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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

The Budget March 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Durham farmers will get no more cash from the budget. The farmers in my riding are incurring more and more debt as each month passes. Agriculture Canada is forecasting another year of negative total net income.

We now know that the U.S. border will not be opened any time soon. Only six weeks before planting begins, the budget provides only $130 million for an industry facing losses of up to $6 billion. The $26 million a year in cash advances for livestock production does not even come into effect until the 2006 production year. Durham farmers will not be satisfied with the $100 million in recycled and re-announced promises, not for farmers but for industry initiatives.

The environment is very important to those in Durham. However, they are astounded that there is not a definitive plan to meet the Kyoto protocol now in its implementation period. Since 1997, $3.7 billion has been set aside for environmental initiatives. Some $658 million has not even been allocated, while $1.2 billion remains unspent sitting in a bank account.

For the military, only $500 million will flow in year one and $600 million in year two of a total $12.8 billion announced. Here again $5.8 billion is not new money but recycled money from old promises not yet fulfilled.

Although we may welcome some of the initiatives announced, my constituent and I have little confidence the promised benefits will flow to Durham and its residents in the near future. Last week in my riding I was constantly asked these questions. How much of the budget money announced would really flow in this budget year. How would they know that their municipalities of Clarington, Scugog and Uxbridge would see real dollars? What are the plans behind much of the money promised? Will the government fulfill the promises made on February 23?

I believe that more work must be done to answer these questions and to benefit all Canadians. We have shown that in a minority government much can be accomplished. Some of the opposition's agenda items have been initiated in the budget, initiatives we have been fighting for each day in the House, initiatives such as tax relief for low and middle income Canadians, reduction of corporate taxes, funding of national defence, an increase in RRSP limits, care giver tax credits, removal of the CAIS cash deposit requirement for farmers and more stable funding for the arts and cultural communities. However, many of these measures do not go far enough or fast enough.

We will continue to hold the government to account, set the agenda and call for focused, responsible plans. I will continue to work with my colleagues on behalf of my constituents in the riding of Durham.

The Budget March 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the federal budget on behalf of my constituents in the riding of Durham. The budget covers a wide range of issues, however, it does not provide real benefits in the short term and does not provide concrete steps for the delivery of value for my constituents' taxpayer dollars.

Compared with the Americans, Canadian productivity accounts for an income gap of $6,078 per person. This means that a family of four in Durham has some $24,000 a year less income to spend than the same family in the U.S.A. The tax relief in the budget of only $16 for the typical taxpayer will certainly not help Durham taxpayers who are increasingly challenged to stretch their hard earned dollars. As average Canadians, they have seen their real take home pay increase by only 3.6% over the past 15 years. However, must be noted that over the same period government revenue increases soared by 40% and the cost of government bureaucracy has increased by 77%. Yet in Durham we have seen little improvement in government services or efficiencies.

As the small and medium sized businesses in my community discussed with our leader, Stephen Harper, in Port Perry, they want to see deeper cuts in business taxes and the elimination of the capital tax now, not delayed for years. They want a reduction in the cost of regulation and in unnecessary and duplicate paperwork. This would enhance their ability to thrive and introduce more jobs into Durham.

Although the increase in the guaranteed income supplement for low income seniors is most welcome, it does not amount to very much for Durham seniors. In Ontario the GIS is integrated with the provincial guaranteed annual income system for seniors or GAINS. If the GIS goes up by $1, GAINS goes down by 50¢. The largest increase in the GIS that a senior would be eligible for is less than $18 per month. We must work to ensure that these types of clawbacks on the supports given to seniors are eliminated. Those on fixed and low incomes must be able to meet the rising costs of their senior years, stay in their homes longer and enjoy the rewards of a life of hard work.

With most of the money for child care, climate control and the gas tax transfer delayed until the end of the decade, with no plans in place as to how exactly this money will be spent, the question remains: How will my constituents see benefits from this budget?

The budget has driven a local politician to state, “From Ontario's point of view, from Durham's point of view...I was very disappointed. Our two big concerns are healthcare and transportation and transit. There's virtually nothing to address those issues”. And I agree.

