House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was billion.

Last in Parliament September 2017, as Conservative MP for South Surrey—White Rock (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Infrastructure May 17th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is Wednesday, so can the Prime Minister please clear this up?

The finance minister claims that the Liberals' so-called infrastructure bank will be independent, but if the minister read his own legislation, he would see clearly that it is exactly the opposite. The Minister of Finance will approve loan guarantees. The Liberal cabinet will appoint boards of directors and the chairperson. The Liberal cabinet will have the final approval over the CEO.

Which is it? Is the bank going to be independent, or will the bank continue to be just an arm of the PMO, cabinet, and the finance minister to reward their Liberal friends?

Gender Equality Week Act May 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from my colleague, looking at gender equality week and all the things that we can do to promote women and young girls. I have listened to the gender equality budget, the quota system, being tokens, and being put on boards. I have to say that I and many women with whom I have had the honour of serving politically or in the private sector would suggest that teaching young girls that just because they are female they can get any position really is offensive to many, and certainly to me, who has really gone through the trials and tribulations in my life to get to where I am today. One has to make the sacrifices and to live those sacrifices to really understand what that journey looks like. To suggest that we have a token—that a person is a female so she gets this position, or she is female so she gets on this board, or they are a minority so they can have this—I think does considerable disservice to all of us. I really think it is incumbent on each and every one of us to do what we can do in terms of empowering people around us, especially young girls.

I go back to my time of almost a decade as mayor of the City of Surrey. Since 1996, we had a majority of women on council. We had a majority of women making decisions for the city. Was it a token position? No, it was not. Was it gender equity? No, it was not. It was because they wanted to participate, they wanted to be part of the community, and we wanted to encourage other women to join in having a say on the issues that were really relevant to our community. In that context, it really was self-empowering, in terms of what we were able to accomplish as a collective. If we are short on the quota, not having enough women in politics, or not having enough women on a board, then it is incumbent upon us to do a better job.

I have two daughters. I would never, from the day they were born, let them know that they were a quota, that they were a token, that they could get a position because they were female. That is not the way I brought up my daughters. I brought them up to be strong young women who were empowered. I taught them to make sure they empower the people around them, that we work collectively together, we go through trials, we go through tribulations, and we get to where we go because the journey is the lessons of where we get to.

That in itself gives me satisfaction, as a woman of my age. It demeans everything that I have done, everything that I have taught my daughters, when I sit there and I listen to people say we have to have a token representation here and a token representation there. That is totally offensive, and I do not think that is what we should be teaching our children.

Furthermore, I would just suggest that what we can do—because it is not about what we cannot do, but rather what we can do—is really come together as a community, as parents, mothers, fathers. There are single moms, single dads, and children who need to be brought up in a community that has resiliency. We need to make sure that they have all the tools, all the education, and all of those things; that we have resilient communities; that we have empowered children; that we ensure that our kids know that they need to look after and give their hand out to somebody who is less fortunate than themselves. That is where we make a difference, and that is where we have empowerment within our communities, within our families, and that is what makes us stronger.

While I honestly appreciate my colleague, and I sit on many committees with him and respect him to the utmost degree, I would suggest that when we do not have gender equality week will be a good day in this House.

Infrastructure May 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, since 2009, PPP Canada, a crown corporation, has leveraged over $6 billion for infrastructure from an initial investment of $1.3 billion. An internal report advised that putting the infrastructure bank under an existing body such as PPP Canada would be cost-effective, efficient, and less bureaucratic.

Had the Liberals listened, a $35-billion investment to PPP Canada could leverage nearly $170 billion for transformational infrastructure. Can the minister tell Canadians why he ignored that expert advice?

Privilege May 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to offer additional submissions on the question of privilege which was raised last week by the hon. member for Victoria and supported by the hon. member for Perth—Wellington.

In his remarks on Friday afternoon, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons quoted from one press release in an effort to exculpate the government's arrogant approach to setting up the Canada infrastructure bank while Parliament is seized with legislation proposing its creation.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer you to the job postings at the website maintained by the Privy Council Office. Those documents are the ones any serious candidate interested in the positions would be reviewing. Nowhere on there is there any suggestion that Parliament's approval has yet to happen. A reader might be forgiven for concluding that the bank already exists, that this is a fait accompli.

