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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was help.

Last in Parliament May 2021, as Conservative MP for Haldimand—Norfolk (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2019, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Resignation of Member May 11th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I rise today virtually to officially tender my resignation as the member of Parliament for Haldimand—Norfolk, effective immediately.

You were gracious enough last November to allow me to deliver a lengthy farewell speech, so I will make this intervention, like me, short and sweet. I would like to say thanks again to all the wonderful people whom I have been blessed to have in my life in what has been an amazing political journey over the last 16 years, 317 days.

Farewell and be well.

Habitat for Humanity May 4th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I speak today to recognize the inspiring work of Habitat for Humanity and to congratulate Haldimand-Norfolk’s newest habitat homeowners, Russ, Sharon and Krysten. Habitat for Humanity mobilizes volunteers, businesses and communities to help families in need build strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable home ownership. In our area alone, more than 25 families have new homes thanks to them.

Habitat also operates home improvement stores called Habitat ReStore, where donated surplus furnishings and building materials are sold at bargain prices. It is the ultimate in recycling. Where else could someone buy an $850 toilet for $52 or a wingback chair for just $15?

My heartiest thanks go to the volunteers, donors, businesses and staff who work so hard to make the dream of affordable home ownership come true, even during a pandemic.

Agriculture and Agri-Food March 25th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, they need to do better because a farmer here in Haldimand—Norfolk is concerned about one of his international workers who has been alone in quarantine for over 25 days. Why? He is still waiting for a test kit from Switch Health. This wait is unacceptable and inhumane and, sadly, it is not an isolated case. We had real problems getting international farm workers here last year and now the bumbling Liberal government just keeps creating new difficulties for farmers.

Why will they not help our farmers feed Canadians?

Petitions February 5th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I am honoured today to present petition e-2920, which has been signed by over a thousand concerned Canadians, not only from Haldimand—Norfolk but also from right across the country.

These petitioners are worried about the growing problem of the misuse and abuse of the Liberal government's current medical marijuana rules and the loopholes that exist in the designated grower program. The results are an infiltration of our communities by organized crime. There are also severe impacts on the quality of life for nearby residents.

These petitioners and I are calling on the government to take immediate action to address these loopholes. We also call for the Minister of Health to live up to the promises she has made repeatedly for over a year now to deal with this issue fully and promptly.

Royal Commission on the Status of Women December 7th, 2020

Madam Speaker, things have indeed changed a lot in the last 50 years since the first Status of Women report was released. These changes have taken place in business, in the public sector and even in politics.

Believe it or not, in 1970, Canada had only one female MP and six female senators. Today, we have 100 female MPs, almost one-third, and 47 female senators, fully half of that upper chamber. By 1970, we had never had a female Governor General, and since then, we have had four.

Glass ceilings are shattering across this great nation. While we still have a ways to go to reach true parity, today I honour the great women who have come here before me, who are here now and who will be here in the future.

Deans of the Conservative Caucus November 27th, 2020

Madam Speaker, I rise today to honour the Deans of the Conservative Caucus: the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke and the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston. They both are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their elections to this great chamber.

These two members have always been steadfast in their dedication: one to good governance and Constitution matters, the other to our Canadian military and common sense. I can say first-hand that they both approach their jobs today with the same passion and conviction as they did when I first met them, over 16 years ago. They both remain fearless when it comes to voicing their and their constituents' views.

I invite the House to join me in thanking and congratulating these two hon. members for a combined 40 years of service to our great country.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act November 26th, 2020

Madam Speaker, it does not very often happen that I am at a loss for words as you well know, because you get to hear me mumble here all the time.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of the members and speakers today. They have been most generous. I am not sure where the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands got this thing about how I never took partisan shots. Maybe she is mixing me up with someone else.

As I said in my remarks, the most gratifying, worthwhile thing I have ever had the opportunity to do has been to share the lives of my constituents and their concerns with so many members who always stepped up to the plate to help. We have had some challenges, and we still do in the riding. Whenever I was having a tough go, every time I could turn to someone, including my colleague from the Liberals who spoke. Right at the beginning of COVID, I remember the Diamond cruise ship was there, and we were working with a couple who were from my home town. The member was such a treat to work with, and his office made sure they took good care of us to do everything we could to help that couple get home safely and soundly.

That is the kind of spirit that we have had here. When push comes to shove, yes we bicker back and forth. Part of that is showtime, right? Then afterwards we meet out back and ask someone if they heard the latest joke, so it is not personal. It is professional. I am going to miss the friendship and fellowship that I have enjoyed here. I am going to miss that and miss members. I am going to miss the fun. I am going to miss the fights, but I am looking forward to the next chapter.

I thank everyone for the kind words. I am overwhelmed by it. Be well. Be well.

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act November 26th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank my colleagues from all sides of the House for giving me this opportunity to speak today. While I do plan to stick around a little while longer, the uncertainties that we are facing as a nation and, indeed, within the House mean that this could be the last chance I have to physically stand in the House to say farewell.

I must also warn members that I plan to be uncharacteristically non-partisan in my remarks today because, quite frankly, it is not about the politics here; it is about the people.

Whenever I am asked what it is like to be an MP, I always reply one thing: It is the most challenging, demanding, frustrating, worthwhile thing that I have ever done. There have been a lot of times over the last 16 years where there were ups and downs. I have lost a lot. I lost my husband, my father, my vision temporarily, my appendix and my dear neurotic cat. However, I also gained more than I ever could have imagined: amazing experiences across Canada that only deepened my love for this great country, friendships that will last a lifetime, an undying respect for this institution and for those who serve in it, and a pair of titanium hips.

