House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Calgary Nose Hill (Alberta)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Flag March 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

When an official news conference is held at one of our embassies or high commissions is the display of the Canadian flag discretionary at such an event?

International Women's Day March 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I rise on the occasion of International Women's Day to express my personal appreciation for the opportunity to live and work in Canada, a country in which citizens have the freedom to pursue personal and professional goals with few systemic barriers based on distinctions such as gender or racial and linguistic background.

Where our laws and the actions of our governments discriminate against anyone today, let us change those laws and actions and pursue the goal of equal treatment for all Canadians.

Our pursuit of fairness and open opportunities for all Canadians should command our strong support and commitment, not because we are women or men or happen to have any other identifying characteristic, but because we are Canadians.

I urge all members of our society to continue to work together to move away from an emphasis on difference and special status. It is my belief that our proudest moment will be when we as Canadians can truly celebrate equality of citizens day.

Winter Olympic Games February 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to commend our Canadian athletes at the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

These athletes deserve our full support and recognition for their hard work and the commitment they have shown to excellence in their sport.

I wish to make special mention of one such athlete, Susan Auch, a resident of my riding of Calgary North who on Saturday, February 19, 1994 captured a silver medal in the 500-metre speed skating competition at Hamar Olympic Hall. Susan is the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic medal in long track since 1976.

On behalf of the residents of Calgary North I want to extend sincere congratulations to Susan Auch for her outstanding achievement.

Supply February 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it concerns me when we are talking about a fundamental issue of democratic rights and freedoms and it is turned into a sort of partisan attack. It is like saying that since a six-year old party did not sweep the country it has no legitimacy. That is not helpful.

The member says that the wishes of the people are taken into account and the fact that a government is elected is sort of a carte blanche for whatever it decides to do because, after all, it got the mandate. Recent history shows that is not the case. The past government was elected and put in place the GST over the violent objections of Canadians. This government recognized it to the point at which it is prepared to withdraw that tax.

The Charlottetown accord was supposedly put forward by the past government with a great mandate. That was rejected by the people. Just because a government is elected does not mean that whatever it does for the next four years somehow has legitimacy. There have to be checks and balances on the decision making process over the next four years. That is what we are saying.

Why would anybody worry about an educational process? Surely that is exactly what we need to do in the country. We need to let people know the issues, to let them know the pros and the cons of the issues so they can make judgments themselves through us as representatives on the issues of the day.

I hope the hon. member is not saying that Canadians are not capable of receiving education and making good decisions. Surely that would be undemocratic. There must be an educational process. That happened again during the Charlottetown referendum debate. In fact the educational process was very disproportionately weighted on one side of the issue, yet people still made a decision based on the evidence they had. We should not be afraid.

Supply February 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for her comments. With respect, however, it is an insult to Canadians to suggest that their thousands of signatures are a false straw dog. They should count for something.

Yes, members can introduce private members' bills based on petitions, but what happens to them? They go into a lottery. Quite often they are not even debated or voted on.

Yes, we can work for these things in committee. But should not petitions signed by thousands of Canadians have more significance and not just go into the mill? Should they not be treated with some sort of acknowledgement and respect by the people they are presented to?

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If we go to someone with a request we expect a response. We expect them to say whether they agree or whether they will to support us. The petitions come to us as members of the House. They deserve more than just to be tucked away and perhaps to be the basis of a private member's bill or maybe raised in committee some day.

These kinds of initiatives on the part of the citizens deserve a better response. That is what I am saying. I think Canadians would agree with that. Otherwise why would they bother wasting their time with them?

Supply February 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, this is a very interesting debate today which is near and dear to the hearts of Reformers.

During the election campaign just a few months ago the candidates' forums that I attended were very interesting. The Liberal candidate, a very fine individual, had a line in her speech that went over very well with the crowd until I got at it. It was: "In a few days time you people will be the boss. For those three or four minutes when you are in the ballot booth you are going to be the ones who decide what happens for this country for the next four years". That is true.

My response to that was Canadians in a democracy should be in charge a whole lot more than three or four minutes every four or five years.

This debate is important because it goes to a very fundamental, philosophical definition of democracy. It is, do what the people think and want count between elections? I would submit, and I think it is borne out by what happens in our country that right now it does not count for very much. We have heard a number of members argue vehemently that it should not either. To me that is fundamentally wrong.

I believe that many Canadians would like to sit where we sit, would like to have the time and the opportunity to examine the issues before our country and to make decisions based on that evidence. However, not all of us as Canadians can do that, given the time and constraints of our other duties and responsibilities and perhaps other factors. Therefore, on the democratic principle of one person, one vote we elect our own representatives.

We should underline the word representative. In the past representation has been a minuscule element in what happens here in Parliament. In the past it was not what the people we represented thought that counted so much as what the party we represented thought. If that had worked well we would all be happy with it. It really has not worked well.

