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  • Her favourite word is conservatives.

Liberal MP for Humber River—Black Creek (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 67% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions December 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition signed by the citizens and residents of Canada.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to offer an unequivocal, sincere, and public apology to those home children, or child migrants, who died while being ashamed of their history and deprived of their family, to the living yet elderly home children who continue to bear the weight of that path, and to the descendants of home children who continue to feel the void passed down through generations, while continuing to search out relatives lost as a result of a system that victimized them under the guise of protection.

Committees of the House December 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities regarding Bill C-227, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act (community benefit) with amendments.

Community Volunteers November 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, Italian Canadians have contributed much to the building and betterment of Canada, and on behalf of all Canadians, I thank the community for all it has done and continues to do.

Specifically, I would like to pay tribute to Angelo and Grace Locilento, who for decades have led by example and worked to put others first. As Canada prepares to celebrate our 150th, it is people like Angelo and Grace who set the standard for good citizenship and community building.

From Opera York and the Basilicata Cultural Society to the Italian Chamber of Commerce, the Lucania Social Club, and the Vitanova Foundation, many organizations owe their success to Angelo and Grace.

Most recently, Angelo was recognized with the volunteer service commendation for his generosity. For that and much more, I offer my personal thanks.

[Member spoke in Italian as follows:]

Grazie mille. Sei molto speciale per me.

Committees of the House November 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Liaison Committee entitled, “Committee Activities and Expenditures April 1, 2016 - August 31, 2016”. This report highlights the work and accomplishments of each committee, as well as detailing the budgets that fund the activities approved by the committee members.

Committees of the House November 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour today to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in relation to the study of supplementary estimates B, 2016-17.

Globe Meats November 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, too often the people and communities of Jane and Finch are typecast as too far off the beaten path, but for those of us who live, work, or play in this wonderful community, that misinformed stereotype could not be more wrong.

In fact, as we mark entrepreneur week, I cite Globe Meats, a local business that has become a true destination. That is because Globe is not the average butcher shop. In fact, Globe is what happens when a cultural institution builds a state-of-the-art facility. It is, according to its president, Dante DiBiase, a family-run business with community roots that run 40 years deep.

When customers finish shopping, they make their way to the grill for a piece of wood oven pizza, porchetta, paninis, and conversation in an atmosphere that shows just how vibrant and important our community is in Humber River—Black Creek.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2 November 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the member sits on the transportation committee and I know from our conversations that he is interested in transportation. The minister has indicated his interest in a national transportation strategy and the region that the member comes from is an important region in Ontario. I would like to hear some comments regarding the transportation strategy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2 October 31st, 2016

Madam Speaker, due to our investments, we will have light rail transit going right through the community in my riding. That very much will help people who have to get from the subway to get home. Transit is extremely important and our government is finally investing millions and millions of dollars to ensure that people can get from point A to point B in a safe, secure way.

However, then there is the issue of the carbon tax, about which people continue to throw around and banter. That money will go back to the provinces and be invested in transit or in the people who live in the province of Ontario.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2 October 31st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I certainly did not appear to be attacking him. He was just so rambunctious in his presentation of incorrect information, I was simply attempting to ensure he had the right information.

No document was produced by the government or elsewhere that showed the OAS at age 65 was not sustainable. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. The budget officer, who we all work with on all sides of the House, said that old age security for seniors was completely sustainable. There was no reason to be concerned about that part of it at all.

Anyone who has family or seniors who have worked in the construction industry, or mining, or maybe housework, realizes how difficult it is and how the body gets worn down. The idea of being able to work to age 67, alleluia for those who can. However, there are thousands of Canadians who cannot.

On the CPP file, it is about ensuring that the people who are behind us have a better future. By contributing a small increase every day and every month by the government or the employer and the individual, those Canadians will have a much better retirement.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 2 October 31st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I am happy to get up. It is really difficult, following that last speaker.

I congratulate the hon. member on being welcomed to the House, but I have to say I think he needs a bit of a history lesson. While listening to the hon. member talk about all the wonderful things the Conservatives did, I tried to reflect back, off the top of my head, on what that was.

What sticks out most to me was the “65 to 67”, talking about seniors' pensions and changing the age of eligibility from 65 to 67. To me, that signifies what the Conservatives were about for the whole 10 years. Things like that are very significant moves. To them, it meant very little. The Conservatives did not think people needed to get their pension at 65, that it just was wasted money, and that they could hold off until they were 67. They clearly did not speak to the people in my riding or in many other ridings, and I suspect that was the case in the member's riding. We could talk about struggling and poverty, and all of the other issues around that.

We will possibly have an opportunity to talk about other issues to do with budgets in the upcoming weeks. However, I am here tonight to talk in favour of Bill C-29 for two key reasons. First, the budget places my priorities, and my community's priorities, up front. Families, children, seniors, students, and small business-owners are all at the heart of our national financial plan. They are all the focus of this budget and this government's work.

As promised, the government's priority is the middle class and those working hard to join it. Unlike the twisted priorities of the Harper government that we heard about earlier, Liberals know that true economic success must be felt in only one place, around the kitchen table, when people are talking about how well they are doing or how poorly they are doing. It is not just about boardroom tables. Bill C-29 attempts to redirect the focus from the boardroom table to the kitchen table.

