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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was children.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Beaches—East York (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Department Of Industry Act September 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, obviously it does compliment. I suppose that is a leading question if I ever had one but it is a great question.

The member is quite right. We talk a great deal in this House about getting rid of duplication and cutbacks. There are all kinds of comments coming from the opposition about the overlap. In this case we are doing exactly what a great many people have been saying, let us get rid of the overlap of the duplication and let us pull together into one bill all of those aspects which are necessary to deal with the new strategies of the global economy and the new technologies of today. We are dealing with technology. We are dealing with all of the different aspects that involve these things.

At the same time we are looking at the manpower needs for the future in the new strategies of industry. Small and medium size businesses need this kind of assistance and infrastructure. They are working with us. We are not coming up with these solutions or policies in isolation without consultations with small and medium size businesses and business in general in this country.

As I said, the sectoral agreements which were signed by the Minister of Human Resources Development were signed in agreement. We are working together and sharing the responsibilities. That is how this country was built and where the future of this country lies, in a partnership with business.

Department Of Industry Act September 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to speak on the subject of second reading of Bill C-46, the Department of Industry Act.

Like other members who have spoken on this topic, I am convinced that this bill is a sound strategic initiative by this government and an excellent piece of legislation. I like this bill for its comprehensive inclusion of the chief functions necessary to achieving the government's agenda for economic growth and job creation, for its incorporating under one organizational umbrella the many concerns related to growth.

I take particular satisfaction from the recognition by the bill of the importance of small and medium size businesses and tourism. My riding has many small businesses and I believe firmly that this bill will be of great assistance to them.

In recent months as I met and spoke with small and medium size businesses in the metro Toronto area one of the recurring things that came through consistently was that is was very difficult for them to access government programs. It meant going from department to department and most small and medium size businesses do not have the resources to research what government programs are available, how to access them, who to talk to and how to research them and whether or not their company is eligible for any of these aids or partnerships that we offer.

It is important and critical that the four departments are now coming together, that there will be one stop shopping and that the businesses will be able to access these programs and work collectively.

In order for Canada to succeed in the global economy and to create the jobs that we need it is important that there be one consistent vision and one cohesive approach to strategic planning. To me it is important that when we put together R and D, the manufacturing, marketing, the promotion of mobility across this country and all of the things that this department will be grouping within it, these things work together, that one augments the other and supplements the other, and that business can access all of it at the same time.

Some of the examples that were given to me by business were things such as research and development is great but you can develop a product and not be able to bring it to market. One example was given where there was some research done by a university but where the product was in the end manufactured in the U.S. The jobs are in the manufacturing, not just in the research. That is where a large number of jobs are. It is critical that these kinds of things happen within our country and that kind of linkage exists.

It is also very important to me and I am very pleased to see that sustainable development and the environment are included in clause 5 of this bill. Putting together the environment and industries in the same clause, dealing with it very aggressively in making it a partnership is very critical. We have to be leaders in this country. The environmental industry is job creation. It is a plus. It is not a detriment, as some people might think.

To me it is extremely important that industry will be working together with the environment and that the environment is part of the planning of industry so that it is not something separate that one does as an adjunct to the industrial strategy of this country.

The red book which detailed this government's agenda before the last election foresaw this bill. It announced that the government would focus on small and medium size businesses as the determining factor in turning around the economy. The speech from the throne made good our electoral commitment by placing small and medium size businesses at the top of the agenda, focusing on them for long term job creation.

The February budget followed through, announcing a long list of small business related initiatives. With the February budget papers the government published its action plan entitled growing small businesses. This publication was meant to stimulate discussion and get the business community actively engaged in helping to create an environment more conducive to small business and entrepreneurship. For example, Industry Canada is exploring with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce the feasibility of developing a business network strategy to set up some 30 business networks to foster co-operation and collaboration among small and medium size firms with common interests.

Also, an array of initiatives has been announced as part of the small and medium size enterprise agenda.

A pilot program will be launched under the technology partnership program, exploring the feasibility of incentives for universities to enter into partnerships, the small and medium size firms to develop emerging technologies for industrial application.

As part of the science and technology review, the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development will conduct consultations on a program to provide small and medium size firms with cost shared salary support for hiring scientists, engineers, technologists and industrial designers, as my colleague said previously.

A new fund has been established to help expand existing business through the Federal Business Development Bank. The Canada community investment fund has been announced, one of the aims of which is to ensure availability of equity financing for small firms.

Industry Canada is working with a private sector coalition to set up a national business network demonstration program. The program will help business create networks to foster co-operation and collaboration and better prepare Canadian small and medium size businesses to compete at home and internationally.

