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 2015, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this upcoming Saturday marks the official anniversary of Holodomor, a tragic period in Ukraine's history that claimed many millions of lives. Our government solemnly stands with the people of Ukraine as they commemorate this anniversary.

Canada and Ukraine have always maintained a productive and fruitful relationship. Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence please update this House on Canada's relationship with Ukraine?

Railway Safety Act November 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the reality of my bill is that it is plugging a gap in our regulatory system. This is an important preventive measure. In my view, we do not want to wait for a child on a bicycle to be caught in a crossing. We do not want to wait for a senior citizen, on an electronically operated wheelchair, to be caught at a railway crossing. We do not want to have a family of five cross a railway and only have four make it.

We want to prevent those problems and that is the essence of my bill.

Railway Safety Act November 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my very hon. colleague for the question.

I must first assure my colleague that my bill entitled An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act (safety of persons and property) is a bill that I am very proud of.

As far as our government's actions are concerned, this year alone it invested $9.2 million in improving more than 600 level crossings, to mark the occasion of rail safety week. My bill has to do with all the other level crossings.

Railway Safety Act November 5th, 2014

moved that Bill C-627, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act (safety of persons and property), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

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

The bill proposes amendments to the Railway Safety Act that would help ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.

I have heard loud and clear from my constituents that rail safety is an issue that matters to them. As the servant of Winnipeg South Centre, I chose to use my private member's bill to achieve greater rail safety in the constituency with the happy consequence that all Canadians across this great country would be safer and more secure because of my bill.

This is why I ask all of my colleagues in the House to support my bill. When I say “all of my colleagues”, I mean my colleagues from every party and my colleagues representing every Canadian. It is all of these colleagues from whom I seek support.

The amendments I propose to the Railway Safety Act would give additional powers to the Minister of Transport to intervene, when required, to help 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 my constituents about the condition of some rail crossings. This led me to take action. I have heard loud and clear from my constituents that rail safety is a vital issue to Winnipeg South Centre and to Canadians everywhere.

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 bike ride together. I want our crossings to be safe for vehicles and not, as has recently been the case, have wood planks fly up and hit vehicles as they drive over a crossing area even at very limited speeds.

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

When I was first considering this issue, I approached officials at Transport Canada to find out if such provisions already existed. To my surprise, they did not. When I then approached the minister to seek her support for my bill, she indicated that she always welcomed such measures to improve rail safety in our communities.

My proposed regulation would improve safety at federally regulated grade crossings, including approximately 14,000 public and 9,000 private grade crossings along 42,650 kilometres of federally regulated tracks in Canada.

I think it is important to give a little background on what has already been done to achieve rail safety in Canada by my government.

On October 29, the Minister of Transport announced Transport Canada's response to the final Transportation Safety Board recommendations on rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods.

Transport Canada has taken and continues to take meaningful and timely action to improve railway safety and the safe transportation of dangerous goods by rail. Transport Canada is committed to ensuring that the Canadian railway system is safe. Transport Canada continues to work with stakeholders very closely to protect the safety of all Canadians.

Our thoughts and prayers will always remain with those people of Lac-Mégantic who were so affected by last year's tragic accident. Immediately following the derailment, the Government of Canada took very decisive action to enhance the safety and integrity of Canada's rail system. We will continue to implement each and every recommendation made by the TSB in its report on this incident.

Transport Canada has accepted and is committed to implementing all the recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board in its final report. In fact, effective immediately, Transport Canada is requiring railway companies to meet standardized requirements for handbrake application and to put into effect physical defences to secure trains.

It is increasing oversight by recruiting additional staff to carry out more frequent oversight through audits and creating processes for increased information sharing with municipalities. It is conducting further research on crude oil properties, behaviour and hazards, and is launching targeted inspection campaigns to verify the classification of rail shipments. Finally, it is requiring certain railways, including short lines, to submit training plans to Transport Canada for review, and is conducting an audit blitz of short lines to determine specific training gaps.

These measures would further strengthen Canada's railway system and the transportation of dangerous goods by rail.

The department would continue to work with the Transportation Safety Board to do all it can to maintain and enhance the safety of Canada's railways and the railway system. By announcing these measures, Transport Canada is being proactive in developing concrete solutions in a timely manner to further strengthen Canada's railway system and safety.

My proposed amendments to the Railway Safety Act seek to give additional powers to the Minister of Transport and railway safety inspectors so that they may intervene when required in order to better ensure the safety of citizens, property and communities.

Additionally, this proposed legislation seeks to empower railway inspectors so that they may quickly intervene to restrict the use of unsafe works and equipment, and to forbid or restrict the use of unsafe crossing works and road crossings.

Our government takes the safety of Canadians and the Canadian railway system very seriously and is committed to ensuring that appropriate levels of safety are maintained. We have invested $60 million to support response and recovery efforts, and committed $95 million for decontamination and remediation efforts.

