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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

Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2020 January 26th, 2021

Madam Speaker, this is a very important debate that we are having today. The most critical things facing this country right now are the fiscal economic situation and, of course, the vaccine situation. I have the privilege and honour of speaking to the vaccine issue this evening, which is where I am going focus most of my remarks in terms of the fiscal economic update.

Before us today we have Bill C-14, a bill to enact certain provisions of the economic statement. As members are aware, we had an economic statement tabled in this House. It was a fairly significant update, especially considering that we have not had a budget in in this House in the last two years.

First of all, I want to talk a little about history, because if I am leery about what the government is putting before us, it is with very good reason. As many people may recall, at one point the Prime Minister made the very infamous, or famous, comments about how budgets would balance themselves, and from the heart out. Clearly, budgets do not balance themselves.

In 2015 the current Liberal government had the good fortune to assume a very strong economy and a strong fiscal position. After working our way through the global recession, which was an extraordinary challenge, Conservatives did exactly what we said we would do. We said were going to put some stimulus into the economy, and we put that stimulus in. We said we would get back to a balanced budget in a certain time frame. Many, certainly on my side of the House, miss our colleague Jim Flaherty, who was so articulate and so thoughtful in terms of how he was going to deal with both taking care of the economy of the nation and taking care of the government's finances.

After finding that budgets clearly do not balance themselves, the Liberals, who promised a balanced budget, found that they could not do that, so they started to talk about the debt-to-GDP ratio, and Liberals were actually having trouble meeting their fiscal anchors in terms of the debt-to-GDP ratio. Essentially what Liberals have done is abandon any sort of attempt at trying to maintain some sort of control, so we have no fiscal anchor.

Before the crisis hit, we had issues with an aging population and poor productivity. We had challenges and we were heading into some very difficult times. This was pre-pandemic. I do not know if people are aware of the flight of capital that was leaving this country because of some of the policies and positions the Liberal government was putting in place. We were seeing a flight of investments leaving Canada.

The pandemic, of course, is an extraordinary crisis, and countries across the world are having to determine how they are going to deal with this extraordinary crisis.

We now know that we have gone from a $20-billion-plus deficit to likely one over $400 billion and that we have surpassed $1 trillion in debt. Day after day, I have witnessed a Prime Minister out on the porch announcing significant dollars with unfettered concern.

I do want to say, for those Liberals who are listening, that yes, we supported those measures, and yes, they were important measures during these extraordinary circumstances, but we certainly did not support everything the Prime Minister was announcing every day. We did realize that the CERB and rental assistance had to go out. However, there is a difference between supporting measures in the pandemic and some of the unfettered spending that we have seen.

What we have before is a fiscal update and a vague commitment by the Minister of Finance that she was going to have to spend $100 billion to build back better, so Canadians can understand if we are a little leery in terms of what the Liberals plan to do and how they plan to do it.

Within this particular update, there are some important measures. I will talk about the area of specific concern in part 7 after I reflect on one part of what the concern was. This is where the government needs to do some soul-searching and really wonder how it handled this pandemic. I am talking about long-term care homes.

We know that the vast majority of the deaths from the pandemic have been in our long-term care homes. We knew that in phase one. When we look at the tragedy that is happening today and what is happening in our long-term care homes, it has to break our hearts.

I certainly remember that at the time, we said the government had a window of opportunity to prepare for phase two. We knew we had challenges in our homes and we knew we had some time between phase one and phase two. What happened? The government got so sidetracked with the WE scandal and other issues that, other than sending some money to the provinces to support vulnerable populations, it did nothing.

We now have a commitment from the government for a few things. One is $1 billion for our long-term care homes. It is too late. That $1 billion should have been in the hands of the provinces between phase one and phase two to deal with infection control and do the minor modifications that would make the environment safer through investing capital into infrastructure for airflow. The Liberals had a window of opportunity; they missed it, and now they are saying that they are going to give $1 billion. By the time that money gets out the door, hopefully our residents will be vaccinated, but they missed an opportunity to do what needed to be done, and now they are saying they are going to give $1 billion for measures that should have been done months ago.

The other thing is that their answer to long-term care was talking about national standards. Whether one agrees with national standards or does not agree, everyone in government knew that it would take years to develop national standards. It was not a measure that was going to deal with the crisis of the pandemic.

What we have is a government that was negligent. The Liberals were sidetracked because they were so busy handing dollars to their friends at WE that they did not do the basics that they should have been doing to prepare for wave two, and that negligence is on their shoulders.

