House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was victoria.

Last in Parliament August 2012, as NDP MP for Victoria (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Election of Speaker June 2nd, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I would like to congratulate all of my colleagues here today.

It is an honour and a privilege to sit in this House, to represent our constituents’ interests and values, and to advance public policy.

Before I begin, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the member for Kitchener—Conestoga whose wife passed away recently.

I present myself today to serve as Speaker with a singular focus on raising the tone of debate in the House to a level that restores the confidence of Canadians in their politicians and in this democratic institution. I offer to facilitate a process by which each of us and our parties commit to a higher standard of conduct, that we monitor our progress and that we make concrete procedural changes to support our goal.

During the last election campaign, many Victorians told me that Parliament should work in the interest of Canadians, not the interest of parties. In the time I have been here, I have tried to operate under that exact principle. Of course this is a partisan place. It is adversarial by design, and for good reason. However, unlike high school debates, the idea of parliamentary debate is not to score points but to make good public policy.

Each of us here represents different perspectives that our electors have judged deserve to be heard and, I dare say, incorporated in public policy so that government and Parliament truly work for all Canadians. It is absolutely not the Speaker's job to determine substantively how this is to happen, but it can be the Speaker's job to nurture, to foster and to maintain an environment where this approach can succeed. It is absolutely important that this be allowed to happen.

Imagine for a moment a parliament that functions well, a parliament where debate is intelligent, informed, witty and, above all, respectful.

Imagine a parliament where our interaction leads to more inclusive public policy, and thus to win-win situations for all Canadians.

I am not proposing a utopian project, but an objective that must be met to reverse the cynicism that Canadians feel toward their politicians and democratic institutions.

So I stand today, fully committed to the Speaker’s chief duty to preserve order and decorum in the proceedings of this House.

I also promise to protect the rights and privileges of every member, and to balance them with our responsibility to serve the interests of all Canadians, according to the rules of procedures of Parliament.

The Speaker cannot do this alone. All members of this House must also be committed to these goals.

I thus ask for the support of members today only if they are prepared to do their part to improve decorum, to work with me to improve the way we conduct business, our debates, question period and all of our interactions. I pledge as your Speaker to be guided solely by the will of the House and, if that will is resolute in the pursuit of a well-functioning Parliament, together we can restore the faith of Canadians in their Parliament.

Our outgoing Speaker said recently that federal politics had become less democratic and more partisan since he was a rookie MP. I hope that one of the rookie MPs here today will retire as MP one day and can say the exact opposite. Let us say today that the 41st Parliament was the turning point. Let that change begin today.

International Women's Day March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, today we mark 100 years of International Women's Day.

I was overwhelmed with hope this weekend when my annual IWD event filled the Belfry Theatre to capacity with women from across our community. Five of these women spoke about the issues that drive them and their experience in making change on literacy inequalities, clean energy, the environment and getting life-saving drugs to the world's poor.

These women are among countless others who are taking action where our governments and corporations have failed. As a society, we will do better when more women take a rightful place at the tables of decision-making.

Today, in honour of those who broke down the doors before us, we re-commit to breaking down many more doors for our daughters and granddaughters in the next 100 years.

2014 Juno Awards March 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, Victoria is a hotbed of creative industries and musical talent. Indie rockers Jets Overhead, violin sensations Timothy and Nikki Chooi, the eclectic Oliver Swain, and the ultra-cool Vince Vaccaro are just a few of the exceptional and inspiring musicians from the capital region of Canada's coolest province.

I am not personally on that list so I will instead use my speaking voice in the House of Commons to boost our community's exciting campaign to bring the Junos to Victoria in 2014.

I have connected the heritage minister with the bid committee which is planning a year-long celebration of Vancouver Island music in advance of the Juno ceremony.

We have the facilities, we have the best March weather in the country and we have extraordinary talent to host a rockin' Juno party in 2014.

Sustainable Communities February 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce that my city of Victoria has been named the most sustainable small city in Canada, the same week as we host municipal leaders from across the country at FCM's sustainable communities conference.

From the world-leading Dockside Green development to our sea to sky greenbelt, Victoria is demonstrating political will and creativity to achieve a sustainable economy, and to fight climate change at the same time.

Expanding public transit, including light rail along the Douglas corridor to the western communities, is a key strategy in our vision. But municipalities cannot do it alone. That is why we New Democrats devised a national transit strategy that would get the federal government to step up and support local efforts like ours, so that soon Canadian municipalities and cities will be the most sustainable in the world.

Petitions February 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I have a third petition signed by 70 of my constituents who are asking the government to accelerate the efforts to make the CCSVI treatment available to Canadians suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Petitions February 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions that Victorians have signed because of the diligent efforts of Chris Groot, an 18-year-old student at St. Michaels University in Victoria, to help more than 100,000 Canadians suffering from Parkinson's diseases and other neurological diseases.

The petitioners note the growing gravity of these conditions and are asking the government to increase federal funding for the prevention of neurological diseases and for a cure for Parkinson's disease.

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

With regard to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG): (a) what specific new measures is the government instituting to reduce GHG that will be in effect over the next two years and between 2011 and 2020; (b) what amount will be allocated in the next budget to deliver concrete measures to (i) support climate adaptation in Canada, (ii) reduce GHG from major Canadian emitters, (iii) incent conservation, (iv) increase energy efficiency for new homes and for existing homes and small businesses; and (c) what GHG reductions is the government committing to achieve in the next two years?

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

What is the total amount of government funding for fiscal year 2009-2010 and for the current fiscal year, allocated within the constituency of Victoria, specifying each department or agency, the initiative and the amount?

Petitions December 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I have another petition that I am pleased to present on behalf of my constituents.

The petitioners want to prohibit the import and export of horses for slaughter for human consumption as well as horse meat products for human consumption. My colleague, the hon. member for British Columbia Southern Interior, introduced Bill C-544, which would do just that.

Because horses are not generally raised as food producing animals, they likely contain prohibited drugs that ought to be kept far from our food supply. The petitioners also believe it runs counter to our culture to use companion animals such as horses in that way.

Petitions December 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by many Canadians who believe that multiple sclerosis is a medical issue of national importance and has major social, financial and medical repercussions.

They are calling on the government to act now to ensure that Canadians with MS have equal access to CCSVI treatment. Above all, they want the government to take immediate steps to expedite access to such treatment and open it to more people with MS.