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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was terms.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Conservative MP for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2019, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Olympic Winter Games February 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, today marks the one year countdown to the start of the Canada Olympic Games. As a British Columbian, I can say how excited everyone is back home.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending a celebration in Kamloops with thousands in attendance. Could the regional minister for British Columbia update the House on how Canadians will be celebrating from coast to coast to coast?

Petitions February 2nd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, a number of the constituents of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo are very concerned about the sexual exploitation of children. Therefore, the petitioners are calling upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to raise the age of consent from 14 years to 18 years of age.

The Budget January 29th, 2009

Madam Speaker, to go back to the point that I made in my speech, we truly are in extraordinary global economic times. One only needs to look at the news in terms of Europe and China. In terms of Canada, all the governments of the past need to be particularly pleased at how we find ourselves relative to the rest of the world. I believe it is a compliment that in the past our processes worked.

The Budget January 29th, 2009

Madam Speaker, that is somewhat false economics. The $39 billion that our government has paid off in debt over the first 20 months of its tenure is a much more appropriate mechanism to ensure we are in a viable position. It is always pay down the debt, do not sit with surpluses in the bank, and provide the needed services that everyone wants in terms of health and social transfers.

I am very proud of our government's management of the economy.

The Budget January 29th, 2009

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak in favour of the budget presented by the Minister of Finance on Tuesday.

I will make some general observations about the budget and then look at some of the specific details in terms of how the measures suggested will support members of my constituency of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo and, indeed, all Canadians.

Like many I have struggled with the notion of a deficit and, with reluctance, I have come to accept that the global economic crisis requires the response of temporary short-term stimulus and extraordinary support for the financial system. It only takes a brief glimpse of the news each evening to see how profoundly other countries are being impacted. CBC did a special last night outlining the difficulties that China was facing.

It is with some reassurance that I note the low debt to GDP ratio that Canada enjoys relative to other countries in the G7 and the five year projection for a return to surplus. It is also important to note that for a return to surplus, the expenditures in the budget are not structural in nature.

Although it is important to acknowledge the challenging economic environment and the very real difficulties workers, families and communities are experiencing, it is also important to remember that adversity creates challenges and opportunities. I am inherently optimistic about the strength and creativities of Canadians and that we will emerge from this challenge a stronger country with a solid economic foundation for the future which will include a softer footprint for this earth.

This budget is the result of an extraordinary consultation process with the Canadian people. I believe the end product is truly reflective of this extensive input.

The term coal face was originally a mining term to describe an underground worker who cut coal from the rock. The workers would emerge at the end of the day with their faces quite blackened. This term was not meant to reflect the dirty face but respect for their direct involvement with the core of the business.

If we work at the coal face, we deal with the real problems and issues rather than sitting in an office discussing things in a detached way. I would argue that the budget is truly a coal face budget for Canadians, not a partisan product developed in isolation of meaningful input.

It has been suggested by some that the budget is just a Christmas wish list that does not have a broad vision for Canada. The hon. Leader of the Opposition stated that it was a hodgepodge of measures adopted at the last minute. The hon. leader of the NDP suggested that we cobbled together the budget. I would argue exactly the opposite.

The budget contains many strategies and structures for industry and communities to move forward into their future. As the finance minister indicated, meeting short-term needs while serving long-term goals. Indeed, it is disrespectful to communities not to recognize that our strength lies in their local ability to innovate and create a future. It is the sum of our small and large businesses, their ingenuity that will ultimately return us to prosperity. We must temporarily support and provide the tools and funding to respond to their needs.

My December and January, like many in the House, was spent in wide consultation throughout my constituency. This is an area with both rural and urban communities and includes six municipalities and six aboriginal bands. My consultation process included local government, business leaders, non-government organizations and the general public. Tourism, forestry, agriculture and mining are all drivers of our economy.

As these conversations progressed, it appeared there was general consensus in terms of the range of opportunities that would not only provide short-term benefit in terms of economic stimulus, but also long-term advantage, the jobs for tomorrow and the necessary infrastructure foundation.

The goals of an economic action plan that would help Canadians and stimulate spending, improve access to financing, take immediate action to build roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure, stimulate housing and support industry and community were widely embraced. The question then becomes: does this budget achieve those aims?

Rather than talking about the budget in terms of the billions for this program and the millions for another, I would like to talk about the real meaningful opportunities.

Access to credit was a number one issue for industry, businesses and individuals. The many measures taken by this government to free up credit will support confidence and encourage lending. This will facilitate Canadian businesses to grow and create jobs.

Clinton is a small community in interior British Columbia. Fibre optic lines run through their community, but there is no funding to provide a hub and give this community broadband. From the merchants on Main Street, to the citizens who require the Internet for the opportunity to do home-based work, to the small health centre that would enthusiastically embrace telemedicine, broadband access was their single highest priority, and our budget will provide this.