For some, becoming an MP is not something they always plan to do. Sometimes, it is the issues of the day that really push someone to serve. While the issues and events in 2004 were definitely the tipping point for me, my desire to help those in my community started many years earlier. When I was about nine years old, my mother sat me down on the eve of an election to tell me what democracy was, how important it is and how very lucky we are to have it. I remember that conversation vividly, and I can say that, from then on, I dreamed of having the opportunity to fight for the people at home.

Therefore, to everyone in Haldimand—Norfolk, I cannot thank them enough for making the dreams of that little nine-year-old girl come true.

I have to say it has been a heck of a ride since 2004. From being named agriculture critic during the BSE crisis, serving in former prime minister Stephen Harper's cabinet for all 10 years, to being named the Conservative caucus party liaison and a member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, every position has come with its own challenges and memories that I treasure.

Some of those include creating the universal child care benefit, promoting and delivering the tobacco transition support program, imposing measures to protect potential human-trafficking victims here in Canada, stickhandling numerous infrastructure projects for Haldimand and Norfolk counties through the bureaucracy, breaking down barriers faced by persons with disabilities, and finally, retiring and replacing the aging Sea King helicopter fleet with the new Cyclones.

Through it all, I have truly been blessed to have amazing people by my side, people who have challenged me to do my best, who have stuck with me through the high times and the low, and who even laugh at my sometimes warped sense of humour, and on a daily basis. While I may have been labelled the toughest bird in cabinet at one point, I am a firm believer that if a person cannot laugh at themselves, they are just not funny enough.

From the very beginning, my parents were my biggest champions. During many elections, my dad would knock on doors with me, and my mom was always working in the campaign office. Thankfully, I still have my mother today. I know Mom will be watching this; I thank her and I love her.

Of course, I also could not have done any of this without my late husband, Senator Doug Finley.

Many people knew Doug as the man who always had a plan F, who was a staunch defender of free speech, who led the Conservative Party to victory in 2006 and 2008 as the national campaign director, and who played a leading role in the 2011 election that resulted in a strong, stable, national Conservative majority government. He was also one of my biggest supporters, both professionally and personally. As far as we can tell, we were the first married couple to sit in both Houses of the Canadian Parliament at the same time.

I would like to thank those in my life who have made it possible for me to still be here today. In no particular order, I thank Marlene and Tom Stackhouse, Sharlene, George Santos, Howard Goode, Wally and Jan Butts, Jeremy and Chelsea McIntee, Frank Parker, Karly Wittet, The Amazing Ali, and the Johns in my life: Nieuwenhuis, Wehrstein, Bracken and Weissenberger.

To those who made my life easier every day, Denis, Jojo, Ann, Jimmy, Mike Fraser, Michou and the indomitable Lynette, they have my heartfelt thanks.

To my former cabinet colleagues, Gerry, Rob, Lisa, Bev and Carol, and to Senator Plett, Ian and Vida, Karen Kinsley, Aly Q., Koolsie, Spiro and Dustin, I am so grateful we are still in touch.

To my former deputy ministers, Dick, Ian and Janice, I thank them for their patience and wisdom.

To my favourite former prime minister, I thank him for the trust he kept placing in me, and placing and placing and placing.

To my current colleagues, Karen, Raquel and John N., it is a great relief to know that they are taking on my pet projects going forward.

Of course, I would not be here today if it were not for the thousands of volunteers and donors over the years who generously supported me and my efforts. I thank them.

To my Conservative family, it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know all of them and working hard with them to help Canadians. It is the values that have kept me blue through and through, the values of hard work, showing respect for other people, looking after one's family, smaller government and lower taxes. That is why I am so excited for the future of the Conservative Party under our new leader and for what my colleagues will continue to do for Canadians.

Most importantly, to the residents of Haldimand—Norfolk, I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I know I am not at all biased when I say that Haldimand—Norfolk truly is the best place to grow up and live. As part of Ontario’s south coast, yes, Canada’s fourth coast, we have some of the most hard-working, friendly, salt of the earth people, people who know what it means to pull up their socks to get a job done or to help a neighbour. It has been an absolute privilege to be the MP for these amazing people.

It is time for me to turn a new page. It is time to hit the refresh button. It will soon be time for me to indulge my creative side; to travel, hopefully; to take some courses; and to finally get to my “want to do” list. I am looking forward to this new chapter of my life and what it will bring.

To all those young people out there who have a dream like I had, I urge them to go after it, chase it, pursue it, live it. It might not be easy, but I assure them it is worth it.

I would like to close today with a quote from the hero of that little nine-year-old girl I used to be, Winnie-the-Pooh, who said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020 November 24th, 2020

Madam Speaker, it is great to talk about data portability and privacy, but it does not matter if Canadians do not have access.

In the connect to innovate program, the government spent a lot of money, but it did not spend a single penny in southwestern Ontario to connect businesses, residences and Canadians with the Internet in order to give them proper service. This area represents 20% of Canada's economic output. In my own area of Norfolk County, over 30% are still underserved. There is no indication of a carve-out in the new program for funding. However, there are parts built in for financing that would only benefit the big players.

If the minister is serious about his commitment to small business, will the new program be modified to support small business ISP providers and to provide service to southwestern Ontario so that everyone could enjoy the new freedoms and protections that the minister is speaking about today?

Festivals in Haldimand—Norfolk October 19th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, for the past 16 years, I have had the honour of representing one of the best places to live in Canada and, boy, do we know how to celebrate. Haldimand—Norfolk hosts dozens of festivals, parades and fall fairs, and multiple community suppers, fish fries and barbecues. We even boast a Canada Day parade that has happened every year since Confederation, that is, until this year, when organizers of these events were forced to make the difficult decision to either cancel or move to a virtual format.

While we could not see familiar faces at the fall fairs this year, I am looking forward to the future when we can come together, enjoy a Dixie dog and, personally, get to see an entire parade from start to finish for the first time in 16 years.