House of Commons photo


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

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women December 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of consultations and I believe that you will find unanimous consent of the House for the following motion. I move:

That this House mark the 20th anniversary of the Montreal massacre at École Polytechnique and the adoption in 1991 of the National Day of Remembrance Act to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against women in response to this tragedy.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women December 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise to express the sadness I share with all Canadians who will take a moment today to reflect on one of the darkest moments in the history of this nation.

On December 6, 1989, a gunman entered a classroom in Montreal's École Polytechnique. He separated the men from the women, then shot the women. Fourteen young women died, ten more were injured and four men were also shot. Every Canadian who was alive at the time has a different recollection of the events of that terrible day, however, we were all united in our horror and our grief and our unlimited sympathy for the families of the women slain.

As a young Canadian woman, I felt shocked at first and then numb and then angry, a feeling that left me determined to help to ensure that this would never happen again. These families lost the best and the brightest, their beloved daughters, sisters, nieces and cousins, young women just setting out at the start of their adult lives full of life and love, energy and enthusiasm gone forever in a few moments of violence.

While Canada thankfully has not experienced an incident of the magnitude of the Montreal massacre since 1989, we are very aware of the fact that to end the violence against women much work remains to be done.

As Minister of State for Status of Women I am proud of the steps that our government has taken to address these challenges, including delivering the Tackling Violent Crime Act, working to prevent serious criminals from serving their sentences at home and increasing the funding to grassroots women's support groups across the country to address the many forms of violence.

Progress has been made, but more work remains to be done. Ending violence against women is not something that government can do on its own. Every Canadian has a role to play, whether by offering support to a woman caught in an abusive situation or teaching young children that all forms of violence and abuse are wrong.

Our government is united in its sorrow for women who are victims of violence and united in its resolve to end violence against women. It is time for us to face it, name it and end it.

On December 6, Canadians will pause to remember and grieve for the women who died in the Montreal massacre. I believe we serve their memory best by committing to face and end violence against the women and girls who are with us today.

Status of Women December 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the government has taken a number of concrete steps to protect women across this country.

We passed the Tackling Violent Crime Act. We have made significant investments in policing. We are supporting Sisters in Spirit. We have introduced Bill C-42, which is to end conditional sentences for violent crimes such as kidnapping, human trafficking and rape, and yet I note there are so many members in the opposition benches who are against this piece of legislation.

Status of Women December 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, aboriginal women are three times as likely to experience violence and five times as likely to die as a result, and this is something that our government takes very seriously.

We are supporting Sisters in Spirit, a five year research project that is not to end until March 2010. We are and have been working with the Native Women's Association of Canada on the next steps for some time now. The association has indicated that it appreciates that we have taken the time to sit down with it to understand the research that it has done over the past five years and to ensure that it plays a key role in developing what the next steps exactly will be.

Status of Women December 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the member is well aware that we are supporting Sisters in Spirit, which is led by the Native Women's Association of Canada, as it should be. It is a five year, multi-research project that our government supports and financially backs.

We are in fact looking at exploring the next options. The president for NWAC has recently said that she knows that I am supportive and that we are working together on a regular basis to look to the future.

Firearms Registry December 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, let me first highlight that the Liberal gun registry did absolutely nothing to make Canadians safer. It certainly did nothing to protect women against violence.

I would also like to highlight that the member is very well aware that we have made some significant changes at Status of Women. One of our pillars of focus is violence against women. We are funding a significant number of projects across the country that address the many forms of violence, be it domestic violence, cyber stalking, culturally based violence and the high rates of violence within the aboriginal community.

We have funded an equivalent of $23 million in projects just in the last year and a half.

Status of Women November 26th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I answered that question very clearly in the House yesterday.

The member is fully aware that there are elected members in this House who have said very similar things at different times. Members in this House represent their constituencies and they are free to have any opinion that they choose. It does not mean that it represents the government.

I am pleased to highlight one of our most recent achievements to protect women across this country. We recently revised our citizenship guide. I would like to recognize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for the great work he has done in specifically outlining that barbaric practices, such as female genital mutilation, are not tolerated in Canada.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation) November 25th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on combatting child pornography. This has been on the radar.

As the Minister of State for Status of Women, I have travelled across the country and have spoken with thousands of women and with organizations that combat violence against women and child pornography. They are very focused on women and children and ending that violence. On numerous occasions, they have highlighted to me that our government should proceed with this.

They assured me in all conversations that they knew all members in the House would be supportive of such an initiative. I take from the member's question that he is supportive of it.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation) November 25th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I will have to get back to the member to give him a specific answer.

Another question asked was how much would it cost suppliers of Internet services to implement these new statutory requirements. It is anticipated that the bill would have a limited impact on the business practices of those ISPs that already voluntarily report cases of online child pornography.

The requirements in the bill were drafted in a manner that reflected, as closely as possible, the current practices of Canada's major ISPs.

Child Protection Act (Online Sexual Exploitation) November 25th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I know the member recognizes that the debate we are having today about this very important bill is significant and very important to all Canadians.

When it comes to combatting crime across the country or child pornography, ending violence against women, or ending house arrest for serious crimes like human trafficking, property damage and such, our government's position is strong. We have a strong record on combatting crime and criminal behaviour.

This is something I know this member and all members of the House, regardless of their political stripe, know that the Conservative Party has a strong record on.

Judging from the member's questions today, I know that he recognizes the significance of Bill C-58. It is my hope that he will be supporting it.

I think it is important to highlight for a moment how many cases of Internet child pornography actually are investigated and prosecuted in Canada each year and how many of those have been reported by an Internet service provider.

The latest statistical data we have relating to child pornography is from 2007. During that year there were over 1,400 police-reported child pornography incidents of which 440 resulted in charges.

Unfortunately we have no way of knowing if any of these cases were initiated by an ISP report. What we do know, however, is that the proliferation of images over the Internet is a growing problem. According to the special report of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, entitled “Every Image, Every Child”, the number of images of serious child abuse quadrupled between 2003 and 2007 and the images are getting more violent and the children in the photos are getting even younger.