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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was accessibility.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Windsor—Tecumseh (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Pensions June 7th, 2019

Madam Speaker, in 2015, the Liberals promised all working people change to make their lives better, but workers and retirees in Windsor—Tecumseh and in the rest of Essex County can still lose their pensions, their deferred earnings, because the Liberals broke their promise. They did not fix the bankruptcy laws that put their wealthy insider friends ahead of hard-working Canadians.

New Democrats know that people rely on their pensions to retire with dignity and to take care of their loved ones. Are the Liberals going to explain now what they are doing to protect pensions?

Sport June 6th, 2019

Madam Speaker, it is good to hear the response that there is firm resolve to move forward, to work on this issue and solve this crisis. Indeed, that means we will have to listen to the athletes and the expertise.

Many scholars have taken a very serious and academic approach to what has happened. I held a symposium on Parliament Hill and I brought in many of those experts. Indeed, we need an independent investigative body that frees up all the stigma and financial burden on these sporting organizations. In fact, if the process I described earlier is not satisfactory, there is the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. It already manages the drug testing system for athletics. We could make another—

Sport June 6th, 2019

Madam Speaker, the government has heard from many athletes across Canada and it has heard from me. We are all pressing the minister for the same thing: that an independent body be established that has the mandate to investigate claims made by athletes of sexual abuse or harassment in sport.

I am sure we are all familiar with the history of sexual abuse and harassment in sport, so I will not go into the many well-documented cases that have been reported in the media in recent months. It is reasonable to refer to this situation as a crisis, a crisis that requires swift and decisive action.

Recently publicized was an open letter from “a coalition of multi-sport organizations, researchers and retired athletes [that proposed that the government establish] a single, independent, arm's length system of education, investigation and compliance.” The NDP also calls for the establishment of such a body. The letter said:

Canada is at a crossroads in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of gender-based violence in sport. It is clear that the 1996 Sport Canada policy to prevent harassment and abuse in sport has not been effective.

Sport-by-sport self-regulation means that there will be as many different approaches to gender-based violence as there are sports bodies, a situation that is inconsistent with the principles of uniform treatment and the values of Canadian sport.

Here is the process now for an athlete who has been sexually abused or harassed.

First, the athlete must go to his or her national sport organization with the harassment or abuse complaint, and the NSO hires an investigator to investigate. The organization can either find its own investigator, and many admit that they do not know how to do this, or it can go to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada and access the list of investigators it has compiled, which it has spent a considerable amount of time compiling. Either way, the athlete has no input into who will do the investigating, while the NSO has total control and pays for the investigator.

Second, the SDRCC mainly deals with disputes between national team athletes and their NSOs. It does not hear disputes for anyone who is not a national team athlete, and that means over 99% of all athletes. Only Athletics Canada has its own ombudsman office, which hires independent investigators and publishes their reports.

This is not an athlete-centred approach to dealing with this crisis. It is doubtful that many young people would subject themselves to it, knowing that they must go through their national sport organization first. This set-up would discourage those who have been abused from coming forward.

The minister must make this more independent and athlete-centred. She must change the process so that athletes can go directly to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre and make the complaint, after which the SDRCC would help to choose, with the athlete's approval, the investigation team. The SDRCC, not the NSO, would pay for the investigation, and the report would be made public. This is the approach the government would take to this serious issue if it were serious about addressing it. The minister is giving most of the authority in this endeavour to the organization that represents virtually all abusers, as history tells us: the Coaching Association of Canada.

Additionally, all people with a complaint about harassment or abuse in sport could use this service, not just national team athletes and not just athletes. Employees, volunteers and everyone who has alleged abuse or harassment within Canadian sport should have access to this investigative service.

When women started coming forward about a certain former Canadian Olympic Committee executive, most of them were not athletes. They were employees, consultants and volunteers. The COC interviewed every one of them, but to this day it has not made the report public and most complaints would probably be resolved through mediation and would not require a lengthy investigation.

The point is that the government has chosen to completely ignore advice from leading sports researchers and scholars in this country.

Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights June 6th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I appreciate hearing from the hon. member, but I understand from the rules that we should be speaking to the bill. Therefore, I question the relevance of this to the bill.

75th Anniversary of D-Day June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP, I am privileged to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Gratitude certainly shapes Windsor and Essex county. On the waterfront are monuments to lives and moments that shaped our country.

D-Day is a culmination of stories, acts of bravery and sacrifice, like the battle of Dieppe, which took many sons from the Essex Scottish Regiment of Windsor either to their grave or to a POW camp. The allies learned lessons from Dieppe, so the victory of D-Day is owed to all who suffered.

