finally show some leadership, speak up and stand up for Manitoba?

Situation in Haiti December 13th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, UN resolution 1325 is important. I recently had the opportunity to read the Government of Canada's action plan. Departmental officials have developed a fine plan. This is an opportunity for Canadians and for the women of Haiti to step up and be part of the negotiating process to prioritize women's issues. This is an opportunity for resolution 1325 and the subsequent resolution to be showcased. This is an opportunity for governments and countries to work together with women to make a difference.