House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Railway Safety Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, much to my surprise, the reality is that when there was an issue in my riding at a railway crossing I was incredulous to find that the minister did not have the power nor did her railway inspectors to solve the problem and to stop any accidents from happening.

Previously, it was a cumbersome process. This will expedite things. Through my consultations in the development of this bill I am very pleased to acknowledge in this House of Commons that the rail companies that I spoke with are very supportive of increased rail safety. The Teamsters union, which represents a great number of people who work for rail companies, is interested in supporting this bill. Certainly, the minister was very interested when I presented this because currently there is no remedy under our Rail Safety Act for her to shut down an unsafe situation. I have actually had a number of unsafe situations at rail crossings in my riding. This is a question that mattered greatly to my constituency and I am thrilled to hear from not only my colleague on this side but my colleague on the other side of the House that there will be support in general for this bill. It matters that we keep people in our communities safe.

Railway Safety Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

As everyone knows, rail safety in particular is one of our priorities.

The existing legislation does not allow either inspectors or the minister to shut down crossings that could pose a risk to the public. My bill would change that and would be in the best interests of everyone.

As for the specific wording, I must accept the decisions of the members of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. That was their decision and not mine.

Railway Safety Act May 7th, 2015

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely honoured to open this third and final hour on my private member's bill, Bill C-627, an act to amend the Railway Safety Act regarding safety of persons and property.

I am very pleased to have an opportunity to speak today to my bill, Bill C-627, and of course to answer any questions my colleagues may have.

As everyone knows, our government's priorities include transportation safety in general and rail transportation in particular.

My bill proposes amendments to the Railway Safety Act that would help ensure the safety and security of all Canadians. I am very grateful to all the members who have spoken to my private member's bill in the House and to all the members of the transport committee who have not only asked me all kinds of questions but have also gone through this bill clause by clause, line by line, word by word, and have sent it back to the House for this third and final reading.

I have heard loud and clear from my constituents that rail safety is an issue that matters to them, and as a servant of Winnipeg South Centre, I chose to use my private member's bill to achieve greater rail safety in my constituency. Although my focus was on my constituency, the happy consequence is that it would impact the entire country, and rail crossings would be safer and more secure because of this bill.

This is exactly the reason I am asking all of my colleagues in this House of Commons to support my bill. I see my colleagues from every party, representing every Canadian, and from each and every one, I seek their support.

The amendments I propose to the Railway Safety Act would give additional powers to the Minister of Transport to intervene, when required, to better ensure the safety of Canadian citizens, their property, and our communities. My proposed legislation seeks to empower railway safety inspectors so that they may quickly intervene to restrict the use of unsafe works and equipment and to forbid or restrict unsafe crossings and road crossings.

This is a very important issue to me, because in my riding, I have been receiving a number of calls from constituents about the condition of some rail crossings. This led me to take action.

I want our crossings to be safe for a child riding a bike, to be safe for a senior on a motorized wheelchair, and to be safe for a family out for a stroll or a bike ride together. I want our crossings to be safe for vehicles and not have, as has recently been the case, wood planks flying up and hitting vehicles as they drive by, even at low speeds.

Rail crossings crisscross my riding, and the safety of them can be enhanced. This bill is about prevention. The essence of the bill is to solve problems before they occur.

My private member's bill is designed to assist in expediting the quick resolution of safety issues encountered at crossings, all to ensure the safety of the public. This is always a number one priority, and it is certainly my number one priority: prevention.

I am very proud to be part of this government and to contribute to the service of this nation. I am equally proud of the work that has already been done by my government on rail safety, and I am happy to present this private member's bill to further enhance the safety of people in our communities.

I am asking my colleagues on all sides of this House for their support of my private member's bill, Bill C-627, an act to amend the Railway Safety Act for the safety of persons and property.

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member gave a rounding speech, saying only the NDP could deliver. It is clearly not happy with our budget.

Would she comment on the fact that federal transfer payments have reached historic levels under this Conservative government, nearly $68 billion right now? That is a 62% increase since we formed government. All of this was done while we balanced the budget, while we cut taxes for families and businesses and while we were being responsible. What is wrong with that? We are helping Canadians and cutting taxes.

