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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was project.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Salaries Act October 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague to emphasize the importance of a gender-neutral cabinet and the importance of ministers of state all being equal. This is 2016. I would like to hear from the member his thoughts on that.

Farley Mowat October 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the life and work of celebrated Canadian author Farley Mowat. Mr. Mowat, a literary icon and a long-time resident of my riding in Port Hope, Ontario, was recently honoured in the community with the unveiling of a bronze bust to recognize his undeniable contributions to Canadian culture.

Mr. Mowat, as the author of such legendary Canadian books as Never Cry Wolf and Lost in the Barrens, sold more than 17 million books worldwide in his lifetime. He clearly encapsulated man's humility in the face of nature's raw and unbridled power.

I would like to congratulate the family of Mr. Mowat, his wife Claire, son Sandy, grandson Justin, and brother John, on this special recognition.

Natural Resources October 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to a future where a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand, and we are well along in this important work. We are helping to ensure Canada's vast natural resources are developed in a way that commands public confidence and respects the environment.

We are ensuring that the National Energy Board has the expertise it needs. We are engaging meaningfully with indigenous communities, taking into account indigenous traditional knowledge, respecting scientists, and listening to Canadians. Why? It is because we understand the importance of natural resources, not just to our past but to our future, a lower-carbon future where economic prosperity and environmental responsibility are not competing interests but complementary to one another.

Natural Resources October 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the government understands the importance of Canada's resources to the strength of our economy and the quality of our lives. Our government has a clear vision for how to leverage those resources. As both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Natural Resources have said, we must continue to generate wealth from our abundant natural resources to fund our transition to a lower-carbon economy.

However, we also know that we will not be able to proceed with major resource projects unless the public has faith in how they are reviewed. That is something the previous government just did not understand. Perhaps that is why it did not get one kilometre of pipeline built to tidewater during its entire time in office.

Our government has a different approach, one that listens to Canadians, respects indigenous communities and their traditional indigenous knowledge, and one that bases decisions on firm facts and sound science. That is why we have expanded consultations, including through ministerial panels, to build an environmental review process that carries the confidence of Canadians by meaningfully engaging with indigenous communities, modernizing the National Energy Board, and establishing an interim strategy with guiding principles to give proponents certainty and the process transparency.

Will all of these efforts lead to unanimity on any particular project? Of course not. We understand that there are strongly held views on all sides, which is exactly why it is so important that Canadians have the opportunity to be heard. At the end of the day, Canadians will be able to say, whether they agree with a decision or not, that the process was fair, the evidence was weighed, and their voices were heard.

We are also investing in clean technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable sources of energy. There is tremendous opportunity for Canada to lead in the lower-carbon economy of tomorrow and these investments will position us to do so. That is how to develop the consensus required to get our resources to market.

The hon. member may think differently. He may think it wise to approve a pipeline before a federal regulator has even reviewed it. We do not. As the Minister of Natural Resources said, “We think a better idea is to have a transparent process, with predictable timelines and ways in which Canadians can let government know what they think is in the national interest”.

Then our government can take all of the comments and recommendations to make the right decision, the environmentally responsible decision, the balanced decision, one that develops the resources we need while protecting the environment we all cherish.

Indigenous Affairs October 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand on behalf of our government, as this is a new promised relationship with indigenous peoples and a new way of working together. From our earliest days of government, we have clearly stated that our priority is, first and foremost, the well-being and equality of indigenous children.

We have highlighted from early on the need to overhaul the child welfare system. In fact, even before the tribunal decision was released, we began preparing to make increased investments for prevention. We have since accepted the ruling of the tribunal, and are not waiting to end this discrimination.

We have made immediate investments in child and family services on reserves, and we are working closely with first nations communities, key organizations, front-line service providers, and others to overhaul the system together and to reduce the number of children in care. We want to fix the system for the sake of children and families, and we are doing so in full collaboration and partnership.

Indigenous Affairs October 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am going to respond to the question I received from the member for Timmins—James Bay earlier, first acknowledging that we are here today on traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples.

The assertion by the member across is absolutely false. The government promised a new relationship with indigenous peoples and a new way of doing things. We agreed with and accepted the ruling of the tribunal and are committed to ending the discrimination. We have made immediate additional investments in child and family services on reserve, but we are also working with first nations communities, key organizations, front-line service providers, and others to jointly overhaul the system to reduce the number of children in care.

There are more indigenous children in care today than at the height of the residential schools era. This is completely unacceptable and highlights a system that is not just underfunded but fundamentally flawed in its approach. Our priority is ensuring the health and well-being of first nation children. To do that, we need to transform the system with the benefit of hearing directly from youth and incorporating lived experiences into any new approach.

As further illustrated by the B.C. child advocate's report earlier this week, the current system is broken, and we are committed to redesigning it, in partnership with first nations and other partners, to ensure it is a truly child-centred approach.

There is no question that the system has been significantly and chronically underfunded. That is why the government has also provided $71 million in immediate relief investments to first nations child and family services agencies. We are working closely with first nations child and family services to ensure the balance of that immediate relief investment flows this fiscal year.

Budget 2016 invests nearly $635 million over five years in new funding, and $177 million annually in new investments on an ongoing basis. We have also announced a new approach to Jordan's principle to make sure children receive the health services they need when they need them. That is backed up by up to $382 million over three years in new funding.

