House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was respect.

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

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 16th, 2009

With regard to housing promises made by the government: (a) of the $1.9 billion investment promised in September 2008 to extend housing and homelessness programs for low-income Canadians, (i) how much has been spent, (ii) what programs has the money funded, (iii) what is the breakdown of this spending by province; (b) of the $1 billion promised for social housing renovations and energy retrofits in the 2009 budget, (i) how much has been spent, (ii) what programs has the money funded, (iii) what is the breakdown of this spending by province; (c) of the $400 million promised for the construction of housing units for low-income seniors in the 2009 budget, (i) how much has been spent, (ii) what programs has the money funded, (iii) what is the breakdown of this spending by province; and (d) of the $75 million for the construction of housing units for persons with disabilities promised in the 2009 budget, (i) how much has been spent, (ii) what programs has the money funded, (iii) what is the breakdown of this spending by province?

Heroism November 16th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to pay tribute to John Dietsch, an 84-year-old veteran who valiantly served our country during the second world war in the Royal Canadian Navy and who once again demonstrated his bravery.

On November 12, four men, including Mr. Dietsch, were at a Royal Canadian Legion in my riding of Scarborough Southwest counting Remembrance Day poppy sale receipts. They were interrupted by an armed gunman demanding the money, money destined for widows and community service projects.

Mr. Dietsch and his legion associates refused to hand over the money. Mr. Dietsch, without thought for his personal safety, lunged at and struggled with the gunman. His friend, Earl Gray, wrestled the robber to the ground, chasing him away empty-handed.

I am certain all members of the House join me in honouring John Dietsch and Earl Gray for their bravery and share my relief and gratitude that both men emerged safely from this incident.

Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare November 6th, 2009

Madam Speaker, as this marks the end of the debate on Motion No. 354, I would like to begin my remarks by thanking all of the members who rose to speak to this motion. I would also like to thank the member for Yorkton—Melville who on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs brought forward an amendment to my motion. I obviously preferred my original motion as I do believe that the United Nations is an appropriate organization for this resolution. The government, as we heard during this debate, does not.

That said, I believe that the House of Commons' adoption of the spirit, values and beliefs outlined in Motion No. 354 supercedes debating forums in which it is delivered. I therefore agreed to the hon. member's amendment. I also believe this amendment and subsequent debate demonstrates a healthy cooperation among all parties in the House. Such cooperation is increasingly less frequent these days. However, I am very pleased that the motion may serve as a small example of what a spirit of cooperation can achieve in our collective support for a universal declaration on animal welfare.

Animal welfare is a sensitive issue. Not all of us in the House may agree on the best way to go about enacting laws to properly protect animals, but we all believe they should be protected. There are competing points of view, those of pet owners, farmers, developing nations and the rights of our native peoples. At the heart of it, the universal declaration on animal welfare is a start as it demonstrates our belief that animal welfare is essential.

As I mentioned in my previous speech, the declaration is an agreement among people and nations to recognize that animals are sentient, suffer, have welfare needs, and to ultimately end animal cruelty worldwide. The declaration will be structured as a set of general principles that acknowledge and emphasize the importance of animal welfare. The purpose of these principles is to encourage all nations to put in place or enhance existing animal welfare laws in standards.

The declaration is supported by a growing list of governments from countries around the world including all 27 members of the European Union. There is also a great deal of support from the public. Thousands of Canadians have signed petitions in support of a UDAW. Many of these petitions have been introduced in the House of Commons. The declaration is actively supported by Canada's foremost animal protection organizations including the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

The implementation of the declaration is an important step and will act as a catalyst for change in the following ways: by raising the status of animal welfare as an international issue; by encouraging those in industries which utilize animals to keep their welfare at the forefront of their policies and practices; and by inspiring positive change in public attitudes and actions toward animals.

I am heartened by the tone of the debate that has transpired. The declaration will be a key toward improved animal welfare legislation worldwide and a step closer to ending cruelty to animals globally. This first step is only one of many in a long road, but it is a critical one, one we must take for this extremely important cause.

I urge all members to support the motion, so that Canada can join a growing list of countries on the world stage in support of animal welfare.

Petitions November 6th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition signed by close to 100 constituents in my riding of Scarborough Southwest.

The petitioners would like to bring to the attention of the House that there is a scientific consensus and public acknowledgement that animals can feel pain and suffer, that all efforts should be made to prevent animal cruelty and reduce animal suffering, that over one billion people around the world rely on animals for their livelihoods and many others rely on animals for companionship and that animals are often significantly affected by natural disasters and yet seldom considered during relief efforts in emergency planning despite their recognized importance to humans.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to petition the Government of Canada to support a universal declaration on animal welfare.

Petitions November 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by a number of constituents in my riding of Scarborough Southwest.

The petitioners are calling upon the House of Commons to support a universal declaration on animal welfare.

They are urging Canada to join the growing number of nations worldwide that now have a UDAW.

Genetic Discrimination October 29th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month I participated in the launch of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness whose mandate is to secure legislation to ban genetic discrimination in Canada.

Genetic discrimination is when people are treated unfairly because of an actual or perceived difference in their genetic information that may cause or increase the risk to develop a disorder or disease. It is unfair to use genetic information to determine which individuals will be employed or insured. It is not only unjust but it is devastating to those affected.

Many other countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already taken steps to protect their citizens from genetic discrimination. In Canada there is no such protection. Without it Canadians will continue to be subjected to discriminatory treatment.

I urge all members to support legislation that would protect all Canadians from this unethical and immoral practice.

Nortel October 21st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, today Nortel pensioners, devastated about what is happening to their pension and disability benefits, have come to Parliament Hill to demand action from the government.

Every day we are reading in the papers that Canada's pension system is in crisis. I am hearing from Canadians all across the country, including constituents from your riding of Kingston and the Islands, Mr. Speaker, about their concern for the Nortel pensioners and the safety of their pensions in the future.

If retirees are fortunate, they may receive 60¢ on the dollar from their pension. More likely, they will receive less. Retirees on disability benefits will receive next to nothing.

The government must take action now to secure the pension and disability benefits for the Nortel pensioners and take steps to ensure that this will never happen to the pensions of countless other Canadians in the future.

Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare October 1st, 2009

Yes, I do consent, Mr. Speaker.

Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare October 1st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it raises awareness of an issue that has not received enough time in the spotlight. It will also bring about discussion on the transport of animals and health safety. Given the fact that we are dealing with H1N1, which was called swine flu, all of these things come into play. This motion will put this whole issue into the spotlight, which it deserves.

Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare October 1st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, with respect to that one bill, Bill S-203, it originated in the other place. It was extremely misleading in that it lulled Canadians into thinking that we were accomplishing something. For the most part, all parties were disappointed that it lacked any kind of depth or teeth.

This is a resolution. This is a commitment that we are looking for, which it is hoped will be heard around the world. This is about something we believe in as a nation, protecting animals, protecting those that have no ability to protect themselves.