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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was kind.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Newton—North Delta (B.C.)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question that is targeted specifically to our beautiful British Columbia's pristine coastline.

I have had the pleasure of travelling all over B.C., and up and down that beautiful coastline. For British Columbians, there is nothing more important than protecting our coastline and our waterways.

That moratorium was there for a reason. The Canadian government now making sure that our tankers are up to international standard is not a cause to celebrate when maybe they should have had double hulls all along. However, what is disturbing is that once again the government is very much engaged in partisan advertising, supporting the oil companies and the pipelines.

What shocked me more than anything was that when we had the oil spill in Vancouver during that perfectly still day and a lot of damage was done, the company contracted out for the cleanup was Kinder Morgan. That is bizarre.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have enjoyed working with my colleague on a number of issues. He always asks thoughtful questions.

I think this is a prime example of a government, even when it is found guilty by the courts and is reprimanded, wanting to circumvent. Instead of saying that they are not supposed to be doing this, the Conservatives came up with the idea of having a tiny little tag flash on the screen which nobody will have the time to read, or it is so tiny that people, especially in my age group, cannot read it. They carry on with doing exactly what they were doing before.

It is a flagrant disregard for common-sense interpretation when they have been found guilty, in order to carry on misusing the tax dollars of hard-working Canadians.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of this motion. We have heard a lot about the advertising of government programs that do not even exist, and I think it is ironic when we get bills like this brought forward. However, I always say it is better late than never.

It pleases me that the Liberal Party has brought this bill forward. In the past, both the Liberal and Conservative governments have been criticized very heavily for using publicly funded government advertising campaigns to further their own partisan interests. That is not news, and I am not going to go into too much of the history around that. When the Liberals were in government, they acted just like the Conservatives.

It is a bit strange sitting here, having the Conservatives say that they only kind of did what the Liberals did. What matters is that it is the public's hard-earned tax dollars that are being used for partisan advertising. Taxpayers do not mind when their hard-earned tax dollars are used to pay for programs. They do not mind when they are used to promote something that is good for all Canadians. What they do mind is when it is just purely advertising in order to promote a particular party.

We all remember the sponsorship scandal. I was not an MP at the time, but I can tell the House that it was a big topic of conversation. In my social studies class, it was a major topic of discussion for a good few weeks.

It is time in Canada that we elect a government and a leader who have the experience and the principles, as well as what it takes to stop all of these scandals and mismanagement left behind by the Liberals, and now by the Conservatives. It is time for a principled government that will bring real change to Ottawa and get rid of advertising that is not necessary.

I have sat in the House today and listened to some of my colleagues from across the aisle, and I heard what a wonderful job they have been doing with Veterans Affairs. All of this advertising is to promote the programs they have. What I have found ironic is that they had to put them on during the hockey games because every veteran is out there watching hockey. I have big news for everyone: not everybody watches hockey. I know that might be sacrilegious and that some people might get upset at that, but there are many people who do not watch, especially many who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and those who are coping with having left the battlefield and readjusting to civilian life.

If we want to communicate with the veterans, surely we know who they are. Surely one way to communicate with them is directly. That would actually get to every veteran in a real way, instead of just throwing out the fairy dust and hoping that some of it lands in the right places.

Since I have been in the House, I have watched advertising for programs that do not even exist. I was the critic for employment and social development, as I am now, when the government was advertising the Canada job grant. The government had not negotiated a single agreement with any province, but we spent millions of dollars advertising a program that did not exist. To me, that is asinine and a waste of taxpayers' money.

Canadians work hard to earn their paycheques. They pay taxes, which they do not mind, if they know that their taxes are being well used.

However, the taxpayers I talk with do not want to have their hard-earned money used to promote a particular party or for partisan advertising, especially to promote things that do not exist. We have already begun to see some of the advertising around income splitting. As far as I know, income splitting has not yet been passed by this Parliament. We know it is an idea the government has in its budget, but we have not finished debate on the budget. It has to go through the cycles of parliamentary legislation, and then it has to come back here to be voted upon.

Instead of dealing with real issues and spending money where it is needed, the government would rather spend money on advertising income splitting—the new income splitting, by the way—that would only benefit about 15% of the population, not those who need it the most.

Constituents and other Canadians I have talked with coast to coast to coast tell me that they have been waiting years to hear about their appeals to the Social Security Tribunal. Some of these people are terminally ill and still waiting to have their appeals heard. Surely some of this money would have been better spent on hiring extra people, if that is what is needed, in order to process the appeals in a timely manner.

I am not against all advertising. I think there are some things that governments do have to advertise in a bigger way, on a larger scale. I heard another colleague mention tourism today. We live in a beautiful country. Of course, we should be promoting our country. I think it is wonderful to encourage people to come here, but also to encourage people within Canada to explore Canada as well.

However, what I find hard is why we have to spend millions of dollars promoting the oil industry in the U.S. when the oil industry makes billions of dollars in profit. Surely it is the job of the oil companies to promote themselves. Why would we take hard-earned money from Canadians who are working for $10, $12, $14 an hour, having to work two or three jobs in order to make ends meet, and use it to promote the oil companies in the U.S.? The oil companies make huge profits. That is called the government paying off its friends, and I think that is unconscionable when Canadians are hurting.