Now, just like any budget implementation bill, Bill C-29 is somewhat complex, but at its heart there are some important measures that directly impact middle-income families in my riding of Humber River—Black Creek. For example:

Division 2 of Part 4 amends the Old Age Security Act to provide that, in the case of low-income couples who have to live apart for reasons not attributable to either of them, the amount of the allowance is to be based on the income of the allowance recipient only.

We have often heard of elderly couples, and how when one of them has to go to a nursing home, they are separated, which of course affects the pension at the end of the day. This would correct that. This would mean seniors would not be financially punished for medical realities faced as a consequence of something as simple as their age. This would put money back into the hands of seniors at a time when they need it the most.

Similarly, there is a focus on the middle class:

Division 3 of Part 4 amends the Canada Education Savings Act to replace the term “child tax benefit” with “Canada child benefit”. It also amends that Act to change the manner in which the eligibility for the Canada Learning Bond is established....

Bill C-29 would also restructure the way the benefit is calculated by adding an eligibility formula based on income and the number of children. This may seem minor, but I assure members that the change is quite substantial for low- and middle-income families. We will hear a lot from those families as a year or two or three of our government passes, because it is going to substantially help the very people we want to join the middle class.

Again, the Liberals are proposing measures that put more money into the hands of young families working hard to put food on that table I referred to, to pay the rent, and to give their kids the opportunity for a great future.

I understand the complexity of these measures, but the impact on Canadians is anything but hard to understand. It has been just over a year since the Liberals were elected, but I can say that it has made a huge difference throughout Canada. No matter where we go, people are optimistic and they are hopeful. Our commitments are being implemented one at a time, every day.

I say this because Liberals understand that a strong economy starts with a strong middle class. When middle-class Canadians have more money to save, to invest, and to grow the economy, everyone benefits. That is what Bill C-29 is all about.

Many middle-class Canadians are working harder than ever, but simply not getting ahead. For nearly a decade, the previous government ignored the middle class and directed all recovery efforts toward big business. Its philosophy was one of reducing taxes for businesses and that these businesses would somehow reinvest that money into employing more people. It did not happen, no matter how much it wished that it would. This strategy had limited success on Bay Street, but ignored everyone living on Main Street.

Today, there is a growing consensus in Canada and around the world that governments need to invest not only to boost economic growth in the short term but to set the stage for long-term growth as well. Canada has the lowest debt to GDP ratio of any G7 country, and interest rates are at a historic low. Now is the ideal time for Canada to invest in future successes for our country.

As I have already mentioned, a strong economy starts with a strong middle class. People are not afraid to work hard, but hard work needs to hold the promise of an improved standard of living. This is the place for government now to really lend a hand. A strengthened middle class means that hard-working Canadians can look forward to a good standard of living and better prospects for their kids. This is not a terribly complex concept. Our changes to the CPP are one example of looking forward to being able to ensure that our children and grandchildren will have a better future.

When we have an economy that works for the middle class, we have a country that clearly will work for everyone. Now, more than ever, it is important that post-secondary education remains affordable and accessible. Young Canadians must have access to meaningful work at the beginning of their careers and not be burdened by increasing student debt. Budget 2016 makes post-secondary education more affordable for students from low and middle-income families and would make it easier for them to repay their student debt. Budget 2016 would also help young Canadians gain experience and extra income and find good jobs after their education.

Canada's employment insurance program provides economic security to Canadians when they need it most. Whatever their circumstances, no Canadian should struggle to get the assistance they need. To make sure that Canadians get the help they need when they need it, several changes are proposed to the current El system. Changes to eligibility rules would make it easier for new workers and those re-entering the workforce to claim benefits. To ease the burden, the Government of Canada would extend employment insurance benefits in regions affected by localized challenges. The waiting period would also be reduced from two weeks to one week. This would provide unemployed workers with hundreds of dollars more, at the time they need it most.

However, the goals of budget 2016 are not restricted to just seniors, students, or the unemployed. Budget 2016 is about shifting to a new way of looking at national fiscal success. We want to give Canadian families more help with the high cost of raising children. This is why the government promised the new Canada child benefit. We want to give Canadians a simpler, tax-free, and more generous benefit. This is why we replaced an ineffective boutique tax system with the tax-free Canada child benefit. As just one example, under the new Canada child benefit, nine out of 10 Canadian families will receive higher monthly benefits, and hundreds of thousands of children will be lifted out of poverty.

This past weekend, I hosted a public consultation with families in my riding. We talked about the issues that mattered most to them. In a nutshell, they are not asking for wealth or for fancy programming. The families, students, seniors, and new Canadians living in my riding are simply asking for a fair chance and a hand up. They need a partner to help them when times are difficult. This is precisely what Bill C-29 is attempting to do.

I am pleased to be part of a government that clearly recognizes the challenges that Canadians are facing, one that is determined to make the investments that are possible so people can move forward in a positive way and our young people are encouraged that there will be very good jobs out there for them and a chance to get a good quality education.