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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was agreement.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Independent MP for Simcoe—Grey (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 14% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Citizenship and Immigration November 16th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is noted on the website of the ministry that the minister's director of parliamentary affairs claimed nearly $5,900 in expenses for an entire month for travel to the minister's riding, ending on the day of the election.

Will the minister reimburse taxpayers for the election expenses of her staffers?

Citizenship and Immigration November 16th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it turns out it was not just the pizza delivery man lounging around the immigration minister's campaign office. Her chief of staff and two other employees apparently spent time in the minister's region during the election, this time at the expense of taxpayers. In fact, from May 21 to June 29, staff members claimed more than $11,000 in travel expenses.

Why did the minister allow her staff to claim expenses to work in her riding during the election?

Citizenship and Immigration November 15th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

There is another example of the minister either looking the other way or being completely out to lunch, perhaps with her own pizza delivery man. There are reports that an Indian deportee facing a Canada-wide arrest warrant, on the run from her very department, regularly delivered pizza to and hung out in her election headquarters.

Did the minister alert her department and if not, why not?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 20th, 2004

Madam Speaker, in one part my riding of Simcoe—Grey there are many single parent families. Providing those families with personal income tax relief and changing the tax brackets, as we had recommended during the last election campaign, would be a welcome opportunity to help them deal with their bills on a daily basis.

We also talked about reducing the taxes on gas because of the driving they have to do for their jobs. In a rural riding like Simcoe—Grey there is no public transit. People must rely on their cars to get to their jobs and that would appreciate some of the tax being removed from gas.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 20th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I would suggest that personal income tax cuts would be appropriate so that it is fair across the board for all Canadians.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 20th, 2004

Madam Speaker, what my constituents are really angry about is the sponsorship scandal. What they are angry about is that they have to pay $6,000 out of their own pockets when this $100 million is lost and handed out to Liberal friendly ad agencies.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 20th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Langley.

I will begin by thanking the residents of Simcoe—Grey for electing me to represent their interests in the House of Commons. As all members will know, it truly is an honour to be given such a responsibility and trust by the residents of our home communities. I look forward to giving them representation that reflects their goals and wishes, representation that treats their tax dollars responsibly and representation that includes consultation, not simply explanation on how things are going to be.

As many of my colleagues have so far, I would also like to comment on the throne speech. Millions of Canadians expected action on the gun registry, democratic reform, agriculture, BSE, tax relief and a modernized and effective military, as well as criminal justice reform. The Liberals continue to ignore these priorities.

As I am limited in time, I will raise a couple of issues that are of great concern to my riding and of course to Canadians across the country.

Two issues of great importance to the residents of Simcoe—Grey concern the BSE crisis and the lack of adequate infrastructure funding.

Sadly, the throne speech gives the BSE issue barely a mention and, on helping municipalities, it takes a step backward from the great Liberal election promises of the past. My constituents want to know why they had to wait more than three months for a document totally lacking in hope and vision.

As we have seen in throne speeches of the past, the Liberals have mastered the art of empty promises. There is nothing new in the speech. It recycles the same old warmed over promises we have heard for a decade in other throne speeches and election platforms.

In a quick flip through Hansard we will find these promises and schemes dating back years. Unfortunately, we will not find follow up action or solutions to problems that continue to affect Canadians.

As we heard last Thursday night during the emergency debate on BSE, Canada's beef producers are in a desperate state and yet the government continues to fumble around for answers and solutions. The government failed to prepare Canada for an eventual case of BSE. We could have solved the problem ahead of time. Now we have all had to live with the consequences. The government continues to fail our cattle producers, lacking the competence to get our borders fully open to export.

In my riding of Simcoe—Grey we have many cattle farmers. I told some of the heartbreaking stories of the many farmers who have lost their way of life during the emergency debate. Kandy was an example. She was a seed stock farmer and 75% of her herd were American sales. She has sold off a registered herd that she spent all her life developing. With the border closed she had no choice.

I also talked about the majority of the compensation money going to the processors. My constituents do not understand how this could have happened and they fully expect that this will happen again.

The response from the minister was that the government had tried to manage the program properly and that it had wanted to audit the processors' books. We already know where the money went. It is clearly because of the government's inability to manage our tax dollars wisely; its inability to manage the compensation program wisely.

When it comes to providing funding to municipalities to help them rebuild their roads, sewers and other public services, the government continues to slide. What happened to the great promises of reliable funding? What has happened to promise to transfer a dedicated portion of gas tax revenue? Has it disappeared until the next election?

In my riding, as in ridings across the country, we have a serious need for renewal. Aging infrastructure combined with a growing population has tied the hands of local governments. They need help and they need it now. They need the gas tax revenues to be distributed equally across the nation, not just be focused on cities and public transit.

In the Georgian triangle region, which includes the town of Blue Mountains, it will have issued one million building permits by the end of this year. It needs the dollars to support this infrastructure. In the Georgian triangle area it gets 50,000 to 200,000 visitors per day during peak seasons, weekends and holidays in the priority urban and emerging centres.

We also have Wasaga Beach in my riding. In a census Statistics Canada has recently established that this is the fastest growing municipality in Ontario and it is the fourth fastest growing municipality in Canada with a total growth of 8% per year, and this is due to migrating urban populations. It needs the dollars to support its infrastructure.

