House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was accessibility.

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

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Elections Modernization Act October 25th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Windsor—Tecumseh, Canadians see right through this. We call it “Eddie Haskell politics”, because what we have here are a lot of smiling faces and earnest declarations, as the minister just said, to ensure that we are doing what is right. Therefore, let us make it clear. After a mere two hours of debate, the current government has called time allocation on an exercise of electoral reform that every Canadian has a vested interest in, no matter their age, because of the legacy of it. I just wanted to make that clear to Canadians.

Petitions October 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I, too, rise with a petition on behalf of concerned Canadians who are raising awareness about the urgency of the situation of minorities in Afghanistan. They urge the government to act with special and existing programming to address the plight of these people who do need our help urgently today.

I am tabling this petition with thanks to the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for his initiative in organizing us to make this very strong statement through the avenue of petitions.

International Trade October 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in January, the government announced that it will establish a Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise, also known as CORE.

CORE's jobs is to investigate the allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity abroad. However, here we are 10 months later and all that has been done is one announcement, one meeting, one phone call. No ombudsperson has been named yet and there is no mandate yet.

Canadians expect our government to uphold corporation responsibility abroad. Therefore, when will we see real action on this new human rights watchdog?

Postal Banking System October 22nd, 2018

Madam Speaker, I am very privileged to rise today to speak on behalf of the residents from where I live. In Windsor—Tecumseh, people are very astute and look around and shake their heads at a legislature's approach many times.

Canada Post is a perfect example of infrastructure that has been built and developed across this country, in every corner, but that is not being maximized. As a matter of fact, the private sector is looking at the profit-making areas of Canada Post in a very predatory fashion and is eroding Canada Post.

We have a perfect example today of how we should be maximizing this existing infrastructure. We have over two million Canadians who do not have access to a bank within their community. We have people who are subject to predatory lending. They have to go to payday cash lenders because banks have decreased the number of branches in their communities by some 20%. We have 45% of rural communities with a post office but not bank branch.

Today, we know of Canadians who have to take their government cheque to a payday loan operation and pay an exorbitant fee to get their government cheque cashed. There is something wrong with that.

The fact of the matter is that many of the comments today are based on a task force report that was done two years ago. There has been critical evidence in response to that task force and its premises in approaching postal banking with the aim of recommending that it not be pursued.

The first premise of the task force was not based on how we could improve Canada Post. It was based on how we could cut costs and services at Canada Post. That is a key distinction. The second premise of the task force was that it studied postal banking with the view that private banking sector was serving Canadians very efficiently. As a matter of fact, they called it “great service”.

Those two premises of the task force were wrong. They were erroneous. We have the expertise and evidence from over 60 countries with successful postal banking. We also have our own evidence and experience. People know that postal banking could be a springboard.

When we are on vacation and want to mail a postcard home, we see this when we are in these rural communities. For Canadians living in the real world, our wheels get turning when we see how that service could be maximized in that space. It could be a kiosk for Service Canada. It could be a starting point for Nutrition North delivery. There are all kinds of things the government does that we could maximize within Canada Post.

The problem that we have is that we are looking at everything in silos. Postal banking is a perfect example of how we could increase the well-being of Canadians. That social cost when we remove it does become, ultimately, an economic cost.

International Trade October 3rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the failure of the Liberal government to get the U.S. to lift the steel and aluminum tariffs is hurting employers in my riding of Windsor, in Essex County and the rest of southwestern Ontario. Tool and mould manufacturers that rely on specialized metals from the United States are fed up. The government failed to secure an end to the punitive tariffs imposed by the U.S. during the recent USMCA negotiations, and some of these businesses have already had to relocate to the United States. What is the government doing to keep jobs in Canada now?

International Day of Peace September 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is International Day of Peace. It is a day for us to commit to building communities without fear, building communities of well-being instead of a sense of power that comes from control and fear. International Day of Peace is a new supplementation to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let all states today recommit to advancing the goals of peace in our communities so that we do not have to have commemorative days like this. How we and our communities operate needs to come from a place of peace.

Accessible Canada Act September 19th, 2018

Madam Chair, I thank my hon. colleague for her speech and interest in how we advance accessibility for the lives of all Canadians.

I agree that we need to have clear standards so that everyone can follow them. I am a big proponent of that. I have heard from people who are genuinely interested in doing their part. However, they need guidance. They do not want to just come up with something on their own, and the Liberals are expecting us to do that. It sounds like the member is somewhat enthusiastic for that also.

In terms of the shortcomings, through you, Madam Speaker, I am interested in hearing the member's thoughts about a timeline and how we would best embark on that, because I think we all agree that we need to have something in place if we are actually going to get the dominoes rolling.

Accessible Canada Act September 19th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his dedication and interest on this file and for being responsive to the people in his constituency as we try to make lives better for people living with disabilities.

A new agency is being established that is going to develop some of the model standards. I hope that they will reflect global standards, because we are already seeing that we are the beneficiaries of the work that other countries have done. People who travel in Canada and stay in American hotel chains have seen elevator buttons with braille on them. The corporations that do this kind of development said that they are going to have one standard and apply it in every country. Global investors like to see national standards that are reflected globally. It is easy and good for them.

For housing, it is the same thing. The developers in all constituencies are local guys who know their trade. They want to build accessible homes. They ask to be told what to do and plans are found for them. They want to do it, but they need us to provide these proven plans. It is so easy. People are eager, but we have to show them what we expect and they will meet those standards.

Accessible Canada Act September 19th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I do not want to give a blunt answer that the approach, as I said in my speech, is misguided. This gives me an opportunity to say this is why, as the minister mentioned, it is important to have the input of people with lived experience, because I have every confidence they will demonstrate for us that there is a better model, a better way for us to do this. This is where we need to make an amendment on paper that says we have more options and open doors. It is actually through speaking to people with lived experience today that we will find that maybe we have been misguided in that approach and there are ways that amendments can at least clean this up.

It is hard for the bureaucrats as well who have to work on the front lines. I am sure that all of you have had the opportunity to speak with those people.

I will leave it at that.

Accessible Canada Act September 19th, 2018

Madam Speaker, some of the easy ones, some of the low-lying fruit, which I did mention in my speech are things like when one is required to design an accessibility plan one is required to implement it. That is a no-brainer. I would reiterate the reflection that no one gets sweeping powers and exemptions. There are a few of these. I do not want to get too technical. I hesitate now because my brain goes into the technical and I know that is not very interesting to listeners.

If a decision is made, people need to have a place to appeal that decision. People need to know the reason. Right now those provisions are not consistent. There are exemptions and there are places people can go where human rights are trumped by the protocol that someone gets to make a decision and there is no appeal process for someone with a disability. Those, to me, touch on some of the core issues within the UN convention.