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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is families.

Liberal MP for Humber River—Black Creek (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Committees of the House December 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 20th report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “An Interim Report: Infrastructure and Smart Communities”.

I am pleased to present the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “Lead in Drinking Water”.

International Trade December 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, our government believes that the benefits of free trade should result in opportunities for all Canadians.

Could the Minister of Finance update the House on what our government is doing to deliver on its commitment to allow for participation of unions in Canadian trade remedy proceedings?

Political Prisoners December 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the legacy and the passing of Nelson Mandela, a heroic role model whose release from political imprisonment and subsequent transformative effort on South Africa as a whole demonstrates the moral imperative and compelling nature of pursuing justice for political prisoners.

Unfortunately, Nelson Mandela is not the only political prisoner of the past, present, or the future. Today at a press conference held on Parliament Hill, I personally heard the stories of six other political prisoners being held captive around the world today. By recognizing the passing of Mr. Mandela, we create awareness of other political prisoners who embody the Mandela ethics, and individuals who are heroic role models in their own right. We all must work together to put an end to these types of injustices.

Salaries Act December 7th, 2017

Madam Speaker, listening to some of the comments from the other side of the House makes me want to stand up and comment.

The whole issue of equity is important for all of us. Certainly the Minister of Status of Women is equal to every other minister we have in the House. What we are trying to do with Bill C-24 is promote more gender equity all the way through the service.

I would like to hear some comments from my hon. colleague on the issue of gender balance. He said that our Prime Minister has not accomplished anything. The member should try to look at our budget through a gender lens as to its impact on women. What about the 600,000 jobs that have been created? Our economy is doing better than any other country in the G7. Somehow I think my hon. colleague forgot to read that press release.

Committees of the House December 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in relation to Bill C-344, an act to amend the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, community benefit. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

Middle Eastern Christians December 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure and honour, on behalf of all of my colleagues, to rise in the House today to acknowledge the visit of Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako.

Patriarch Sako has come to Canada for the installation of Bishop Bawai Soro at the Good Shepherd Chaldean Cathedral in my riding of Humber River—Black Creek. There are very few moments as meaningful as this for any community, and this installation is a milestone.

I was happy to have the opportunity to be present at this momentous occasion to celebrate with all those in attendance. Canada is committed to the promotion and protection of peaceful pluralism, respect for diversity, and all human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, and that it is an integral part of Canada's engagement in the Middle East and the world.

We welcome all of them to Canada.

British Home Child Day November 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, may I begin by complimenting my colleague from Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry and thanking him very sincerely for the time and effort he has put into his motion. I am very hopeful that we will have unanimous consent at some point in the future to be able to celebrate September 28 as a day of recognition.

I have spoken several times on this British home children issue. I have read several books on it, especially ones published recently. There is no way one can read about the lives of some of these children without being reduced to tears. They tell stories of so many children suffering. Although some were successful, and some placed in homes with people who treated them as an additional member of the family, some of the children were in homes where they were simply day labourers, abused, and not treated the way the program had intended. However, I will elaborate a bit further as I go forward.

I am honoured to be able to stand here today to acknowledge this little-known chapter in Canadian history and to recognize the contributions of the British home children and their descendants. I hope that this is the beginning of many debates and discussions that we will have in this House, as we move forward with this particular item that many of us care about.

Though the child migration scheme was touted as a golden opportunity for children facing extreme poverty in Great Britain, it has since become clear that many of the program's participants were subjected to great abuse and severe hardship. We can only imagine that when the scheme was thought up, the children were already suffering immensely and living on the streets. The idea was to find a home for them. I think the intentions were good, but the oversight and assistance that should have been there were lacking.

In Canada, children were rarely adopted in the modern sense. More often, they were taken on as indentured labourers and cheap domestic help.

Though each story we hear is different, whether of a male or female, the separation of so many families was predominant. We now know that the scheme regularly amounted to nothing short of a betrayal, such as when temporary dislocation for a child became permanent, when children were separated, and ultimately when families were tom apart.