There are no effective plans to address the acute doctor shortage across Canada and in Durham. The loss of one doctor closed the local surgery program for an entire community. A growing community like Durham needs increased health care services, not decreased.

It needs transit and infrastructure improvements to meet the day to day needs of getting to work, school and recreational activities. Yet we still await details on any plans or concrete commitments to our municipalities on the gas tax transfers.

Right now the Durham regional government and local municipalities in my riding have more questions than answers. A local mayor rightly observed that “the funding has too many strings attached. It's another example of the same old paternalistic attitude that municipalities really don't know what to spend our money on and the federal government does”.

We see this same attitude reflected in the government's approach to institutional state-run child care centres. In Durham we have 6 child care centres, 3 nursery schools and another 160 centres supported locally. According to the region's social services department, more and more parents are applying for subsidies given the rising cost of licensed day care. For these families, for those who want options as to how to meet their day care needs and those who choose to raise their children at home, there is nothing in the budget for them. Of the $5 billion promised for child care, only $700 million will be put into a trust fund for this upcoming year. With no agreement with the provincial governments, Durham families have no idea of how they will benefit from the promise of a Canadian child care program

I would like to inform you at this point, Mr. Speaker, that I will be sharing my time.

Veterans February 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the motion.

The motion is particularly important, given that 2005 is the Year of the Veteran, a well deserved honour for all of those who served in the first and second world wars and the Korean War.

We celebrate and honour Canadian Forces veterans, currently serving members, civilians who have served in the military and their families, as well as those Canadians who supported the war effort here at home.

The motion would ensure that funding is available to maintain and preserve war memorials in communities across Canada in honour of our war veterans. There is no question that any monument dedicated to the recognition of the sacrifice and commitment of our Canadian Forces, whether here or abroad, should be maintained in a dignified manner.

Last year, my first Remembrance Day as an MP, I was able to better see and more fully appreciate the importance of the cenotaphs and monuments to the veterans, their families and all Canadians in communities across my riding from Port Perry to Orono to Uxbridge. I look forward to next year joining those in Newcastle, Blackstock and Bowmanville. In fact, every community across Canada has given of its men and women to the freedom and democracy we enjoy in our country.

There are about 6,000 war memorials in communities across Canada today. The memorials erected in their honour are symbolic of their courage and sacrifice as they served our country. They are daily reminders of what we as a nation have contributed proudly and how we have distinguished ourselves in conflicts as they arose around the world. It is with this in mind that I support the motion; however, I do have a few concerns with the motion as it stands.

My local community, in partnership with other levels of government, has built and maintained these memorials. My concern with the member's motion is that it could be interpreted as taking the responsibility of maintenance for war memorials away from the provincial or territorial governments who currently have this responsibility. In cases where a cenotaph has been built by and is attached to a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, it has been that Legion's responsibility to maintain it. I believe it will be important to work with these levels of government and organizations to ensure that we would not be infringing upon their work.

A further question I would like to see answered prior to any vote on this motion would be regarding instances where a memorial has been allowed to fall into disrepair. If the cenotaph is used and remains an integral fabric of the community in which it was erected, of course it should receive support for maintenance. If it has fallen into disrepair or is not used, I would ask if there is an alternative plan for community consultation as to the future of that memorial. Could the fund in question be accessed to move a memorial to an alternate location? As local governments, Legions and community groups struggle with their own resources, I believe that the Government of Canada has a responsibility to provide a portion of the funds needed to repair and restore these memorials.

We must continue to honour our armed forces in many ways. We celebrate Remembrance Day through national ceremonies and local ceremonies in every community. We have poppy pins to be worn on November 11. We recognize the Legions and their community work throughout the year as they continue to serve their home towns, but in addition to these acts and symbols are the memorials themselves, many of which stand in the centre of the town or the community. They, too, are symbols of our recognition of the dedication and commitment to our country given by so many. They should not be allowed to deteriorate or crumble.

We must do our part to ensure that these memorials are with us in every community for years to come. I would support the motion with amendments.

Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act February 21st, 2005

I thank the member for his support and his questions. The act has been crafted in such a way as to ensure that the bill is recognized by the House and gains the support that it needs. I believe that over almost a century of injustice we have to make the first step, which is the recognition of the injustice, and we also have to recognize the contribution of the Chinese Canadian community to Canada and to our history.

