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  • Her favourite word is service.

NDP MP for London—Fanshawe (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Gender Equality May 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, today marks the anniversary of women in Canada winning the right to vote in federal elections. While we have come a long way in 100 years, we still have a very long way to go. On this auspicious day, parliamentarians would do well to dream and work for what could be.

Let us remember that we remain saddled with an electoral system that leaves women behind—young women, senior women, disabled women, women of colour, immigrant women, trans women, indigenous women, and LBGTQ2 women. So much for the promise that 2015 would be the last election in Canada using first past the post. This is an anniversary with no change at all, despite the overwhelming preference among Canadians, experts and citizens alike, for proportional representation.

Women constitute 51% of the population, so 25% representation in this place is not enough. Lip service is not enough. We demand real feminist leadership. We must not let anyone tell us it cannot be done.

Canada Post May 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ. In its election promises, the government led voters to believe that it would restore lost postal services, and has done nothing of the sort.

I do know that Canada Post workers, represented by CPAA and CUPW, will be eager to hear that progress is being made on the part of the corporation and that the government is committed to addressing and preventing bullying and harassment in the workplace. It is very important because the workers, their livelihoods, and their families depend on it.

Bills are only lip service until there is determined and dedicated action. I have promised the workers at Canada Post that I will work as effectively as possible to change the reality in their workplace. Canada is a country of incredible prosperity. We can deliver the mail, we can deliver financial services, and we can do it effectively if the government will just listen.

Canada Post May 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, when I asked a question regarding harassment in the Canada Post workplace in February, the minister assured me that she was doing everything in her power to address the issue. However, when I attended the CUPW spring educational conference at the end of April, the members were quite vocal about the fact that harassment was still one of the biggest issues plaguing them in the workplace. There appears to be some light on the horizon, albeit if not late in its timing, for those already suffering the effects of bullying and harassment. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers reported on May 9 that some incremental first steps had finally been taken on the part of the minister, who assured them that there would be follow-up. I do hope that is the case.

During committee hearings on Bill C-65, a union representative described a culture of harassment that is deep-seated and systemic. New Democrats are committed to supporting workers in finding a resolution to reduce incidences of bullying and harassment in all workplaces. As the NDP critic for Canada Post, my primary concern is to address this dysfunctional culture within the corporation. We have witnessed a steady deterioration in the working conditions of postmasters and assistants, including reduction of hours, post office closures, and other issues that contribute significantly to the potential for stress and unhealthy conflict in the workplace. CPAA members report mental health issues related to this particular situation and things like absenteeism, which is second only to musculoskeletal issues. While workplace conditions are not always the cause of mental health issues, a culture of bullying and harassment certainly does nothing to alleviate workers' stress levels. It just makes sense to work to create an overall cultural change at Canada that improves working conditions and reduces stress with meaningful and concrete solutions.

To quote the Government of Canada's Department of Employment and Social Development from November 2, 2017, on the release of the report entitled “Harassment and sexual violence in the workplace public consultations—what we heard”:

Harassment and sexual violence are unacceptable. Period. The Government of Canada made a commitment to Canadians to take action to ensure that federal workplaces, including Parliament Hill, are free from these types of behaviours....

Harassment and sexual violence in the workplace negatively impact not only the person experiencing these behaviours, but also their families, coworkers, and their employers.

The release goes on to say that the government is committed to taking meaningful action to address the full spectrum of harassment and sexual violence at work and will be announcing next steps in the near future. I am encouraged to hear that Jessica McDonald, Canada Post's new CEO, has initiated discussions with the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association to discuss bullying and harassment in the workplace. It appears that she is attempting to find the root of the problem, and a solution as well, and that she is open to working with the unions. This gives me cause for hope.

The time for addressing these issues is now. We cannot afford the cost of bullying and harassment in the workplace. We cannot afford it in human terms; nor can we afford it in dollars and cents, because the bottom line is that this kind of disruption of work costs us all. Therefore, I am waiting to hear from the minister.

Petitions May 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in support of postal banking. As has been stated, nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders. They are predators in our neighbourhoods. Often it is the poor, marginalized, rural, and indigenous communities who suffer most.

Therefore, because there are 3,800 Canada Post outlets in rural areas not covered by banks and credit unions and Canada Post has an incredible infrastructure and could easily make the transition to include postal banking, the petitioners ask the Parliament of Canada to support Motion No. 166 and create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking to the benefit of all Canadians.

Petitions May 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.

The first petition is in regards to the Thames River. As members will recall, the previous government stripped environmental regulations covered in the Navigable Waters Act, leaving hundreds of rivers vulnerable, including the Thames River in London, Ontario.

The current government has promised, but failed, to reinstate the environmental protections that were gutted from the original act. Therefore, the petitioners call on the Government of Canada to support my bill, Bill C-355, which would commit the government to prioritize the protection of the Thames River by amending the Navigation Protection Act. Of course, this would extend to all lakes and rivers that we cherish.

Health May 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this Friday, Canada will be held accountable for its human rights record at our third periodic review at the UN. Safe and equal access to abortion is the right of all Canadians, yet this access remains shockingly inconsistent. Women living in rural areas often travel unacceptable distances to access an abortion clinic. It is unconscionable.

When will the government use the Canada Health Act to grant all Canadians their right to safe and equal access to abortion?

Human Rights May 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this Friday, Canada will undergo its third universal periodic review at the United Nations. This is an important moment when Canada will be held accountable by other UN member states on our domestic human rights track record. Canada's human rights violations, including discrimination against indigenous peoples, violence against women, systemic racism, and poverty, will be discussed on the world stage.

The federal government is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Canada Health Act. The act requires universal coverage for all insured persons for all medically-necessary services.

Furthermore, the federal government provides direct health care for first nations, military personnel, and incarcerated individuals.

Canada can and must be willing to use the Canada Health Act to ensure safe and equal abortion access for all people in Canada. The government must do its duty and embrace a recommendation to use the Canada Health Act as a mechanism to ensure safe and equal access to abortion for all.

Petitions May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is in regard to postal banking.

Nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders that prey upon people in our communities, the marginalized, rural, and indigenous communities of Canada.

We have 3,800 Canada Post outlets. They are already there. They could take their place in neighbourhoods where there are fewer and fewer banks and credit unions. Canada Post has a remarkable infrastructure, and this could be a rapid transition.

These petitions are calling on the Government of Canada to enact my motion M-166 to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking under Canada Post Corporation.

Petitions May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions, the first in regard to protecting the Thames River.

The Conservative government stripped away environmental protections in the Navigable Waters Protection Act, leaving hundreds of rivers, including the Thames, unprotected. The Liberal government has promised to bring back environmental protection, but it has failed to do so.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to support my private member's bill, Bill C-355, to convince the government to prioritize the protection of the Thames River by amending the Navigation Protection Act, and, of course, this would apply to all rivers and lakes.

Canada Post May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in 2017, Canada Post's profits surged a whopping 78%. Business is booming, so it is time to make investments that ensure healthy profits are there for the future. Postal workers' pensions must be fully supported, and pay equity issues must be settled. Now is the time to implement postal banking. Will the minister commit to supporting Canada Post, make the investments in the workforce, and expand services so it remains profitable for years in the future?