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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was years.

Last in Parliament March 2014, as NDP MP for Trinity—Spadina (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 27% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions February 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from residents in Toronto who strongly urge the Government of Canada to immediately legislate a ban on bulk oil tanker traffic off B.C.'s north coast. They note that the project would bring 225 supertankers of a huge size to the pristine northern coast of B.C. each year and that the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline would carry oil 1,178 kilometres from the Alberta oil sands to the coast at Kitimat, B.C.

Petitions February 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on the day after the do-nothing budget, I am very pleased to present two petitions. The first one is from constituents both in Toronto and in my riding of Trinity—Spadina, calling upon the Government of Canada to provide long-term predictable and non-partisan funding for public transit. They note that road congestion is costing the GTA's economy $6 billion a year in lost productivity and that the daily commute time is over 80 minutes.

The Budget February 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to table a document listing all of the infractions that have been committed by MMA, relating to my previous question.

Rail Transportation February 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand 21 violations by the MMA rail company on which nothing has been done. In fact, only five days after those horrific events in Lac-Mégantic, MMA committed another violation only five kilometres from Lac-Mégantic.

For years, nothing had been done to stop these violations. In yesterday's budget nothing was being done there either. How can we trust the Conservatives to keep us safe?

Petitions February 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to submit petitions from thousands and thousands of Canadians from coast to coast. Petitioners want the government to provide long-term, predictable, and non-partisan funding for public transit. They note that Canadians deserve fast, reliable, and affordable public transit, that road congestion is costing the GTA economy $6 billion a year in lost productivity, and that the average daily commute time is over 80 minutes. Investing in public transit is good for the Canadian economy, good for families, and good for the environment.

World Cancer Day February 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today we mark World Cancer Day. Like far too many Canadians, my life has been touched by cancer. Like all Canadians, I want this disease beaten once and for all, so join me in saluting the Campaign to Control Cancer. It has pulled together 70 organizations, and is a powerful force that is working to cut the rate of cancer deaths in half. It is meeting in Toronto today to engage, excite, and rally Canadians to control cancer. It debunks myths, it promotes prevention by applying what we know and learn, and it celebrates many breakthroughs that bring hope to everyone in the world.

Cancer is not partisan, so orange, blue, red, or green, let us stand united and join in the Campaign to Control Cancer.

Rail Transportation January 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, protecting the public is the first job of any government, but this week we learned of yet another derailment. The Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly said that we must stop using the DOT-111 cars for dangerous cargo. For 20 years we have known these cars are not safe, yet the Conservatives just want to talk some more and do nothing.

What is the minister's timeline for phasing out the use of these cars for dangerous cargo, and how many more derailments will there be before they act?

Business of Supply January 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure precisely what the 22 vice-presidents do, but I know what Canadians want. There was a poll recently that said close to two out of every three respondents—which is 63%—to a Stratcom poll supported Canada Post expanding revenue-generating services, including financial services like bill payments, insurance and banking. They want expanded service, not slashing, burning, increasing fees, hiking rates and killing jobs.

Business of Supply January 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about our postal service and Kiwibank. I have the information here. Canada Post is proposing to slash 4,000 jobs. This is just for Canada Post. In addition, the hike of 15% in bulk purchasing price will result in the laying off of workers in small and medium-sized businesses. It said so itself. In New Zealand the bank made an after-tax profit of $79 million for the year ending June 30, 2012, 276% more than 2011, when it made $21.1 million. It is extremely profitable.

The government refuses to look at other examples. It is not just New Zealand. There is Italy, France's Banque Postale, Switzerland and all of them, which are post financed. The postal banking in Switzerland started in the 1900s and, in fact, has a workforce of 22,000 employees and is the second largest employer in Switzerland. Here is a model of success and, instead, the Conservatives want failure.

Business of Supply January 28th, 2014


That, in the opinion of the House, door-to-door mail delivery is a valuable service provided by Canada Post, and that this House express its opposition to Canada becoming the only country in the G7 without such a service.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to split my time with the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

Instead of mailing out a holiday greeting card to brighten the lives of Canadians in December, the government sent a grim and dismal message. It allowed the CEO of Canada Post to announce a five-point plan to disaster. It is a plan that includes slashing services to over five million Canadians while hiking up prices, cutting jobs, and harming the economy. It is a plan that will hurt not only ordinary Canadians but small businesses and even major corporations as well.