Not only do these job postings suggest that the bank is a done deal, but they also treat the particulars of the bank's mandate, which are actually details buried in the government's omnibus budget bill, Bill C-44, in the same fashion. Let me quote from the job postings as found on the government's website on Friday.

On the posting for the bank's chairperson, we read, “The new Canada Infrastructure Bank is being established to initiate and invest.... ” That also appears in the postings for directors and the president.

Then, we read the following concerning the mandate of the Canada infrastructure bank:

The Bank will be mandated to invest $35 billion into projects.... The Bank will also act as a centre of expertise on infrastructure transactions...and provide advice to all levels of government in that context. In addition, the Bank will lead a data initiative to improve knowledge....

Those same phrases appear in all three job postings.

Now, if we turn to the proposed Canada infrastructure bank act, which would be enacted by clause 403 of Bill C-44, we see the following: Proposed paragraph 7(1)(e) of the proposed act would establish the bank as “a centre of expertise on infrastructure projects” . Proposed paragraph 7(1)(f) would give the bank a mandate to “provide advice to all levels of government with regard to infrastructure projects”. Proposed paragraph 7(1)(g) would authorize the bank to “collect and disseminate data”.

Proposed section 23 of the proposed act reads in part:

The Minister of Finance may pay to the Bank, out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, amounts of not more than $35,000,000,000 in the aggregate

Later in the job postings for the chairperson and directors, we see this comment: “The Board of Directors of the Bank will be composed of the Chairperson and 8 to 11 other Directors.”

Looking at the proposed act, proposed subsection 8(1) states, “The Bank has a board of directors composed of the Chairperson and not fewer than eight, but not more than 11, other directors.”

These are all details which are currently before the House of Commons and could theoretically be amended at committee, at report stage, or even by the other place, but the government treats them as final and settled, given how those job postings read.

The parliamentary secretary's defence of the government's arrogance seems to be that some other document that includes a passing reference to parliamentary approval should get them off the hook.

Speaker Milliken ruled on May 29, 2008, at page 6276 of Debates, on advertisements about pending amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. He stated:

It is with these precedents in mind that I reviewed the advertisements in question. They contain phrases such as “the Government of Canada is proposing measures”, “These important measures, once in effect,” and “These measures are currently before Parliament”. In my view, the advertisements clearly acknowledge that these measures are not yet in place. I am therefore unable to find evidence of a misrepresentation of the proceedings of the House or of any presumption of the outcome of its deliberations.

There is nothing in the job postings to suggest that Parliament has yet to approve the bank's creation or that it could, in its work, tweak the government's proposed details. The job postings most certainly presume the outcome of deliberations in the House.

Most recently, the Speaker's predecessor, the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, was also asked to rule on a procurement notice seeking audit information concerning the financial impact of scrapping the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly, a policy initiative in the 2011 Conservative platform. His ruling on September 28, 2011, at page 1576 of Debates, held:

The notice itself presents a hypothetical scenario. It does not foresee a specific timetable for legislative action, let alone presume the outcome of such action. As I see it, the notice and task force terms of reference form part of a planning process that might be expected in contemplating the possibility of the repeal of the Canadian Wheat Board Act. I know the member for Malpeque does not expect the Chair to monitor all internal processes undertaken by the government as part of its preparatory work in advance of proposing legislative measures to the House. Accordingly, I cannot agree with the hon. member for Malpeque's statement that “The government presumes that the act has been repealed, which in fact it has not”. I see no evidence of such a presumption.

In the present instance, I do not believe that the wording of the text of the notice of procurement posted on the MERX site is ambiguous: rather, in my view, it presents a hypothetical case and seeks information on the impact of such a scenario.

There is, to put it simply, nothing hypothetical about how these job postings read. Given that the website is administered by the Privy Council Office, I can only assume that it was acting on the express instructions of the Prime Minister's Office, which would have been micromanaging the rollout of a marquee initiative of the budget.

Mr. Speaker Parent, on March 13, 1997, at page 8987 of Debates, was also called upon to rule on advertisements, and offered this piece of advice to government communications staff:

Those whose duty it is to approve the wording of communications to the public for a minister must surely be aware that the terms used in parliamentary language have a very specific meaning. Trying to avoid them or to use them for advertising purposes shows a lack of consideration for the institution of Parliament and the role of the members in the legislative process. If there is no ambiguity in the choice of terms the public will be better served and the House can get on with its work without being called upon to resolve the difficulty caused by such misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, this sound counsel was simply ignored by those in the PMO who approved the wording of these job postings. The whole episode is, sadly, yet another example of a prime minister and a government who are dismissive of Parliament, and simply find the House of Commons to be an irritant and speed bump on their path to governing.