Our factories retooled quickly so that they could make artillery, and it was the women at home who did the job. The Canadian Historical Aircraft Association next to Windsor airport once housed No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School. Windsor pilot, Captain Tommy Brannagan, flew his famed Spitfire against the Nazis and today the terminal at Windsor airport is named after him. It is the Windsor Spitfires who take to the ice and pay tribute every day.

Our Legions preserve, keep and share these stories, and that is the most cherished tribute of all.

International Trade June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, we are no further ahead after all that. The Conservative government had an arrangement in place that gave us exactly what we have right now. That is a shame. There is an immediacy when it comes to the human rights aspects of this issue.

Besides the cases the Canadian courts have agreed to hear, there is a legal argument mounting globally that governments and corporations have a duty of care to protect citizens, consumers and investors from risk.

This is the international community. This is several countries that already have legislation in place on corporate accountability. These are countries that already have modern slavery and supply chain transparency and due diligence reporting mechanisms in place. Canada has none of these--

International Trade June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, during the 2015 election, the Liberals repeatedly promised voters they would act to improve the record of Canadian companies operating abroad.

In 2016, after the election, the Prime Minister went to the UN and declared “Canada's back”. He said that Canada would pursue a seat on the security council.

Then he received an open letter, signed by 183 countries and NGOs, urging him to do something to address the many instances in which Canadian mining companies were associated with human rights and environmental abuses.

Four United Nations bodies have called on Canada to hold Canadian companies accountable for their operations overseas. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has had three hearings on the subject.

In January 2018, the Minister of International Trade held a flashy press conference, replete with labour leaders and important stakeholders, to announce the government's intention of establishing an office of the Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise or CORE. It was an impressive photo op, one that presented an air of expectation of action.

The minister confidently declaimed, “The progressive trade agenda...includes Canada’s strong commitment to responsible business conduct and the respect for human rights of workers and local stakeholders in Canada and around the world.” He continued, “The ombudsperson will be mandated to independently investigate allegations of human rights abuses arising from a Canadian company’s activity abroad.””

Flash forward 15 months, in the fourth year of the government's mandate, and what do we have? After this long wait and much inaction, the international trade minister announced that a former petroleum industry lobbyist had been appointed as the ombudsperson, but that the proposed investigatory powers the government clearly stated CORE would have were under legal review for a month. Seriously?

For years we have been asking the government what would happen when it enacted such an office without using a legislative process. It is cutting the powers. It befuddles me that it does not understand the difference in what was done and the concerns that have been raised around the world about this shortcoming.

The ombudsperson's power is limited to recommending the government withdraw economic and political support for companies that refuse to participate in the process in good faith. The New Democrats and stakeholders, as well as the UN, have repeatedly told Canada that this approach simply does not work.

It is quite obvious the government has a serious problem when it comes to corporate accountability. The SNC-Lavalin saga offered a glimpse into the extraordinary influence that one powerful company could have on Canadian politicians at the highest level.

The people of my constituency champion social justice around the world and they expect the corporations that they patronize and work for to be transparent and accountable when it comes to corporate ethics.

Therefore, I ask the government to inform the Canadian public how and when it intends to honour its commitments fully.

Persons with Disabilities June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, dozens of workers with developmental disabilities were fired from their jobs after the Liberal government shut down the National Archives program that employed them. Liberals have promised to find them meaningful work within government, but nothing has been done. When the Prime Minister was asked about the fate of these workers, he gave empty talking points.

These workers deserve better. They want to know, will the Liberals commit today to replace those jobs they took away?

Persons with Disabilities June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, Mr. and Mrs. Karki, age 66 and 69, missed their flight from Vancouver to Edmonton after being left in their wheelchairs without assistance for hours at the airport. They could not go to a washroom or even get a drink of water.

The Liberal government passed an accessibility act that exempts the Canadian Transportation Agency from enforcing it. How can we rely on airlines to include people with disabilities when Liberals failed to make it mandatory in Bill C-81?

Persons with Disabilities May 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, last Friday in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh, at a pleasant local restaurant called River's Edge, I met with conscientious community members for a quiet lunch. The first rule was no talking, which is what I want to talk about today.

I want to thank members of our culturally deaf community, Gary Vassallo, Erika Thibert, Deborah Martinez, Christopher Newman, and our sign language interpreters, Christie Reaume and Lana Hildebrandt, for helping us with this experiential learning opportunity.

The quiet lunch allowed us to deepen our understanding of being deaf. We had business improvement association members and business leaders from car dealers to front-line bank workers, all working to improve their customer service and do their part to remove barriers.

I thank those in Windsor—Tecumseh for always looking for ways to make progress and to be an inclusive community. It is because of them that we can celebrate the accessibility—