That is just one part of the fiscal update, and when I read it, it broke my heart, because it is too late. It should have been there earlier, so I felt it was important to draw attention to that particular component.

To go back to the main legislation, perhaps the reason that I find it so difficult to support it is that we have not had a budget. We had an economic update. We had some very vague talk from the finance minister about building back better, picking their winners and losers and, if it is anything like WE, making sure that Liberal-friendly companies were part of that build back better idea.

What they have asked for in part 7 is spending authority to be able to borrow money that far exceeds even their $100 billion. For any parliamentarian to give that authorization for borrowing power to the Government of Canada without having had a budget in the last two years is, quite frankly, irresponsible.

Therefore, I would recommend that the government take part 7 out of this legislation. Let us move forward with those measures in parts 1 to 6 that are actually going to help people. That would certainly be an approach that would be supportable.

Small Business January 25th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, in the last few weeks I have met with a number of new small businesses that had the misfortune to open just prior to the pandemic. They include Ohana Deli Market in Sun Peaks. In every case, the owner put their heart, soul and, in some cases, their life savings into their dreams. These businesses have fallen through the cracks and the government refuses to offer them a lifeline.

Can the minister reassure these entrepreneurs she is working on a solution and that they will not be left behind?

Indigenous Affairs December 7th, 2020

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives have always put a priority on an action plan for murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. However, this government has a history of not delivering on its promises. Last week, it was about not delivering on clean drinking water. This week, it is about failing to address violence against indigenous women and girls.

Instead of establishing a real plan, the minister is simply throwing money at the tragedy. When will the minister announce a national action plan with the dollars targeted toward that plan?

Indigenous Affairs December 7th, 2020

Madam Speaker, on December 8, 2015, the government launched an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Fast forward five years and it still has yet to deliver its promised action plan. The government, at best, has instituted a lack of action plan that can be seen in the most recent updated economic statement, which was really just a patchwork of spending that should have been targeted.

When will the government share a proper plan?

Criminal Code December 2nd, 2020

Madam Speaker, palliative care throughout the country is a real gap, and it is an important part of our health care system. That was always to be part of how we move forward. Medical assistance in dying was to be part of a larger piece and was to be part of a comprehensive look at what was available in palliative care. We had a colleague who put forward a motion, and nothing was ever done with it.

Criminal Code December 2nd, 2020

Madam Speaker, that was a very profound statement by the minister. I did talk a bit about the process in the Senate, but we needed to get it right in the House. We had proposed many amendments. We know the disability community is very concerned, and they have raised some very powerful specifics.

The current government did not support the amendments that were proposed. To be frank, I think we are going to have some more challenges when it hits the Senate. We should have made sure it was a good piece of legislation before sending it to the Senate.

Criminal Code December 2nd, 2020

Madam Speaker, obviously the courts and their decisions are very important, but I also believe every single one the 338 parliamentarians thoughtfully engaged their constituents and spent a lot of time reflecting on what is a really significant piece of legislation. A mechanism needs to be built in that lets us take a very cautious step, review it and then make sure things are okay. Then we need to look at other the pieces.

I do not think we need to look to other countries. We are one of the few countries around the world that has this kind of legislation, so taking those very cautious steps, reflecting and then perhaps readjusting the legislation is important. This should have been, in our opinion, referred to the Supreme Court. There are still many unresolved issues. It would have been better to have a more focused five-year review process.

Criminal Code December 2nd, 2020

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to debate Bill C-7 at report stage. This is my first opportunity to speak to this really important piece of legislation.

The government has a deadline and of course is trying to rush this process through, but we have to remember that the Liberals prorogued Parliament for six weeks. I have to say, again, that the government's lack of planning is not my emergency. We had a number of days where important debate could have happened prior to the Liberals dealing with their deadline issues. I look at those six wasted weeks, and I believe we should have been sitting and dealing not only with the emergency issues but with some of the legislation that was critical.

I want to reflect with some general comments before I specifically talk about the report stage. In 2016, Parliament was debating the initial legislation for medical assistance in dying. It was very thoughtful debate. It is perhaps some of the most thoughtful, heart-wrenching debate that I have witnessed and been part of.

We have 338 parliamentarians, and we had legislation that was introduced in a partnership. One of the ministers who introduced it, as members are aware, was Dr. Philpott, who is no longer in this Parliament. She was a doctor, so she brought the lens of the health care provider to the conversation. The other minister was the former attorney general, who is now the member for Vancouver Granville. What we had was careful, very thoughtful debate by 338 parliamentarians, representing 37 million Canadians. We came up with what we thought was a reasonable framework for the first five years. Those five years is where we have to be very careful. This is new and it is something very profound. This is life-altering. We need to be watchful and worried about this.

