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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

Human Rights February 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

An audit of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development in Montreal reports a waste of millions of taxpayer dollars. Will the government commit to acting on the recommendations of the audit?

Multiculturalism February 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the statement of the hon. minister was long on rhetoric but in our opinion very short on substance.

As the party in power for 17 of the past 25 years and the architect of the multiculturalism policy since 1971, the minister gave two examples today through which she was able to identify progress having been made in upholding diversity in the work-

place in the public sector. One of them was in the form of a plan of action prepared during 1992-1993 to increase the presence of visible minority performers and subjects in Canadian television and radio.

Twenty years after the multiculturalism policy was proclaimed the Canadian Broadcast Corporation finally made plans to be more inclusive of visible minorities. This the minister heralds as a great stride forward. Can we expect to wait another 20 years before this plan of the CBC is actually put into action?

This brings clearly into question the effectiveness of the official multiculturalism policy. Given the identification of the policy with the Liberals, it is particularly surprising that Liberal MPs from ethnic minorities have in the past been openly critical of the policy of multiculturalism. The Liberal MPs representing Toronto area ridings particularly were critical not only of the creation of a separate department but also of what they termed the ghettoizing nature of multiculturalism as a whole.

Expressing sentiments he said were shared by several ethnic minority MPs in the party, the member for York South-Weston argued that while the policy of multiculturalism may have been valid in the past, it no longer plays a constructive role.

I believe strongly that the policy is no longer valid or appropriate today. In effect, the present policy of multiculturalism is divisive. It divides Canadians. It is unfair in that it treats Canadians in different fashions. It is regressive and at times discriminatory.

That statement was by the member for York South-Weston.

In an article entitled Ethnic Pluralism Under Siege-Popular and Partisan Opposition to Multiculturalism from Canadian Public Policy , December 1992, Spencer's commission argues for refocusing official multicultural policy as follows:

We believe that Federal Government funding for Multiculturalism activities other than those serving immigrant orientation, reduction of racial discrimination and promotion of equality should be eliminated, and the public funds saved be applied to these areas.

The Spencer report's criticism of multiculturalism and recommendations for narrowing the policy's scope were reinforced by suggestions that minority and immigrant groups were also critical of the policy.

For example, one writer of Japanese ancestry describes the reality of racism from her experience as a child and adult in Canada that is belied by the rhetoric of multiculturalism. She says:

Multiculturalism, a term everyone loves to use in defining Canada, is admirable in theory but it does not work in practice. Multiculturalism is the name given to the ethnic and cultural diversity of our country. It implies an attitude of tolerance and acceptance, of equality among all regardless of ethnic background. This idea does not stand the test of personal experience. And the experience of individuals provides real insight into what defines our country. Though official policy would have it otherwise, it is hard to be different in this country. For me this is an irony that underlies the very fact of being Canadian.

Still others have gone further to argue that through strengthening the associations between being ethnic and being of inferior status, multiculturalism actually promotes or causes racism.

Similarly novelist Meil Bisoondath writes:

In stressing the differences between groups, in failing to emphasize that this is a country with its own ideals and attitudes which demand adherence, the policy has instead aided in hardening of hatreds.

This brings me to the position of the Reform Party on the current policy of multiculturalism. We call for the abolition of the official multiculturalism department. We call for the acceptance and integration of immigrants into the mainstream of Canadian life.

We have found that Canadians welcome, value and enjoy the wealth of backgrounds and cultures represented by its citizens. This great country was built by hard working and enterprising people who came here from all over the world. Many are proud to celebrate their heritage and ethnic societies have flourished in Canada for generations.

Whatever our ethnic and cultural backgrounds, what binds us together is our tremendous pride and privilege in being Canadians. It ought to be the role of the federal government to preserve and protect those things that we all have in common, and in ensuring equality for all regardless of things like race, language, culture and country of origin. Because of this I urge the minister to use her influence in cabinet to end the use of a definition of Canada as a meeting of two founding races, languages and cultures. This definition of Canada was introduced by the Liberals and is one which they cling to to this day even though it excludes more than 12 million Canadians whose culture and language of origin is neither French nor English.