Rather than solely focusing on industries suffering from a downturn, the community adjustment fund will widely embraced to support a new future. This might include pursuing the dream of Wells Grey UNESCO designation for Clearwater, further development of the hemp manufacturing for 100 Mile House, expansion of tourism opportunities for Valemount and Blue River and enhanced back country trail development for Barrier. I anticipate all these communities will be actively pursuing applications.

I sat down a number of weeks ago with one of our aboriginal communities, representatives from a forestry company and a delegation from China. Our plan to support international marketing, innovative product development and research directly aligns with their message. Of particular interest was biomass technology.

The EI work share program extension to increase flexibility and access will be most welcome. This program has been described as a win-win for the employer and employee. Not only does the program keep skilled workers in the community, it supports companies in adapting to temporary slowdowns.

Support for long-tenured workers and enhanced availability of training were included in submissions to the finance minister, and he listened. The increase in employment benefits was important, but the message that I heard was “we want to work and we would prefer the resources to be spent on training and the creation of new opportunities”.

For Kamloops, like most cities, there are many needs for sewers, water and roads and as the tournament capital of Canada, upgrading and development of recreational facilities is always a priority. I expect that the RINC program will be oversubscribed across Canada.

The mine development just outside our boundaries has been stalled due to economic reasons. I am hopeful the tax and tariff relief introduced this week will now provide enough impetus to restart this industry.

Some of the budget highlights for my area would not be complete without noting the support for the aboriginal community. Skills and training to ensure readiness for opportunity, housing and partnership for health are important elements in breaking the cycle of disadvantage. It is real action on real problems.

In my prior career as a health care professional who worked directly with many aboriginal communities, I can attest to the abysmal living conditions that too many of our first nation citizens experience. With the measures introduced this week, there is real hope for substantive change.

I suggest that this budget is not a hodgepodge as suggested, but a compact and multi-layered response to a very challenging economic time. As one of the pundits suggested, we cannot have everyone building robots right now. The beauty of this response is the delicate balance of supporting immediate needs without losing sight of the future.

Economic and Fiscal Statement December 4th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, as a new member I have been listening very carefully. I have also been watching what has been happening in my riding and some of the stimulus in terms of western economic diversification that has been happening as we speak. I toured the airport and saw many men working to expand our airport through western economic diversification.

I met with forestry workers. They are having challenging times, but there is a whole program around retraining. Yesterday I met with someone who is looking at working with one of our first nations communities in terms of a secondary biofuel.

These are all initiatives from 2008. They are having very positive economic impacts in our communities.

As a former health care worker, I see the continuation of the health care transfers. That continuation will not only allow health care; it will also allow us to have some stimulus.

This economic update includes much of what was pointed out or has been talked about. It appears the Liberals are actually emulating many of the things we are planning to do, but in January.

I would like the member's comments.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply November 27th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, after many years of inaction by the Liberal government on the western pine beetle issue, I am very proud of our government's record on this. As we speak, we have retraining of forestry workers. We have machines mulching up the supply. We have a number of measures. We have economic diversification measures happening in our small communities.

In our 30 short months of a minority government, we have done many things in aid of this crisis that the previous government had failed to do.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply November 27th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, it would be very important to also recall that we have stimulus packages. We took proactive measures. We have decreased the GST. We have lowered business taxes for small businesses, for personal businesses and for corporations. Some of the OECD nations are now following our lead. We are in a better position.

I also bring attention to the fact that our building Canada plan is unprecedented in terms of our commitment to the infrastructure within Canada.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply November 27th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I also congratulate my colleague on his election to the House. Forestry is an absolutely critical concern to our community. I have many mills and much of that industry is within my riding. They have been grateful for the support that has been provided to them through the western pine beetle action plan.

I am confident that we will work together as a government to continue to deal with the issues around the forest industry in a positive way.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply November 27th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the Speech from the Throne.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge a few key people, as this is my maiden address in this House. Although a long-time resident of British Columbia, I did grow up in Ottawa where, as a young child, my parents nurtured an interest and a respect for politics. To this day, they continue to enjoy healthy debate on many of the areas of interest to Canadians. This debate has now become even more vibrant as I begin my new role.

My husband, Gord, has always been a wonderful support and this was proven yet again by celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary at a public debate during the campaign.

I would also like to thank my children, Scott, Jamie and Alison. Although busy with their own lives at university, they provided endless volunteer energy and time, particularly through political cyberspace. This, they inform me, is the mechanism for engaging youth, and I will do my utmost to incorporate this during my mandate.

To see the energy and commitment of my campaign manager and volunteers during the election was truly a humbling experience, and, of course, the biggest thanks of all goes to my constituents of Kamloops--Thompson--Cariboo who have entrusted me with the privilege of being their member of Parliament. I am incredibly fortunate to have this diverse and beautiful riding and my commitment is to represent them with knowledge, energy and honour.

In my short time here, I have come to appreciate the unique backgrounds of my hon. colleagues in the House. I believe this will add richness to the debate as we grapple with the many challenges ahead. I myself left Ottawa 27 years ago and have spent those years working at the coal face in urban, rural and remote communities. Politics was not my life path but it is my opportunity to bring these many years of experience and reflection to the dialogue.