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I find it so interesting that the member is referring to this as a bogus budget. Maybe it is a bogus budget because it does not balance itself.

It has balanced itself because we have made prudent, responsible choices, just as hard-working Canadians have to with their own budgets. We have made those decisions over the past number of years, and we are back in balance. We were very responsible with the stimulus program when it was required for the economy and, as a consequence of those investments, we came out ahead of all of the countries in the G7.

Now, we are back in balance. There is nothing bogus about it.

To my hon. opponent's comment about the middle class, the middle class is benefiting from TFSAs. Some 11 million Canadians are benefiting from TFSAs. Just under 50% of them make less than $42,000 a year. I believe that $42,000 a year is a living wage, but it is not grand wealth.

The Liberals would take that away from people who are being responsible and who are saving. That is help to the middle class.

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member very much for that question. Maybe next Christmas, I will buy him a thesaurus, because there are a lot of ways to frame these various opportunities that we have placed in the budget for Canadians.

I will proudly say that this Conservative government created income splitting for seniors. The opposition would take that away. There are a lot of seniors in my constituency who benefit enormously from income splitting.

Very soon, there will also be some young families who have one of the parents staying at home for a short period of time, making big investments in their family. They will now be on a more equitable footing so that their tax consequence will not be as punitive. That benefit will be up to $2,000.

Again, that is not for the rich, that is to help people make a contribution to Canada.

The Budget April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to speak about economic action plan 2015 and to draw my community's attention to the various opportunities in this budget that will help my constituents in Winnipeg South Centre. There is something in this budget for families, seniors, and young people. It is an absolutely outstanding budget.

I am very proud of our government for fulfilling its promise to balance the federal budget. Thanks to responsible management by our Prime Minister, we have projected a budget surplus of $1.4 billion this year and $1.7 billion next year. Just like hard-working Canadians who have had to make choices to live within their means, so have we.

Before the recession, our government chose to pay down $37 billion in debt and positioned our country to survive the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. We responded very quickly and effectively to that financial crisis with a historic stimulus program and have emerged from the great recession faster and stronger than virtually any major advanced economy, and certainly the best in the G7.

When the crisis passed, our government set out the goal of balancing the budget. We have now done this, first, without raising taxes, and second, without cutting transfers for education and health care. We all have vivid memories of the slashing and gashing the previous Liberal government did to health care and education transfers in the 1990s.

Third, and perhaps of most interest to many of my constituents, while putting money back into the pockets of hard-working Canadian families and businesses, we actually cut taxes as we balanced the budget.

Economic action plan 2015 builds on our government's record of support for Canadian families by keeping taxes low and helping them to save. Since 2006, the government has introduced measures to make life more affordable for families. They include reducing the personal income tax rate and increasing the basic personal amount. We have actually taken 380,000 seniors right off the federal tax rolls. We have cut the GST from 7% to 5%. That helps every Canadian every time he or she purchases anything.

We have introduced pension income splitting for seniors, which can really help seniors on fixed incomes. We have established tax credits to support low-income individuals and families, public transit users, first-time home buyers, and families caring for disabled relatives. We are providing additional support for families with children through the children's arts tax credit, the fitness tax credit, and the adoption expense tax credit. Most recently, the government has proposed a new family tax cut and enhancements to the universal child care benefit and child care expense deduction; 100% of families with children under 18 would receive benefits.

Canadians of all income levels are benefiting from tax relief introduced by our government, but it is low- and middle-income Canadians who are receiving proportionately greater relief. This year Canadian families and individuals will receive $37 billion in tax relief and increased benefits as a result of the actions our government has taken since 2006. For example, a typical family of four will receive tax relief and increased benefits of up to $6,600 in 2015 and every year going forward, thanks to measures such as the family tax cut, the universal child care benefit, the goods and services tax reduction, the children's fitness tax credit, and other new credits.

Tax rates are lower now than they have been for 50 years. By reducing taxes year after year and enhancing benefits to Canadians, our government has given families and individuals greater flexibility to make the choices that are right for them.