On Friday the National Association of Major Mail Users met in my riding of Trinity—Spadina in Toronto. These are major corporations and businesses such as Canadian Tire. They too rely on Canada Post. They too are calling on the government to set aside this destructive plan.

They will be hit hard by the outrageous 15% increase on bulk mailing, which means higher prices for lower service. Their mailings will no longer go door-to-door to their prime customers in densely populated urban areas. That will directly affect their profits, and it will directly affect the price they must charge consumers to protect their profits. It will make them less competitive. Consumers will be hurt and business will be hurt, but will Canada Post gain? Probably not, because business will resort to other ways to reach their customers, and Canada Post revenues will die. Again, it is a five-point plan to disaster.

Here are the words of Kathleen Rowe, president of the National Association of Major Mail Users:

Transaction Mail is 50 per cent of Canada Post’s revenue, and large volume users are over 80 per cent of that. An accelerated migration forced by conditions imposed by Canada Post means small and medium business will suffer from even greater increases on this as well as the many competitive products of Canada Post. This is a lose-lose scenario.

That is what the National Association of Major Mail Users said: it is a lose-lose. Urban seniors and people with mobility issues said it is a lose-lose. Hundreds and thousands of people have been able to live in dignity in their own homes, but without mail service, they will be vulnerable. Therefore, it is a lose-lose situation for them. They deserve better.

The CEO keeps saying he is looking for robust services for seniors. I think he believes that all seniors are robust people themselves, or at least will become so when they have to hobble out on icy sidewalks in sub-zero weather like today to collect their pension cheques from a community mailbox in some back alley.

I invite him to come to my neighbourhood to see how people would manage. My mother and thousands like her would say it is a lose-lose. That is what Canadian families are saying as they face an increase of over 50% in the price of stamps, as ordinary Canadians are hit with the highest increases in this mockery of a plan. Mail will become an unaffordable luxury. That is a lose-lose situation.

That is what charities and small businesses also say. That is what people living in cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, and Vancouver are saying from coast to coast in cities where there is no convenient room to start building and securing community mailboxes.

That is what people living in remote regions and rural areas are saying as they see post office hours cut back and a few post offices even closed. These are people who stay connected by mail and who need it for everything from medicine to school supplies to electronics.

That is what police said, who are concerned about protecting the security of community mailboxes and protecting against fraud in urban neighbourhoods. They say it is a lose-lose situation. Also, that is what postal workers said, whose efforts have enabled Canada Post to earn a profit in 16 of the last 17 years. It is a lose-lose situation.

There is only one tiny group of winners in this five-point plan to disaster, and that is the CEO of Canada Post and his 22 vice-presidents. He is earning over $0.5 million and a 33% bonus. Wow, he is the winner. They think they can get away with this travesty because the government is turning a blind eye. However, the Prime Minister and the minister will surely win nothing by following this course. They may use their majority to defeat a motion and allow this disastrous plan to stand, but in the next election they will truly understand the meaning of “lose-lose”. The current government must be held to account. That is the purpose of this motion today.

However, it does not have to be a lose-lose situation. I spoke to the major mail users on Friday, and I noted that there are so many opportunities. If we look at other models around the world—other models in the G7 where every country still provides door-to-door delivery in urban areas while facing the same challenges as Canada Post—we see there is an excellent business case for the return of postal banking, providing services and meeting needs not met by the traditional banking sector. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, one million Canadians do not have banking services. They rely on payday loan companies such as Money Mart to access funds and are paying enormously high interest rates. France's La Banque Postale, New Zealand's Kiwibank and Switzerland's PostFinance all provide banking services and thus increase their profit and revenue. There is no reason why Canada Post cannot consider doing the same. This would mean competitive new banking services for Canadians, giving diversity of choice and reaching people who fall through the cracks. At the same time, it would generate revenue and stability that would boost and strengthen Canada Post and support our postal services.

Why is the government not looking at this? It works in other countries. I do not mean just postal banking, but truly innovative approaches to support e-commerce, not the half-baked plan provided by the CEO of Canada Post. Why would Canada choose failure rather than success? We can strengthen and expand our postal services, rather than slashing them and letting them bleed. Canadians deserve a win-win proposition from this House and from Canada Post, from the current government.

Let us deliver. Let us pass my motion and move forward.