I believe we have to recognize diversity even within the Chinese Canadian community. The organization I have noted in my bill is one that is an umbrella organization and represents a grand diversity of all the communities involved right across the country.

As well, this offers the government an opportunity to stand up and take the initial first steps in working with the community, not only to find a way that is agreeable and compatible with the government's will but also with that of the communities, finding the way so that, first of all, the recognition is there and also that there will be some form of redress which will be negotiated to the satisfaction of the communities.

Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act February 21st, 2005

moved that BillC-333, an act to recognize the injustices done to Chinese immigrants by head taxes and exclusion legislation, to provide for recognition of the extraordinary contribution they made to Canada, to provide for redress and to promote education on Chinese Canadian history and racial harmony, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to Bill C-333 today, the Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act. I thank the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his work on this important bill.

As early as 1788, the first Chinese to Canada were 50 carpenters and craftsmen who built a fort on Canada's west coast. Seventy years later the first Chinese gold miners arrived in British Columbia to join thousands of gold miners travelling up the Fraser River. Their arrival marks the establishment of a continuous Chinese community in Canada. In 1861 a Chinese baby was born in Victoria, the first to be born in Canada.

In 1872 the British Columbia Qualifications of Voters Act denied both the Chinese and first nations people the right to vote. This discrimination based on one's race continued to plague the Chinese in Canada for the next 75 years.

Between 1880 and 1885 thousands of Chinese were employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway to construct the iron bridge that brought this country together. In total, 15,700 Chinese were recruited to work on this endeavour, one that played a large part in bringing British Columbia into Canadian Confederation.

Once that feat was completed in 1885, the federal government introduced an act to collect a head tax of $50 per person to restrict the entry of Chinese immigrants to Canada. After 1902 the head tax was raised to $100 and then in 1903 raised again to $500. Despite this burden, more and more Chinese made Canada their home.

By 1919, 6,000 Chinese, over 210 families, were living in Vancouver. In Toronto, 2,100 Chinese were making a way of life in Canada. Across Canada almost 37,000 Chinese were part of our communities and towns.

Even after a dozen Chinese served in the Canadian army in the first world war, in 1923 the Chinese Immigration Act was introduced. This exclusion act prohibited Chinese immigrants from entering Canada with few exceptions. This meant that wives and children were not able to join their husbands and families and all Chinese, even those born in Canada, had to register with the government.

Despite this blatant racial discrimination, they continued to make a life here in our country. Their efforts included some 500 Chinese Canadians fighting in our armed forces during World War II. The Chinese Canadian community was also diligent in raising money for our war effort.

Finally, in 1947 the exclusion act was repealed and Chinese Canadians were given the right to vote in federal elections. Ten years later, in 1957, Douglas Jung was the first Chinese Canadian elected to the House of Commons. However not until 1967 were the Chinese given the same immigration rights as any other group seeking to make their life in this country.

The Chinese Head Tax and the Exclusion Act are the two most known acts of discrimination in the history of this community. They are acts of a government that says it is rooted in democracy and of a country that is proud of its multicultural heritage.

The Chinese Canadian community was one of the first diverse cultural communities to come to Canada. After over a century of its presence we have left this mark of racism in our legacy.

Today, despite a history of racism, struggle and alienation, the Chinese Canadian is a thriving, contributing community across Canada. They are great contributors to all segments of our society. I am asking the House to support Bill C-333 as recognition of these acts of government that were based solely on race and to signify that despite their hardships the Chinese Canadian community has historically played a key role in the making of this country.

I am proud to be a member of the House and, almost 50 years after Mr. Jung, the first Chinese Canadian to serve here, to have an opportunity to redress a wrong that for over a century has never been recognized by our governments.

No one person or groups of persons should be lessened by their race or heritage. Racism is not and should not be a part of my community or my country, Canada. Racism and prejudice are not acts in which anyone or any country can take pride. They are embedded in attitudes, comments, slurs and acts of ignorance. We must always be vigilant to ensure that racism is not allowed to overtake our own acts and attitudes.

We can be vigilant, but every generation must be made alert and aware of its insidious presence, and so, in Bill C-333, I propose both recognition of the racism under which the Chinese community has become a part of Canada and redress for this country's part in its racist acts to this community.

