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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Nanaimo—Cowichan (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 49% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House December 1st, 2014

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-638, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (wreck).

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Victoria for seconding this bill.

In many coastal communities, derelict and abandoned vessels have a negative impact on their harbours, and some pose a threat to the local environment.

While major environmental dangers from derelict and abandoned vessels are dealt with swiftly by the Canadian Coast Guard, many are simply left to rot away and leach chemicals into the surrounding environment.

If an abandoned and derelict vessel is not a major environmental concern and is not posing an obstacle to navigation, there is usually no action taken.

The Minister of Transport can become involved in the following situations.

Transport Canada can currently take the lead in instances where a vessel is the cause of an obstruction to navigation. However, vessels in the intertidal zone are rarely an obstruction to navigation.

Transport Canada has also been supportive of salvage claims made to the receiver of wrecks when questionable vessels appear ashore or in waters adjacent to communities. However, salvage claims are rarely made against derelict vessels.

Finally, Transport Canada can take the lead in making an assessment as to whether a vessel may pose a threat of pollution. However, an abandoned or derelict vessel that is deemed non-polluting is not dealt with.

Both I, in Nanaimo—Cowichan, and the member for Victoria, often hear complaints about derelict vessels that are not dealt with. Hence, I have introduced this bill, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (wreck).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Northern Development December 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like we are reading different Auditor General's reports. Food prices in the north are not going down. Ask any northerner who has to purchase fresh produce, often at 10 times the price we pay here. Ask the Auditor General, who has questioned the numbers used by the Conservatives, because:

...the Department did not systematically verify the accuracy of prices reported.

Can the minister tell us how the government plans to make sure that every northerner has better access to food?

Northern Development December 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the community of Rankin Inlet deserves more than lawsuit threats from their own member of Parliament. They need to see action to fix the badly broken nutrition north program. The Auditor General showed that there is no assurance that the subsidy is not just ending up with retailers. The numbers the government is quoting cannot be verified.

Why not replace this ill-designed program with something that actually matches the needs of northerners?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act December 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the speech by the member for Yukon. I want to indicate clearly in this House that the New Democrats have signalled, through our House leader, our interest in travelling to the Yukon. We will leave it to the House leaders to sort out whether that will happen.

The member talked about consultations with first nations. A myth has been put out there that first nations have been consulted over the past seven years. The Yukon first nations have said that is not true, that they were not consulted on the amendments to YESAA under Bill S-6, and that many of these issues were never raised with them. The amendments of concern include giving binding policy direction to the board, handing powers over to the Yukon, imposing maximum timelines for assessments, and not requiring assessments when a project is renewed or being amended.

When we talk about consultation, that means providing all of the necessary information in a timely fashion to all of the parties. Therefore, I wonder if this member would clarify for the House if he feels that the Yukon first nations were given sufficient information and sufficient time to adequately consider the amendments that are proposed.

Northern Development November 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about a respectful relationship, we mean respect, dialogue, and reconciliation. Clearly, the Minister of the Environment does not share this definition.

We have asked a number of simple questions.

Once again, when was the minister aware that 40 to 100 of her constituents had to resort to a landfill to feed themselves? Why was there no immediate action? When was the decision made to attempt to strong-arm the officials in Rankin Inlet, rather than reaching out a helping hand to help them out?

Transportation November 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, twice in the last three years, Transport Canada said it was creating a federal inventory of derelict vessels, but the government does not define what a derelict vessel is or give any indication it will deal with the growing problem of abandoned boats, barges, and other water craft

The Union of B.C. Municipalities made a suggestion to set up a removal program and designate the Canadian Coast Guard as receiver of wrecks and derelicts.

When will the minister respond to the calls for concrete action on derelict vessels?

History of Women November 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey, born in Cobble Hill, British Columbia, began her work with the American Food and Drug Administration in 1960.

In her first month at the FDA, she was pressured to approve the release of a sleeping pill for pregnant women called thalidomide. She had seen data that women who used the drug repeatedly experienced dangerous side effects.

In 1961, when British reports of severe birth defects in children started, that was the information Dr. Kelsey needed to block approval of the drug in the US, which eventually led to its ban around the world.

Dr. Kelsey should be recognized as a person of national historic significance. In fact, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada says it that wants to direct more attention to the history of women. However, its guidelines state that a person must be deceased for 25 years before being recognized.

Dr. Kelsey is still alive today, at 100 years of age. It seems wrong that 53 years after her scientific work saved so many, we may have to wait another 25 years for her to be acknowledged.

I urge the minister not to delay and to take the necessary steps to honour Dr. Frances Kelsey.

Aboriginal Affairs November 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Labrador Inuit experienced the trauma of residential schools. They deserve an apology and compensation, like other survivors.

However, despite promising reconciliation with indigenous peoples, Conservatives are now saying the residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador technically do not count.

Why does the current government always fight indigenous peoples every step of the way through the courts? Why not sit down with them in good faith and provide survivors with the settlement and the reconciliation that they deserve?

Agricultural Growth Act November 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, just to set the record straight, although my riding has some urban areas, it also has many rural areas, and there are a large number of farmers in my area, so farmers are not just represented by Conservatives. They are also represented by New Democrats.

I had the good fortune to rise on a number of occasions in the House to present petitions with regard to the right to save seeds. They were signed by members from my riding and many people throughout British Columbia. They were signed by farmers and non-farmers, just to be clear.

In part, the reason the New Democrats do not support the bill is because we proposed some very good amendments that looked at the right to save seed. In particular, one of the amendments had to do with protecting access to public and heritage seeds, as well as the issue of transparency and consultation required when seeds were made inaccessible.

Could the member comment on the fact that there is widespread opposition regarding the changes for farmers around that right to save seeds?

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would argue that some of the cuts outlined by the former ombudsperson for victims highlight the fact that perhaps we are not serving victims well with some of these pieces of legislation. When we do things like cut programs that try to prevent offenders from re-offending, we are not actually supporting potential future victims.

Again, it does speak to the need for a more holisitic approach looking at the prevention of crime to begin with, making sure that we are addressing educational needs, poverty, housing, and drug and alcohol addiction. There are many things that we need to look at in terms of prevention.

We then need a justice system that responds appropriately and has the resources, so that police forces can investigate and so that there are not backlogs in the criminal justice system that would stop us from dealing with crime expeditiously.

We then need a prison system where people are housed appropriately so that they are kept inside when they need to be, but also have rehabilitation and drug and alcohol treatment programs within the prison system.

Then, when offenders are eventually released, we need those systems on the street to help them reintegrate so that they do not re-offend.

If we had legislation that looked at all four of those aspects, I think we would probably find much broader party support in the House for the legislation that comes forward that is purportedly tough on crime.