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

Customs Act December 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to join my hon. colleague in paying homage to this wonderful institution and the pleasure it has given me to serve here, knowing that over the next 10 years we will be anxiously waiting for it to reopen.

Canada is an open and welcoming country. Those who need protection come to our shores because they know they can find refuge here.

We have invested over $173 million to strengthen our security operations at our border, to ensure that they are fair and faster in processing asylum claims. Our government is committed to having a strong asylum system.

My hon. colleague mentioned several times in his speech that Canadians want a system that is safe, orderly and compassionate. The CBSA has been doing that for years, even before we were elected into government.

He also mentioned a lack of empathy a couple of times in his speech. I am wondering why he mentioned a lack of empathy. I do not want to question whether it was related to his previous government's position of cutting $390 million from the CBSA, or developing a massive asylum claim backlog, or cutting health care for refugees. Was he relating that lack of empathy to the previous government? It certainly is not related to ours.

Status of Women December 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the last day of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. Over the past 16 days, we have reflected on the lives of survivors of violence and the lives of those we have lost. During this time, we also thought about the role we could all play to prevent and address gender-based violence, strengthen our communities and build a better Canada.

Could the Minister of Status of Women update the House on the actions our government is taking to end gender-based violence and build resilience?

Opioid Crisis in Canada December 10th, 2018

Madam Chair, the member for Sarnia—Lambton mentioned a couple of really great suggestions around pharmacists and nurse practitioners. As we think about the comprehensiveness of our approach, it is really important to think outside the box. I have listened to some of the debate about the education we have done.

I was recently at a movie, where I saw educational commercials about the opioid crisis. We are expanding into non-traditional spaces so the stigma is removed. We are looking to provide additional education.

One of the things we did really early on was provide $5 billion toward mental health. We are not just looking at what happened. We are looking at ensuring individuals have the services they need, especially for people who are 25 years and younger, and ensuring they have the treatment they need to recover and get out of what they are in right now.

Could the member talk a little more about the comprehensiveness of the strategy we are employing around this national tragedy?

Women, Peace and Security Ambassador December 6th, 2018

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise to speak to this motion today. I do apologize for some of the confusion that happened.

Before I go any further, today is December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Of course, on this day we remember the 14 who were murdered and the 10 who were injured in 1989 at École Polytechnique. I want to change the tone a little, because of this day and its significance, in how I usually give my speeches.

A couple of days ago, I had an opportunity to read an article by the Harvard Graduate School of Education entitled, “What's love got to do with it?” It speaks about John Miller's new book and the role that love and compassion play in education. I was wondering how we could introduce that concept here in Parliament and in politics. I know that each of us in the chamber has different perspectives and different ways of ensuring that Canada will be a better place. At the centre of everything, we love our country and are compassionate about our constituents.

As this may be the last speech I give in this particular chamber, I promise to do things differently. It gives me great pleasure to speak to Motion No. 163, by my colleague, the member of Parliament for Etobicoke Centre, on the establishment of an ambassador for women, peace and security. It is a wonderful opportunity to speak with love and compassion about people around the world, especially the most vulnerable among us, and the love that we have for our planet.

When we look at why individuals are placed in very precarious situations, it often has to do with climate change, which is the destruction of our planet, or with conflict. In both of those situations, women and girls are often most vulnerable. They are often used as weapons of war. They are often very much strategic targets of violence.

In the time that I have, I want to speak a little about what Canada has done so far to ensure that this natural progression to the establishment of this ambassadorial role is fitting, and how it fits within the context of what we have done so far.

As members know, I was the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Development. In that term, I had the tremendous pleasure of being with our Minister of International Development and launching our feminist international assistance policy, where which we put the promotion of women and girls at the centre of everything we did in that policy. We know that the best way to eradicate poverty, to look to achieving some of the sustainable development goals, which I did not have an opportunity to speak to earlier but which are really important, is to ensure that we are putting women and girls at the centre of everything we do.

The feminist international assistance policy, although it had women and girls at its centre, had five pillars. The first pillar was to promote human dignity and to support access to quality health care, to nutrition, to education and to timely needs-based humanitarian assistance. Again, we know that human dignity is at the centre of ensuring that we have a world that is free from violence.

The second pillar was growth that works for everyone, to ensure that women have access to economic opportunities that work for them and access to resources that help them achieve economic independence.

The third pillar was environmental protection and the encouragement of climate action, supporting initiatives that governments are taking to ensure that we are looking after our planet and are building resilient communities. Again, women and girls will be disproportionately impacted by what happens to our planet.

The fourth pillar was to support inclusive government and to work to end gender discrimination by promoting and protecting human rights, which an ambassadorial role would help to ensure not just domestically but also internationally.

Lastly, around this central focus on women and girls, the fifth pillar was to help strengthen global peace and security, to support greater participation of women in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction.

It gave me great pleasure to be in that role.

In November 2017, we launched Canada's national action plan on women, peace and security that went from 2017 to 2022.

