House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was conservative.

Last in Parliament September 2017, as Liberal MP for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 82% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions February 11th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 800 fisher people in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In 1998 the federal government asked fishermen to voluntarily retire from the fishery in exchange for a retirement benefit. However, because of wrong information provided by Revenue Canada, 100% of the benefit was taxed as capital gains, instead of 25%. A hundred and fifty fishermen who had not followed the advice of Revenue Canada at the time saved thousands of dollars, and now the remaining fishermen are asking for just and fair treatment. They are asking the government to reimburse them for the extra thousands of dollars that they did pay and in fact, to which they are entitled.

The petitioners are calling on the government to reimburse this money under the fairness provisions of the Income Tax Act.

The Budget February 3rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, interestingly enough, one of the areas in which we would like to see a lot more in terms of research and development would be the fishery, which is paramount in terms of the future of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We talk about diversifying the economy. As I said in my remarks, one of the areas in which we would like to do that would be aquaculture. If the government were to look at opportunities that exist where more research and development could be carried out, aquaculture certainly would be one of those areas.

There are many areas in a province such as Newfoundland and Labrador and in all of Canada where much more could be happening in terms of employment opportunities. We could do more in terms of research and development. That would also apply to our green industries. We should be doing everything we can to move them forward.

The Budget February 3rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, this is a serious situation for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, one with which I am not about to play politics. People need to realize that if we do not stand up to be counted as a province now, then the Prime Minister will, I fear, continue to wreak havoc on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

No matter what political stripe, anyone would have to look at the measures contained in this budget as they impact the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and agree that they are simply wrong.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador have suffered too long. The province has been at the risk of not being able to deliver for its own people. Here the government had an opportunity to provide those programs that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians need, just as all Canadians need. What is happening with this particular measure is that the government of Newfoundland and Labrador will be put in a position where those programs are at risk and that is simply not right.

The Budget February 3rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, when governments bring down budgets, people affected prepare for both good news and bad news, hoping naturally that the good outweighs the bad. No one could have prepared themselves for the bad news inflicted on the people of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We all know there was much more the government could have done to stimulate the economy of the country, like, for example, recognizing the importance of the need to diversify the economy in provinces where traditional industries continue to experience difficulty. The fishery is one of those industries, yet there is no mention of the fishery in the Conservative budget.

While the government was undertaking its budget consultations, I wrote to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, bringing to their attention the need in the riding I represent for infrastructure to grow the aquaculture industry. This was an opportunity for the government to help stimulate the economy in an area of Newfoundland and Labrador that had suffered immensely because of the collapse of the ground fishery.

I now know any optimism I had that the government would look favourably on helping the people of Newfoundland and Labrador was foolhardy.

Not only has the government decided not to help Newfoundland and Labrador weather the recession, but it has done irreparable harm by removing hard fought and hard won benefits under the Atlantic accord. According to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the province will lose $1.5 billion as a consequence of the actions of the Conservative government in the budget.

Such a move will have a devastating impact on the people and the finances of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The loss of $1.5 billion will see the per capita debt per person in the province increase by $3,000. Newfoundland and Labrador already has the highest per capita debt in the country.

The Prime Minister is on record saying that every region of our country has to be treated fairly. Where is the fairness for Newfoundland and Labrador? What would motivate a government to introduce a measure that would be so harmful to one group of Canadians?

Is it possible that the Prime Minister is seeking revenge against a group of people that exercised its right in the last federal election to vote against the government and send six Liberal MPs and one NDP MP to represent them in Ottawa? While that has to be disappointing for a Prime Minister, surely he would not stoop to penalizing those people. The logical approach would be to try and regain the trust of those people, which is why I question the Prime Minister's motives.

Clearly the Prime Minister has underestimated the will of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to come together in a crisis. This move by the government has galvanized Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to the point that their preference today, as a result of the government's actions, would be to take the country into an election.

