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Crucial Fact

  • Their favourite word was communities.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Cumberland—Colchester (Nova Scotia)

Lost their last election, in 2021, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

June 7th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I want to say congratulations to the Minister of Heritage because I, as a former artist for 33 years of my life, say good on him and I thank him so much. This is exactly what artists across Canada need. We just had the Juno awards last night and saw how much great talent there is in this beautiful country. As a former actor, I can say the actors union is behind this. We are all behind this. We are cheering the minister on and we want to get this passed as quickly as possible.

Could the minister please expand on why it is so important to get this done now?

Indigenous Affairs June 3rd, 2021

Mr. Speaker, two years ago today, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released 231 calls for justice and called for the federal, provincial, territorial and indigenous governments to work together to build a national action plan to end the ongoing national tragedy and shame of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit LGBTQQIA+ people. They all have the right to live and be respected and valued in their communities.

Can the Minister of Indigenous Services please update the House on our government’s progress on co-developing this—

Parliament of Canada Act May 13th, 2021

moved for leave to introduce Bill S-205, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Parliamentary Visual Artist Laureate).

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to table Bill S-205, the national artist laureate act, an act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act. I wish to thank Senator Bovey of Manitoba and Senator Moore of Nova Scotia for creating this bill that brings us together from across the nation and reminds us that art is a shared experience. Bill S-205 would appoint a parliamentary visual artist laureate for successive two-year terms to promote the arts in Canada through Parliament by fostering knowledge, enjoyment, awareness and development of the arts.

Art speaks in a visual language and our own perceptions translate the stories. Whether it is a simple handprint on a cave wall 60,000 years ago, petroglyphs carved in the rocks, a sculpted form, a sketch, a cartoon, a photograph, art endures. Like the artists who enrich our lives, art strives, art inspires, art thrives long after we have shuffled off this mortal coil.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

Port of Montreal Operations Act, 2021 April 29th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I love to hear the member's stories about her life and history in all kinds of aspects, and I thank her for sharing that one.

As a member of a former NDP government in Nova Scotia, I know that on July 5, 2013 the NDP government introduced back-to-work legislation for the paramedics. It cited the fact that in the negotiations there was no compromise and it was about the health and safety of Nova Scotians. In fact, we did introduce that legislation.

Does the member believe in voting with one's conscience and being able to speak up on subjects that one may not agree with one's own government about?

Families, Children and Social Development April 21st, 2021

Mr. Speaker, the global pandemic has been tough on all Canadians, but particularly on women, who tend to be the family caregivers, especially during a crisis. Research shows many women have had to exit the workforce, risking decades of women's hard-fought gains in the workplace. We know this often due to a lack of affordable, accessible and quality early learning and child care.

Can the Prime Minister please tell us how much we are investing in a national child care program, why it is so important for parents now and how this will support women right across Canada?

2020 Shootings in Nova Scotia April 16th, 2021

Madam Speaker, one year ago, on the morning of Sunday, April 19, we the citizens of Cumberland—Colchester, awoke to discover a devastating tragedy had ripped through our normally tranquil corner of the world.

Words cannot express my sorrow for the families and friends who lost loved ones and the RCMP who lost a beloved colleague here in the line of duty. I thank all first responders who risked their own lives trying to save others.

We are Nova Scotians. When we continue to support one another with kindness and generosity, we prove that love wins the day and that violence does not and will never define us.

Gender-Based Violence March 25th, 2021

Madam Chair, the member's words moved me very much, as have many of the women who have spoken tonight and some of the men as well.

She is right: It is a societal problem. From day one, children need to be taught that we are equal, that one is not more important or valuable or loved than the other. It is a societal problem and it is a serious one.

If we look at what is going on in England right now, what does the member think about the idea of making misogyny a hate crime?

Gender-Based Violence March 25th, 2021

Madam Chair, as someone who has also experienced violence and spoken to many other women who have experienced the same thing, we say that it is like putting a frog in a pot of water on the stove and then turning the heat up very slowly until the frog stays there and boils. That is why violence and abuse is not something that we can just put our finger on. The behaviour is gradual, which is what I believe the member was talking about.

When it comes to toxic masculinity and violence against women, how would she suggest that we deal with the warning signs to teach women and men the signs of early abuse that could lead to violence?

National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism Act March 23rd, 2021

Madam Speaker, I would like to acknowledge that I stand on the unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq here in Nova Scotia and thank them for sharing their land with us. Wela'lioq.

To everything there is a season, a time and a purpose, and Bill C-230 is a bill whose time has come, for we are at a tipping point or, hopefully, a turning point in Canada's history and indeed that of our planet.

For years, grassroots activists across Canada have been fighting for social and environmental justice for indigenous, black and other racialized communities. We stand on the shoulders of community leaders like Chief Dan George, Dr. David Suzuki in B.C., to Dr. Ingrid Waldron, Chief Andrea Paul, Louise Deslisle, Doreen Bernard and Drs. Lynn and Rocky Jones right here in Truro, Nova Scotia.

One year ago I introduced Bill C-230, a national strategy to redress environmental racism, in the House of Commons in Ottawa. Then recently, in January of this year, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to develop programs and policies to “address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic, and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities” in the United States. Surely this gives even more credence to the need for Canada to address this issue within our own borders. Therefore, let us do the right thing and acknowledge the injustices of the past by addressing the issues of systemic environmental racism with respect to the pollution of the land, air and water affecting a disproportionate number of indigenous, black and other racialized communities; acknowledging the equal and inherent right of all to clean air and water; meaningfully consulting affected communities; collecting vital data; recommending further action and redress; and embracing environmental justice by honouring, celebrating and protecting the natural environment.

Research shows that racialized people have higher rates of chronic disease and are more vulnerable to both climate change and new diseases like COVID‑19 due to the long-standing structural inequities that have caused poverty, leading to unstable housing and food insecurity. Environmental racism is a major contributor to these inequities, since a disproportionate number of racialized communities are located in areas that have been exposed to major polluters emitting toxins associated with cancer, respiratory illness and birth defects.

We have much to learn from indigenous people around the globe, particularly women, as it is often the women who bear the brunt of inequity and are faced with the fallout of environmental racism. It is with this in mind that I honour all grassroots grandmothers and sacred water protectors, the women whose blood, sweat and tears has been spilled endlessly in the spiral of creation, fighting for their lives, their rights, those of their children and, I would add, for Mother Earth. If we are to survive as a species, the way we perceive, value and treat our fellow humans, natural environment and every living thing must change. I would like to believe it is changing with each new generation, as the obvious results of our human flaws and past mistakes become impossible to deny.

One of the biggest mistakes colonial society has made is the belief that some races and genders are more important or valuable than others and therefore that some peoples and communities are less deserving of a healthy environment than others. Not only is this premise false, but we also seem to have forgotten that we are in fact part of nature ourselves and are all connected to each other and to the natural realm. We are all born with the innate right to clean air and water. These simple elements are vital for our survival. Let us be honest, we have taken both for granted to our own detriment.

My parents taught me long ago that every child is born equal and deserves to be treated with mutual respect. My 97-year-old grandmother, Elizabeth, taught me that without hope we have nothing. The eyes of our children and grandchildren are upon us. Let us give them a reason not only to hope, but to believe.

The time to act is upon us. If not us, who? If not now, when? I humbly ask members to support Bill C-230.

Points of Order March 9th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise a point of order. The member for West Nova seemed to be saying that I was lying to my constituents and has sent out an email or a message to people in Nova Scotia saying so. I would like him to apologize for that, please.