Also, in another area of my riding, Essa township, there are 500 residents who have to pay $6,000 per household to upgrade their sewers and water mains. This is over and above the taxes that they pay every year.

I was very pleased and very much supported the amendments to which my leader forced the government to respond. We forced the government to respond to the real priorities of Canadians. These issues are now on the public agenda because of the initiative taken by my leader. It is unprecedented for such substantive amendments to be made to a throne speech.

As a result of our amendments, the government has committed itself to a vote in the House of Commons before a decision is made on missile defence, an assurance it had previously refused to provide. I must admit though that I was a little concerned when I read what the government House leader said:

The vote is non-binding. It's advisory in nature. Parliament will have that debate and provide that advice to the government, and ultimately the government will decide--

To me it sounds as though the government will continue to govern as though it has a majority. This is unacceptable.

We have successfully made the point to the government that it must consult with opposition parties and take their views into account to make this minority Parliament work. We, as Conservatives, understand and have taken the clear message that we will work to make this minority government work.

Youth Voters October 20th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, there is a general opinion that young people do not vote because they are apathetic. I am of the opinion that most young people do care, and are choosing not to vote because the current system is not connected with them and is failing to represent their views. After all, they vote for their favourite contestant on Canadian Idol , but they do not vote to pick a prime minister.

Perhaps if they knew what a prime minister does, what Parliament does and how government connects and works with people throughout the community, they would see how they fit into the picture.

High school students in my riding of Simcoe—Grey have the opportunity of experiencing what it is like to be a member of Parliament. Students will volunteer in my office as student MPs. The goal is to encourage youth to become involved in politics and to provide an opportunity for students to understand the job of a member of Parliament.

Participation will work toward the community service hours students are required to do.

I am pleased to announce the name of Simcoe--Grey's first student MP. Her name is Sherry Cailes. She attends CCI in Collingwood. Sherry is a bright young lady who recently attended the World Affairs Seminar in Whitewater, Wisconsin. I look forward to working with her.

Agriculture October 12th, 2004

Mr. Chair, the question I was asking was to have some more detail on what exactly it is the government will be doing the next time around to ensure that the money gets in the hands of the farmers. I am not here to debate how much money the packers actually walked off with. I would like to know, what was the first plan in place that was devised? What is the solution to the problem so that it does not happen again?

Agriculture October 12th, 2004

Mr. Chair, I rise for the first time in this great House. I am very honoured to be here and pleased to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of my constituents in the fine riding of Simcoe—Grey.

As we heard last Thursday evening and many times during tonight's take note debate, Canada's beef farmers are in a desperate state, yet the government continues to fumble around for answers and solutions. In fact the government had a decade to prepare Canada for an eventual case of BSE. It had a decade to prepare a plan to deal with a single case of mad cow yet it did nothing and we have all had to suffer the consequences of this inaction.

The government continues to fail our cattle producers to this day and it is certainly not limited to its inability to get our borders fully open to export. Of course in my riding of Simcoe—Grey we have many cattle farmers.

Today I spoke with a friend of mine by the name of Kandy. Kandy is--sorry, Kandy was a seed stock farmer and 75% of her herd were American sales. She has sold off a registered herd that she spent all her life developing. With the border closed, she had no choice.

I also heard from Mr. Doug Patton of Adjala-Tosorontio. Doug farms with his son Jim, who is the fourth generation Patton to be farming in Adjala-Tosorontio. They used to keep around 120 head of cattle. They are trying to sell off the remaining 10. They want to get out of beef completely, but guess what? Nobody wants to buy them. In fact they lost $1,000 a head on the last cattle they sold. Doug has not received any compensation because he did not qualify under the rules of the Liberal plan.

The cattle were grazed on rough land that is no good for crops. Now it is not used at all. Perhaps this will be another family farm sold to a developer. Maybe if this land is developed into a city, the government will pay attention to it.

Doug is not the only farmer that I have heard from. Many have called to tell me that the banks are not lending operating lines of credit to farmers or anyone whose business deals are primarily with farmers. The only way for a farmer to get operating funds is to mortgage his or her land. This is another direct attack on the Canadian farmer.

Mr. Patton has questions, as do many farmers. They want to know why the government directed a majority of compensation money to the processors. The price of beef is up in the stores but processors are still buying from the farmers at 50¢ on the dollar. Farmers want to know what is being done to ensure this does not happen again. What is being done to ensure that the money will be put in the hands of the farmers?

Another farmer I have spoken with is Mr. Doug McCormack of Beeton which is a small town in the southeast part of my riding. It is a great little town, home to a wonderful councillor by the name of Richard Norcross. Doug is a fifth generation farmer. His family has been farming cattle since 1845. He is a farmer who specialized in purebred registered beef cattle and at one time he had a commercial feedlot with 800 steers. That is all gone now. Doug has just sold more than 100 cows at a tremendous loss.

It is time that the government took the time to speak directly with these small farmers. We will hear time and again that it is completely impossible to operate a business in this environment.

In closing, I would like to comment that there is widespread frustration with the new CAIS program. Why did the government close down the NISA program before the CAIS program was fully operational? I attended not one but two information systems on the CAIS program. This was provided to local farmers in my riding. I found the sessions severely lacking in information and severely lacking in advice for the farmers. Many walked away more confused than when they had entered the session, myself included.

Why in such a desperate time did the government reduce the support for farmers? Why at such a desperate time did it decrease the access to support for farmers?