There is time for the Prime Minister to right this wrong. Acknowledging that a mistake has been made and grievous damage done as a result of that mistake, which he cannot allow to stand, would be the magnanimous thing to do, especially if he is sincere in his comments that every region of the country must be treated fairly.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are proud people who have worked hard for every benefit that has come their way. To ask they accept such an injustice that has been perpetrated on them by the government is simply too much to ask.

Anyone who knows the province's history, the hardships that people have endured and the injustices it has experienced over the years, would have to understand the reaction of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to this decision by the government.

I am calling on the Prime Minister to think of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and how this budgetary decision will impact them. He is the Prime Minister of all Canadians, regardless of how they voted, just as I am the member of Parliament for everyone in the riding of Random—Burin—St. George's, regardless of how they voted.

If I were to follow what appears to be the Prime Minister's example, I would only work on behalf of those who voted for me, and the Prime Minister knows as well as I do that that would be wrong. I am the representative for all the people of Random—Burin—St. George's, just as he is the Prime Minister of all Canadians. The time has come for the Prime Minister to show it.

The Budget January 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the member for South Shore—St. Margaret's went on ad nauseam about all of the benefits included in the budget and talked about the various tax breaks. There is one thing in the budget for which I have difficulty understanding the rationale and that is the removal of $1.5 billion from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Could the member explain the government's rationale for making that decision?

Equalization Payments January 29th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, we hear of the Prime Minister making side deals with one province while deliberately harming another. The Conservatives are sending a clear message to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that they simply do not count by taking $1.5 billion away from them, money that was already agreed to.

What moral authority does the Prime Minister have for not voting the way people wanted him to?

Family Literacy Day January 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, today is Family Literacy Day, an occasion for families, young and old, from coast to coast to coast, to celebrate the many benefits of reading and learning.

Literacy is the foundation of any successful society, a skill that opens not only minds but doors of opportunity for children and adults alike.

Instilling at a young age the value of reading comprehension, the empowerment of scholarship and the gratification of learning should be our common pursuits in creating an early childhood education system.

The values promoted by Family Literacy Day and other causes like it are only a small step toward this goal. Much more work needs to be done.

I commend all literacy organizations in their ongoing support for literacy and call on the government to provide a worthy partner in efforts to make Canada the most literate country in the world.

Red Cross Young Humanitarian Award November 27th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to inform the House of an award received by a young woman in my riding.

Heather O'Reilly of Clarenville was presented with the Red Cross Young Humanitarian Award for Newfoundland and Labrador, the Red Cross' highest provincial honour.

At 26 years old, Heather has done more than most people twice her age to reach out to others and make a difference in their lives. Heather, who is a second year medical student at Memorial University of Newfoundland, has done two volunteer stints abroad. Her first was to Guyana, South America in 2002 through Youth Challenge International which is an organization she was introduced to while attending Queen's University and participating in Queen's medical outreach program. It was through this organization that she able to spend a summer and volunteer in Bethany, a small village in Guyana where she helped to educate the local people in health and wellness.

It was her experience in Guyana and her first look at world inequalities that inspired her to set up MUNHOPE in 2004 of which she is executive director.

In 2007, Heather volunteered in the medical clinic of a refugee settlement called CHOGO in Tanzania.

MUNHOPE returned to Tanzania in 2008 and Heather is planning a third trip in 2009. To quote Heather, “To not only know about the inequalities in the world--

Infrastructure November 26th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, jobs are disappearing in this country and yet to date the promised investment by the Conservatives on infrastructure has not happened, investment that could see jobs created.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has said that the $3 billion the Conservatives committed to has not been spent.

Why have the Conservatives not invested this money, which would create hundreds of jobs, not only in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, but thousands of jobs throughout the cities and towns of this country?

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply November 20th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, when we work alongside and know how difficult it is to work in an industry like the forestry or fishery, then we know only too well the toil it takes on those individuals. They do need an opportunity to be able to retire with dignity, to get out of working in an environment that has been really difficult on them. Many of them want just that. They want to be able to retire and live a comfortable life, after a life that has been very difficult on them for the past 30 or 40 years.