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

National Defence Act October 1st, 2018

Madam Speaker, from what I am hearing from the discussions on this piece of legislation, it seems like we could all agree that victims' rights are particularly important. This piece of legislation balances civil rights and the rights within our military. It enshrines victims' rights within the National Defence Act.

My hon. colleague spoke about wanting to get it to committee, to study it at committee, and to be able to provide some possible amendments when it gets to committee. Would my hon. colleague not agree that we should move forward with this and get it to committee?

Gender Equality Week September 25th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, for this first Gender Equality Week, I decided to capture the thoughts of some young people on its benefits. Johnny Chavannes, a fifth grader from Jack Miner Public School, who happens to be my son, said that Gender Equality Week allows us to ensure that all people are recognized for what they do for Canada and that people can be successful no matter their gender.

Fae Johnstone, a fierce transfeminine and non-binary Twitter follower of mine, said that it is an opportunity to applaud the progress that we have made, but also to be honest about surviving and thriving under the harsh realities of patriarchy, transphobia and other forms of oppression, and to ensure that the voices and realities of gender-diverse and marginalized communities are central in the fight for gender equality.

Lastly, Brianne Olu-Cole, a grade 6 female student at Captain Michael VandenBos Public School, said that this week is important so that society will know that no gender is superior to another and that we are all equal. Our young people get it.

Happy Gender Equality Week.

Accessible Canada Act September 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague said that this piece of legislation would have no impact and no tangible results. I wonder how an able-bodied individual can speak for those who require legislation and leadership to have equity in this country. This piece of legislation would provide that. If the member looks at the charter statement related to this piece of legislation and if he reads it through comprehensively, he would understand that.

There is the length of time, and the member said this had no sense of urgency. I would say that over the course of these last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to talk to many of my constituents at town halls and listen to what they said. They said that with this piece of legislation we need to take the appropriate time to ensure we get it right. We have seen it fail in other jurisdictions. They wanted to make sure that they were not just cared for, but able to work. They wanted to make sure that their complaints were adequately taken care of and that there were compliance measures to ensure that compliance to the legislation was in effect.

In my opinion, the Conservatives need to pick better battles and this is not one that they need to battle on. I would hope that they would support this piece of legislation and do right by the member's constituent in his riding.

Accessible Canada Act September 24th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for the passion with which she spoke to this issue and for using examples of not only her son but people in our community.

I have had the opportunity to have a number of round tables in Whitby on this piece of legislation, the accessibility act. One of the things they talked about was that they do not want to be cared for, that they want to be able to do things themselves, so I really did appreciate some of your sentiments.

One of the other things that people in Whitby spoke about was that they want to ensure that organizations are compliant. The bill grants the accessibility commissioner, the Canadian Transportation Agency, and the CRTC the powers of inspection and investigation. How important are these powers to ensure there is compliance and that we are truly making an inclusive Canada?

Petitions September 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present e-petition 1590, which has been sponsored and certified by the clerk of petitions. It has been signed by 514 Canadians.

The petitioners call on the government to establish the last day of February each year as “Rare Disease Day”. Rare diseases affect many Canadians, including a young woman from my riding of Whitby named Victoria Lacey, who visited me on the Hill last spring as part of the Canadian Association for Rare Disorders' lobby day. Knowledge and treatment of rare diseases is still fragmented, and Canadians diagnosed with rare diseases face a host of challenges for which this day would help increase awareness.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Madam Speaker, one of the reasons we put the CPTPP first on the docket is because we realize the importance of trade. We are a trading nation. When I knocked on doors this summer, many constituents in Whitby were concerned about what is happening with NAFTA, with steel and aluminum. We are demonstrating to the people of Whitby that we are looking at new opportunities to grow their businesses, to give them preferential and duty-free access to an area with over 500 million individuals. Access to those markets is a commitment of this government. This government is demonstrating that we believe strongly in small businesses, we believe in their capacity to expand, and we have confidence in their ability to grow and thrive within the Canadian market and beyond.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the member opposite started by saying that I did not mention auto. I did mention auto. I said I would be remiss if I did not mention auto at the end of my speech. I do not expect that the member opposite would agree. We have heard from New Democrats for most of today and yesterday that they do not agree with this particular trade agreement. In fact, they do not agree with many trade agreements.

I will talk about tech for a minute. We have made it very clear that we want to negotiate very good deals for Canadians. Our government has been very clear on ensuring that we are making investments in innovation, investments in ensuring that tech companies and other companies have a level playing field to be able to do well and succeed. We have made the necessary provisions within the CPTPP with intellectual property to ensure that they are succeeding.

When it comes to auto, again we need to be clear that our auto manufacturers within Whitby, within Cambridge and across the country, especially in Ontario, are facing challenges with NAFTA, with steel and aluminum. The ability to diversify our markets, to allow them to get their goods and services and auto parts to different markets is necessary. If the New Democrats cannot get on board with that, then I am not sure what they will be able to get on board with.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to express my support for Bill C-79, an act to implement the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership between Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. I really do support this piece of legislation, particularly because where I come from in Whitby we have a lot of small businesses. We have a lot of middle-class families that depend on the growth and success of their businesses to be be able to provide for their children and to be able to provide for themselves for years to come.

The fact is that the CPTPP allows access to Asia-Pacific markets. It is something that will really benefit not just the people of Whitby or the people of Durham region, but people right across the country.

This particular agreement will open a market to an additional 500 million customers, resulting in 40% of the world economy. This allows us to not be solely reliant on the bulk of our trade going to the United States but opens up those markets and allows our businesses to be able to thrive in other jurisdictions. It is one of the largest free trade agreements in the world with access to a trading bloc of 495 million people, with a combined GDP of over $13.5 trillion. Canadian businesses will get preferential access, market access for our exporters to key markets in the Asia-Pacific region. I think that is critically important.