Another example of our recognition is the hospitality industry. The key role of tourism in the economy is clear. Five per cent of the Canadian workforce is employed in some 500,000 full time equivalent tourism jobs in more than 60,000 enterprises.

Employment in tourism is growing one and a half times faster than industries as a whole. Visitors to Canada last year contributed approximately $9 billion in foreign exchange and Canadians added about $18 billion while travelling within Canada.

I want to point out that it is not simply in work within this ministry that co-operation is happening. We look at the HRD department and how it is going to be complimenting what we are doing in this department. Look at the hospitality industry. That department has recently signed an agreement with the National Tourism Human Resource Council. Its objective will be to co-ordinate and support research and analysis of the industry's training needs. It will formulate national occupational standards and certification programs. It will provide the means for the sharing of information initiatives and it will be a national advocate on behalf of the tourism industry for human resource issues.

Human Resources Development Canada endorses the council and the goals that it has set for itself. The federal government is contributing over $977,000, the tourism industry is providing over $2.2 million or thereabouts. This is only one of 13 sectoral agreements that had been signed. Since the hospitality industry agreement was signed a great many more have been signed.

This shows that we are not just looking at the industrial side which is absolutely necessary. Coupled with that we are also looking at the manpower required in order to create the jobs in these industries. There cannot be one without the other. We have a new bill and new department pulling together all of the industrial strategies necessary for the country.

However, we also have another department that is looking at the manpower required and arranging sectoral agreements with various sectors of the economy to create the kinds of skills and manpower required for the jobs we are creating for the future.

I am very much in support of this bill and I want to congratulate the minister for pulling this together. I hope the House will support it.

Petitions June 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition from a group of constituents who wish for the government to toughen the Young Offenders Act. It is my duty to table over 150 signatures from my riding.

Occupational Health And Safety Week June 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise to acknowledge that this week is Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week.

Having worked with injured workers in Ontario for many years, I know of the hardship and suffering caused by workplace

injuries. The sad reality is that every 12 working hours of the year one Canadian worker is killed on the job.

In 1992, 714 workers died in the course of their duties; over 864,000 workers were injured; and more than 19 million working days were lost. This is not only a terrible human waste; it is also an economic waste. When we add up the direct and indirect costs of workplace accidents over $10 billion are wasted annually.

During Occupational Health and Safety Week one message to Canadians will be that increased training, education and information are needed to combat this problem. Another message is that occupational health and safety are directly related to the economic health of Canadian business.

I urge all members of the House to join with business and with labour in ending this tragic and unnecessary waste of human and economic resources.

Canada Student Financial Assistance Act June 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct when she says that 30 years is a long time. We have had this program for 30 years. Federal-provincial co-operation has existed under the Student Loans Act for30 years and the co-operation and support continues.

We heard from the parliamentary secretary earlier today that the provinces in this country do support this act. This is very important.

Under this bill provinces will continue to be able to opt out of the federal student assistance program if they choose to offer their own program of student assistance. There is nothing new here.

Opted out provinces will be able to receive compensation if they have a program which has substantially the same effect as the federal program. This is nothing new. The government is simply carrying forward provisions from the previous act.

Moreover we are expanding provisions for compensation to provinces which choose to opt out to ensure that their students benefit from the proposed reforms. This is a positive initiative.

We are also providing for accountability. This is something I believe is very critical if we are to be accountable to the taxpayers of this country. Accountability is something that taxpayers have asked us to make sure we have.

For this reason we are asking those opted out jurisdictions to satisfy the minister that they have in place a program that is substantially the same as the federal program in order to receive compensation. Surely this is only responsible and reasonable.

This can be accomplished by a simple letter once a year from non-participant provinces. It is not an onerous detailed demand. It is a simple letter of response and communication. It is not terribly demanding.

Subclause 14(7) establishes that a province choosing to opt out is compensated for those program elements which are in place at the provincial level. Without subclause 14(7) an opted out province could be compensated for program elements which are not available within that province. To me, that would not be responsible. We must be accountable and continue to be accountable to the taxpayers. We would increase the government cost without any assurance that students are receiving the benefits provided for under this legislation. Again, that is important in this country, and we have discussed it for the last eight months. Accountability on how we spend federal tax dollars is very important.

The provinces have agreed with the provisions in this bill. They agreed to the provisions because they feel comfortable that in fact their jurisdiction is not being affected, that they are protected under the Constitution and that this is a co-operative process working together for the benefit of the students of this country and in doing so, ensuring that students across Canada will receive the same programs and have the same access to good programs for post-secondary education.