Furthermore, our government took very decisive action to address the Transportation Safety Board's recommendations, and this past April, directed Transport Canada to remove the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from service, require the DOT-111 tank cars that do not meet certain safety standards to be phased out within three years, and require emergency response assistance plans for even a single tank car, which is carrying crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel or ethanol.

We created a task force that brings municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen emergency response capacity across the country, and we require railway companies to reduce the speed of trains carrying dangerous goods and implement other key operating practices.

We have issued a protective direction directing rail companies to share information with municipalities. We recognize the responsibilities of all parties involved in maintaining safe railway transportation in Canada, and our government remains committed to two-way dialogue and information exchange with key transportation stakeholders in communities across Canada.

The health and safety of Canadians is a priority for our government. We announced a directive that would ensure that all crude oil being transported is properly tested and classified and that results are sent to Transport Canada. This provides Transport Canada with an additional means to monitor industry compliance and focus our efforts for the greatest safety benefits for all Canadians.

Our government has completed more than 30,000 rail safety inspections in one year alone, invested more than $100 million in our rail safety system, continued to hire more inspectors, increased the fines for companies found to be breaking our regulations, and created whistle-blower protection for employees who raise safety concerns, as well as requiring each railway to have an executive who is legally responsible for safety.

Earlier this year, as part of rail safety week, our government marked the occasion by investing $9.2 million in improvements to over 600 grade crossings across our country. Our government has also proposed new regulations that would improve safety at rail crossings by establishing comprehensive and enforceable safety standards for the grade crossings, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of railway companies and road authorities, and also ensuring safety information is shared between the railway companies and road authorities.

Members might think that with all of those actions taken by this government, a seemingly exhaustive list, we would be done. However, I want to do more to build upon that momentum. They are all positive systemic actions and directives taken to ensure railway operational safety. My bill is really a bill focused on the security and safety of people. I believe it is very complementary to actions already taken by our government to enhance rail safety.

In the course of preparing my bill, I reached out and spoke to many individuals and organizations. They include a great number of constituents in my riding of Winnipeg South Centre who voiced their concerns with safety at rail crossings in our community. I was very proud to bring together the private sector, law enforcement, various levels of government and unions to enhance the safety of all Canadians. It is apparent to me from the conversations I have had that all stakeholders in this industry want to have exceptional safety records.

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

I am very proud to be part of this government and 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, particularly at rail crossings in our communities. I am asking my colleagues on all sides of the House for their support of my private member's bill, Bill C-627, an act to amend the Railway Safety Act, regarding safety of persons and property.

Taxation November 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government makes good on our promises. That is why we continue to cut taxes, saving the average family nearly $3,400 this year alone. Since we were elected, that means thousands and thousands for Canadian families. It is a record of which we are proud.

For example, millions of Canadians have benefited from the children's fitness tax credit and the universal child care benefits. Now our government has introduced the family tax cut plan. As Knowledge Bureau president and MoneySense tax expert Evelyn Jacks said, “It begins to address the real economic cost of raising families in Canada...”.

The family tax cut plan will benefit every family in Canada with children. That is more than four million families. We are putting money back in the pockets of Canadians. That is our commitment, and we will continue that legacy.

Social Development October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today Statistics Canada released a report on child care in Canada.

Canadians know that our government's policies give parents the choice for child care because, as everyone knows, there is no single solution. That is what this recent report shows.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development please update the House?

Science and Technology October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand in this House today at the start of National Science and Technology Week to recognize our highly talented Canadian scientists, who undertake the groundbreaking research that creates jobs and improves the quality of life for all Canadians.

Our government has made record investments in science, technology, and innovation. As demonstrated in our economic action plan 2014, we are positioning Canadian science to become world leading through legacy commitments such as the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. It is a $1.5 billion investment over the next decade to strengthen world-leading research at Canadian post-secondary institutions while ensuring long-term economic benefits accrue for all Canadians.

Our government understands the significant impact that science plays in our economy. We will continue to ensure that the maple leaf remains a leader on the world stage.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I sincerely thank my colleague for her question.

We obviously have to clarify all of the quotes from the Privacy Commissioner. However, it is important to understand that we are working on developing partnerships and agreements among teachers, parents and young people.

This is not a group solution. It is a very important collaboration intended to protect young people and all Canadian citizens and taxpayers. Furthermore, this bill is designed to protect everyone's privacy.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for that question. It is an important one for us to answer. We are doing this because Canadians have asked us to do so.

As a long-time school trustee, not to mention being a mother of two children, I know how parents, educators, and our youth feel about privacy issues. This proposed act would address these issues in a responsible, measured, and may I say respectful, way, recognizing that an 18 year old or 17 year old is totally different from a nine year old.

Digital Privacy Act October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today it is my absolute pleasure to express my support for Bill S-4, the digital privacy act. When the industry minister released Digital Canada 150, our government's plan to guide Canada's digital future, he set out clear goals to put our country at the forefront of the digital economy.

One of the five pillars of this ambitious plan is “protecting Canadians”. In order to realize the full benefits of the digital plan and the digital world, Canadians must have confidence that their online activities are secure and that their online privacy is protected through strong measures like the digital privacy act.

