House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was immigration.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Fleetwood—Port Kells (B.C.)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. The zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act demonstrates that openness and generosity does not extend to early and forced marriages, polygamy, or other types of barbaric cultural practices.

Canadians, as I said in my speech, will not tolerate any type of violence against women and girls, including spousal abuse, violence in the name of so-called honour, or other violence. Those found guilty of these crimes must be severely punished under Canada's criminal laws.

The purpose of this proposed legislation is to stand up for the victims of violence and abuse and to send a very clear and strong message to those in Canada, and those wishing to come to Canada, that such practices will not be tolerated on Canadians soil.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the constituents of Fleetwood—Port Kells to speak in this House in support of Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act. If the measures in this bill are implemented, they will amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act, and the Criminal Code to add further protection for vulnerable individuals, in particular women and girls.

Unfortunately, gender-based violence is a sad reality for women and girls across this country. Whether they are Canadian-born or newcomers to Canada, in too many cases the violence comes in the form of abusive cultural practices that have no place in this country. I am speaking about practices such as polygamy, underage marriage, forced marriage, and so-called honour killings. These abusive practices have damaging and wide-ranging consequences for the victims, and they also harm victims' children, homes, and communities. Indeed, they severely affect all those involved, from influencing whether individuals can successfully immigrate to Canada to breaking down opportunities for integration and economic success.

Our Conservative government made a strong commitment in the recent Speech from the Throne to prevent and counter violence against women and girls within the borders of this country. The zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act is a concrete example of this commitment. Its proposed measures are worthy of the support of all parliamentarians, because they would clearly help ensure that barbaric cultural practices do not occur on Canadian soil. Bill S-7 would send a clear message to newcomers to Canada, as well as to those who are already part of Canadian society, that such practices are unacceptable here.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration participated in many round tables and consultations across Canada. Participants told the minister that early and forced marriage, so-called honour killings, and polygamy still occur in Canada. These practices that occur across all cultures and ethnicities will not be tolerated in Canada, and our immigration system will not be used as a vehicle to perpetuate these acts. This bill reinforces the message that these practices are completely incompatible with Canadian values and will not be tolerated.

As I said, one of these practices is polygamy, which although illegal in Canada, is an accepted practice in a number of other countries around the world. In a 2011 ruling that upheld the constitutionality of Canada's polygamy law, Chief Justice Bauman, of the B.C. Supreme Court, found that there were physical, psychological, and social harms associated with the practice of polygamous marriages. He found that women in polygamous relationships “face higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse”, that “[c]hildren in polygamous families face higher infant mortality” and “tend to suffer more emotional, behavioural and physical problems, as well as lower educational achievement”, that polygamous families face “higher levels of conflict, emotional stress and tension”, and that “[p]olygamy institutionalizes gender inequality”.

For these reasons and more, we must enact measures that increase our ability to prevent polygamy from occurring on Canadian soil. Bill S-7 would do so by enhancing existing immigration tools to render both temporary and permanent residents inadmissible for practising polygamy in Canada.

Of course, polygamy is not the only cultural practice that contradicts Canadian values and that causes harm to its victims. That is why Bill S-7 contains measures to help counter early and forced marriages. These measures include setting a national minimum age of 16 years of age for marriage. Currently there is no national minimum age for marriage in Canada. Federal law, which applies only in Quebec, sets the minimum age at 16.

In other parts of Canada common law applies. There is some uncertainty about the common law minimum age, but it is generally considered to be 12 for girls and 14 for boys. Although in practice very few marriages in Canada involve people under the age of 16, setting a national minimum age of 16 or older for marriage would make it clear that underage marriage is unacceptable in Canada and will not be tolerated here.

Other proposed amendments to the Civil Marriage Act in Bill S-7 include codifying the requirement that those getting married must give their free and enlightened consent to marry each other and the requirement for the dissolution of any previous marriage. In addition, Bill S-7 contains measures that would amend the Criminal Code to help prevent forced or underage marriage and would create a new peace bond that could be used to prevent an underage or forced marriage, for example, by requiring the surrender of a passport, as well as preventing a child from being taken out of Canada.

Also notable are the measures in the bill that address so-called honour killings, which are usually premeditated and committed with some degree of approval from family or community members. However, in some cases they may also be alleged to be spontaneous killings in response to behaviour by the victim that is perceived to be disrespectful, insulting or harmful to a family's reputation. In Canadian law, an individual facing murder charges can raise the defence of provocation. If this defence is successful, it can result in a reduced sentence.

The defence of provocation has been raised, so far unsuccessfully, in several so-called honour killing cases in Canada. Accused murderers have claimed that real or perceived marital infidelity, disrespect, defiance or insulting behaviour on the part of the victims toward their spouse, sibling or parent provoked the killing.

This provision may or may not have yet been successful, but what happens if it is successful one day? We must not take the chance. No one should be able to use the defence that they violently harmed another because they were provoked. It is simply contrary to Canadian values for lawful behaviour by a person, no matter how it may be perceived as insulting, to excuse their murder.

