- Her favourite word was offence.
Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Surrey North (B.C.)
Lost her last election, in 2011, with 36% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Public Safety March 24th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, just a few short weeks our Conservative government once again demonstrated that we will stand up for victims.
This House passed Bill C-59 which would end the shameful practice of releasing criminals after a mere one-sixth of their sentence.
Sadly, the member for Ajax—Pickering said it would be better for inmate morale if criminals were let out, serving just a small fraction of their sentence.
Could the minister please update the House on the progress of this bill?
Research and Development March 22nd, 2011
Mr. Speaker, every year, nearly one million people die from malaria. It is especially serious in Africa, where one in five childhood deaths is due to the effects of the disease.
Would the minister of state inform the House how our government's investments in research and development are contributing to the fight against malaria and supporting Canada's maternal, newborn and child health initiatives?
Surrey, B.C. February 10th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention and that of my hon. colleagues to Surrey, British Columbia. We are now the 12th largest municipality in Canada and a port city as well.
In my riding of Surrey North, 27% of the population is of South Asian descent. Multiculturalism is a thriving success story in our community.
Surrey city council and our charming and forward-thinking mayor, Dianne Watts, are implementing a broad-reaching plan for a new downtown city core.
We have Simon Fraser University literally on the new city square. We are already cranking out exciting start-up companies like Nanotech Security and MAPT Media, a company whose product is so good it is being used on campuses everywhere.
I encourage all my fellow Canadians to keep an eye on Surrey.
Airport Security February 4th, 2011
Mr. Speaker, our government takes aviation security seriously and we are determined to keep travellers safe and secure from terrorism but we also want CATSA to be as respectful, efficient and effective as possible during the screening process.
Yesterday, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities announced changes to airport screening that will increase convenience for the travelling public while maintaining high levels of security.
Will the minister please explain how Canada's screening procedures will now follow more closely the international procedures?
Correctional Service Canada December 8th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about new dimensions in corrections.
Many of our opposition colleagues have characterized our government as one dimensional, concerned only with building jails. However, there is much more going on behind the scenes. Correctional Service Canada has a program called “Restorative Justice”, bringing together offender and victims in a healing process.
It is hard to over estimate the capabilities of a genuine apology to those who have been wronged. For offenders wishing to take responsibility for their actions, this can be a major step forward in their rehabilitation. For victims, it can close the door on debilitating anger and hatred that preclude a healthy future.
This year my family participated in this program. After 18 years, we received answers to persistent painful questions. Was it worth it? “You bet”.
I commend all those involved in this program. I extend my thanks to Angie Gates and Sandi Bergen.
Employment Insurance November 17th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, yesterday at committee I was shocked to see the Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition band together yet again to support Bill C-343. This bill would provide thousands of dollars through EI to pay for parents to stay home with youth criminals who have been injured while committing a crime such as robbery or gang activity.
Can the minister state our Conservative government's position on this coalition bill that would reward young criminals?
International Trade October 19th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, Canada is a trading nation. As we continue to recover from the global recession, Canadian businesses and workers seek new and open markets to export their products.
Would the Minister of International Trade please update the House on the efforts our government is taking to diversify trading opportunities for Canadian businesses and workers?
Criminal Records Act Review September 24th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity today to discuss Surrey North's motion before the House calling for a parliamentary examination of the pardon system.
In the last session, Parliament undertook an initiative in Bill C-23A in responding to the widespread concern of Canadians over a seemingly automatic pardon system.
Recently I shared the outrage of Canadians that notorious sex offender, Graham James, received a pardon and had his criminal record sealed by the Parole Board of Canada. The government was understandably concerned that other notorious criminals would also get a rubber stamp. That is why we took quick and decisive action to advance the most critical aspects of our pardon reform.
We listened to Canadians and, most important, we listened to the victims themselves, all of whom told us the same thing, which was that change was needed and that it was needed now. I, therefore, urge all my colleagues in the House to work together on this. We need to continue our good work and reform legislation to ensure the protection of families, communities and, most important, victims.
The way the rules were written allowed the vast majority of offenders to receive a pardon. If an individual had been convicted, served his or her time and was not convicted again for either three or five years after completing their sentence, he or she was entitled to a pardon.
The pardon approval rate under the previous system suggests that the Parole Board of Canada has been interpreting the Criminal Records Act as requiring it to grant a pardon in almost all cases. In essence, it has come to be an almost automatic entitlement. This does not mean pardons will not continue to play a very important role in the offender rehabilitation process. It will, but it will cease to be the rubber stamp it has become.
Under the previous system, the rules allowed for little difference between indictable and summary offences. For a summary conviction, offenders needed to wait three years after serving their sentence and before they could apply for and be granted a pardon. Those convicted of indictable offences needed to wait five years and demonstrate good conduct, after which they could apply for and be granted a pardon.
