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

Canada Post April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this week on Hamilton Mountain, Canada Post is installing new super mailboxes in flagrant violation of municipal law. It is digging up municipal property and installing concrete pads without any permits or permission from the city.

Hamilton's duly elected city council has been clear: Canada Post cannot use municipal land without a permit. Will the government show respect for the people of Hamilton and the council they elected, or will it allow Canada Post to simply bulldoze ahead?

Petitions April 22nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to table a petition signed by hundreds of people in my hometown of Hamilton who are opposed to Bill C-51. The petitioners agree that terrorism is a real threat and must be confronted, but they also agree that, instead of making Canadians safer, Bill C-51 is dangerous, vague and likely ineffective. Instead of passing Bill C-51, which would threaten our rights and freedoms by giving CSIS sweeping new surveillance powers without proper oversight to prevent abuse, the petitioners agree with New Democrats that we cannot protect our freedoms by sacrificing them. For all of those reasons, the petitioners call upon the House of Commons to stop the attack on civil liberties and join the NDP by voting down Bill C-51.

While the rules of the House do not allow me to endorse a petition, let me conclude by saying that I am delighted to have so many residents of Hamilton Mountain get actively engaged in this important petition campaign.

Petitions April 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to table a petition with over a dozen pages of signatures from Most Blessed Sacrament parish in my riding of Hamilton Mountain.

The petitioners join with thousands of others in endorsing the campaign of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, entitled “So Much Love”. It is a global call to action to support small family farmers who are the guardians of the world's seed biodiversity. In a very real way, they are fighting to protect the future of food.

The petitioners ask the government to make two concrete commitments. The first is to adopt international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize their vital role in the fight against hunger and poverty. Second, they want the government to ensure that these policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers and that they protect the rights of small family farmers in the global south to preserve, use and freely exchange seeds.

While the rules of the House do not allow me to endorse a petition, I share wholeheartedly in the desire to build a more just and sustainable food system for our human family.

Committees of the House March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations in relation to the review of statutory instruments.

Petitions March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, for all of those reasons, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to stop these devastating cuts to our postal service and look instead for ways to modernize operations.

The Conservatives continue to find millions of dollars for their well-connected friends, it is time they found a way to keep the mail coming to our doors.

Petitions March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to give voice to the frustration, and dare I say, anger felt by many of my constituents about the Conservative government's decision to cancel door-to-door mail delivery and install community mailboxes.

Petitions continue to flood in, and I am pleased to be able to table 20 more today that were circulated at a recent public meeting organized by municipal councillors to lend their support to our campaign to save Canada Post. My federal NDP colleagues and I have been at the forefront of that fight since January of last year. We all know that we cannot save a business by cutting services and raising prices.

The petitioners are appalled that the Conservatives would allow Canada Post to eliminate home delivery for millions of customers, set up community mailboxes without taking residents' legitimate concerns into account, put thousands of employees out of work and then have the gall to raise the price of stamps.

Our postal service helps connect us, and these cuts will unfairly impact the most vulnerable in our society, including seniors and people with disabilities.

For all of those reasons, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to stop these devastating cuts to our postal service—

International Women's Day February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, March 8 marks the tenth International Women's Day I will celebrating as a member of Parliament, except that it is not much of a celebration. Instead of eradicating barriers to women's full economic, social, and political participation, the Conservatives have been erecting them.

They have actively undermined many of the advancements essential for the security of women by backtracking on pay equity; eliminating funding for the court challenges program; failing to create a national child care strategy; decreasing support for international gender-equality projects; failing to address violence against women; attempting to restrict women's reproductive rights; failing to improve the lives of aboriginal women; lacking strategies to address the specific challenges faced by women of colour, women from the LGBTQ community, and women with disabilities; reneging on the commitment to bring in gender-based analysis across ministries; failing to improve women's pension rights; closing three-quarters of all Status of Women offices; and eliminating even the mention of gender equality from the mandate of Status of Women.

It is a daunting list, but New Democrats will not give up the fight. We know that Canadian women deserve fairness, affordability, opportunity, equal pay for work of equal value, a decent standard of living, and the freedom to live without fear. We will never stop in our efforts to ensure the full and equal rights of all women.

Employment February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there is more bad news about jobs this week and still no plan from the Conservatives.

Today, 383 workers at Wrigley Canada in Toronto found out they were losing their jobs. After 52 years, production is going to shift to Gainesville, Georgia.

This comes right on the heels of other hard-working Canadians losing their jobs in retail: 17,600 families got hit by Target's closure, because a foreign company bought out their stores and then shut them down; 400 jobs lost from Tim Hortons corporate offices, along with Sony closing 14 stores and Mexx closing 95 stores. In total, 16 different chains have shut down or pulled out of Canada.

What do we get from the Conservatives? They are playing politics with the legitimate concerns of Canadians about safety from terrorism. They are planning tax cuts for the most well-off. They are delaying their budget.

Canadians deserve better, and this year they will get better when the NDP forms government.

Pipeline Safety Act January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I really do have a plethora of things on which I could comment. I will start with a point that I did not get to highlight in my speech as much as I had wanted to.

One of the things that is obviously true in Canada is that much of our pipeline infrastructure is aging. It is one of the reasons why Canadians are so concerned about the possibility of spills. The Americans are way ahead of us on that, or at least in recognizing there may be a problem.

Members in the House may be aware that there has been a second spill in Montana. This spill was near the city of Glendive, Montana. Over 40,000 gallons spilled and contaminated downstream water supplies. Relatively speaking, I guess that was the minor spill of the two spills that happened in Montana. However, when the local senator, who is a Montana Democrat, was asked about that, he told the media that more frequent inspections by regulators were needed and older pipelines should face stricter safety standards.

In Canada, we are going the exact opposite way. As I said, in 2011 it was pointed out to the government that we needed greater oversight and stricter regulations. The Conservatives, as my colleague from Scarborough Southwest said, are gutting regulations. They have gutted the navigable waters act. It is no wonder that Canadians are concerned about pipeline safety in our country.

I do not often say this, but in this instance we ought to be taking a page out of the book that is south of the border, where the Americans are actually taking environmental damages and the potential for environmental damages more seriously than we are in Canada. Canadians deserve that kind of certainty when it comes to potential impacts on the environment.

Pipeline Safety Act January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I posted on social media some time ago that Canadians had been as nice to the nearly departed as they were to the dearly departed. The same is holding true in the House. I thank my colleagues for their comments. It is unfortunate that I was unable to use those comments in my last election brochure, but it is better late than never.

I welcome the question about absolute liability, because my colleague is absolutely right. It seems with the government that, often, these numbers are just pulled out of thin air. The member will recall that we debated nuclear liability in the House, not just twice, but three times, I think. Each time, the amount of money that the government had included under the liability regime changed. There was never any reason given for that change in numbers nor, frankly, for the first number that it chose.

Now we are dealing with a bill that targets that number at $1 billion, as was the case with nuclear liability and offshore liability. I suppose we should at least celebrate the fact that there is some consistency here. However, we do need to have a close look at that number in committee.

If we believe in the polluter pays principle and that companies ought to be responsible for the environmental damage that they cause, the number ought to be whatever the cost of environmental damages. If it is $1.2 billion, companies should be paying $1.2 billion. The figure of $1 billion is entirely arbitrary.

Perhaps the question about how the government got that number would have been better put to the minister. It will not surprise my colleague that I cannot speak for the Conservatives. Getting into their minds has always been scary place for me, and I would not venture to do that here today. However, it is a point that we will definitely have to pursue once the bill gets clause-by-clause scrutiny in committee.