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

Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation May 28th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a constituent in my riding of Scarborough Southwest, William McDonald, who on May 11 received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation. This award is presented to individuals who have contributed to the well-being of veterans and to the remembrance of their contributions, sacrifices and achievements.

Mr. McDonald lobbied Toronto city council to have streets named after fallen soldiers in a new subdivision in Scarborough Southwest, a project which received unanimous council support. The official unveiling ceremony for the first two signs was held on November 4, 2008, and marked the first time Toronto had honoured its fallen soldiers by emblazing a poppy of remembrance on street signs.

Thanks to William McDonald's efforts, those brave men who gave their lives defending our country shall never be forgotten. It is for these efforts that I honour him today.

Sri Lanka May 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend in Sri Lanka, artillery fire reportedly killed nearly 400 civilians and wounded 1,100 more. Tamil Canadians in my riding, with family members in the war zone, are desperately concerned about their safety. They want the government to do everything possible to stop this slaughter.

Will the immigration minister fast-track family class applications for those trying to escape the violence and join their families in Canada?

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the motion from the hon. member for Ajax—Pickering was in any way intended to insult the American government. The fact is that the comments that Janet Napolitano made were extremely offensive to many people on a lot of different fronts. There is also a pile-on, with Senator John McCain, who has now backed up these allegations. It is not just with respect to border security, but the comments were on our immigration policies as well.

In speaking with small business owners in my riding, the concern of several of the manufacturers that export heavily to the United States is that these comments are a backdrop for the protectionist feeling they are getting from the U.S.

I would like the minister's comments about how I allay their fears in getting their goods across the border.

Employment Insurance April 24th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, a young mother in my riding is struggling to make ends meet due to the Conservatives' refusal to make changes to our EI system. Because she was laid off before returning to work from maternity leave, she does not have the required hours to qualify for EI.

The recession has created problems that were not foreseen by the current EI system. How fair is it when a company closes its doors that some employees will receive EI but new mothers will not?

Employment Insurance March 31st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I recently met with Robyn, a mother of three and sole supporter of her family, who lost her job. She applied for EI, but due to the backlog was forced to seek social assistance to support her family. When Robyn finally began to receive EI, the social assistance she received was clawed back, leaving her with almost nothing.

When will the government fix EI so Robyn and thousands of other Canadians finally get the support they desperately need when they need it?

Immigration March 13th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the recent reports that the number of Filipino caregivers approved to work in Canada has been slashed almost in half since the Conservative government came to power. Statistics show that 66% of the Filipino caregivers who applied to the Canadian visa office in Manila last year were refused.

This past weekend, at an event in my constituency with members of the Filipino community, I heard time and again the concern they have regarding this regressive and arbitrary approach to immigration.

In Manila between 2006 and 2008, the rejection rate for caregivers rose from 35% to 66%.

Clearly, the Conservative government has decided to pick favourites when it comes to whom it lets in and whom it does not.

The government must stop undervaluing caregivers and allow them to enter Canada to fill the demand for their much needed services.

The Economy February 9th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about the recent Statistics Canada announcement that 129,000 Canadians lost their jobs in January. This is the singlest largest monthly job loss on record in Canada. It brings the total number of job losses to nearly a quarter of a million in the last three months alone.

The government failed to recognize the seriousness of Canada's sharply declining economy. It failed to plan for it and it failed to bring in an immediate stimulus package. As a result, it failed to protect Canadian jobs.

Last September the Prime Minister claimed that, “if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now”. In October, he told us there was still no recession, but that there were a lot of great buying opportunities. In November he claimed there would only be a short recession and that there was certainly no need to run a deficit.

The government must wake up, realize the gravity of the present situation and start protecting Canadians.

Pay Equity January 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, will the government follow the example set by President Obama on pay equity legislation, or does the government believe Canadian women should have to get a U.S. green card to receive equal pay for work of equal value?


Mr. Speaker, as a former banker, I do agree with debt reduction but I do not believe that Canada's debt, before the surplus was used to pay it down, was unmanageable.

My constituents have likened it to two people who get married and buy a house. They take out a mortgage and sacrifice everything. They have no life and they have nothing of consequence. They want to pay off the mortgage but in the meantime they have no quality of life. They cannot maintain the house when the roof gets leaky or the foundation falls apart. At the end of the day, the mortgage is paid off but the house needs to be razed. They then must go back into debt to rebuild it at today's prices.

The easy answer to the member's question is that debt reduction is not the only thing that is absolutely critical in this country and I think we are living it now.


Mr. Speaker, right now there is no trust factor. I have been receiving emails from hundreds of my constituents with respect to the current economic crisis, particularly seniors. I am alarmed by the number of seniors who do believe that during this period they will lose their homes. These are hard-working people who provided the foundation for our economy over the past few years and they are seeing it frittered away. They do believe this was a made in Canada recession and they are concerned that there is no contingency fund.

As we all know and as most bankers and economists would point out to average families, we should always have a rainy day fund. Quite frankly, I think we are seeing a monsoon season.