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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is rcmp.

Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak strongly in support of Bill C-45 through which our government is ending the failed approach of criminalizing cannabis. This is an opportunity to protect our youth, to take profits out of the hands of criminals, and to treat drug use as the public health issue it actually is.

I have actively worked to advance this policy since hosting the Liberal caucus in discussions back in the fall of 2011 about the potential legalization of cannabis, so I am proud to stand in the House and see this policy come to fruition.

I would like to start my comments today by giving some thanks to organizations that have been advocating for this very practical and positive new policy. I would first like to thank Dr. Evan Wood, an emergency room physician, who led a coalition called Stop the Violence BC, when he saw the gang and gun violence on the streets of Metro Vancouver, including in an award-winning restaurant in Vancouver Quadra, where two people were injured by a gang shootout around the drug trade.

I would like to thank Brett Harvey and Adam Scorgie, who created a documentary called The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, which documented the role of organized crime in controlling the cannabis trade. Years ago, I had the privilege of hosting them and their film in Ottawa, where I opened up an event to all members of Parliament and senators of all parties to learn about why we needed to move beyond our failed policy, which we are actually moving beyond today.

I want to thank all of the sound drug policy advocates, like Donald MacPherson of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, who brought forward evidence as to why this shift was needed, and the many other health care professionals, criminal justice professionals, and policing professionals who have pushed for this change in our country.

Lastly, I would like to thank our Prime Minister for including this in our platform, and the health minister and the justice minister for delivering on this mandate, as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for his leadership, and all members of the Standing Committee on Health for doing good work toward this change that we have positioned our country for over two years.

This week we were reminded once again of the importance of this discussion by the RCMP's seizure of 64 pounds of cannabis and 94 mature cannabis plants from the Hells Angels in Kelowna. This is the reality of our current system: organized crime produces, distributes, and sells the cannabis, and uses it to fund its other criminal ventures. It is Hells Angels and other criminals who regulate and control the product and what is actually in it, and how to sell more of it to our youth. It is criminal gangs who recruit young people to be part of this terrible criminal enterprise, so it is far better that the government regulate and control cannabis. That is what Bill C-45 is all about.

The bill before the House of Commons today was developed on the basis of the excellent work of the task force on cannabis legalization and regulation, which conducted an in-depth study of the various implications of the legislation and the strict regulation of cannabis.

Report Stage November 21st, 2017

Madam Speaker, I have a very short question. I wonder if my colleague across the aisle really believes that the current situation is better, where criminal gangs regulate, control, push, promote, and sell cannabis products, or if the federal government regulates, controls, educates, and prevents. That is the government's plan.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments by my colleague opposite, but they remind me of the previous Conservative government's gutting of environmental regulations, from environmental assessments to the Fisheries Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and on and on.

Does the member believe that the economy and the environment go hand in hand, or does he believe that it is all right to consult only the economic stakeholders and make changes that move the dial away from environmental protection playing a role in how government regulates in this country?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police October 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, the government takes its responsibility to keep Canadians safe and secure seriously, and that is reflected in Bill C-7.

As I mentioned, our government has made a huge step forward in restoring a culture of respect for and within the public service. We have rescinded some of the provisions the previous government put in place that were essentially an attack on collective bargaining and on unions. We have gone forward with collective agreements with 85% of public servants. We will continue to work on that until they are complete, and we will always respect our first responders and do our very best on their behalf.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police October 4th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in this House to say a few words about Bill C-7.

I appreciate the acknowledgement of the member for Kootenay—Columbia that there were changes made to the original bill proposal and that some of the critical amendments put forward by the Senate were accepted and incorporated into the bill. I also want to acknowledge the member for his staunch defence and support of first responders, including security officers on the Hill who protect and defend members of Parliament every day in the very important part of our lives here as members of Parliament.

I am pleased to say that this government, which inherited a collective bargaining situation in which many outstanding agreements had not been signed, has completed 85% of the public servants' collective agreements, including the one for the RCMP. On March 9, the government introduced legislation to support the dedicated and proud members of Canada's national police service by providing them with a labour relations framework that gives them the respect they deserve.

