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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was million.

Last in Parliament July 2012, as Conservative MP for Durham (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 55% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the minister just does not get it. Mr. Sahi was appointed to the CBC board. A close personal friend of the Prime Minister, he owns the building the CBC leases. A landlord cannot be trusted to make the best decisions for the CBC on matters of leases and capital assets.

The Prime Minister claimed he would condemn to history the practice of cronyism. How can he justify to Canadians this appointment, a blatant conflict of interest?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Liberal patronage and cronyism has hit a new low. The Prime Minister has named Mr. Sahi to the CBC board.

Who is that? A close personal friend of the Prime Minister, a former business associate of Canada Steamship Lines, and a donor to the Liberal Party who owns the building the CBC leases as its head office in Ottawa. One would think it was enough that he gets the rent cheque from the CBC every month.

Can the Prime Minister justify to Canadians his decision to put his pal and supporter on the CBC board?

Committees of the House April 22nd, 2005

Not this year.

Chinese Canadian Recognition and Restitution Act April 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague, the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, for his work over many years on this bill. Without his commitment to this issue and to the Chinese community, we would not have reached this important step in the legislative process. I am honoured to carry this bill forward.

I would also like to thank the many members of all parties who have spoken so eloquently in support of Bill C-333.

Canada has grown and prospered by welcoming the rich diversity of the globe. We have much to be proud of; however, we have at times in our history, faced with our human frailties, succumbed, and taken action that has tarnished our history.

During this debate we have been told of the hardships brought upon the Chinese through the head tax and the exclusionary legislation adopted by previous governments.

There are those who might say that we cannot go back in history and address every wrong done to every group who at one time or another faced challenges in Canada. To them I say Bill C-333 does not advocate going back. I believe it will enable us to go forward as a country. Before we go forward, we must acknowledge that the Chinese were targeted and recognize the racially motivated acts undertaken by our country.

The head tax and the exclusionary legislation were directly intended to limit the Chinese from entering Canada. We cannot go back and undo these acts. We cannot go back and reunite families that were separated over decades. We cannot go back and change the racist attitudes of the times. We cannot go back, but we can go forward and look to the future of our country.

I believe that there is no price that can be paid to make amends. The scars of racism cannot be healed monetarily. We can however acknowledge our actions and provide the Chinese community with the recognition it deserves. Then we can make every effort to invest in our future and future generations. By learning from the past we can make the future of Canada even better and with greater pride.

Currently, we cannot take pride in the fact that the contribution of the Chinese community to Canada and our history, their work and the lives given to build this country, beginning with the railway in the west and serving in our armed forces in both world wars was missing from the history books that I grew up with. That is why Bill C-333 proposes to focus on education and racial harmony.

We can do much to ensure that government and individual acts based on race alone, acts that disadvantage one group over another in our country, will never happen again.

Bill C-333 will not eliminate racism, but for the Chinese community it will acknowledge that Canada and Canadians today do not condone acts taken by a Canadian government, even a past government, based on racism.

Bill C-333 will demonstrate that we, currently in this House, are willing to take that step and further steps to ensure that Canada, today and in the future, welcomes its diversity and the contribution of every community regardless of one's race.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 April 12th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of Canadians and particularly those in my riding of Durham, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to the budget implementation act, Bill C-43. I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Centre-North.

It is imperative that all Canadians have a clear picture of the budget and how the government plans to implement its promises or not. A government's budget requires legislation to enable it to implement the promises made in the budget, promises made to the people of Canada on how their tax dollars will be collected, how they will be spent and, most important, when those promises will be acted upon.

To address the when, most of the budget promises will not be realized until later in this decade, if that. Only 7% of the total budget announced will be expended in the budget year 2005-06. Of the $42 billion announced, only $3 billion will go into programs and initiatives to serve Canadians this year. This is in spite of the fact that over $10 billion was collected in surpluses last year and some $6.1 billion is being forecasted as this year's surplus. These forecasts are almost double those forecasted by the government only six weeks ago in the budget.

What is the need to back end load so many budget promises with these kinds of surpluses? This type of deception or lack of clarity is the government's way of governing and it has Canadians losing their faith in government. The residents in my riding of Durham are tired of struggling to make ends meet when they see continuous waste and mismanagement of their hard earned dollars.

In part 1 of Bill C-43, income tax cut benefits are actually delayed for four years. The real benefit for this year is only $16 per average taxpayer. With the rising costs of hydro, gas, provincial and municipal taxes, government fees, for example passports, taxpayers ask, “Where is the benefit?” My constituents want a deeper cut this year, not in the year 2009.

Over the past 15 years the government's income has soared by 40%, while the real take home pay of Canadians has increased by only 3.6%. On top of that, we have seen a 77% increase in the cost of government bureaucracy since 1996-97.