One of the things that Canadians need to understand about this agreement and one of the things that we want to ensure that Canadians know and Canadian business owners know is that we have full confidence in their ability to grow their businesses and to do well by their customers, and to put forward business plans that allow them to grow. We have seen that over the last three years. We have seen the Canadian economy being the fastest growing in the G7.

Our small businesses have created 500,000 jobs since we have taken office. They are the engine that drives our economy and we are creating even better conditions for them to get their goods and services to market.

We have the lowest unemployment in 40 years. Our middle-class families are seeing and feeling the positive effects of our policies. A family of four right now here in Canada will be receiving $2,000 more in their pockets, so we are seeing the economy doing well. How do we make that better for businesses?

I am going to go back to the previous speaker, who said that it was a tough three years and then he spoke about creating a level playing field for businesses. This government has done that. We reduced the small business tax rate for our businesses down to 9%. We are making sure that there is a level playing field. However, we can and we will do more. We are actively diversifying our trade, which is something that Canadians, when I go to the door in Whitby, are concerned about. They are concerned about NAFTA. They are concerned about steel and aluminum. They want to ensure that this government is taking the steps to not only make things better here on the ground but to also look forward and think how can we make things better. How can we allow our businesses to have access?

I want to talk about a couple of businesses in Whitby specifically. Whitby has a company called Greenwood Mushroom Farm. Not a lot of my riding is rural, but we have a few farms on the north end of the riding and they are really sophisticated, innovative enterprises. Greenwood Mushroom Farm is state-of-the-art facility in north Whitby.

Windmill Farms is the sales, distribution and marketing division of Greenwood Mushroom Farm, one of the largest mushroom-producing companies in Canada. It was built in the early 1960s. It has grown. They have made massive investments, ensuring that they are innovative and staying top-of-the-line. Going through the facility, there is no smell. They have a state-of-the-art compost facility. It is actually remarkable, and I would invite anybody to come to Whitby to tour this fantastic farm.

The reason that I bring up the Greenwood Mushroom Farm, and I could bring up any number of farms in Whitby, is because of the benefits we see for agriculture and agri-food products through the CPTPP. They will benefit from immediate, duty-free treatment of tariffs on many products, to be phased out gradually. This will create, of course, new market opportunities, not just for vegetables and fruits but for other Canadian agriculture and agri-food products, beef and pork, cereals, maple syrup, spirits and a wide range of goods.

I know the owners and people who work at Greenwood Mushroom Farms would appreciate the fact that we are looking at different ways for them to sell their products globally in a competitive way.

Again, this goes back to who is within these organizations. This is not some arbitrary company that is trying to grow. These are Canadian families. These are middle-class families that are trying to do the best they can to work at an organization, to stay competitive, to be able to expand and grow, and do what they need to do for their families.

I would also like to talk about the technology industry. I think many people will be surprised to hear this. In Whitby, we have a number of thriving businesses in our downtown core. We are having an immense revitalization of our downtown. It is becoming a place where people want to hang out. We no longer go to Toronto; we stay in Whitby. There are things to eat and drink, and activities for families. People like to be downtown.

It has the ability to be a place where people live, work and play. There is no longer the need, or we are creating what is no longer the need, for people to go to Toronto to go to work. We have companies like geekspeak that do global work, and companies like 360insights that work in international markets.

Our tech industries are really supportive of the CPTPP, more than the TPP, because of the provisions we negotiated in intellectual property. These are companies of middle-class families. I actually knocked on the doors of the owners of geekspeak. I have seen their children. I know who they are. They want to be able to provide the services that they have taken from a little idea in a basement to a thriving enterprise within downtown Whitby, and to then take it to beyond the global enterprise that they currently have.

It is critically important to understand that our companies want to be able to grow and succeed, and we are giving them the access to do that. We are creating the conditions by which they will be able to grow and succeed.

I would be remiss if I did not speak about the auto sector in Durham region. We have heard from many colleagues in here about the auto sector, and the challenges with NAFTA, with steel, with aluminum. The diversification of our products, goods and services to Asia-Pacific markets will help.

Right now most of our trade goes to the United States. The opportunity to have that go to a market of close to 500 million people will really impact our businesses in a positive way. We have confidence in our businesses. We have confidence in our small businesses. We have created the conditions domestically for them to succeed. We are now creating the conditions for them to succeed internationally.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for agreeing to vote favourably for the bill. He spoke about it being a rough three years for businesses and how this government needed to level the playing field for businesses.

We reduced the tax rate for small business down to 9%. The Canadian small businesses under our government have created over 500,000 good middle-class jobs that have allowed Canadians to succeed. We have created conditions where there is the lowest unemployment in over forty years. We are investing in families. We have invested $350 million in the dairy industry, which he brought up in his speech, $250 million for technology and equipment and $100 million for modernization.

We are making investments that help create a playing field for businesses to do well, but are also creating the conditions to allow them to expand to other markets and grow their businesses successfully.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act September 18th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I sat through the debate yesterday and today on this particular issue. I heard the member for Essex specifically point to me as the member for Whitby and express her chagrin about the CPTPP and what will happen to the auto sector.

Yesterday as well as today, the member for Durham spoke about the confidence he has, much like our government has, in the auto sector, in its competitiveness and ability to compete in a global market. I wonder if the member opposite could talk about Durham region, GM being in our neck of the woods, and how with this particular trade deal we can continue to be competitive and do well for Canadians and particularly residents in Durham region.