The House of Commons is, and must always be, seen as more than a rubber stamp for the government's legislative proposals. To address this attack on the authority and dignity of the House of Commons, I urge you to find a prima facie case of privilege.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act May 15th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would agree with many of the comments my hon. colleague made.

I want to bring his attention to page 193 of the budget. He alluded to this a little earlier, the emergency funding to address opioid-related public health emergency. There were $16 million in 2016, nothing in 2017, nothing in 2018, nothing in 2019, nothing in 2020, nothing in 2021. Could he could comment on that?

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act May 15th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that question, because as I stated earlier, as I read a whole list of names, there are strategies around the supports for those individuals who will use a consumption site and who are street-entrenched. We have young kids, like those whose names I read off the list, going to a party, not knowing what they are taking, and they end up dead. I cannot imagine that mother losing her two children in their early twenties, within 20 minutes of each other. That is a totally different strategy, and the community has to come together. There are mothers and fathers and children. We have to deal with this as a community. We have to look at a multi-faceted approach, a holistic approach. It is not just about a consumption site. It is also about treatment, about education. The Conservatives called for a national strategy to educate parents and young kids as to what exactly is going on. We have to have those conversations. If they ram stuff into a community, they will not get the buy-in; they will not get the support. We all have to be part of the solution, because it is multi-faceted.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act May 15th, 2017

Madam Speaker, with all due respect to my colleague from Surrey—Newton, it is not just a Surrey—Whalley issue. There are many of these young kids who have died in South Surrey. In terms of setting up the precinct, where we have detox, the sobering centre, adjacent to the hospital we have transitional housing, all of those things were purposely done around the addictions precinct for assistance. If the consumption site is located there, if that is what the community wants, then it has the supports.

However, I would say again that the homeless shelter does have an advisory group. It has had an advisory group since its inception, and the members of the group work together resolving the issues of the community. Every single homeless shelter has one, and that was put in place to alleviate the issues of the community.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act May 15th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Foothills.

I am pleased to rise again to speak to Bill C-37, an act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other acts.

As a member of Parliament from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, I certainly can say that we have seen this crisis for a very long time. I am glad that the health minister has come forward to look at this issue. I would say that the community does want more to be done. This is an epidemic and I feel very strongly that we as legislators must do something. We must to anything we can to protect our kids, to protect our communities, and to protect the life of these individuals who are affected by this public health emergency. When there are close to 1,000 people dying from opioid overdoses in a single province in a single year, we need everyone involved to assist in mitigating that crisis.

When Bill C-37 came before the House in December 2016, it was tabled two days before the House rose for Christmas. I remember thinking that this piece of legislation should have been tabled months earlier, because there were some extremely important tools and changes in the bill that needed to be implemented immediately. Those had to do with the banning of the importation of unregistered pill presses, providing CBSA officers with more powers to open suspicious packages to stop the flow of fentanyl and carfentanil into Canada from China, and broadening the penalties to apply to the production, sale, importation, or transportation of anything intended to be used in the production of a controlled substance, including fentanyl.

There were other parts of this legislation that were more problematic and needed to be given more time for debate and more time for the opportunity for some amendments to come forward. I am talking about the legislative changes included in Bill C-37 that facilitated easier access to opening the injection and consumption sites in communities. In particular, there was the lack of community, police, and municipal consultation or notice in the legislation. That is why we as the Conservative opposition put forward a motion to separate the bill into two bills. One bill would have addressed all of the urgently needed measures and had unanimous support of the House and the other bill would allow parliamentarians and Canadians to have a bit more time to gather data and have a look at our communities to determine what we need to do and to look at the legislation and amendments.

It was absolutely astonishing that unfortunately, politics came into play and that motion was voted down. We could have had all of those measures in place right now.

We also wanted to hear from some expert witnesses on this issue at committee. Again, the Liberals opted not to hear from any witnesses whatsoever on the legislation and proceeded straight through to clause-by-clause study. Again, the Conservative opposition put forward amendments to the bill. They were common sense amendments, such as, obtaining letters indicating support or opposition from a municipality or a local police force, that all households within a two kilometre radius of a proposed site be notified and given the ability to offer up opinions whether they are in support or opposition, and information to be provided regarding schools, hospitals, day care centres, recreation facilities within that two kilometre radius. A defined period of time for public input and consultation, a minimum of 40 days and maximum of 90 days, would be given. Again, all of those amendments were voted down by the Liberal-dominated health committee.