In the last election, the Liberal Party criticized our party of committing to $58 billion in new spending and tax reductions over five years. This budget has made $55 billion of commitments in new programs with very little tax cuts.

Canadians are no longer satisfied with the government's idea of sound fiscal management. Sound fiscal management is more than sound bytes or quotes for the media. Canadians deserve better.

The government announced its budget in February. Today we are debating the budget implementation act, but Bill C-43 reveals that not everything announced is exactly as it was portrayed in February.

Two examples of this kind of shenanigans are, first, the budget stated that the amount of the share of the gas tax would rise to $2 billion annually until 2009-10. Bill C-43 authorizes payments for one year only. That really shows this government's commitment to long-term funding for municipalities that the hon. member was just speaking about.

Second, for seniors in subsidized nursing homes, the total amount of the increase in one's guaranteed income supplement, GIS, will not be paid to the seniors, but to the nursing home operator or to the province. In Ontario any increase in the GIS will be clawed back to a half. The largest increase in GIS that a senior in my riding will be eligible for is less than $18 per month. For many of these seniors, their fixed income is a decreasing income.

These seniors, as do all taxpayers in my riding, expect their government to be working on their behalf to assure them of a quality of life and a standard of living for which they are willing to work hard. They are not satisfied with so much arrogance and such deception that they can no longer trust anything being put forward to them by the government.

When they see how the government has manipulated the budget process by introducing other controversial elements into Bill C-43, they are appalled, controversial elements the government does not have the confidence to introduce under separate legislation to be debated and voted upon in the House on their own. This reflects the continuous manipulation by the government of the Canadian people, the lack of integrity in its dealings with the people in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia and its real inability to bring forth bills that it is confident will serve Canadians well.

By including parts 13, 14 and 15 in Bill C-43 to deal with environmental issues and parts 12 and 24 to deal with the commitments to the two Atlantic provinces, demonstrates the games the Liberals are playing and have played on the people of Canada for over a decade. By linking Atlantic accord provisions into the implementation act, is the government again telling the people of Atlantic Canada that the Prime Minister's word cannot be trusted?

The budget does not reflect serious concern for the overall economy of Canada. Compared with the Americans, Canadian productivity accounts for an income gap of $6,078 per person. Compared with the Americans, that means a family of four living in my riding of Durham has some $24,000 a year less income to spend than the same family in the U.S.A. Canada must increase its productivity with measures that will be effective and redress this productivity gap.

I am compelled to point out that to promise only $130 million in the February budget for the entire agricultural community and the crisis that it faces is inexcusable, only to see the government once again play its games and make a $1 billion announcement shortly after the budget speech. Is this bad planning, disregard for the needs of the agricultural community or an “Oops, we forgot to put it into the budget?” The people of Canada will not and cannot continually be manipulated in this way.

The budget should go forward on its own for debate and follow the necessary procedural process to ensure that the programs announced can move forward. As part of the official opposition in the House, along with my colleagues I will continue to work in committee to strengthen the bill so that those in Durham and across Canada can once again regain their faith in government. In committee we will be ensuring that the dollars to be spent are spent responsibly with transparency and accountability.

The people of Durham are all proud to be Canadians. They recognize that we live in a great country and a province which has some of the best that Canada has to offer. They are willing to do their share. However, they are increasingly challenged to meet their own daily responsibilities financially. They will contribute to Canada's well-being, but are not willing to stand by and watch their tax dollars being wasted and mismanaged. Most of all, they want a government that does not play games and that can be held to the highest level of accountability and integrity. They want to be able to once again trust those elected to represent them and their interests and believe they are doing so, not only in the interests of one segment or one party.

On their behalf, I want to conclude by saying that the official opposition will continue to work in the best interests of all Canadians.

Greek Day of Independence March 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of Greek Day of Independence, the Conservative Party of Canada wishes to extend its warmest congratulations to the Greek community across Canada.

My colleagues in the official opposition join with me in recognizing the rich significance of this day. It commemorates the emancipation of an oppressed people and their joyful return to democratic principles in a free and just society.

I know that today they will be partaking in cultural festivities and events, which honour their ancestors and celebrate the history and accomplishments of the Greek people.

I am pleased to pay tribute to many members of the Greek community in Canada. I salute them for their tremendous contributions to the economic and cultural vitality of this wonderful country.

Our warmest greetings from the entire Conservative caucus on this Independence Day of Greece.

Civil Marriage Act March 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, as we have indicated, the minister does not act. She talks and she talks through the press. It is very clear that she thinks she does not have to respond either in the House, through committee or through delivering on policies and reviews for which we have been waiting, and we have been waiting for the Copyright Act.

I would suggest that the minister chooses the press to indicate what she believes is Canada's broadcasting policy. I think English Canada would be very interested to know that the minister indicated in the French language in the French press that she received hundreds of invitations every day from people inviting her to events. She indicated clearly that she gave priority to those invitations from Quebec. We believe these kinds of things should not be dealt with in the press but should be dealt with here in the House. We think we need good policy and plans.