I now would like to make some general observations about the Speech from the Throne and then I will focus on a few areas of particular interest to me.

We are experiencing escalating complexity in our world, whether it is with the environment, global financial markets or delivering health care. We no longer live in the much simpler world of our great-grandparents. As Plsek noted, the traditional ways of getting our heads around problems are no longer appropriate. Even Newton's clockwork universe in which problems can be broken down into smaller ones, analyzed and solved by rational deductions is an approach for the past.

It goes without saying that our financial system is global and that there are a number of individuals and countries that have the freedom to act in ways that are not always totally predictable. These actions directly affect us as a nation. We are all interconnected. One agent's actions change the context for all other agents. As such, the Speech from the Throne acknowledges the seriousness of our economic situation, the importance of working globally and the need to be adaptive in our response.

Complexity requires that we try multiple approaches and let directions arise by observing what is happening around the world and gradually shifting time and attention to those strategies that work the best.

I have listened to the opposition members as they debated the throne speech and they have made mention of the lack of a detailed plan. This is simply not true. Although I am not an economist, the approach proposed in the throne speech acknowledges the seriousness of the situation and provides for an adaptive approach to a very complex problem.

Accessible and effective health care has been the focus of my education and career and will always remain near and dear to my heart. It is important for all members to remember that our health care system ranks as one of the most serious concerns among Canadians. We also need to understand the challenges faced by the provinces in meeting this growing demand. This is why it was with great personal appreciation that I noted in the Speech from the Throne the ongoing commitment for long-term, fair and predictable transfer payments.

However, we all must recognize that our health care system cannot continue long term with exponential growth, consuming ever increasing amounts of the budget. I, therefore, support our commitment to creative measures to tackle major heart, lung and neurological diseases and to build on the work with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. It is important to emphasize the word “creative”. I will give two specific examples from my riding as to how the federal government's commitment to innovation has provided the seeds for creative, systemic change and the ability to reduce expensive, acute care utilization demands.

The first example is focused on special support for heart disease. Funding provided from Infoway Canada for patients with congestive heart failure created a pilot home monitoring program. Patients went home with special equipment to monitor their condition and expert support only a telephone call away. The results were incredibly positive in terms of reduced hospital admissions and patient confidence.

Another example was an innovative practice for patients with lung disease, which, by the way, is another significant cost to our acute care system. Federal targeted funding for primary health care transition saw respiratory therapists and other practitioners working with family doctors. This program supported prevention, early diagnosis, nicotine cessation and exercise. This again had a strong, positive impact on patients.

In both these examples it was the federal government's transition dollars that leveraged new approaches. Ultimately prevention and innovation will be critical for the long-term sustainability of our health care system.

Local government has always struggled with the need for ongoing support for basic infrastructure. The applications and lineups are always long for much needed water and sewage treatment facilities and the costs prohibitive without federal and provincial support.

It is ironic when a local government is under order from the Medical Health Officer to upgrade a water system or written up by the Ministry of Environment for exceeding effluent permits, but does not have the balancing government financial support.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo is dealing with three transnational highways and too often we are dealing with tragedies and deaths from accidents on some of the challenging sections of our roads. The throne speech commitment to the building Canada plan will not only support vital infrastructure needs, but also create important economic stimulus during these challenging times.

Government is not simply about administration of silo departments. We often have overlapping interests and the ability to create multiple wins. The throne speech commitment to introduce sensible policies that can help consumers improve our environmental well-being can be met in many ways.

For example, in the House yesterday I paid tribute to the partnership between our government, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and one of our large ranches in the region that have now preserved over 8,000 acres of environmentally sensitive grassland that was home to many endangered species. This success is a great example that the approach to the environment does not need to be in isolation from our other interests.

I am confident that in the upcoming months there will be endless creative approaches available to us in support of other struggling industries such as forestry. Our government believes in the fundamental ability of Canadians and our industry to adapt to a changing world and will be strategic with this support.

My response to the throne speech would not be complete without acknowledging the aboriginal people of Canada and the many bands within my riding. The government's stated commitment to ensure that aboriginal Canadians fully share in economic opportunities is a critical obligation.

Kamloops is the proud base for the First Nations Taxation Commission. Officially it began its operations on July 1, 2007. The commission describes its role as helping to reduce the barriers to economic development on first nations land, increase investor certainty and enable first nations to be part of their regional economies. The FNTC will essentially fill the institutional vacuum that has prevented first nations from participating in the market economy.

It was with great pleasure that I met with the Chief Commissioner of the FNTC and heard about his vision and enthusiasm for how the commission would create practical and measurable improvements, not just a commitment of words but a translation into action.

I thank the House for the opportunity to give this speech in support of the Speech from the Throne. As I have listened to the debate over the last six days, it is clear that although we are from different parties, many of our goals for Canadians are similar. We may differ in our opinions as to the best way to accomplish these objectives, but a willingness to consider all ideas is what Canadians expect from us.