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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

Mauril Bélanger September 21st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise to remember a former colleague and dear friend whose passionate voice and courage continue to resonate within our Parliament. Through his many years of service and throughout his battle with ALS, Mauril Bélanger was, to the very end, a stellar example to all parliamentarians.

Mauril is survived by his dedicated and loving wife and partner, Catherine, and we wish Catherine and their family all our love and warm wishes through this difficult time.

I had the honour of working alongside Mauril for eight years. He was a mentor to new MPs, and none of us will forget his infectious enthusiasm as he shared his latest innovative project to serve constituents. Mauril was a bright light for his community, colleagues, party, and country. This chamber will be dimmer without him.

I thank Mauril for how generously he gave of himself. He is very much missed.

Public Service June 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this week, more than 250,000 federal public servants at work in every province and territory, celebrate national public service week.

Public service is a noble calling, a way to make a difference in the lives of millions of Canadians and people all over the world.

We are privileged here in Canada to be able to count on a public service whose diversity, professionalism, and dedication are the envy of governments around the world. Thanks to the continued hard work of public servants, we all benefit from high-quality government programs and services.

Whether it's supporting those displaced by fires in Fort McMurray or helping Syrian refugees settle into new communities, public servants rise to the occasion and often go far above and beyond.

The government has an ambitious, progressive agenda, for our fully engaged, capable public service.

I salute the good work of Canada's public servants and encourage each member of this House to do the same.

Ethics June 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this matter, raised by the member opposite, clearly falls within provincial jurisdiction. The Provincial Auditor has been asked to examine whether the Government of Saskatchewan followed appropriate procedures and received appropriate value with respect to the acquisition by the Global Transportation Hub of the land in question.

Under the gateways and border crossings fund, and consistent with all federal infrastructure transportation funding programs, costs associated with land acquisition are not eligible for federal reimbursement.

I want to congratulate the member opposite for all the work he is doing, and I hope that he will share that with his counterparts in the provincial government and the opposition in Saskatchewan. We understand that Ms. Ferguson, the Provincial Auditor, is continuing to gather all the information surrounding the deal and is aiming to have the report finished before the end of the spring sitting of the legislature. I am sure that she would welcome the member's important information.

Ethics June 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House to speak to the issue of the global transportation hub project and our government's commitment to the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds.

This project includes the construction of transportation infrastructure in support of the global transportation hub, a premier transportation and logistics centre in Regina that involves many suppliers and retailers.

The Government of Canada has committed $27 million to the province of Saskatchewan for transportation infrastructure supporting this. Let me be unequivocal on the question of land costs associated with the project. None of the $27 million contribution was provided for the acquisition of land.

As far as the issue of land acquisition is concerned, this is clearly a provincial matter, and it is worth noting that the lieutenant governor in council in the province of Saskatchewan has requested that the provincial auditor perform a special assignment on the matter of land acquisition as it pertains to the global transportation hub project.

Although this issue falls under provincial jurisdiction, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak about an underlying issue, and that is the monitoring of taxpayers' money. In fact, increased monitoring of taxpayers' money is one of the key priorities set out in the President of the Treasury Board's mandate letter. I am pleased to announce that the President of the Treasury Board has already taken measures in this regard in the supplementary estimates (C) 2015-16, which were made public on March 1.

For the first time, there is an online annex to the supplementary estimates, which provides Parliament with an early indication of the lapses expected for this fiscal year. This annex also contains a report on frozen allotments, which are funds that have been approved by Parliament but to which the Treasury Board has restricted access for a variety of reasons. This important information gives an early indication of the amount of funding that will go unused during the fiscal year.

Here is what the parliamentary budget officer had to say about the improved monitoring of Canadian taxpayers' money:

The publication of these frozen allotments a full ten months prior to the Public Accounts of Canada represents an important increase in fiscal transparency, ensuring that parliamentarians are on a less unequal footing with the Government.

In the 2016-17 supplementary estimates (A), we also introduced a reconciliation table to show how the budget 2016 spending forecast was related to the planned expenditures shown in the 2016-17 estimates to date. The parliamentary budget officer, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, as well as the Senate Committee on National Finance have all acknowledged this work as an important advance in transparency and reporting to Parliament.

Our government is committed to making yet further improvements in how we plan and report on government spending and empower parliamentarians and their scrutiny over the public purse.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question about the exclusions.

