House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was actually.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Willowdale (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply November 4th, 2010

Madam Speaker, needless to say, the topic today is about foreign investment in light of the government's decision yesterday, or sort of decision, we are not completely sure, but at least a decision for the next 30 days that, absent something significantly new, the government has said no to BHP Billiton acquiring PotashCorp.

I would like to commend the government, so far, for having come to that conclusion. I will suggest that it was too bad the government had to be dragged kicking and screaming to that decision. I would like to reinforce the fact that Canadians and the people of Saskatchewan in particular are thankful, and we all join them, for the incredible hard work from the dedicated, hard-working member for Wascana, who has worked day and night over the last number of weeks to make sure that the interests of the people of Saskatchewan, and indeed the interests of all Canadians, are kept front and centre in the decision making on whether or not this acquisition should proceed.

I would like to add to that a number of questions. The first question is, in fact, related to my comments about the incredible hard work by the member for Wascana. The question is this. Where on earth were the 13 other MPs from Saskatchewan? The 13 Conservative members of Parliament from Saskatchewan have been completely silent on this issue, completely silent.

This is not a comment on them as individuals. I know some of them and we certainly get along well. It is a comment on the atmosphere in the government that simply does not allow anyone to speak out unless it fits with the communications agenda from the Prime Minister's Office.

What on earth were each one of those Conservative Saskatchewan MPs elected for? What did they promise people when they campaigned? I am quite certain that they did not campaign on “I'm going to Ottawa, but don't worry; I won't speak out on your behalf; I won't actually say anything if I'm worried that my government is going to take any action contrary to what may be in your best interests”.

There is not a single comment that any Conservative member from Saskatchewan has said publicly in response to the overwhelming concern expressed by—

Betty Louise Crossley November 1st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased, but with sadness, to rise in the House to recognize a wonderful person. Betty Louise Crossley, born Betty Noble, was an activist and an extraordinary member of the Willowdale community.

Her husband, Kelvin, two sons, Kelly and Matt, and, of course, her grandchildren were her immediate family; however, her family life extended to many others whom she met and was close with over the years.

She was an outstanding teacher and her students will all have left more learned but, more important, more engaged in the world around them. The same is true for anyone who had the privilege of getting to know her.

In a time of increasing apathy, getting people more engaged, which is so critical to improving society, is one of the highest legacies possible and it is very much one left behind by Betty Crossley.

Betty has now passed on but her family and friends know that, as she called it, her “unsolicited advice”, which was always greatly appreciated, will live on.

We thank Betty. She will be missed.

Potash Industry October 28th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, we need to ask where the 11 Conservative members of Parliament and 2 Conservative cabinet ministers from Saskatchewan are. Are they afraid? Are they muzzled? There is only one member of Parliament for Saskatchewan who is speaking out for the interests of the people of Saskatchewan.

When will those 13 Saskatchewan Conservative MPs stop being afraid of speaking out in support of Saskatchewan?

Potash Industry October 28th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister recently tried to raise doubts about PotashCorporation by saying that it would make no difference to him if this company were no longer the Canadian champion it currently is. And the Minister of Industry is starting to stall.

Who decides? Is it the Prime Minister who controls the process?

Corporate Accountability of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries Act October 26th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries.

We in the Liberal Party completely agree with the intentions behind Bill C-300. We are 100% behind improving the corporate social responsibility of Canadian mining companies in developing countries. In this regard, all members of the Liberal Party agree completely. Indeed, I commend my colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood for being so concerned when the Conservative government has done so little.

In 2005, a decision was made under a Liberal government to move forward on the issue of CSR among Canadian mining companies. Throughout 2006, extensive all-stakeholder round tables were conducted. These included non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, mining and oil companies, labour, governments and individuals. It was an extraordinary process and very unusual in the progress achieved with so many different participants.

There were 156 oral presentations and 104 written submissions. Of these, 61 were from civil society organizations, 33 were from industry, 15 were from labour organizations, 31 were from academics and research institutes, and 16 were from members of the public without a stated affiliation.

This extraordinary process resulted in a 2007 report which was roundly approved and supported. It was the product of many people who might have had opposing views, but who came together exhibiting a will to compromise and to find constructive consensus. The 2007 report included several strong and very positive recommendations for the improvement of CSR among Canadian mining companies working in developing countries.

However, the Conservative government did nothing for two years. Only recently did the Conservatives come up with a much watered down plan, a plan with no teeth. They are pretending to do something when not doing anything at all.

Bill C-300 tries to address these concerns. We Liberals all agree completely on the end goal even though we may have some disagreements on how best to reach that goal. In that regard, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in this House to do exactly what we are supposed to do, engage in debate.

All too often we let party lines dictate what any one of us now says in the House. It has become entirely predictable. Not everyone agrees on everything all the time, not even everyone in the same party. The ability to disagree or to have different opinions is, and should be, a fundamental part of democracy. I am proud to be a member of a party, the Liberal Party, that not only allows debate but recognizes its importance.