The bill passed and went to the upper chamber, where amendments were made and the legislation was sent back to this House. It is now May 2017. It has been six months since the Liberals tabled this legislation and here we are debating the legislation that could have been passed through the Senate.

What part of the bill did the Senate take issue with? It was the lack of community consultation regarding injection site rule changes. That means none of the measures that had received unanimous consent from all sides of this House and the Senate have been passed.

I want to highlight the fact that had the Liberals put politics aside earlier and voted in favour of splitting the bill, those proposed pieces of legislation would be in place now, and CBSA would have the additional powers to stop fentanyl and carfentanil from coming into Canada. As well the ban on the importation of unregulated pill presses would be in place. However, these measures are still not in place and because of the importation of pills and powders, dozens of Canadian lives are being taken each and every day.

Today we are talking about three amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-37, after the Senate held five committee meetings and heard from 22 expert witnesses on this legislation.

The first amendment would ensure that there is a minimum community consultation period of 45 days prior to the approval of an injection site.

The second one would set up a citizens advisory committee of five to 10 volunteers who would be responsible for advising the approved injection site of any public concerns, including public health and safety. This is something that every community would want to support. The committee would also provide the minister with yearly updates on these matters.

The third amendment would direct those working at the site to offer users alternative pharmaceutical therapy rather than their consuming street drugs.

I was very pleased to see these amendments come from the Senate. Clearly it showed the upper chamber listened to the concerns around the issues and the lack of community consultation regarding the injection site and attempted to address some of these concerns yet again.

I am glad to hear that the Liberal government is supporting the first amendment from the Senate. I was a mayor for almost a decade, and I can say that if we do not consult with the community and do not have community buy-in on these very difficult issues, then it is doomed to fail. There must be a minimum amount of time for consultation, the gathering of information, and for input.

I am, however, very disappointed that the Liberals oppose the second amendment from the Senate. We have to look at the community as a whole and support those in need, as well as ensure that the community has a voice. Establishing an advisory committee, such as the one proposed by the Senate, would ensure that the community is engaged in an ongoing way, that it has a mechanism to voice its concerns, its support, any developing issues, and whether the site is actually working in that particular area of the community or not. It is not clear why the Liberals are so against giving communities a voice that would no doubt be very significant in any community, whether it is a large community or a small community.

On the third amendment, I find the Liberals' position somewhat baffling, because any injection or consumption site absolutely must offer an alternative to those who are using its services. Again, it is helping the individual. However, the Liberal government has changed the wording in this amendment. This has to be about saving lives.

These amendments would save lives. They would help the communities come together. This is an issue affecting all of us.

The motion put forward by the member for Oshawa to accept these amendments would provide legislation that really could have assisted, but again, the Liberals continue to refuse to allow communities a voice.

Thousands of Canadians have died from opioid overdoses. The families are affected, as are the schools, the friends, the children, the first responders, and the community at large. I look at this list. There is a mother who lost her two children within 20 minutes of each other. They were both in their twenties. Jordan was 21. Ryan was 23. Kelsey was 24. David was 21. Danny was 25. Scott was 21. Tyler was 23. These are young kids. There have to be alternatives. There has to be a community coming together and looking at this in a very holistic way. On this side of the House, that is all we want.

Infrastructure May 15th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that was a non-answer.

The Liberals are giving private investors loan guarantees through the infrastructure bank, even against their own internal report, which advised closer study to ensure taxpayers are protected. A loan guarantee means that Canadian taxpayers will be left to pay the bill and assume all of the risks.

Will the minister admit that taxpayers will actually be on the hook for the infrastructure bank risks?

Infrastructure May 15th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers are paying twice for the Liberals' infrastructure bank. There is the $35 billion to set it up, and then the tolls and user fees so private investors get their 7% to 12% profit.

The minister told CBC News that taxpayers will not be on the hook for the infrastructure bank risks, but the legislation clearly states that the minister can make a loan or provide a loan guarantee. Clearly, we are dealing with Liberal math, where loan guarantees have no risk and budgets balance themselves.

Why will the minister not just admit that taxpayers will be on the hook for defaulted loans?