I believe there is a big difference between people who are convicted of an offence, such as break and enter when they were young, and people who are chronic serious offenders. We need to look very carefully at whether our pardon system should treat these people with very different criminal histories in the same manner. Our government tabled legislation will provide the Parole Board direction to consider such factors when rendering a decision.
The legislation that our government introduced and was eventually approved by Parliament established that the Parole Board can deny a pardon in any case where granting it would “bring the administration of justice into disrepute”. I believe that this is the central provision.
In addition, ineligibility periods have been extended, particularly for cases processed by indictment and involving sentences of more than two years, such as those offences involving personal injury and sexual offences against children.
I believe all members in the House owe the responsibility to not just their families and friends but to their constituents to ensure we make our promise good to Canada and make a better and safer place to live. I ask for the support of all hon. members in the passing of Motion No. 514. Together we can reform the pardon system to ensure it better reflects Canadian values.
Skin Cancer Screening Clinic June 1st, 2010
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce that this evening on the Hill I will be co-hosting, along with the Canadian Dermatology Association, the fourth annual Chuck Cadman Memorial Skin Cancer Screening Clinic.
It is in memory of my late husband, Chuck, and his courageous battle with this disease. The skin cancer clinic aims to raise awareness of the need for early detection and prevention.
When found and treated early, skin cancer is highly curable.
The clinic is made possible thanks to the efforts of the doctors and organizers who are volunteering their time. Each year at the clinic, two or three cases of cancer have been diagnosed that otherwise would have gone undiscovered.
I encourage all my colleagues to make the time to come out. It could save their lives.
Criminal Records Act Review May 14th, 2010
That the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security be instructed to undertake a review of the Criminal Records Act and report to the House within three months on how it could be strengthened to ensure that the National Parole Board puts the public’s safety first in all its decisions.
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House and introduce this motion. All of us have heard over the past few weeks about the high profile cases, which have served to highlight potential shortcomings with the current pardon system in Canada. This is a very timely motion and I am proud of its introduction.
Earlier this week our government tabled legislation to amend the Criminal Records Act and eliminate pardons for serious crimes. Our government believes the system should not put the rights of criminals ahead of the rights of victims and law-abiding citizens.
The current pardon system implies that whatever the offender did is somehow okay, or is forgiven, or that the harm done has somehow disappeared. I disagree.
Under the current system, pardons are granted almost automatically, but the new system would change that. Let me talk about the six points.
First, the legislation would eliminate pardons and replace it with more restrictive and narrowly worded such as “record suspension”. As an editorial from one of our Saskatchewan newspapers recently noted with regard to the Graham James pardon:
There is just something that seems inherently wrong about using the word “pardon” in reference to a man who violated the most sacred trust in sports--the trust between a coach and his players--and has yet to apologize for it, or show any remorse for it.
Second, those convicted of sexual offences against minors will be permanently ineligible for a record suspension.
Third, those convicted of more than three indictable offences will also be permanently ineligible for a record suspension.
Fourth, in all other cases, the legislation will increase the period of ineligibility for a record suspension, which is the waiting time to apply, to five years for summary conviction offences and to 10 years for indictable offences.
Fifth, the onus will be on the applicant to show that a record suspension would help sustain his or her rehabilitation as a law-abiding member of society.
Finally, the proposed legislation sets out conditions that must be met to ensure a record suspension would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute. To make this determination, the Parole Board would examine factors such as the nature, gravity and the duration of the offence, as well as circumstances and the applicant's criminal history. Under the present system, the only distinction that can be made between each applicant is whether he or she was convicted of a summary or an indictable offence.
For summary convictions, the same rules apply to everyone. Offenders need to wait three years after completing their sentence and remain conviction free in order to receive a pardon. The same is true for indictable offences. In those cases, each and every offender needs to wait five years and then demonstrate to the board that he or she is of good conduct before they become eligible to receive a pardon.
Essentially under the current system pardons are granted almost automatically. This is definitely wrong. The rights of criminals should never, and I repeat, should never come before compassion for victims.
As Sheldon Kennedy said, “It was a lot of hard work to be able to move out of being a victim, to be able to move into a role of finding a solution. And I think that there is no accountability at all on anybody and having them show that they've changed. It's just about waiting out your time”.
He goes on to say:
I think we underestimate as a country the damage that abuse has on youth.
I think it just holds people accountable for what they've done....
Our government has always put the safety of law-abiding Canadians first and we have always believed that every victim matters, which is why we are undertaking reforms to the justice system and why we are determined to push ahead with further changes.
Over the last four years, Canadians have been telling us that we are on the right track. They have said that our tough on crime policies and our initiatives to help victims are what they want to see from the government.
I therefore look forward to working with all hon. members of the House to ensure that measures to improve the pardon system in this country are passed as quickly as possible.