I really see nothing new and nothing terribly earth shaking in these changes. I believe they are for the benefit of Canadians. Therefore, I suggest that this motion is out of order. If the motion stands I would urge all members to vote against it.

Committees Of The House June 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development regarding Bill C-30. The committee has examined the bill and has agreed to report it with an amendment.

Budget Implementation Act, 1994 April 14th, 1994

Madam Speaker, the budget reflects what we said we would do during the election. Let me look at some of the aspects of the budget which I find very, very positive and upon which we have already taken action in the last little while.

Looking at youth for instance, I know that earlier the member opposite from the Reform Party was talking about generation x . I have some 20 years of experience working with young people helping them deal with retraining and upgrading. The first aspect of this to look at is apprenticeship.

At a conference recently young people talked about making a decision by the time they hit grade 10. They said that is when they decide whether they are going to continue with post-secondary education or whether they are going to quit school. The latter means dead end jobs and not much of a future.

In this country we have never valued apprenticeships. In other countries apprenticeship is valued. In Germany there are 600,000 graduates a year. In other countries trades are not something blue collar workers do, but trades are considered as careers and professions and are valued by society.

In our culture we have not valued trades. We have not valued tradesmen and people with skills. We have devalued them. Therefore we have not built in infrastructures to be able to assist young people to go into apprenticeship programs or a trade if they choose not to go to an academic program at college or university.

We have built into the budget an apprenticeship program to deal with this very serious problem. It is a serious structural problem in our training and educational programs and affects the future of the young people of the country.

As a country it is time to join the rest of the world in making sure our young people have an option when they leave school. Those who do not want to go on with academic studies at university will have the option to follow a career. It is not just a make-shift program but offers a career in technology, in trades. It gives them the skills not only to get a job today but also to become the employers of tomorrow. In many other countries the artisans are the ones who create jobs in the small businesses.

By announcing an apprenticeship program in our budget we are talking about finally filling the gap and joining the rest of the world in the 21st century.

Another aspect deals with young people who have lost jobs. When the jobs go they are the first to go as they do not have the skills and are the most junior members of a company. There are also those young people who do not have the skills and have already dropped out and need assistance to get back into the labour market. We need to develop training programs and assistance for these young people.

Let us also look at the transition from school to work. Young people who have finished a training program or have obtained a college or university degree are unable to find jobs. Right now a lot of them are looking for work but do not have the experience. Quite often as many of us were told when we were looking for work they cannot get the job because they do not have the experience. They have not yet worked at or practised the trade they studied in school.

The Canada youth corps program which the government mentioned in its budget and which will be announced sometime soon by the Minister of Human Resources Development will try to address that problem. It will try to give young people at least a year of experience in the workplace so they can add those skills to their resumes when they go looking for work. That is very critical.

Traditionally we have not valued young people in the country. I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say and people will say it is not true. We value certain types but not others. In Ontario we have a 30 per cent dropout rate in the school system. That means 30 per cent of our young people after grade 10 have no skills, not much education and no hope of finding a job.

These are the things we are talking about in our budget. It is not just false hope, not just unrealistic plans we are making. The budget is very realistic, very credible and very practical in dealing with the real problems and solutions that today's economy requires and that we should have got into quite some time ago frankly.

The other aspect I want to get into is small businesses. We talk about jobs. All day today many members opposite have been talking about jobs. They do not develop automatically. We are in a recession.

Small businesses create many jobs but they need assistance. The budget directly addresses the problem of funding for small businesses. It addresses directly the problem with banks and the relationship of banks and the lending process. The budget deals with setting up structures to create an environment where the capital needed by small businesses to create jobs and to expand businesses and to invest is there.

The budget deals with innovative industries. It tries to ensure we can develop new technologies and bring them to market in this country making sure that it will also create jobs.

These are infrastructures this country needs badly and we need to work with. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said that this was a good budget and it was sensitive to the needs of small businesses. That is something we said we would do and something the budget addresses directly.

We have to create jobs but we also have to make sure this country's companies and industries are able to do that. Therefore we have to develop the environment that allows for that.

The infrastructure program has sometimes been reviled and criticized by the opposition. It is not a program that simply allows a few people to dig some ditches; it is a program that creates very serious jobs.

The construction industry has been devastated. Thousands of construction workers have not worked for three or four years at a time and have had to collect assistance. Now they will be able to work. Spinoff jobs will be created as a result of the infrastructure program. This again will stimulate the economy. It will get it going and will create some work and restore hope.

Finally, I want to make a point on some of the criticism I have heard about child care. We talk about jobs. We talk about young people. We talk about economic growth. But then, as some members opposite like to say: "But we must not spend money on child care". How can we assist parents and single parents who work part time or work nights in finding jobs or being retrained to enter the labour market if we do not provide support, subsidize or assist with day care? It is just not possible.