Let us talk about something else that the government should be highlighting: Campaign 2000. That was the year when Parliament unanimously agreed to take immediate action to end child poverty. Eradication of poverty or the proliferation of child poverty is still very real, whether it is in the north, in B.C., in the centre, or on the east coast. Think of the three-quarters of a billion dollars that has been spent on advertising. Some of that could have been used to address child poverty. When it comes to child poverty, we have a government that is very fond of supporting our motions to end child poverty and agreeing they are a good thing. Then, when we get a budget, we do not see many resources targeted in that area specifically. What we see sometimes are policies that would grow the gap between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots.

I absolutely agree that we need to get this partisan advertising under control and that we need an independent body to review how it is done. It is time for the Conservative government to stop abusing the tax dollars of hard-working Canadians to promote itself for re-election.

Ethics April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Mike Duffy's diary shows that in 2012 he repeatedly spoke with top Enbridge executives, followed by conversations with the Prime Minister. However, there are no communication reports from Enbridge in the lobbying registry about these chats with Duffy.

Can the Prime Minister tell the House whether it is true that he discussed and requested notes from Mike Duffy about Enbridge or the northern gateway pipeline?

The Budget April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am from Newton—North Delta, and Newton is part of Surrey. Recently, in my community, we have had a huge number of shootings, 23. Last Sunday, tragically, there was a fatality, and a 22-year-old young man was killed by gunfire. It was devastating for the family and for the community.

I have been pushing in this House for additional resources for communities like Surrey to take on gang violence and drug-related activities of the kind we have had. As I have gone through this budget, I have not been able to locate where there is funding for real issues like crime and safety in my community. The government talks about being tough on crime. Could the member please point out where in this budget there is money allocated to help cities like Surrey fight crime so that my neighbours and my constituents can feel safe?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 22nd, 2015

With regard to Employment and Social Development Canada and to the unit responsible for reviewing backlogged social security appeals: (a) where is the unit located within the Department’s structure; (b) to whom is the unit reporting; (c) how many people are in the unit; (d) how many of the people working in the unit have a medical degree; (e) how many of the people working in the unit are lawyers; (f) how many of the people working in the unit are Canada Pension Plan Disability medical adjudicators; (g) what is the budget of the unit; (h) what are the terms of reference for the unit; (i) what is the unit’s expected length of existence; (j) how many appeal case files have been reviewed to date; (k) how many settlements have been offered; (l) how many settlements have been accepted; (m) are settlements retroactive; (n) what are the criteria for deciding to review a file or to allow it to pass on to the Social Security Tribunal; (o) when was the unit created; and (p) when did the unit begin operations?

The Budget April 22nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, while Conservatives like Mike Duffy got to live large on the taxpayers' dime, ordinary Canadians are feeling squeezed, and yesterday's budget provides them with little relief.

In nine years, the Conservatives have failed to create a single child care space. The budget offers costly tax breaks for the wealthiest Canadians, the top 15%. Families desperately need help with child care costs that are breaking the family budget.

Why has the government abandoned middle-class families?

Drug-Free Prisons Act April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, whenever I talk about drugs in our communities or our prisons, I am always amazed how people want simplistic solutions. It is as if all of us are looking for a magic pill that would suddenly get rid of the impact of drugs on our families, our communities and our society as a whole.

The Correctional Investigator has stated and there have been numerous reports that the corrections system risks unintended consequences when simplistic solutions are applied to the complex issue of drugs in prisons. They talk about the need for a proper assessment of prisoners on intake. For instance, when someone has gotten into problems and has been sentenced to prison, let us do an assessment of what got them there. Do they have mental health issues? Are drugs involved? When did the drugs kick in? We have to take into account all of those things.

We have to start looking at some of the causes at that time. Our prison system is not a one-way street. It is supposed to be one where we believe in rehabilitation. That is the kind of penal system we have. There has to be a proper assessment. Then we have to identify the specific problems that can be targeted. Then we need to have rehabilitation programs so that people can be better reintegrated into society. Once they are released from prison we need to have a reintegration process that is scaffolded with a multitude of services so that the likelihood to reoffend is reduced.

Once again, there is no simple pill. This is a complex issue. It is going to take investment and resources. Every dollar we invest will bring us back thousands of dollars in savings.

Drug-Free Prisons Act April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I always like to relate some of the big issues to what happens in our families and how we raise our kids. If parents telling their kids that they must do not do drugs would alone get rid of the drug problem in the world, we would not have that issue in Canada today. I know how hard parents work, and zero tolerance is a great aspiration to have, but until we achieve that, we have to have real expert advice from those who deal with these issues, based on the research and what works. We have to have a multifaceted approach.

Just telling people not to do drugs, hitting them on the head with a baseball bat and sending them to prison is not going to get rid of the drug problem. What is going to get rid of the drug problem is investment in education, rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

Drug-Free Prisons Act April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there are areas in which the federal government plays a key role in education, such as in the education for our first nations people and aboriginal communities. A very large percentage of the people in prison are from our aboriginal communities.

There is a lot of preventative initiatives that could be happening, such as investing in early childhood education, quality education, nutrition, prevention and education programs, and truly in strong and inclusive community building. It is always easy to say that this is not our mandate, as I have sometimes heard my colleagues across the way say. However, once people are in prison, it is our mandate.

Here is an amazing figure from seven institutions surveyed in February 2012: only 12.5% of the total offenders were enrolled in a core correctional program, and there is a waiting list to access these programs exceeding 35%.

They say we should start at home and fix what we can fix, but we have a government that has made cut after cut to services in rehabilitation and education. What we are seeing now is that only 12.5% access services, and there is a wait list for people in prison who want to get away from drugs and take the rehabilitation and education programs, but the Conservative government has made so many cuts that they are being denied rehabilitation. That is disgraceful.