Bill C-7, which received royal assent on June 19, was a great step forward. It is a labour relations regime that takes into account the special circumstances of the RCMP and respects it as Canada's national police force. The legislation takes into account the operational integrity of the RCMP as a police organization and ensures alignment with the labour relations regime that applies to federal public service employees. This legislation respects the 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision by providing RCMP members and reservists with the ability to pursue their interests through collective bargaining for the first time in Canada.

There was much consultation with regular members of the RCMP and with jurisdictions with RCMP police services agreements in crafting this legislation. I want to express my gratitude to all members of the House of Commons and the Senate who helped in the development of this bill. Bill C-7 gave us an important opportunity to further improve Canada's RCMP labour relations regime and to serve the men and women who benefit from it.

This is a new era in the history of the RCMP. Now the RCMP members and reservists have the same collective bargaining rights as other police forces in Canada.

Our national police force has a storied past in Canada. It deserves our respect, and with this bill, the RCMP also has a bright future ahead.

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleague across the way will support this bill, as all the NDP members agreed to support my bill, Bill C-606, because of the importance of protecting coastal rainforest that is untouched. A pipeline would have had to go through the Coast Mountains, days' worth of wilderness, which have no roads and no human activities.

This particular bill would protect an area that is remote and that the Coast Guard probably could not even get to, even with the additional resources and funds our government is putting into the Coast Guard. There is no capacity to deal with an oil spill in these remote waters. I am very proud that we will not be facing that horrible possibility on our Pacific north coast, and I hope the member will support the bill.

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that our government does extensive consultation on every initiative and every bill we put forward, unlike the previous Conservative government, which would cook up changes to bills in back rooms for political purposes, like with the Fisheries Act, and lay them out in a huge omnibus bill and never even talk to anyone about them.

Coastal first nations up and down British Columbia supported this moratorium. Coastal first nations all through the area of over 700 rivers, creeks, and streams that lead to salmon-bearing rivers were for a moratorium on the coast. I am proud that we listened to them. We consulted, and we listened.

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I worked on this issue as a core project in Vancouver Quadra from early 2009. Therefore, I want to also acknowledge all the constituents of Vancouver Quadra, the environmental groups, the communities, and the indigenous communities on British Columbia's coast that paid attention to the potential risks to our coast and supported the idea of banning crude oil tanker traffic, consistent with a policy moratorium that had been put in place in 1972 by a previous Prime Minister Trudeau.

Therefore, I would like to share with the members a press release I wrote in February 2011, after two years of work on this. It said:

Yesterday, Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP... announced that C-606, her private Members’ bill to ban oil tanker traffic off B.C.’s north coast, has been officially submitted to proceed to debate next month. “We are now one step closer to a legislated oil tanker ban on B.C.’s north coast--the only way to protect our oceans and communities from a catastrophic oil spill... If disaster were to strike in our northern coastal waters, B.C.--and Canada as a whole – would never be the same.

Bill C-606 legislates a crude oil tanker ban in the dangerous inland waters around Haida Gwaii known as Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. The bill would not affect current deliveries of diesel and other oil products to local communities

The work to protect that area of the coast has been going on for a long time. The press release continued:

We’ve witnessed the Gulf of Mexico and Exxon-Valdez oil spills. It’s just not worth the risk...In perfect conditions, industry considers 15 percent recovery of oil a success, but a recent report by Canada’s Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner raised serious doubts about the Conservative government’s ability to even respond to a spill.

This initiative is widely supported by British Columbians in all parts of the province. In fact, a press release I issued in March 2011 talks about a two-day campaign being kicked off to meet with Vancouver Island residents and stakeholders about Bill C-606, the bill to legislate a ban on crude oil tankers in B.C.'s dangerous northern waterways. It says that I would also be consulting with the northern communities, the community of Kitimat, where a terminal for an oil pipeline that would be transported through those waters for which it was planned, and that I would visit first nations, community organizations, local businesses, unions, and municipalities to reach out to those communities. Those early consultations made it very clear that “An oil spill would hurt our communities, our environment, our businesses, and our way of life. This is not a risk British Columbians can afford to take”, quoting from that press release.