Bill C-300 creates some challenges. The bill's proponent himself has acknowledged that it is flawed due to the limitations on what a private member's bill can do. As a result, there is legitimate debate about whether Bill C-300, if passed, would in fact accomplish what it is intended to accomplish, or whether there may be unintended, perhaps even negative, consequences.

Indeed, one of the concerns is whether passage of Bill C-300 might make it more difficult for a Liberal government to implement an even tougher regime further to the 2007 report to ensure greater CSR, but it is important that people be able to engage in this kind of debate with respect and civility. It is one of the reasons why I am a Liberal. We are able to debate and indeed sometimes disagree.

The 2007 report sets out some very tough recommendations, including strict and clear guidelines on the level of CSR expected of Canadian mining companies operating in developing countries, a robust complaint and review mechanism, the creation of an ombudsperson with tough responsibilities, and significant funding to help developing countries build their own capacity to create and enforce locally CSR standards and regulations.

We are all frustrated that the Conservative government ignored the 2007 report for two years and then only just recently implemented a much watered down approach.

The Liberals are united in strongly supporting implementation of a regime based on the full 2007 report as the best way to achieve the highest levels of CSR among Canadian mining companies operating in developing countries, something the Conservative government has failed to do.

I rise today to speak to Bill C-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries.

First, I would like to say that we in the Liberal Party completely agree with the intentions behind Bill C-300. We are 100% behind improving the corporate social responsibility of Canadian mining companies in developing countries. In this regard, all members of the Liberal Party agree completely. Indeed, I commend my colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood for being so concerned when the Conservative government has done so little.

In 2005, a decision was made under a Liberal government to move forward on the issue of CSR among Canadian mining companies. Throughout 2006, extensive, all-stakeholder round tables were conducted. These included non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, mining and oil companies, labour unions, governments and individuals.

This process is an excellent example of a situation in which all of the stakeholders came together to find a solution to a fundamental problem. The 2007 report that came out of these consultations was roundly approved and supported. It included several strong and very positive recommendations for the improvement of CSR among Canadian mining companies working in developing countries.

Unfortunately, the Conservative government did absolutely nothing. Two years after the report was released, the Conservatives chickened out and in the end implemented a watered-down solution.

Even though Bill C-300 is not perfect, it aims to improve the situation. We in the Liberal Party fully support the end goal, although we may have some disagreements on how best to reach that goal.

As I already said, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise here in the House to do exactly what we are supposed to do: debate the issue. Having the opportunity to express disagreement and different opinions is, and should be, a fundamental part of democracy. Once again, I am proud to be a member of a party, the Liberal Party, that not only allows debate but recognizes its importance.

Bill C-300 does create some challenges, I admit. Even the bill's sponsor has acknowledged that it is flawed because of the limitations on what a private member's bill can do. As a result, there is legitimate debate about whether Bill C-300, if passed, will in fact accomplish what it is intended to accomplish or whether there may be unintended, perhaps even negative, consequences. As I said, there are fears about whether passage of Bill C-300 might make it more difficult for a Liberal government to implement an even tougher regime to make corporations even more accountable. It is important to be able to engage in this kind of debate with respect and civility.

The 2007 report sets out some very tough recommendations. We are all frustrated that the Conservative government ignored the report for two years and only recently implemented a much watered-down version.

Once again, the Liberal Party is united in strongly supporting the implementation of a regime based on the full 2007 report as the best way to achieve the highest levels of CSR among Canadian mining companies operating in developing countries, something the Conservative government refuses to do.

Government Spending October 22nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Governor of the Bank of Canada has confirmed that household debt is one of the biggest challenges facing the Canadian economy.

One of the biggest contributors to household debt is the cost to families of home care and of looking after our elderly and our sick.

Why is the government choosing to spend money on megaprisons and on unaffordable tax cuts instead of helping Canadian families with the burden of home care and of helping look after our elderly and our sick?

Government Spending October 22nd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, it is a choice: megaprisons even though crime rates are dropping and fighter jets without a bidding process but with sky-rocketing costs, as we know now, or the Liberals' choice to help Canadian families.

How can the minister look Canadian families in the eye and defend his choices?

Government Priorities October 18th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, this is the biggest borrowing and spending government in Canadian history. It has done so four years running and it started before the recession. What for? Where are the government's priorities? Biggest spending, biggest borrowing for what? For more prisons and stealth fighter jets?

Why are the government's priorities not on spending money on families, on learning, on home care and on pensions? Let the government answer that.

Government Priorities October 18th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, we now know that the deficit is even larger than what the minister himself said it was just a week ago. Once again, he was wrong. This Conservative government is the one that ran the biggest deficit in Canadian history. What for? For prisons and fighter jets? Those are its priorities. Why not families, youth and seniors?

Census October 1st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, apparently the hon. member did not hear the question about Ontario and Quebec.

Ontario and Quebec together represent two-thirds of the Canadian economy. They represent together two-thirds of the Canadian population. Maybe I need to quote again for the hon. member. Ontario and Quebec are saying, “We believe that the decision by the federal government to eliminate the census long form was a mistake”.

Again, Ontario and Quebec are pleading with the government to reinstate it. What is the government's answer to Ontario and Quebec?