Bill C-333 will provide for the recognition of the historical injustices that were brought to the Chinese community as well as its extraordinary contribution to our country. Bill C-333 will also provide for education on the Chinese community and its history in our country and the promotion of racial harmony.

We must all take responsibility in making Canada the truly multicultural country we are so proud of. Yes, today we are responsible for what happens tomorrow, but I believe that we must remember our history and learn from it. By recognizing our past, we can move on with increased vigour and a sharper eye if we recognize our wrongs and enable increased vigilance in the future.

Supply February 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member.

He is talking about voluntary and mandatory, but obviously what we all want is meaningful change to better our environment.

The department's memos indicate that Kyoto has serious problems and design weaknesses, namely, that it would not stop or even slow down global warming and fails to provide proper incentives for technologies that may transform the energy sector over the long term. We are not just talking about our environment in Canada. We understand that the auto industry is an international industry and marketplace, et cetera, but our air, water and environment also cross borders.

I would like to know what the motion being proposed would do to deal with the fact that there is nothing in the Kyoto accord that obligates developing countries to improve their environments. Only 32% of the global emissions are currently covered under Kyoto. What does this motion do to address the other 68%?

Supply February 15th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the availability and quality of child care across the country varies not only from province to province but from region to region, and even in my riding which has a mix of urban and rural settings. Most of my riding's urban settings are closer to the lake and the 401. However, in the northern part of my riding there are smaller towns and villages that are separated by miles. Although each of these communities has newer subdivisions going up each month, it will be years before many of them reach the critical mass needed to support larger well resourced day care centres.

In large ridings such as mine, distances become a challenge and consequently transportation to and from centres is and will continue to be a major hindrance. Also, 25% of my riding's population base is in the rural area. To serve the unique needs of this community, for example, local families in Uxbridge have had to organize a program specifically to meet the needs of the rural settings.

Durham Farm and Rural Family Resources has been offering child care for farm families since 1988. The programs are specially designed to meet the needs of part time care needed in the peak farming seasons. This means the children do not have to be taken from the home but can still stay on the family farm.

For the most part many of these rural families have been caring for their children within the family or extended family with the help of neighbours, friends and family. Generations have grown and thrived in a child centred way of life.

I also know that many families in more urban centres have chosen to sacrifice the additional income and have one parent stay at home to raise their children. A national child care program directed at out of the home day care centres does not necessarily meet these families' needs. If we take all of the dollars that the Liberal government plans to set aside for day care and make them directly available to parents, these moms and dads could then choose what is best for their children and families in whatever settings they choose to live.

I am wondering if the member could address the special needs of the smaller rural communities and the farm families.

Bowl for Kids' Sake February 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Big Brothers and Sisters of Clarington has been making a difference in the lives of young people for over 28 years. Big Brothers and Sisters delivers high quality volunteer based programs to children and youth, creating positive relationships.

The Clarington Big Brothers and Sisters in my riding has recently expanded its in school mentoring program. This means the benefits of this valuable program will now be available to more families in Clarington.

Each year more than 1,000 volunteers, families and businesses take part in the Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraiser. I encourage everyone to put together a team and bowl for the kids' sake. It is not about how well one bowls, but how one makes a difference in a child's life.

I also wish much success to the members of Team Oda who will be bowling on February 21 at the Liberty Bowl.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation February 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, last week CBC reduced Ukrainian programming on Radio Canada International from three and a half hours per week to one hour.

Ukrainians deserve to have a reliable source of programming from a Canadian perspective and Canadians want our voices and values broadcast abroad. After playing a leading role in supporting millions in the lead-up to their elections and after, turning our backs on Ukrainians now is inexcusable. What will this government do to restore programs and ensure that Ukrainians do not lose any service on RCI?

Supply February 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate this. The reason we have to keep coming back year after year, week after week, day after day and ask the government to respond is because the Liberals have reached the maximum on their capabilities of responding.

The Liberals came to the House and said that they recognized a crisis in agriculture. They put forward some proposals. Subsequent to that, they have to come before the House and fixed this and fixed that. There has been a whole bunch of tinkering and we still have not helped the farmers.