I am talking about this because I want to acknowledge and thank some of the key environmental organizations that brought this issue forward to the Liberal caucus of the day. The four environmental organizations that were critical to this work, doing the research and encouraging us to move forward on this issue, were Dogwood Initiative, Living Oceans Society,, and West Coast Environmental Law.

This was a real priority. Why was it so important and why is it so important for a government that is committed to protecting the environment, a particularly sensitive environment in this case, while also protecting and developing a strong economy? It is because B.C.'s coastal economy in 2010 was estimated to have 56,000 jobs tied to clean coastal environments, jobs in fisheries, tourism, ecotourism, and recreation, film and television among them. It also was about a way of life for our coastal communities.

Imagine being in Hartley Bay, a remote coastal community, as I had the privilege to be, knowing that community's supermarket really is its freezers. The fishermen go and harvest the shellfish, the abalone, the mussels and clams, the salmon, and the halibut, and the residents eat that seafood throughout the year, as they have for a millennia. It is about a way of life, as well as an economy and an environment.

I came naturally to thinking about how we could protect our coastal environment from a devastating oil spill. I was a tree planter and reforestation contractor working on the north coast in my late teens and early 20s, and I came to know it well.

I also had the chance to travel up and down the coast as a minister of environment. Imagine being at the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, this amazing and rich estuary, watching the grizzly bears feed with their families, as I had a chance to do. Imagine that being fouled with a crude oil spill, as happened in Alaska's estuaries with the Exxon Valdez oil spill? We could never go back.

Therefore, I and so many British Columbians were committed to ensuring that these dangerous waters would not be the location of a devastating oil spill. We are reminded by the Deepwater Horizon, the Exxon Valdez, and some of the other spills off our coast that human error and equipment failure are something one can never guarantee will not happen.

B.C.'s north coast is home to the Great Bear Rainforest and some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, including 27 species of marine mammals, 120 species of marine birds, and 2,500 individual salmon runs.

One of the big concerns after the Exxon Valdez example was the jobs that would be lost as well as the impact on the environment. I met with a woman who came to one of my meetings wearing the gumboots she wore when she went to clean up the Exxon Valdez spill up in Alaska.

I am so proud of our government and our minister for having done significant consultations throughout the province and for having discussed this with groups from the coast right through the interior.

I want to again thank my constituents for supporting me on this. I would like to thank our minister and our Prime Minister for delivering on this promise to British Columbia and to Canada to protect this very special part of our country.

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Davenport.

I am pleased and proud to be part of today's debate on Bill C-48, and to discuss implementing an oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia's northern coast.

It is important to remember that with the bill, the Government of Canada is honouring its promise to Canadians. By formalizing this moratorium and including marine safety, the government is delivering on its promise, as set out in the mandate letter from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Transport.

I want to thank our Prime Minister for his commitment to the oil tanker moratorium on the Pacific north coast. I also want to thank the Minister of Transport for taking his thoughtful approach in consulting widely on the bill and delivering on this commitment.

This is one of those times when it is very satisfying to be a member of Parliament.

Tree Canada September 27th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Tree Canada is our country's leading national tree-planting charity, and I rise today on National Tree Day to offer my warm congratulations on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

For 25 years, Tree Canada has been growing better places to live all across Canada, by planting and caring for trees in our communities, reforesting rural areas, and by celebrating the environmental, social, cultural, economic, and spiritual benefits of trees.

As a former tree planter and reforestation business owner, I was honoured to join Tree Canada president Michael Rosen and his staff, volunteers, and board in planting their 82 millionth tree in Ottawa near Parliament Hill this afternoon.

I would like to thank Tree Canada for what it does. I also thank the Minister of Natural Resources for being there.

Finally, I would like to thank the thousands of Canadian tree planters across the country for their hard work in restoring Canada's forests in communities and remote regions across the country.

Happy National Tree Day.