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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is women.

NDP MP for London—Fanshawe (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 38% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his remarks. He did say in the course of those remarks that his government has reached out to various groups and has had dialogue with various groups. I wonder, though, if the Liberal government has spoken directly to governments like Australia and Germany about the specific programs they have put in place to help refugees from the Middle East.

Status of Women October 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, 64 women were elected to Canada's Parliament, and I was proud to be among them. At that time, women represented 21% of the members of the House. Now, 10 years later, women are still only 26% of the members, which is progress at a snail's pace.

Unless we make an effort, it will take another 60 years, to 2076, before women have equal representation in this place, a snail's pace indeed.

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Canada ranks 60th in the world when it comes to gender parity in Parliament. In all our history, women have never accounted for more than 29% of candidates in a federal election.

We can do better, and we have the opportunity to do that today. I urge every member of the House to support Bill C-237, the candidate gender equity act, put forward by the member for Burnaby South.

Let us do this for Canada, because, after all, it is 2016 and are we not all feminists?

Veterans Affairs October 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we have heard over and over about the minister's mandate letter and the promises that have been made.

We have seen a slow trickle of some of the promises, a slow reopening of some Veterans Affairs offices, and some additional money for injured veterans, but nothing of the promised pensions or the significant reforms that are desperately needed.

Veterans are falling through the cracks. Those cracks are deep, and our veterans are not getting the help they need.

Will the government live up to its sacred obligation to all veterans and ensure that they, no matter when they served, receive the services and benefits they are entitled to? Will the government support a one-veteran-one-standard approach and work quickly to make the necessary changes so that no one falls through the cracks?

Will it abandon this disgraceful lawsuit?

Veterans Affairs October 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, veterans who signed up to serve our country before Canada entered the Afghanistan mission signed up with the understanding that should they become injured during their service, they would be able to rely on a lifetime pension to ensure that they and their families would be taken care of by their country. However, the Liberal government of the day changed the rules and these men and women were sent into combat with no such protections. Some of those veterans took the government to court, calling on the sacred obligation we owe to veterans, to underscore the promises made by many governments to our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces. This includes a financial obligation of a lifetime pension.

The previous Conservative government callously decided to fight those veterans in court, denying their rights and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to refute the idea that we owe our veterans a sacred obligation for putting their lives on the line in defence of our country and the missions we ask them to undertake.

In 2015, the House of Commons unanimously passed an NDP motion that recognized Canada's covenant of moral, social, legal, and financial obligations to all veterans. Every member of the House agreed that we did, indeed, owe this sacred obligation to our veterans. Many of those members still serve in this place. Yet here we stand today in the same place as we were in 2012, with the current Liberal government back in court fighting those we pledged to protect, our veterans and their families, and veterans are begging the government to recognize the sacred obligation they are owed.

To add insult to injury, the Liberals have even hired the same lawyer, Paul Vickery, who was contracted by the Conservatives to fight this case. It is the same lawyer, the same situation, the same lawsuit that Liberals denounced in the House not so long ago, and I am wondering why. The Liberals made their commitment to veterans very clear just a year ago in their platform, which states:

Veterans and their families have earned our respect and gratitude. It is time our government lived up to its sacred obligation to them. Our plan will give back to those who have given so much in service to all Canadians, and will ensure that no veteran has to fight the government for the support and compensation they have earned.

My simple question is this. Why is the government, despite campaigning a year ago with the promise to respect veterans, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting wounded veterans in court instead of spending that money to ensure that those veterans receive the benefits and services they require, the benefits and services to which they are entitled?

Veterans Affairs October 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the veterans ombudsman has made it clear that benefits are still inadequate for those who have served our country.

He has also flagged unacceptable delays in veterans receiving those benefits. We now learn that more than 11,000 disability benefit claims are stuck in the queue. These are men and women who were injured in the service of their country. They deserve better. They were promised better.

Would the minister please explain exactly when this backlog will be fixed?

World Contraception Day September 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, September 26, World Contraception Day, provides a timely opportunity to talk about the importance of and access to contraception for people around the world.

In Canada there are some who struggle to gain access to necessary reproductive health care. Those most marginalized include youth, immigrants, and those of low socio-economic status.

I believe that reproductive health care, and specifically safe and effective contraceptives, should be made available and accessible to all. I have put forward a motion, M-65, which calls on the government to work with the provinces to provide free access to prescribed birth control.

Contraception is a basic, lifesaving health care need for women, transgender people, and other persons. Access to contraception supports the right to make healthy reproductive choices.

I encourage all members of the House to support M-65 to ensure that women across Canada have access to the reproductive health services they need.

Veterans Affairs September 27th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, today the military ombudsman released a report warning that the application process for injured veterans is broken, complex, and difficult to navigate. Injured Canadian Armed Forces members will not automatically get the new benefits but will have to apply through what the ombudsman described as a “dizzying” process. Veterans have already waited far too long for their benefits.

Will the minister proactively reach out to injured service men and women to ensure they get the higher benefits promised by the Liberals?

Veterans Affairs September 21st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, two reports this week, one from the Veterans Ombudsman and the other from the Canadian Forces Ombudsman, call on the government to make compensation fair for wounded veterans and to fix the system.

Wounded veterans deserve respect. It is a travesty that the government refuses to take concrete action.

Will the minister accept the recommendations in these reports? Will his government work to immediately implement them without dragging veterans into court?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2016

With regard to requests made by veterans to access their own military records: what is the number of requests, made by veterans or veterans’ representatives, since January 1, 2013, broken down by year, which were made to (i) the Department of National Defence for service records, (ii) Library and Archives Canada for medical or dental records?

Veterans June 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, just like the Conservatives before them, the Liberals are shamefully denying benefits to veterans. Care is downloaded to the provinces while federal facilities close beds or shut their doors.

Peter Blendheim is a decorated 94-year-old war veteran, but he has been refused space at Camp Hill veterans hospital in Halifax. This is simply a disgrace.

Will the Liberals change course and agree to start investing in long-term care so that all veterans can have access to the care they need and deserve?