We heard the member for Elmwood—Transcona say that some of the exclusions were made for provincial police and therefore should be included in this bill. However, we know that the RCMP is unique and different from provincial police forces. That is exactly why the opposition members argued against workers' compensation at the provincial level.

Could the member explain why the exclusions are still the best solution for this unique national organization?

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his work on Bill C-7. However, he asked a question about exclusions, and I will answer that before asking him another question.

Bill C-7 would align the RCMP labour relations and collective bargaining with the rest of the public service. It has exclusions that apply to other public servants. What works well is that there are other avenues established in statutes where employees can pursue their interests and objectives in collective bargaining. It is far more than just pay and benefits that is included, as there is a whole host of other issues.

I would like to hear the member's thoughts on the issue that was raised by the member for Durham. He supported everything about Bill C-7 until the last few minutes of his speech. He then pulled his support, walking away from the constitutional rights to appropriate collective bargaining and turning his back on RCMP members, on the issue of card check versus secret ballot.

The member is very aware that the board has the right to apply the secret ballot. Should it think there is uncertainty in any way as to what the card-check method produced in terms of the intentions of the members, it can and will have a secret ballot.

Could the member explain his position around the certification and decertification to help me understand why the Conservatives would walk away from the entire bill on that issue?

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for raising this important point. As a Liberal member in opposition in previous years, not only have I participated in meetings with members of the RCMP who have suffered harassment and not received proper support and response, but I have hosted such meetings in my constituency of Vancouver Quadra. Therefore, I am in complete agreement that there is a problem within the organization, that there has been a problem historically, and that there remains a problem. I want to assure the member that the minister is seized of this issue and is working on it.

I would ask how collective bargaining would address that. That would suggest that in other organizations that have the right to have representation and collective bargaining there is no such harassment happening. However, that is not the case, not in some of our municipal first responder forces nor with national first responders. Therefore, I would say that collective bargaining cannot necessarily address the aspects of an organization's culture and human behaviour that leads to this completely unacceptable activity and that we must take serious measures to prevent—

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, here is one very important aspect. The legislation before us, Bill C-7, requires that a collective bargaining employee representation organization not also be substantially representing other public servants, so that it is a dedicated collective bargaining organization. That is very important because of the nature of the RCMP's work.

Think of a time when the RCMP might be called in to address a situation of disorder that has to do with a strike and collective bargaining. How would its members respond if it were members of their same union in a different category who were on strike, a different type of employee in one large umbrella union? That would be extremely problematic and conflicting for RCMP members, but that is exactly the situation that could arise, should the RCMP be organized by a union that has some other components to its responsibilities.

It would not be in the public interest, and it would certainly not be in the RCMP's interests to be put in that situation where it may need to take action against its own union and fellow union members. That is why having a union dedicated to the RCMP is so important. For that, we need Bill C-7 to be passed as soon as possible.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the member raised two key issues. One was the short time, and the other was what he called stripping out rights. I will respond to the second one first. This would not strip out rights. This would provide rights. It would provide the right to be represented. It would provide the right to collective bargaining, and it would not be just pay and benefits. There are a whole host of issues that can be bargained collectively, such as hours of work, scheduling, call-back and reporting conditions, leave provisions, designated paid holidays, vacation leave, sick leave, parental leave, and I could go on.

However, I also want to address the first part of the member's question, which is about how quickly we are aiming to have the bill completed, and that is because there was a Supreme Court decision on this. The extension has expired, and now we are in a period where the lack of representation is not allowed, so this is a period of confusion. We need to make sure it is absolutely as short as possible, on behalf of the RCMP members themselves.

There are opportunities for several unions to move in and make an attempt to represent RCMP members. That would not be in the interests of having a unified national police force that can be managed nor for the members themselves having constant and consistent conditions in their collective agreement. It is not in their interests to delay this, and it has been thoroughly discussed and studied. I encourage the member to support this on behalf of the RCMP members in his constituency.

Public Service Labour Relations Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make sure the member understands that under this bill there may be a secret ballot for the RCMP, but it would be for the board to determine whether that is the appropriate certification or decertification method given the circumstances.

I would also like to remind the member that the previous government's own analysis, the study it had commissioned on the impacts of secret ballots, concluded that using a secret ballot has led to a significant decline in unionization. In other words, it made it more difficult for members of the public service to be represented by a bargaining agent.

We are looking for a fair approach that could select a secret ballot, but also the card check, depending on the circumstances of which would be the most fair.