By 2018-2019, Canada will be providing a combined annual new investment of $282.1 million for first nations children and families on reserve through the first nations child and family services program and Jordan's principle, child-first initiative. The minister will be announcing specific details of how first nations and other partners will be engaged in this joint review and reform system in the near future.

The Environment October 4th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in the House, our government recognizes that in order to build the economy we need to protect the environment.

We have a strong regulatory system in this country. The National Energy Board has been tasked with processes to ensure the safety and security of Canadians. We are also consulting with indigenous communities, communities along the route, as well as Canadians in general to ensure that the process has the confidence of Canadians.

The Environment October 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as we have continued to say in this House, and the Prime Minister said very well today, we know that in order to grow the economy we need to protect our environment. As we go forward with various major projects, we will go forward with our interim measures that we put in place in January to ensure Canadians are consulted and indigenous communities are consulted. I am proud to say that our process is working and we are getting there.

Natural Resources September 21st, 2016

Pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2016 annual report, “The State of Canada's Forests”.

Life Means Life Act June 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate today on Bill C-229. For the reasons I will briefly outline, I will not be supporting this proposed legislation.

Bill C-229 aims to change the law concerning the amount of time an offender who has been sentenced to a life sentence would remain in prison. It proposes mandatory and discretionary sentences of life without parole for offenders who have been convicted of murder in certain circumstances.

Bill C-229 would make imprisonment without parole mandatory for high treason or for a planned and deliberate murder if committed during a sexual assault, kidnapping, terrorism offence, or where a victim is a police officer or corrections official, or if it is committed in a particularly brutal way.

Second, the bill would provide judges with the discretion to impose a life sentence and imprisonment without parole for any other first degree murder and for any second degree murder if the offender was previously convicted of murder or of an intentional killing under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

Finally, the bill would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide that an offender sentenced to life imprisonment without parole could apply for an executive release by the Governor in Council after having served 35 years in custody. If released by the Governor in Council, the offender would be subject to conditions similar to parole conditions, and the offender's sentence would continue to be administered under the jurisdiction of the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada. This means that if the offender committed another crime, he or she would go back to prison.

I am opposing Bill C-229 for two reasons. First, the amendments proposed are, in my view, unnecessary and would be unprecedented in Canadian law with respect to their harshness and treatment of offenders. Second, I am very concerned about the charter risks associated with this initiative.

To be clear, there is no disagreement that the most serious offenders, murderers, should be dealt with accordingly by criminal law. However, in my view, the law already does just that. It is important for all members to appreciate the current state of the law and what this means in practical terms for those convicted of murder.

The offence of murder is the most serious crime in Canadian law and is accordingly subject to the most serious punishment available in Canadian law. All murder convictions carry a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. As is well known, someone convicted of first degree murder is ineligible for parole for 25 years. A person convicted of second degree murder is ineligible for parole for at least 10 years and up to 25 years. Once eligible, offenders may apply for parole, but that does not mean they will necessarily receive it.

A decision to release someone on parole is one taken by the Parole Board of Canada. The safety of the public is the foremost consideration in deciding whether to grant someone parole. Accordingly, in reality, the most serious offenders, who pose an ongoing risk to public safety, will never, under our current law, be released from custody. In fact, the majority of persons convicted of murder are never released from custody, and the few that are rarely reoffend.

The Parole Board of Canada reports that of those convicted of either first or second degree murder who were conditionally released on full parole between 1994 and 2014, only 4% were re-incarcerated for having committed a violent offence. To take but one example, the notorious serial killer Clifford Olsen died in prison, despite repeated applications for parole, after serving 30 years in custody.

Quite frankly, I see no gap in the current law such that Bill C-229 should be supported.

Moreover, I am also very concerned about the charter viability of the bill. The government has indicated repeatedly the importance of respecting the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and of ensuring that our work is consistent with it.

I believe that if we were to support this bill, we would not be respecting the charter, particularly an offender's sections 7 and 12 charter rights.

The proposed measures contained in Bill C-229 carry significant vulnerabilities in relation to section 7, the right to life, liberty, and security of the person, and section 12, the right not to be subject to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This is due, in part, to the proposal in this bill for increased parole eligibility date for all offenders convicted of first-degree murder from 25 years to 35 years. Canadian legal principles do not contemplate the creation of a sentencing regime under which there would be absolutely no possibility of legal consideration, during an extended sentence, of the merits of an offender's continued incarceration.

Based on existing case law, it seems to me that the proposal to detain beyond 25 years would raise significant charter issues. As parliamentarians, we can be firm in our responses to serious criminal behaviour. We can take measures to improve the safety of our citizens and our communities. However, we must ensure that we do so in a manner that is fair and respects the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all Canadians.

The government is working to increase the safety and security for Canadians in many ways. Bill C-229 would not make our communities safer.

I am confident in the ability of the Parole Board of Canada to make appropriate decisions regarding which individuals may or may not be released from prison and what types of restrictions may be placed on their liberty.

The existing sentencing provisions for those convicted of murder and the related parole system reflects an appropriate balance that effectively prevents the most serious offenders from ever being released on parole. Life without parole for most offenders as proposed is unprecedented in Canadian law and would generate criticism and increased costs.

I am opposing Bill C-229 as it would not improve public safety and is not a bill that would achieve the objective of a justice system that Canadians can be proud of. I urge all members to join me in voting against this unnecessarily punitive legislation.