We are being totally unfair and not very honest with ourselves if we do not deal with the realities of the workplace. That demands support and assistance to families and to people who cannot get back into the workforce if they do not have that kind of support. Therefore criticism about additional moneys as was coming from the Reform Party a few minutes ago about child care is not acceptable. The budget tries to deal with that.

We are looking at trying to deal with some very complex problems in a very difficult time in our history but we need to address some of the structural problems. We need to deal with these problems. The budget tries to deal with them in a realistic way, taking into account the fact that there is not a lot of money around. That is true. We also need to deal with the deficit. But we are trying to deal with these things with some very practical solutions.

For my part I hope members opposite will find it important to support our young people, to support the small businesses and to support those parents who need the assistance to get back into the workforce.

Gun Control April 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, within the last week in Toronto and in surrounding areas three violent and horrific crimes have been committed with guns. A student was shot in her own home. Another, who was the daughter of a constituent of mine, was killed while enjoying desserts with her friends at a downtown restaurant. The third, a young father, was shot with a stolen gun at a party.

This painful loss of life must be the beginning of stronger, tougher gun control laws.

As a woman I feel particularly vulnerable. As a female constituent of mine stated, why must I lose my freedom and live in fear?

No longer should we tolerate these violent and senseless crimes.

I urge not only the Minister of Justice but the whole House to unite and move rapidly to adopt stringent gun controls.

The Budget March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member opposite for his kind comments.

In my caucus there is very open discussion on these issues. We have embarked on something that is quite unusual. A standing committee of the House normally does not embark on public hearings prior to legislation or prior even to a proposal being put before the House. In fact we are doing that right now, talking to Canadians to hear their concerns about these issues.

Once the proposals are presented to the House by the minister, which will be a discussion paper not yet legislation, we will again travel this country to discuss with every Canadian who wishes to talk with us. We will try to reach as broadly as we can to discuss those proposals and to share what kinds of ideas we want to share and to see what future we want to have.

I will continue to fight and work within my own caucus. A lot of my colleagues agree with me. I do not have to work very hard. I have a tremendously strong and very committed caucus with regard to social justice. I do not think that is something we need to be concerned about too much.

Once legislation is brought in at the end of the year at that point we will be able to consult on the legislation itself.

To explain to members opposite, there will be plenty of time to be able not only to share ideas but to work out solutions, to adjust and to share them and discuss them again with Canadians. Certainly for my part I intend to hold two or three public consultations in my riding. Every member of the House can do the same. In fact I think they are being asked to do the same by the minister so that we have as broad a consultation on this issue as possible.

Certainly the commitment that I have to social justice which is 20 years long is not going to diminish during this process but rather will increase.

The Budget March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, this day marks the first time in history that a Liberal has stood in this House to speak on behalf of the people of Beaches-Woodbine. I am proud to be that Liberal.

As I campaigned door to door throughout last year's election, I promised the people of Beaches-Woodbine that we could have social justice and jobs. It did not have to come down to a choice of one over the other.

The budget brought down by my esteemed colleague, the Minister of Finance, reflects very much my commitment to the people of Beaches-Woodbine. He has succeeded in creating a judicious balance between the need to put our financial house in order and the equally important need to ensure that Canada remains a truly just society.

That hard to achieve balance is very important to the people of Beaches-Woodbine and to all Canadians.

Our long lasting commitment to social justice is the hallmark of our society. It sets us apart from most nations. If members think that is an overstatement, ask the millions of men and women who left their own countries over the last several decades and made a deliberate choice to become Canadians. Their being here has helped to make Canada a vibrant, dynamic model of living together, a model for the entire world.

Ours is a truly remarkable society and we must ensure throughout the nation-wide debate that is about to take place that we remain a truly just society of which we can all be proud.

We do have to take all necessary steps to arrest the growth of the deficit, reduce it to a manageable level and put in place sound economic policies to create jobs. The budget brought down by the Minister of Finance is a major first step in that direction.

The budget is, however, but one of several initiatives set in motion by the Liberal government. It is designed primarily to ensure that our financial house is put in order as quickly as is humanly possible.

I am more concerned, however, about the social justice part of the equation, that which sets us apart as a great, caring nation.

As we embark on the national debate about our social security systems, I find myself a little uncertain about the outcome.

Because of the pressure that has been placed on the economy and the social safety net by the recession there appears to be an almost panic mentality that has taken place. Get on with it is what everyone seems to say.

Because of my promise to the people of Beaches-Woodbine on social justice and jobs, I will do everything in my power to ensure that appropriate time is given and taken to ensure that the social safety net review is carried out in a worthwhile manner.