Civil Marriage Act March 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, late last December we asked the Minister of Canadian Heritage about her role and responsibilities regarding the Canadian broadcasting system.

The official opposition has seen little evidence that the government is up for the job. It does not have a clearly defined plan for the broadcasting system in Canada and if the government had articulated a plan for the new communications environment, Canadians would have greater confidence in its stewardship of our broadcasting system.

When I was a CRTC commissioner, we knew that digital technology would dramatically alter our communications environment. We knew that Canadians would be using new technology and devices not seen before. The U.S. government established its policy framework for the digital age 15 years ago. Here in Canada the government has done nothing. Consequently, the CRTC has been establishing national policy as it deals with each individual application.

Today we have a situation where, without any broad policy direction from the government or a review of its radio broadcasting policy, the CRTC has gone ahead and heard subscription radio applications. In other words, we have decisions being made within a vacuum. Without a plan and updated policies established by elected members of the House, we continue to see government appointees determining the future of Canadian broadcasting.

I also want to point out that if the minister and her government are not up to the job, we are ready to take over. Currently the situation is compounded whereby the boards of key industry organizations are in flux. The CBC has lost its chair, two other board positions have lapsed and one other will lapse within months. At the CRTC the government has left the Maritimes and B.C. without representation. Who is really in charge?

We have no clear government policy or plan for this sector, not even for today and tomorrow. As the environment changes and technologies are advancing, it is imperative that we have a map of how our broadcast system is to unfold.

Last December the minister said that the CRTC and the CBC were independent of the government, and so it should be. However, her responsibility is to lay out a plan and clear policy directions within which these agencies should move forward. The government must do more than merely respond incident by incident. If it had been listening to the demands of Canadians and aware of the realities of the environment, it would not have had to use taxpayer dollars to create an emergency task force to deal with the introduction of foreign language services such as RAI.

Why does the minister not fulfill her responsibilities to lay out tomorrow's vision for this sector? Will the government present a clear, comprehensive plan for the future of Canadian broadcasting in Canada so that it is the government and not the CRTC determining our future. Will the minister insist that the review of the telecommunications sector, announced in the budget, will include consideration of how broadcasting will be delivered and affected in the new world of broadband delivery and competition, not only in telephony and data but also in video? If not, then its inaction will force Canadians to access their desired services using new technologies and bypass the Canadian system.

Forum for Young Canadians March 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, last night I had the privilege of attending the Forum for Young Canadians dinner here on Parliament Hill.

Mallorie Malone from Newtonville in my riding of Durham is part of the forum this week, witnessing the world of national politics and public affairs in Ottawa.

Since its inception, over 15,000 young Canadians have graduated from the forum, many of Canada's best and brightest students. I want to congratulate the Forum for Young Canadians, Canada's longest running program for youth focused on government and governing.

I am confident that Mallorie Malone and the other students in Ottawa this week will remember this experience and will make a great contribution to Canada in their future vocations and enrich their communities over the coming decades.

The Budget March 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question gives me an opportunity to speak to the agricultural sector. As I have told the House on many occasions, I have a large agricultural sector in the rural area I represent. It is made up of not only dairy farmers, but a feather industry, crops and grain, as well as the cattle industry.

He asked a question about the $17.1 million for slaughter. We all know a program was put forward but we also know that it takes time to build those processing plants in order to make sure they are up to speed.

We saw the introduction of a processing plant in Kitchener and it has yet to go into full production. It is getting close to that but there are some questions around the testing of it, et cetera. That is not to say that some work has not been done, but we certainly have not been able to meet the needs with the speed that the agricultural community requires.

With regard the CAIS program, we are pleased to hear that following a motion put by our opposition party to eliminate the cash deposit requirement, the government has included that in the budget. However it will not happen immediately.

As was said earlier today, we all know the CAIS program, essentially, does not work. The CAIS program does not immediately put the money at the gates of the farms where it is needed. The CAIS program needs to be improved. It needs to be less onerous on the farmers. We also have to make sure that those cheques arrive when they are needed, not months later. We found last year that people were still waiting. We were discussing 2004 needs but people were still waiting for 2003 cheques to arrive. With that kind of delay, that is not addressing an immediate crisis, an immediate need at the farm gates where families are feeling the challenges of increasing debts.

The dairy farmers, as the hon. member has mentioned, have seen some redress. However, to raise the price of milk, we still have the cull cows on the farm. They are still in the field. How will we address that for the dairy farmers as well?

As we have said, for the farmers and the agricultural community, it just seems to be compounding and we are still waiting for the government to deliver cash to the people who need it now. We can have the building of slaughter capacity and programs that will come into place in 2006 and beyond, but what will happen in this budget year 2005-06?