When we get down to a style of representation that is dependent on what the party thinks, then it is the people who decide for the party who decide for parliamentarians and decide for the whole country. We get to the point at which a very small group of people decides everything because what it decides is supported by the other people in its party who dominate Parliament which decides things for the country.

That is really the problem we are trying to fix. If this small group of people had consistently made wise decisions, respecting our opinions, that carried the judgment of Canadians I think we would all be happy with that system. All of us have a life. We would be happy to live our lives, to pay attention to our business or professional interests or family interests and let this wise small group of people run everything, if it was doing it well. It has not.

The fact of the matter is that this group has buried us in debt. It has not listened to what we want. It has not respected our viewpoints. This has been shown over and over again in the last Parliament in which we had members of Parliament standing up and actually saying bare faced to people in public meetings: "I do not care if 90 per cent of my constituents oppose this legislation, I am supporting it because it is right for Canada".

With respect to some of our representatives in the past, it is our money that is being spent as Canadians, it is our future that is being shaped by these people who seem to know so much better than we do what is right for our country. I do not feel in a democracy it is appropriate or even acceptable for a small group of people to say it knows best for everybody.

What wisdom is invested in people simply by walking into these hallowed halls? We do not know any more than most Canadians in spite of our breadth of background and the education that most of us have. We are simply here to do a job and that job has three elements. It has an element of a mandate because we campaigned on certain things. If we campaigned to balance a budget then we had better balance the budget. If we campaigned

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to listen to people and be open to people's viewpoints, then we had better follow through on that. If we campaigned on anything, then people expect us to keep those promises and they have given us a mandate to do that.

There are many things that come up in Parliament about which we have not specifically stood up in a campaign in those 50 days and said we are going to do this in this circumstance. Then we have to follow our own judgment in some cases because we cannot go back to our thousands of constituents and take a poll asking what they want us to do.

There are numerous occasions when the person elected has to use their best judgment. In that I agree with members opposite. There are also a large number of instances in which the issues are so big and so far reaching in consequence and so national in scope that it is only right and proper in a democracy that every citizen, after having an opportunity to make a full and fair examination of that issue, should be able to have input in it.

Otherwise we get into a situation we had in the Meech Lake debates and the Charlottetown accord in which a few people in this House think they know best for the country. It turns out that their wisdom, the wisdom of every single party in the House, is totally disconnected from what Canadians really want.

It is up to us as people who have been given a great deal of trust to fix that situation. In my view the way to do it is through these democratic reforms that we have been talking about. Other democracies use them. They work well. They connect what we do in this House as decision makers with the judgment of ordinary Canadians.

We have ample opportunity to use our wonderful and exalted judgment on any number of issues. We need checks and balances on that discretion, on that judgment, and that is all we are asking.

We have picked the issue of petitions to talk about today. Thousands and thousands of Canadians spend untold time, effort and trouble because they believe so strongly that something should be done and they appeal to us in a petition to do something. What happens? Things drop into the black hole. They are not debated. They are not voted on. They are rarely looked at. Many times people do not even know they were introduced because they were not introduced when the House was full. That is wrong. Canadians need to be able to feel that what they say to us counts for something. Nowhere is it more evident than in the petition making process.

This is only one aspect of where we as parliamentarians must start recognizing that we only represent people. We must be connected and accountable to those people whom we represent. We must truly respond to their wishes, desires and concerns.

I would submit to the House for the consideration of members that these changes are coming. I would ask that they be supported and that we work together to reconnect Canadians with the decision making process on their behalf.

Members Of Parliament February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I believe the only way to restore public trust in the judgment of Parliament is for Parliament to show greater trust in the judgment of the people.

Would the Prime Minister agree that one of the most effective ways of doing this is to give the people a direct role in major decisions from time to time through binding national referenda?

Members Of Parliament February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Prime Minister. When government members vote in the House on a particular issue, does the Prime Minister expect them to represent the position of their party, their personal judgment, or the majority view of their constituents?

Petitions February 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to introduce on behalf of constituents of Calgary North a petition bearing over 1,000 signatures, requesting that the government ban in Canada the sales of a serial killer board game.

The object of the game is that the person killing the most babies wins. This game is repugnant to Canadians. The petitioners pray that the government will ban the importation of the game.

We commend our colleague, the hon. member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, who introduced a private member's bill aimed at banning the importation of this terrible game.

I submit the petition on behalf of my constituents. I support them wholeheartedly in their request of the government.

Human Rights February 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the audit reports that the staff at the centre is overpaid an average of $10,000 and that the senior staff is rarely in the office.

Given that similar work is already being done by other public agencies this entire project appears to be an expensive retirement plan for the former leader of the NDP, complete with a $150,000 yearly salary. Will the government terminate this centre and save taxpayers more than $4 million a year?