There is a great deal of talk of the stress that social programs have put on the economy but we must also look at the stress that the economy has put on the social programs. Despite some of the holes in our safety net this held out very well despite the huge demands we have put on it.

I believe that the social security system that we will need in the future should be one that can address the needs of Canadians from cradle to grave. It must be a system that is comprehensive, holistic in approach, completely accessible to all and flexible. People now are often falling between the programs.

This may mean a guaranteed income supplement. We have had a form of guaranteed income supplement in this country for quite some time. The old age security system, unemployment insurance and the way we have used them in eastern Canada has been a form of that.

We will have to make some fundamental choices, however. For instance, the labour market is changing with low value, short term and part time jobs on the increase. What choices will we make in the need for continuous upgrading of skills, the type of day care available and retirement planning?

Apart from the real fact that the comprehensive child care program is essential, if we are to have a chance at succeeding with upgrading, retraining and development of programs I believe it is our collective responsibility to ensure that children are cared for. The physical and mental well-being of children will mean healthy and well adjusted adults.

Today's youth are tomorrow's leaders. I attended a youth conference in Toronto on Tuesday of this week. It was attended by some 200 young people from all walks of life. Some had received welfare and were now on the youth employment program. Some were university graduates out of work and some were single parents on social assistance. The one thing they all had in common was their desire to want to work and their concern that maybe we, the baby boomers, were not interested in their concerns, did not understand their plight and did not have a commitment to tackle the problems that they are facing.

They made very insightful observations about the strengths and weaknesses of the current social assistance programs and their recommendations I thought were very practical and realistic. These are some of their statements:

"Most kids decide what to do by grade 10. They either stay in school or they drop out. So why can we not start apprenticeship as a career choice at grade 10". "I was asked to move back home in order to receive employment and training assistance", said another. "I have not lived at home since I was 15, so why am I going to move back now"?

Yet another: "I had to drop out of my college program because student aid was not enough and welfare would not pay if I received student aid. I now owe $3,000 in student loans, but still do not have an education. I really want to be an interior decorator".

Grants for students should come back.

They refer to themselves as the lost generation. They asked me if the government was really serious about addressing their needs. I said that if we did not do anything at this time and did not move quickly, we would be totally negligent and very stupid. They are the future of this country and we must meet their needs.

Social programs might cost more than we would like at first, but in the long run we save. If a young person is working they pay taxes. They will be able to create other jobs as they build their own businesses.

A comprehensive child care program allows parents to work and results in healthier children and we will save on further social costs.

Finally, the cost of the delivery of the programs does not necessarily have to be as costly as it is today. If we use an integrative approach instead of a selective approach and utilize all existing infrastructures such as schools for child care, the voluntary sector, and developed one stop shopping for all three levels of government it might just save some money. Economic renewal does not have to be at the expense of social justice. In fact, I believe that a strong social justice system will aid economic development

As I stated at the outset I am the first Liberal since confederation to stand in the House and represent the people of Beaches-Woodbine. And, yes, I do consider this an honour. The Beaches part of the riding's name derives from the fact that we have the best area of beach in metropolitan Toronto. Every summer and throughout the year thousands of people from outside the riding descend on the beaches and become honorary beachers for several hours of a day.

Our international jazz festival attracts upwards of 60,000 people, devotees of jazz across North America. The beach

family festival reflects a devotion to family and community that makes the beaches such a great place to live.

The Woodbine part of my riding's name takes up from the tree lined streets of the beach to Little India at Gerrard and Coxwell, the family run stores of the Danforth, the postcard perfect bungalows of the seniors in East York and the largely immigrant population high rise towers of Crescent Town. Does it not sound beautiful?

Beaches-Woodbine is a truly diverse riding and being the member for that area is a rewarding and demanding challenge. We have no factories in Beaches-Woodbine, no company head offices despite a large number of small businesses. We are very much dependent on opportunities for jobs outside the riding. That is why it is very important to us to ensure that metro Toronto gets its fair share of the infrastructure program and all other programs for economic stimulus.

As Toronto grows so does Beaches-Woodbine. You can be sure, Mr. Speaker, that I will avail myself of every opportunity to ensure that Toronto gets its fair share and makes its fair contribution to the growth and prospects of the whole country.

It is the whole country that should be speaking in the House in the debate on the budget, the social security system, our defence, health care and other national issues. We simply cannot afford to pull back, to think only of our ridings and of our regions. Today more than ever before it is important that we speak as one, as one country, one nation, one great people.

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure you that the people of Beaches-Woodbine will be well represented in national debate. We will be heard.