We put a lot of thought into this. If I could look back over my time in Parliament as I speak about love and compassion, I could see that the initiatives that we put forward here, the passion and the dedication we put into these policies, clearly indicated our love for our communities, our country and our planet. Maybe people will not think it as they are watching on the television. We used a whole-of-government approach when we launched this national action plan for women, peace and security. Global Affairs Canada, the RCMP, DND Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, Status of Women Canada, Immigration Canada, Public Safety Canada and the Department of Justice were all involved in creating this plan.

The plan has five objectives: to increase the participation of women; to prevent impunity and respond to gender-based violence; to promote and protect women and girls' human rights; to meet the needs of women and girls in their settings, often in fragile states; and to strengthen the capacity of peace operations by increasing the number of women there.

We heard from my hon. colleague that when we add women, we strengthen the peace process. Gender equality creates a more peaceful society. Having women in prevention, mediation and resolution of conflict, in humanitarian responses and peacekeeping and peace-building; in post-conflict resolution; in counterterrorism; and in counteracting violent extremism increase all peace and security efforts. That is why I am so honoured and proud to stand in support of this motion put forward by my hon. colleague from Etobicoke Centre.

It has been really important to stand with a Prime Minister who, on a number of different occasions, has stood on the world stage to promote gender equality.

Canada led a coalition of partners in the G7, including the U.K., Germany, the European Union, Japan and the World Bank in announcing $3.8 billion for women and girls' education. This has been the single largest investment in women and girls' education in conflict and crisis situations ever.

When we talk about peace and security, we cannot look at it within a silo. We have to look at it holistically. We have to look at how education, legal and climate play a role in ensuring that we leave no one behind. We need to take an approach that is inclusive, that works to true inclusion regardless of age, race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion, class or identity. Everyone can be a part of a solution that helps to build peace and security and leave no one behind.

It is with great pleasure that I support my colleague from Etobicoke Centre and Motion No. 163, to support an ambassador for women, peace and security, to assure that we have a high-level person in charge of advancing a women, peace and security agenda, both here in Canada and abroad.

While I am standing, I would like to wish everyone in the House, those watching on TV in Whitby, and all Canadians, a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and secure new year.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act December 3rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this bill will look to fix some of the problems created by the previous government.

As our government moves to ensure we move forward on the path of true Truth and Reconciliation, I wonder if my hon. colleague has any additional comments on how the bill would ensure recognize the importance of indigenous rights and move toward reconciliation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague spoke about leaving the country in better shape than it was when we came to government.

I would remind him that ours is one of the fastest-growing economies in the G7. We have put policies in place to ensure that we are lifting 650,000 people out of poverty, 300,000 of whom are children. Next year, a family of four will receive $2,000 more in its pocket than it is currently receiving. There have been 500,000 new jobs created by Canadian small and medium-sized businesses. In Bill C-86, we have introduced a social finance fund to help charitable organizations. We have introduced a poverty reduction strategy.

What would the member say to his constituents who are benefiting from the policies we have put in place?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 27th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for focusing her concerns on areas in her riding. We have been taking a whole-of-government approach from the very beginning, which ensures that we are listening to stakeholders to ensure that when we introduce Canada's first national poverty reduction strategy, we do it in a way that would eliminate poverty. We are establishing an official poverty line for the first time ever in the history of this country.

We know the devastating effects of poverty. We want to reduce poverty and ensure that we are giving her constituents and constituents in my riding the best possible chance. I was at a school the other day for the breakfast program.

We want to ensure that we are listening to everyone. We want to make sure that our poverty reduction strategy has a real impact on Canadians across the country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 27th, 2018

Madam Speaker, we are keeping our debt-to-GDP ratio low. The investments we have made to date have ensured that we have created the conditions in this country that have allowed our small to medium-sized businesses to create over 500,000 jobs. We have invested in technology and skills training. We have invested in public transit in Durham region, the largest investment in public transit we have ever seen, which allows us to reduce our carbon footprint as well.

We have made investments to ensure that Canadians have a bit more in their pockets. Over the next year, an average family of four will have $2,000 more in its pocket to spend on the things they find are necessary.

We are reducing poverty, we are investing in communities and we are helping to grow a strong Canada, and that is what Canadians find important.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 27th, 2018

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to talk to Bill C-86. Since we came into government, we have really focused on the middle class and those working hard to join it. This legislation would help us to continue along that trajectory, continue to make Canada one of the fastest growing economies in the G7 and continue to help ensure that Canadian companies are able to create good middle-class jobs. In fact, they have been able to create over half a million jobs. Our government created the conditions with investments to ensure that these companies and Canadians would be able to grow and prosper. It has done so through our trade and other investments in education and skills training, and will continue along that path.

However, I want to focus my comments today on three specific points that I will ground within the sustainable development goals. Earlier this year, I was with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in New York to present our voluntary statement to the United Nations on the sustainable development goals. Canada has a role to play to ensure that we reach those 169 targets and 17 goals by 2030. We are well on track to do that. We have been doing it from day one.

