House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was workers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Hamilton Mountain (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2006 May 12th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with the member for Markham—Unionville that this is a meanspirited budget. It does very little for hard-working families. The member is right. It is clearly an attack on the most vulnerable in our community.

I think the Conservative government has simply taken a page out of the Liberal government's record on how to write a budget. The Liberal government has never presented a budget that was any more friendly for the vulnerable in our community. I am thinking about the hard-working seniors in my community. They have worked hard all their lives. They have done everything right and yet they are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.

There is nothing in the budget for seniors in any of our communities. Yes, the government talks about some income tax credit that will benefit very few seniors in my community of Hamilton Mountain. Where is the real increase to public pension benefits? Where is the increase to CPP? Where is the long awaited increase to the OAS and the GIS? Those are things for which seniors have been clamouring for years. They did not get them under the Liberals. It is another missed opportunity under the Conservative government as well.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act May 9th, 2006

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-270, An Act to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Employment Insurance Act and the Employment Insurance Regulations.

Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to introduce Bill C-270, the short title of which is the workers first bill, which will at last put workers first in the event of a bankruptcy. In a country that sees over 10,000 commercial bankruptcies a year, it is essential that any back wages, benefits or pension contributions owing to employees rank first when the assets of a bankrupt company are distributed, not last, as is all too often the case.

It is also necessary to make consequential amendments to the EI act so that benefits to workers from the distribution of the assets of the bankruptcy are not clawed back as income from benefits under EI.

Finally, through this bill, the process will be expedited by which employees can seek redress from the directors of a bankrupt company should there not be enough remaining assets to distribute to make up back wages, benefits or pension contributions.

This bill is vital for protecting working families in Canada. I want to thank both the United Steelworkers and my colleague, the member for Winnipeg Centre, without whose friendship, support and tireless work I would not have been able to bring the bill before the House today.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

The Budget May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Hamilton Mountain the budget is being greeted with trepidation and reservation. Voters in my community remember only too well the minister's record when he was part of the Harris government in Ontario whose budgetary policies gutted health care in our province.

The Conservatives threatened to close the Henderson Hospital, jeopardized access to home care and did nothing to address the unprecedented shortages of family doctors in our community. In fact, they laid the foundation upon which Premier McGuinty is now building his P-3 hospitals and justifying the privatization of health care.

I had hoped that the Minister of Finance would have learned from his mistakes in Ontario and not repeated them here. However this budget did nothing to expand public home care which not only impacts the most vulnerable families in our community, but is directly linked to opening up beds in our acute care system.

The budget did nothing to reduce wait times for surgeries which would have meant investing in training and skills, upgrading for health providers, particularly nurses and nurse practitioners. The budget did nothing to act on the recommendation of the provincial premiers by enacting a national drug plan which could have saved Canadians $2 billion a year. This budget is simply a missed opportunity.

Pensions May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, in this budget, the Minister of Finance proposed to hide $3 billion of taxpayers' money in the Canada pension plan, a plan that is viable without that investment for at least another 70 years. Moreover, the budget was silent on enhancing public pension benefits for our seniors, who so desperately need financial security to retire with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Instead of hiding surplus money for questionable purposes in what should be a “pay as you go plan”, will the minister commit today to investing that money in a pension benefits guarantee fund to protect the thousands of workers and retirees whose pensions are put at risk by the 10,000 commercial bankruptcies a year?

Points of Order April 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated during statements by members, I rise on a point of order to request unanimous consent for the following motion: “That this House waive notice of the private member's bill which redefines Remembrance Day as a legal holiday in the Holidays Act be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to a committee of the whole, deemed considered in committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at the report stage and deemed read a third time and passed”.

Canadian Forces April 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the brave men who lost their lives in Afghanistan. They served our country with honour and distinction and deserve our respect and thanks.

The Prime Minister has indicated that he will not respect the tradition of lowering the flags to half-mast in honour of those who have died serving our country, nor will he allow Canadians to participate in the solemn ceremony of paying our respects as the bodies are returned to Canada.

The Prime Minister suggests that November 11 is the only appropriate time for honouring the men and women who died serving our country in wars and in peacekeeping efforts.

I take the Prime Minister at his word and would ask him to demonstrate his commitment by giving unanimous consent to both waiving notice and passing today my private member's bill which amends the Holidays Act to make Remembrance Day a legal holiday and to give it the same status as Canada Day.

I will give a copy to each House leader. I would ask all members to remain in the House after question period so that we can unanimously endorse this sign of respect for those who have sacrificed their lives for Canada.

Federal Accountability Act April 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the contribution made by the member to this debate. I would like the member to elaborate a little more on the spending limits and full disclosure on leadership contests. As the member will know, there is still some uncertainty about what happened in the last Conservative leadership race, and as the Liberals are about to enter into a leadership race, although I guess they are in the middle of it now, I would be interested in hearing a little more about that.

As Ed Broadbent said in his wrap-up of work on this very important subject before he left Parliament, political parties are not private clubs. The public has a right to know who is financing leadership bids. I know the people in my community of Hamilton Mountain would be very interested in being assured that there will be full disclosure and transparency and in the end that there will be public accountability for who is financing the leadership bids.

Federal Accountability Act April 27th, 2006

My apologies, Mr. Speaker. I was speaking about the member for Vancouver Kingsway. He certainly is not the only one or the first one in this institution who has crossed the floor, but I think that is a fundamental breach of trust with the voters in his constituency.

Any bill that wants to address real accountability needs to speak to the accountability of politicians to the people who elected them. I wonder whether the member could just take a few minutes to express his views on that very important omission in the bill.

Federal Accountability Act April 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I very much welcome the comments the hon. member has made on the accountability act.

Let me say first that I am really quite disappointed that we need to legislate accountability from government to Parliament and that we have to deal with this act at all, but apparently, after the last 12 years in particular and the way the Liberal government conducted itself, it is now necessary for us to deal with this in a legislative manner. I do welcome the Conservative government's bill.

I also appreciate the member's very detailed analysis of that bill. He has focused on many of the items on which I would have wished to talk today, so I will be very brief.

I wonder if the member could perhaps explain his position on what to me is the most fundamental omission in this bill. Yes, this bill deals with government's accountability to Parliament, but it does very little to speak to our accountability to the people who have sent us here, who have expressed their faith and their trust in us as elected members. This bill would do nothing to stop parliamentarians from crossing the floor immediately after an election. Mr. Emerson's crossing the floor certainly is not the first--

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply April 24th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to say that I do find common ground with the member of the government in that we both believe that the last 12 years were ones of broken promises. Therefore I am delighted to at least start this part of my participation in Parliament in a conciliatory way.

Having said that and because nothing is ever unequivocal in this place, I do believe that the love of parents is absolutely important in the development of children but there is a reason why most Canadians do not home school their children. It is because the educational system offers excellence that we cannot provide at home. Let us be clear that child care is part of an early childhood education system. It is not a babysitting service. It is not in lieu of parenting. It is something that we absolutely must provide to give kids the best start in life.

I am sorry but on that we will not agree but let us chat some more about 12 years of broken Liberal promises.