More than 100,000 unaccompanied children made the journey to Canada in the hopes of a better life. Though it remains difficult to fathom the courage that the children must have had, today we can salute them for what they endured on our behalf, both as they grew in a strange new land, and later as they fought in the two world wars on our behalf.

As a former minister of immigration, I had the pleasure and challenge of overseeing the government department responsible not only for immigration, but also for refugees and citizenship. People from all over the world journey to our shores. It strikes me that the diverse stories of the British home children are as relevant today as they were then.

In a rapidly changing world, they remind us that we are all, in our own ways, newcomers. As such, we remained united by the Canadian promise of safety and prosperity, and mindful that the wealth of our country derives in part from the diversity and tenacity of the citizens, like the British home children who travelled from afar seeking home, a safe place to live, food every day, and most importantly, an opportunity to grow.

Today, we have a long overdue opportunity to acknowledge the critical role these children played in the early stage of Canada's development as a nation. We owe it to these children and their families to tell their stories.

When we look at the farm fields all across Canada, we need to think of those children that were paid next to nothing to till those farms, and how much they contributed to our economic growth and our prosperity.

Not only did they help to build this land, they helped defend our country's freedom. It is estimated that 10,000 of these children fought for Canada in the first world war. In reading some of the books that have been written and elaborated on, some of them made the decision to go to war, for it was a better alternative than the way they were living on farms, and how they were treated as nothing short of slave labourers. For some of them, going to war was a better option.

I ask members to think of that, and how those children must have suffered, but they put on the uniform, and fought for us. They defended our country, and for that we should always be grateful. Many also fought in the second world war, along with descendants of those who arrived in the early years of the immigration schemes, and yet, so many Canadians are unaware of this history.

One of my staff members is a descendant of the British home children. That is how I was introduced to this issue. I did not know about this. I did not learn about this in history class. It was here on Parliament Hill when one of my assistants talked about British home children, and she shared that story with me.

Once we learn about it, there is no way we cannot care about it, and deny it. I am very happy to see that we passed a motion some time last year, which did not get enough attention, as my colleague mentioned earlier. Today, trying to move my hon. colleague's motion forward is a fabulous move to name September 28 as a day that we would all get united, and a day of recognition. We need to learn from the mistakes of the past, because no one knows what is coming tomorrow. We should try our best to learn that.

Canada designated 2010 as the Year of the British Home Child in Canada to ensure Canadians would be better informed about this chapter in our history, and by commemorating a yearly day that our government would ensure it would continue to raise awareness of the history and experiences of British home children and their descendants.

Canada has supported a number of outreach commemorative and educational initiatives to recognize the experience of the home children, including the designation of a national historic event and the establishment of a commemorative plaque. We will continue to support former British home children and their descendants, and to raise awareness about their experience.

Somehow no matter what we do, it never feels like it is enough. How do we say we are sorry? How do we say we had the best intentions as a country? We can never say sorry enough, and there are never enough ways to make up for the damage that was done to many of these children.

I salute my colleague and thank him for bringing this forward. I look forward to standing in the House to support the September 28 day. Again, I congratulate and thank him for the opportunity to speak to this motion.

Committees of the House November 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (B) 2017-18.”

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, one of the best parts of this budget implementation act is this whole issue of flexible work arrangements. We just have to recognize that we are in the 21st century. Many women are working, many families experience pain and difficulty together and need to find ways for their employers to give them the help they need. Certainly, my colleague raises a very good point, but as with everything, we have to start to introduce change. As we go forward at committee, I am sure there will be a variety of amendments that will be costed out. The flexible work arrangements are something moving us in a much more positive way throughout Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, investing in infrastructure is a fabulous way of creating jobs and wealth and helping to grow the economy. Over $36 billion in projects have already been announced and are under way through our infrastructure plan. By investing in both the Asian infrastructure bank and our own infrastructure bank, it will provide lots of opportunity to invest in bridges and sewers. So many things throughout our country that have been neglected for many years by many governments will now receive infrastructure investments that will help keep our cities strong. Cities have clearly not had the money to do that, which has led to many bridge and road collapses. This money will begin to ensure that we are building a strong Canada that will stay attractive to many other people to live and invest in.