I am going to focus on particular components of the sustainable development goals emphasized through this budget. The first is goal 5, one that is really important to my heart. It has to do with gender and ensuring that we have gender equality in our country. As we are in the midst of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, I want to ensure that my actions matter. Speaking to this particular legislation, Bill C-86, allows me to do that.

What we have in front of us are a number of different initiatives that would help to ensure we have gender equality in Canada. Our government has legislated gender budgeting, made Status of Women a full department and enacted proactive pay equity legislation.

With regard to Status of Women becoming a full department, the future department of women and gender equality, it is nice to have the word “wage” included in the title when we are introducing proactive pay legislation. When we think about the fact that indigenous women, women of colour, women with disabilities, religious individuals, people with different sexual orientations and women who are too old or too young face disproportionate negative impacts and barriers in their workplaces and communities, it is important that we be sensitive. When we are enacting legislation, it is also important to look at how our legislation impacts individuals differently. By legislating gender budgeting and ensuring increased participation of women, especially the ones who are most vulnerable, we are working toward supporting women and girls and reducing the gender wage gap. We are making sure that our country is prosperous for everyone.

The current gap of around 20¢ per dollar of earnings between what men and women make grows proportionately bigger when we think about some of these vulnerable communities or look at intersectionality. When there are different intersecting identities, we see that the gap between men and women gets larger, so ensuring that our country is prosperous for everyone is really important.

As I mentioned, having a full department dedicated to the status of women, the women and gender equality department, is really important. It will have an expanded mandate for gender equality, including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and for the promotion of a greater understanding of gender diversity, often through what is known as a gender-based analysis plus.

We need to ensure that we have the capacity to leverage movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up and ensure that every woman in this country feels that she has a place and is valued and respected. The initiatives we have taken so far with regard to gender will ensure that this happens.

Continuing with my theme of the sustainable development goals, goal 8 speaks to decent work and economic growth; goal 9, industry, innovation and infrastructure; goal 10, reducing inequalities; goal 11, sustainable cities and communities; and goal 16, peace, justice and strong institutions. To tie up all of those goals is really the work that we are doing with stakeholders in the charitable sector.

I worked in research before I came into politics. I owned a research management company, but I worked with organizations like Neurological Health Charities Canada, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, Parkinson Canada, Epilepsy Durham and many organizations in my riding like Sunrise Youth Group in Whitby or the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre, of which Kenadie, a sixth grade student, is a very strong champion. She came to see me in Ottawa last year.

These charitable organizations are the foundation on which our middle class rests. They are the ones that do a lot of hard work to ensure that we are able to continue to function as a society. For example, the Sunrise Youth Group supports adult individuals with developmental handicaps so that their parents can go to work. This is what our charitable sector does and it really is a strong part of our society.

In strengthening that role of our charitable sector, we are ensuring that charities are able to do the work they want to do on behalf of Canadians. We are removing the limits to their political activities, allowing charities to participate fully in policy development. They could provide feedback on legislation and legislative proposals. We are providing a permanent advisory committee on the charitable sector.

The charitable sector is one of the sectors that contribute to our economy. It can generate up to $2 billion in economic activity and create as many as 100,000 jobs. The charitable sector is growing, is vital, and innovative. It does a lot with very little and we need to support it. Our government will be providing supports and resources of up to $750 million over the next 10 years to support and establish a social finance fund. When we look to our charitable organizations to provide support for our families, we need to support them. That is what we are doing here in this budget implementation act.

The last things I want to speak to are goal 1, no poverty; goal 2, zero hunger; and goal 3, good health and well-being. When we look at reducing poverty and ensuring that people have the capacity to live a full life and contribute to our economy, we need to look holistically at the social determinants of health to ensure that we help create the conditions that allow Canadians to live their best lives possible. With our poverty reduction strategy, programs like the Canada child benefit, our national housing strategy, enhancing seniors benefits, the Canada workers benefit, we have lifted 650,000 Canadians out of poverty, including 300,000 children.

We are developing our first national poverty reduction strategy and establishing for the first time ever an official poverty alliance. We are looking holistically at ensuring that Canadians of all stripes will be able to have a good quality of life. Since October 2015, we have hit the ground running to ensure that this happens in a comprehensive, holistic way. Not only are we going to be able to achieve our sustainable development goals and the agenda 2030, but we are doing it here in Canada. We are taking leadership by ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to succeed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 27th, 2018

Madam Speaker, in his support of Bill C-86, my hon. colleague talked about IP and IP strategy. As a member of the industry committee, I can attest that it really is important to understand that a comprehensive IP strategy helps businesses not just to protect their IP on the home front, but to grow and succeed and then be able to export to international markets.

I am wondering if my hon. colleague can also talk about what he is hearing from small businesses in his riding about this strategy, its comprehensiveness, the fact that it would include education and the ability to grow and prosper, and how it has impacted businesses in his riding.