I was very supportive of the original legislation in 2016 and all the way through, because I felt the ministers were listening, taking in amendments and adapting the legislation so that there was a level of comfort with it. In my riding, there was a lot of work in terms of polling, and I believe that most of my constituents were also favourable. It was in the 70% range. We had round table after round table.

When I voted for the original legislation, I believed I was representing my constituents and I was also representing how I felt about moving forward. I was also comforted by some very careful protections and safeguards.

What we have now is a judge from the Superior Court of Québec who made a decision, and a government that chose not to refer it to the Supreme Court. We know that the current Attorney General, right from the word go, wanted to expand that. He voted against the legislation, saying he did not feel it went far enough when it was originally presented. He was in the minority of parliamentarians. Clearly the court decision in Quebec aligned with his personal beliefs, as did the decision by the current government that it would not refer it to the Supreme Court.

From my perspective, this court ruling undermined Parliament's power to issue broad legislation aimed at protecting the rights and interests of the elderly, ill and disabled, and preventing suicide.

I find it kind of interesting which section of the charter the judge quoted. It was deemed to be violating and infringing on “life, liberty and security”. The word “life” is in the charter in section 7, but here we are, talking about dying as opposed to life.

I was comfortable, as I said, with the original legislation. In the debate at the time, I talked about the potential slippery slope and that we would have to safeguard against it. I knew that there were some unresolved issues, and the five-year review that was built into the original legislation should have been the opportunity for Parliament to, first of all, see what happened in the first five years of this very profound legislation and then look at those unresolved issues, as opposed to one court decision about one particular section of this.

Many people talk about a slippery slope. I am almost wondering if we are heading down an avalanche path, on which there are going to be no safeguards that remain, which will be a real problem.

I understand that, out of the 81 witnesses at the Senate, there was no one who actually supported the legislation. Many thought there were gaps, but there was also a number who, like in the other debate, felt that it needed to go further. However, there were 81 witnesses and no one said that this was a well-crafted piece of legislation.

Certainly, we are very aware that there have been people who have been vocal. The disability community has been very vocal in terms of its concerns about what this legislation would mean to its members. Regarding indigenous communities, I noticed a tweet from a very prominent indigenous person who said that had that 10-day waiting period not been there, they would have lost a relative before they should have lost that relative. We also have had many physicians who have expressed their concerns. I always recall an email that I got very early on that talked about how life can be very difficult and messy. He said that it spills all over the floor.

However, in terms of this pathway the government has chosen to deal with those very difficult concerns, there is no question that people have profound struggles in their lives, in terms of health issues and where their life path is taking them. I do not think anyone diminishes that, but we have only had this original legislation for five years, and it needs to have that five-year review process. It needs to be very carefully looked at.

The government suggests that it did a lot of engagement and says that it had an online process, which most people in my riding had no awareness of. The government says that it has struck the right balance. I will go back to my original comment. I support medical assistance in dying. I have witnessed the very difficult challenges that people have in their lives, but this particular piece of legislation is, in my opinion, poorly crafted. It is taking out many of the protections that we thought were important to have in place. The approach of the government now, contrasted to 2016, when it truly was listening to parliamentarians and truly caring about what different people had to say, is almost “my way or the highway”.

In conclusion, I supported the bill at second reading. I wanted to hear what the witnesses would say. There are parts of it that I can actually agree with, but on balance, I think we have not created the right balance. Unless there are some very dramatic changes, I will not be able to support it in terms of the next step.

Again, it is really important, and I urge all members to think very carefully about whether this has struck the right balance, when we have so many people from vulnerable communities who say it has not.

Business of Supply December 1st, 2020

Madam Speaker, the biggest tragedy is the billion dollars that is to be used later as opposed to between the first and second waves. That money could have been well used by the provinces in preparing for the second wave, training their staff, infection control measures, capital improvements and—

Business of Supply December 1st, 2020

Madam Speaker, I want to first start with the preamble to that question. The Liberals talk about vaccines. It is true they put their eggs in the basket of China. Procuring multiple doses per Canadian is important, Health Canada approval is important, but what is most important is when we will see those vaccines put into the arms of people. I need to compare that to Australia, where we can look at a plan that is clear and transparent. Last night, I looked at the plans for Canada and Australia. There is no plan for Canada. Australia's was simple and easy. All Canadians are asking for is a transparent view of how we are going to get to the end of the—