This government is taking concrete action to make sure that Canadians and their families are protected from online threats. Protecting Canadians online is particularly important when we consider the most vulnerable segments of our society. Indeed, as the Internet becomes present in virtually every aspect of our economy, and our children's homework, it is also becoming an essential element in our children's lives.

A recently released survey conducted last year by MediaSmarts, a charitable organization dedicated to digital and media literacy, revealed that in 2013, 99% of Canadian students were able to access the Internet outside of their school. When online, students play games, download music, television shows and movies, and socialize with their friends and family.

The survey reveals that over 30% of students in grades 4 to 6 have Facebook accounts, and that by grade 11, my daughter's year, 95% of students have an account. However, with this increased online presence comes increased risk. As we have seen, young people can unfortunately become targets of online intimidation and abuse. This government has acted to protect our children from cyberbullying and other similar threats.

In addition to responding to the very real and harmful threats related to cyberbullying, this government is also acting to protect the privacy of minors and other vulnerable individuals through proposed amendments to the digital privacy act.

In our modern digital economy, our children must be able to go online in a safe and secure way if they are to develop the skills they will need later to find jobs in the digital marketplace. The online world has the potential to provide considerable benefits for our children's education and development, and it can greatly enrich their social lives.

At the same time, going online can expose children to privacy risks. For example, minors can be subject to aggressive behavioural marketing tactics, or they could have their personal data collected and shared without truly understanding what is being done. There is the potential for long-term privacy consequences.

The digital privacy act includes an amendment to Canada's private sector privacy law to strengthen the requirements around the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, which will increase the level of protection for vulnerable Canadians such as children. Specifically, the digital privacy act clarifies that when a company is seeking permission to collect, use, or disclose personal information from a specific group of individuals such as children, then the company must make sure that an average person, such as a child in that group, would be able to understand what is going to happen with the information.

An example is the best way to illustrate how the proposed amendment will work. Imagine, for example, an educational website that is designed primarily for elementary school children. Under the proposed amendment, any request by that website to collect, use, or disclose personal information would need to be worded in such a way that it is understandable by the average elementary school student. This not only includes making sure that the wording and language used in the request is age appropriate, but that the request itself is appropriate as well. If it is not reasonable to expect that the average elementary-aged child would understand the purpose and consequences of them clicking “okay”, then under the digital privacy act the company would not have valid consent.

Minors under the age of majority are more vulnerable and require additional protections. At the same time, privacy protection for children must reflect their level of maturity and psychological development. It must respect that.

That is why our government has ensured that the flexibility inherent to the act which allows the application of contextual privacy protections is reflected in our proposed amendment. The ability of teenagers to understand what is being done with personal information and their ability to make decisions about what they will and will not agree to is completely different from what elementary school children are capable of.

As they age, minors become more able to make sound decisions about themselves and what is being done with their personal information. Therefore, a website directed, for example, to grade 12 students, should not explain what it intends to do with information and seek consent in the same way that an educational website for elementary school students would. The process is similar; the means are different.

The proposed amendment adjusts for this difference by focusing on what is reasonable to expect of the group of individuals being targeted by the company's product or service.

The former interim privacy commissioner strongly supported this proposed amendment when speaking to the Senate committee that was studying the bill last spring. This is what the Office of the Privacy Commissioner said in its written submission to that committee:

We think this is an important and valuable amendment that will clarify PIPEDA’s consent requirements. By requiring organizations to make a greater effort to explain why they are collecting personal information and how it will be used, this proposed amendment should help make consent more meaningful for all individuals, particularly for young people for whom the digital world is an integral part of their daily lives.

As an added protection, PIPEDA has always recognized that parents or other authorized representatives have the right to provide consent on behalf of an individual, including children. Indeed, the responsibility and commitment to protect the privacy of children and other vulnerable Canadians is absolutely a shared one. Parents, governments, educators, as well as charities in the private sector, all have a central role to play in protecting the online privacy of our children.

The government firmly believes that digital literacy and skills are at the core of what is needed for individuals to succeed in today's online economy. Understanding by parents, educators, and children of the relevance and importance of protecting online privacy is a central component of digital literacy.

The government supports the role that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is playing in educating Canada's youth about the importance of online privacy and helping them to not only understand the impact that online services and applications can have on their privacy but also helping them make wise, smart decisions.

For example, the office of the commissioner created a graphic novel called Social Smarts: Privacy, the Internet and You. It was designed to help young Canadians better understand online privacy issues. They have also created tools to support parents and educators as they seek to protect children's online privacy. A discussion guide and privacy activity sheets have been developed to help them work with children to explore and understand privacy risks associated with social networking, mobile devices, texting, and online gaming.

The government is committed to protecting the privacy of Canadians. The digital privacy act takes concrete action to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, and that includes our children. At the same time, this legislation respects the growth of our children as they approach adulthood. It is measured and graduated because of that.

I hope all hon. members will join me in supporting this very important bill.