In addition, those proud Canadians who fall outside the Liberals' two founding races definition are ready, able and willing to preserve those elements of their culture and heritage that are important to them, using their own money and their own resources.

They do not require these activities to be funded by other Canadians through the allocation of tax dollars. Keeping the heavy hand of government out of such activity would also allow ethnic societies to remain free of some of the unfortunate political obligations that have been perceived to arise in conjunction with the allocation of political largesse.

Instead the Reform recommends that federal multiculturalism programs provide immigrant adjustment services, language training and focus on the elimination of racism. These are the services new Canadians really need to help them build a new life in this country.

The Reform's position is that official multiculturalism has indeed failed to respond to historical and contemporary discrimination as well as class and gender based inequities in the workplace.

I suggest to the minister that we ought to focus our energies and resources on the key problem which is removing the tremendous challenges and obstacles to ensuring that every Canadian becomes an effective participant in the economic and political spheres of our country, Canada.

Canada Elections Act February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister believe the restrictions imposed in the act as it presently stands are compatible with a fair and open political process?

Canada Elections Act February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Last year the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench struck down the parts of the Canada Elections Act that restrict spending on election advertising by anybody other than political parties to just $1,000.

The court ruled that these restrictions could not be justified in a free and democratic society. Is it the government's plan to restore faith and trust in the process by abandoning any appeal of this case and by amending the Canada Elections Act to reflect the court ruling?

Pre-Budget Consultations February 1st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise that following the debate on this motion by the leader of the Reform Party, the hon. member for Calgary Southwest, speakers for the Reform Party will be dividing their speaking time into 10 minutes for speaking and five minutes for questions and comments.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I very strongly subscribe to the philosophy that we cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

There are people in the country who have worked extremely hard and long to build security, assets and a life for themselves. If they are now to be penalized by taking away their ability to bring economic activity and jobs to the country and by saying that somehow what they have done is unfair to others, the government will be in very big trouble and will that cause a lot more problems than we anticipate.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my hon. colleague. As far as the timetable is concerned the preliminary report of the committee is to be brought down in eight weeks. I think that is lightning speed, for Parliament particularly. The final report is to be brought down just after the House resumes sitting in September.

That is not really a lot of working weeks particularly, as the hon. member points out, in that we must have a good overall vision. Co-ordinating that good overall vision, bringing some consensus and examining the issues carefully, particularly when a very new direction is being sought, seem to me in the weeks allotted to be very reasonable and quite a brisk pace.

I would stand by my assessment of the timetable, but I agree with my hon. colleague that we need to ensure we have the overall vision when we come forward with a very important restructuring program.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, on the motion before us to set up a committee to examine the social security programs for this country, first of all I would like to commend the prospect that has been raised by this government through the Minister of Human Resources Development of a broad consultation on this issue which is very much close to the hearts and important to all Canadians.

I would also like to commend the prospect of considering Canadians' concerns and priorities. This is appropriate because Canadians pay the shot for these programs. It is also their lives and their futures which are being affected by any changes that might be made.

I would also like to commend the timetable that moves ahead briskly dealing with this issue of changes to social programs. It also shows real promise of input and responsibility for this initiative being given not to government bureaucracies and departments but with the elected representatives of the people where it belongs.

There are a couple of improvements I would like to recommend to the proposed mandate of the committee. First of all I believe we should define the terms in the mandate, particularly the terms modernization and restructuring. It seems to me that these words can be taken in quite a number of ways, depending on a person's philosophy or particular perspective on these issues. I believe that the government ought to define for the committee what exactly is meant by modernization of our social security programs and what is meant by restructuring.

Also I noted that the mandate made particular reference to the needs of families with children, youth and working age adults, but it omits seniors and Canadians in their retirement years. This is a very large and constantly growing segment of our society. I believe that the omission of this segment of society from the mandate of the committee is not wise.

It is still to be demonstrated also whether this broad consultation and the effort by members of this House through the committee will have any real meaningful or substantial impact on the final direction of the government.

Will it be like the public consultations on the Constitution which were held in 1992 which ignored the clearly expressed majority view of Canadians across the country? Will it be like the current pre-budget consultations where it appears to some Canadians at least that this government magnifies a few minority view comments into proof of support for a direction the government intends to go anyway while dismissing clear majority consensus?