That is why measures in Bill S-7 would amend the Criminal Code so that such legal conduct by a victim could never be considered as provocation.

In conclusion, I am sure all my hon. colleagues would agree that we must stand up for all victims of violence and abuse and take necessary action to prevent these practices from happening on Canadian soil. That is exactly what we would be doing by ensuring the bill's passage into law, and that is exactly why I hope everyone in the House will join me in supporting the passage of Bill S-7. I hope all hon. members of the House look past politics and vote in favour of the bill.

Petitions February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the citizens of Fleetwood—Port Kells to present a petition signed by dozens of local residents who are outraged by the unnecessary death of a young woman killed by a drunk driver.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact tougher laws, including mandatory sentencing for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death. The petitioners also ask that the offence of impaired driving causing death be redefined as vehicular manslaughter.

Government of Canada February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this week marks the ninth anniversary of our Conservative government, during which time we have provided real results to Canadians.

We have cut taxes more than 160 times, reducing the federal tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years and saving the average family $3,400; supported families with children, including the universal child care benefit, the child tax credit, and the children's fitness tax credit; provided $2.8 billion for seniors and pensioners in annual tax relief, and $5.8 billion this year for B.C. health care and social services. We have concluded free trade agreements with 38 countries; invested in public infrastructure and transportation; and passed tough-on-crime reforms, cracking down on gun and gang crime and violent and repeat offenders.

Our Conservative government is making positive changes that are improving the lives of my constituents, British Columbians, and all Canadians.

Public Safety January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, recent events have clearly demonstrated that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. This week in B.C., the trial of accused terrorists John Nuttall and Amanda Korody will begin. Together they are accused of plotting to attack the B.C. legislature's Canada Day celebrations.

Our government believes these threats against Canadians are reprehensible. That is why we have taken concrete measures to end this threat. It is why we have committed the Canadian Armed Forces to the broad international coalition against the so-called Islamic state. No Canadian government should ever stand on the sidelines, while our allies act to deny terrorists a safe haven.

There is work to be done at home as well. We will put legislation before Parliament this Friday that will help authorities stop planned attacks, get threats off our streets, criminalize the promotion of terrorism, and prevent terrorists from travelling and recruiting others.

Christmas December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is Christmastime and Canadians are decorating their homes, buying presents and baking Christmas treats. However, it is a shame that many feel the need to abandon their traditions to appease the sensibilities of non-Christians. Being respectful of the beliefs of others should not require anyone to water down their own beliefs.

What makes Canada great is that people are free to believe, celebrate and practise the faith they choose without worrying about offending others, Christianity and Christmas included. I am a Sikh and I am not offended when people celebrate Christmas in a traditional way. Instead of silly political correctness, all of us should feel proud in our traditions and beliefs, and rejoice in this season of joy, peace and goodwill.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

The Economy October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs and a healthy and growing economy.

Employment has grown by over 10%. Over 1.1 million net new jobs have been created since the global recession. That is almost 20% more jobs per capita than our closest G7 competitor.

Meanwhile, we have cut taxes over 140 times, saving the average family over $3,400 per year. Our government is on track to balance the budget in 2015, promising even further possible tax cuts on the horizon.

GDP is up nearly 14%, and we are further strengthening the economy by signing a record 38 free trade agreements. In Surrey, there has been record investment of more than $1.4 billion, and I have personally made over 60 federal funding announcements worth over $60 million.

Our Conservative government can be trusted to stand up for Canadians and deliver real economic results.

Public Safety September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the community of Surrey is rightly outraged. On Monday, a convicted high-risk sex offender who was released into the community last year was charged with the second degree murder of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch.

Cases such as these make it clear that we must continue to make the protection of our communities a top priority, especially when it comes to protecting our children.

Our government committed to supporting victims and punishing criminals. Could the Minister of Justice update the House on our progress?

Shootings in Moncton June 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were saddened to learn this morning of the tragic deaths of three RCMP officers and the wounding of two others in a shooting last night in Moncton, New Brunswick.

I would like to express my heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the families, friends, and colleagues of the victims, and we pray that the killer is quickly brought to justice without further violence.

The deaths of these officers remind us again of dangers faced every day by our law enforcement officers. The death of an officer shakes the entire community. It is a heartbreaking reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave men and women every day to protect our lives with their own.

Our first responders are heroes, too, and we should not let a day go by without praying for their safety and thanking them for their valued service to Canada.

Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health May 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last week I was happy to announce that our government is contributing $20 million to UNICEF for a birth registration project in sub-Saharan Africa. With our support, UNICEF will use innovative information and communication technologies to record births and deaths, ensuring that children can have access to basic services such as education and health care and are less susceptible to violence, exploitation, and trafficking.

Maternal, newborn, and child health is our government's top development priority, and the Prime Minister is opening a conference on this issue today in Toronto. We are providing $2.85 million in funding between 2010 and 2015 under the Muskoka initiative to save the lives of women and children in developing countries. I am proud of our government's commitment to protecting the future of the children of sub-Saharan Africa.