Additionally, while we have been busy cutting taxes to help families, we have in turn made sure that federal transfers continue to grow to our provinces and territories. That is important, because they help pay for the social programs Canadians cherish.

In fact, major transfers including the Canada health transfer and the Canada social transfer will amount to almost $68 billion in 2015-16, an all-time high. In Manitoba, Manitobans will receive $3.4 billion in federal transfers this year, and that is an increase of 26% from the previous Liberal government.

Economic action plan 2015 would introduce new measures. It would give seniors more freedom and flexibility when it comes to managing their retirement funds. For example, our government would be reducing the minimum withdrawal amount for registered retirement income funds. I think this is very important, and this would help a lot of people out. One size does not fit all and every retiree has different needs at different times.

I am very pleased that our government would be introducing the new home accessibility tax credit. This proposed 15% non-refundable income tax credit would apply on up to $10,000 of eligible home renovation expenditures per year. Eligible expenditures would be for improvements that allow either a senior or any person who is eligible for the disability tax credit to be more mobile, safer and functional within their home.

We would also be providing up to $42 million over five years to help establish the Canadian centre for aging and brain health innovation.

We have allocated $37 million annually to extend employment insurance compassionate care benefits from the six weeks to six months as of January 16, 2016.

Our government has fulfilled our commitment of doubling the tax-free savings accounts contribution limits to $10,000. This would be very helpful to all Canadians, including the young and the old. First, we created the TFSA and now we have doubled it. TFSAs can help Canadians at every stage of life, whether in retirement, starting a business, buying a car, buying a first home or just putting some money aside because that is what we do in Canada.

By doubling TFSA limits, we would be empowering Canadians to save even more for their own priorities. Of the nearly 11 million individuals who have already opened a TFSA, and these stats are from the end of 2013, close to 2.7 million of them were seniors. Of those 11 million Canadians who hold TFSAs, 75% earn less than $70,000, and about 50% of those 11 million Canadians who hold TFSAs earn less than $42,000. These are not wealthy people, these are responsible Canadians who are putting a bit by and taking charge of their own economic future. They should be supported not condemned as they have been by the opposition.

I am extremely proud of economic action plan 2015 and, more specifically, the continued commitments that our government has made to help Canadian families and seniors. There is something in this budget for everyone in Winnipeg South Centre, and I am very proud to be part of the government that put together such a thoughtful, responsible and fiscally prudent budget that all Canadians will benefit from.

The Budget April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last week our Minister of Finance tabled a balanced budget in this House. Now that we have balanced our budget, we will help middle-class families balance theirs through new measures, like the enhanced family tax cut, the home accessibility tax credit and the universal child care benefit, which will benefit 100% of families with children.

Could the Minister of State for Social Development please inform this House what she is hearing everyday Canadians say about our new measures to support them?

Railway Safety Week April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this week is Railway Safety Week. Every year in Canada, approximately 300 collisions occur at railway crossings. Virtually all of these could be avoided. The goal of Railway Safety Week is to give awareness to Canadians in order to prevent collisions between trains and motor vehicles.

Rail safety is of the utmost importance to me. Ensuring that our families and our communities remain safe is something for which I passionately advocate. In fact, my private member's bill, Bill C-627, an act to amend the Railway Safety Act (safety of persons and property), which has recently passed the committee stage, seeks to give additional powers to the Minister of Transport and railway safety inspectors so they may intervene when required in order to better ensure the safety of citizens, property and communities.

I am confident the bill will make a positive change, and I encourage all Canadians to become involved and promote rail safety. One injury or fatality is one too many.

Taxation April 22nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our budget honours this government's commitment to increase the annual tax-free savings account contribution to $10,000. This initiative significantly benefits seniors. In fact, 70% of those who maximize their accounts are seniors.

Economic action plan 2015 also allows more choice and flexibility for seniors' retirement by relaxing the rules around withdrawals from registered retirement income funds, something the Canadian Association of Retired Persons strongly supports.

Our Conservative government will continue to stand up for seniors and middle-class families by putting more money in their pockets, but the Liberals would take this money away. They would raise taxes on middle-class families and middle-class seniors.

Our government will continue to support a low-tax plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.