If the current broad consultation and open debate turn out to be so much more empty window dressing, paid for once again by hard earned tax dollars and taking away time that could be spent actually achieving something, it will merely add to the cynicism and contempt Canadians already feel for government and the political process. I urge the minister and the government not to let that happen.

I commend the government for raising the hope of a more genuinely democratic process. I urge it to ensure that there is change, not just in the form but also in the substance of what is actually allowed to be achieved through the process.

This morning the minister set out his underlying philosophy on what we are trying to achieve by giving the mandate to the committee to change our social security systems. He said that jobs were the issue. He then went on to list existing systems that must be overhauled in order to "restore employment as a central focus of government policy".

I suggest one thing the committee also ought to do is examine the assumption that the purpose of the social security system is now to focus toward employment. Going one step further, it should even examine the assumption that we should look to government to guarantee that all Canadians have jobs.

Government assistance to ensure that Canada has trained workers and to provide for labour force training and adjustment would probably be supported by most Canadians. However that is something far different from rejigging the whole social security system toward job creation.

First, substantial numbers of Canadians think there would be a lot more jobs if government would just stop spending our money, mortgaging our future and creating a bureaucratic solution for every perceived need and demand. This viewpoint is large enough so that it ought to be represented and considered.

Second, many Canadians view our social security system as a way for us collectively to care for the old, the young, the sick and the poor among us. It is going to be quite a shock and surprise to discover that the focus of social security may be shifted to something quite different.

Canadians can see that our social programs are being eroded and that changes must be made if we want to be able to count on having a social safety net even a few years from now. To shift the focus from making programs sustainable and available to the truly needy, to using them primarily as a means to attempt to create jobs, has far reaching implications that require a clear public mandate, not just an assumed one. For these reasons, the new philosophy being now introduced by the government ought in my view to be examined by the committee, especially whether it carries the judgment of Canadians.

I hope these comments will be of help in providing the best possible mandate to the committee on behalf of the country and its work on behalf of all Canadians.

Speech From The Throne January 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, that does not sound like a set up for a one-minute answer.

In answer to my colleague's question I would say that Reform certainly would be very open to anything that could help the government get its spending under control. I believe many people in Quebec voted against the past government very much because they rejected the fiscal policies and mismanagement that have practically ruined not only the province of Quebec but our entire country.

We have to get a grip on that. I think as members we have a mandate to do that. Our people want us to do that. We would be very happy to co-operate with and support anything that would assist in doing that.

On what we would cut back, I would commend to my colleague a study of the program we put forward during the election called our zero and three plan to balance the federal budget over a three-year period of Parliament. It would be interesting for the member to know-and a lot of people do not know it-that our plan balances the federal budget while preserving funding for important social programs like health care, education and pensions for people who need pensions.

A lot of people are not aware that is something that has been done, with figures attached. We have been promoting such a program during the election and will continue to promote it. We know that Canadians put the highest priority on social programs like health care and education. Our program to balance spending does not jeopardize those programs. In fact it ensures, we believe, that those programs will be sustained into the foreseeable future for when I am older and need most of them and many Canadians are in the same boat.

Speech From The Throne January 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the kind remarks of the hon. member for Brant whom I have met and hope to get to know better. Her remarks underscore the fact that there is a genuine and possibly unprecedented desire in Parliament for new directions and for doing things differently. Members are very much determined to consult their constituents and to represent them truly.

That is the point at which we have some question marks, or at least I do as a new member. It is all very well to consult with constituents, talk to them, to have meetings and to hear what they have to say. However if we come back here and we are told how to vote, what is the point? Their input does not mean anything.

When our constituents tell us they want us to represent them and voice their desires and concerns because they are paying us to do so since they cannot be here, we have to be free to do that. We cannot have our parties telling us: "You cannot vote that way. We have decided to do something different".

That is the reform we must have in the House and that is what we are going to keep working for. We have to support that together. If not just our particular caucus but all members have the drive and determination to achieve that, it will turn this House upside down and make it truly a House of the people which it was meant to be.