House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was ensure.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Independent MP for Whitby (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I believe it is very important to have a holistic approach to fighting mental illness. As I said in my speech, students are very concerned about their mental state, and it ripples all the way up to our military. We appreciate that our government is taking the issue of PTSD seriously, and all mental health issues, for our men and women in uniform. We hope this is further extended to our young people to ensure that suicide rates and other issues with mental health are decreased.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we all know how important and vital health care is to the sustainability of our communities and to every Canadian. As such, the Minister of Health said earlier this week that the government would continue to consult with the provinces to develop a new health accord, one which would take into account those affected by various conditions within our community, and ensure that there would be adequate resources supplied to our health care system to take care of Canadians properly.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the government has committed to not only raising the profile of PTSD and having a national action plan for the men and women in uniform, but it is my hope that it extends this plan to include all men and women in uniform across our country so mental health issues can be tackled. We know at present there is not a uniform system, especially for those in our communities who are afflicted with mental health issues. We hope that in consulting with our communities we will be able to have a national plan for all men and women in uniform.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Long Range Mountains.

I would like to thank the Speaker for the opportunity to address this assembly for the first time to give a speech in debate in the House. I congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, and all members for their for successful elections.

As someone who has had a successful career in brain research and is a passionate advocate for brain and mental health, I would like to thank the member for Ottawa—Vanier for the courage he displayed as he announced his diagnosis of ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. His fearless announcement put a spotlight on neurodegenerative diseases, and for that I am personally thankful to him. I wish him all the best that research, hope, and my family's prayers can offer.

I would be remiss if I did not thank my predecessors who were present during the 41st Parliament, Pat Perkins and the late Hon. Jim Flaherty, who represented the town of Whitby and the villages of Brooklin, Ashburn, and Myrtle with extraordinary passion, conviction, and pride.

Ten years ago my husband, Vidal, and I decided to make Whitby our home. Over the course of the past 10 years, we have benefited from the friendships of our neighbours, access to top-quality schools for our three children, Desiray, Candice, and Johnny, and a retreat to a tranquil and embracing community.

The people of Whitby have placed their trust in me through a piece of paper, a pencil, and a vote. I am forever grateful and humbled by their confidence in my ability to be their voice here in Ottawa.

Whitby is a growing town with changing demographics, a strong chamber of commerce, a business community, wonderful academic institutions, both local and within the Durham region, and world-renowned health and recreation facilities, like Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Science and the Abilities Centre.

Therefore, in this, my first address to the chamber, I would like to highlight a few of Whitby's assets to the national and international community.

Over 50% of Whitby's population has completed post-secondary education. We have access to highways 401 and 407, literally wrapping around our town. Its great institutions, like Durham College, for example, have a direct impact on the economic and social well-being of Whitby, the Durham region, and the province of Ontario. The economic impact of Durham College is greater than $800 million annually, and it has countless partnerships with businesses and other organizations in order to provide meaningful skills and experience to its students.

With our government's commitment to invest in public transit and social and green infrastructure, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class, the opportunities are endless for growth in Whitby's economy, because strong local economies lead to a strong national economy.

Whitby has recently been named one of Canada's best places for business, earning the fifth out of ten spots on Profit magazine's 2015 list. By leveraging our existing assets, national and international businesses can rest assured that an investment in Whitby is one that will yield mutually beneficial positive returns for years to come.

That being said, over 70% of the people in Whitby work outside our town. That is why I am proud that this government has committed to an infrastructure investment and public transit investment that could help create local jobs and keep the people of Whitby living, working, and playing in their own communities.

I will also highlight the men and women in uniform of the Whitby Fire Fighters IAFF Local 2036, the Durham Regional Police Services, Durham Region Emergency Medical Services, and the men and women in uniform across the country who need continuous and ongoing health support, especially related to PTSD. Daily, they run toward the kinds of situations and circumstances that make us run away. They deserve our unwavering support.

I am so happy that our government has pledged to give our men and women in uniform the support they need, and is committed to be a leader in this regard.

Further, mental health and addictions in Canada have devastating social and economic impacts. They are complex health issues that affect education, social services, employment, housing, and justice. In order to move forward with treatment and ultimately healing effectively, we must include all of those social systems.

I am encouraged by the desire of centres of excellence, like Ontario Shores in Whitby, to eagerly seek out collaboration in my riding to find new and innovative ways to improve treatment and care for those dealing with complex mental health issues.

I want to mention how proud I am of Ms. Beth Mah's grade 11 class at Donald A. Wilson Secondary School in Whitby who wrote a letter to our Prime Minister asking, among other things, that we think about including courses in school that address the whole student, including their mental health and stress management. These young leaders recognize the importance of mental health and I wanted to mention them today.

Lastly, I want to speak about Whitby's senior population. We have heard for many years that we will be faced with a number of issues related to the ever-increasing senior population. It is time we did something about it.

I applaud the Speech from the Throne's commitment to giving seniors a more secure retirement and supporting the health and well-being of Canadians with the development of a new health accord.

I believe that an integrated multidisciplinary approach to care is vital for our population. Complex and chronic care facilities are needed in order to ease the burden of our acute care hospitals. However, there is also a need to leverage the value of a home care strategy, which effectively utilizes the services of nurse practitioners in order to not only decrease health care costs, but allow our seniors in Whitby and across Canada to stay at home longer.

It is my honour and commitment to let this chamber know that the town of Whitby is not just a great place to be from, but it is a great place to be.

Again, I wish to thank the residents of Whitby and you, Mr. Speaker.

Happy holidays to all the members, staff, and families of the Government of Canada.

Business of Supply December 9th, 2015

Mr. Chair, my question is for the hon. minister and relates to the gathering of this data and how it can be used not only in decision-making but also to have an impact on our economy and allow it to grow based on gathering of data and better decision-making.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply December 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as this is the first time I am rising in this House, I would like to thank the residents of Whitby for allowing me to be here today and to congratulate my fellow members in this chamber for their successful elections.

The member pointed out that it was shameful that we do not join with our partners in eliminating ISIS and defending Canadians. Perhaps we should hold the applause.

I want to ask the member if his party is not up to date with the current strategy that Obama laid out yesterday, the strategy consisting of both hunting down terrorists and training Iraqi and Syrian forces on the ground. President Obama is re-evaluating his foreign policy and he is also thinking of doing things differently rather than continuing with air strikes.

Is the member making a statement to gain political points or is he in fact up to date with current strategy?