House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was health.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Sarnia—Lambton (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Forms of Dementia June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss private member Motion No. 575 on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. I would like to thank the member for Huron—Bruce for raising this very important issue in the House. I know there has been much debate on this important issue so far, so I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to how we can continue to help Canadians living with dementia.

As members have said previously, this is not a partisan issue. I hope that today's debate will be a way to bring us together so that Parliament can speak with one voice in calling for a continued focus on helping Canadians.

Motion No. 575 calls on the government to continue taking the necessary measures, while respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction, to prevent Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and to reduce the impact of dementia on those living with this disease and on their families and caregivers.

One section of the motion focuses on dementia research in the areas of primary prevention, secondary prevention or treatment, and quality of life. I could not agree more that research plays a pivotal role in improving health outcomes for all Canadians, especially those suffering from dementia. I am proud to say that the government has made significant investments toward dementia research. As a result, Canada is considered a world leader in this area.

What is leading this focus on research is the Government of Canada's health research funding agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, otherwise known as CIHR. The government, through CIHR, has already been working to organize our efforts through a dementia research strategy. The strategy supports research on all aspects of the preventive, diagnostic, and treatment approaches to Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. It consists of both an international and a national component.

Last fall, the Minister of Health announced the creation of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging. This consortium is a key part of the strategy. It is our premier research hub for diseases associated with aging, including Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. The CCNA brings together 20 research teams involving 340 top Canadian researchers in the field of neurodegenerative diseases that affect how the brain functions as it ages.

Research within the consortium is organized around three research themes: prevention, treatment, and quality of life. This approach is key. We are focused on research toward a cure but also on research that is working to improve the quality of life of Canadians today.

As part of this effort, the Minister of Health announced that the consortium is working with the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom to share large amounts of health and health care data and research expertise. This will help us better understand, treat, and prevent dementia here at home using the latest international evidence. This data will also provide dementia researchers with useful health and lifestyle information from various settings, including nursing homes, which will help researchers address scientific questions over a broader range of dementia-related issues.

As we can see already, the CIHR dementia research strategy supports both domestic and international research on Alzheimer's disease and dementia through a variety of activities.

Today I would like to describe how the government will continue to maintain a strong focus on both domestic and international dementia research in the three vital areas of prevention, treatment, and quality of life.

First, the government is supporting research on prevention. This theme is focused on preventing or stopping the disease from developing. We know that Alzheimer's disease, like many chronic conditions, may develop as a result of complex interacting factors such as age, genetics, environment, lifestyle, and other existing medical conditions. If we can identify which of these risk factors can be changed, we may uncover ways to prevent or delay dementia from occurring.

Prevention is a vital theme for dementia research, and our government has funded many researchers in this area. To illustrate our commitment to this theme of prevention, the government is funding the work of Dr. Sandra Black, from the University of Toronto, and Dr. Vladimir Hachinski, from Western University. Their research is leading to a new approach to dementia treatment that is focused on early prevention based on addressing risk factors for vascular health, such as hypertension, diabetes, and smoking.

These results have been instrumental to the development of the first dementia screening protocol, which assesses stroke, dementia, and overall vascular health.

We are also proud of the fact that six research teams of the consortium will be focusing their work on prevention. For example, one team will study nutrition, lifestyle, and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.

The government, through CIHR, is also supporting research under the second vital area of dementia treatment, also known as secondary prevention. Secondary preventions are efforts to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life until a cure is available. Right now there are some drug treatments that may temporarily relieve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

While we are committed to researching a cure, these efforts will also help to support Canadians who need help now. For example, the government has funded Dr. Manuel Montero Odasso, of Western University, who studied walking speed and fluctuations as a predictor of dementia's progression. His team studied 150 seniors with mild cognitive impairment, a pre-dementia syndrome, in order to detect an early predictor of cognitive and mobility decline, and progression to dementia.

This research team discovered that walking speed changes were more noticeable in pre-dementia individuals with the worst signs of cognitive decline. These changes may serve as an effective way to predict the onset of dementia, and may eventually help diagnose and treat dementia earlier.

We are also very content to see that seven consortium teams will focus their research on treatment. For example, one of these teams will be looking at cognitive therapy and its effect on the brain.

On the international front, Canada continues to support research on treatment. A good example of this is through the international Network of Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration. Under this network, we have partnered with five other countries to develop common standards and efficient methods to validate findings in studies. This partnership resulted in seven international grants being funded by CIHR for a total of $1.2 million.

Our government plans to continue its work with this international network to better understand how the disease works and provide new avenues for therapeutic development.

Last, I would like to describe the work related to research on the quality of life of people living with dementia and their caregivers. As we all know, as dementia progresses, Canadians have to live with enormous challenges and changes to their everyday way of life. Research in this area is critically important. If we learn how to adapt to these changing abilities, a person will be more likely to have a high quality of life, even with a dementia diagnosis.

The topic of quality of life is essential for improving the lives of people affected by dementia. This is why, in 2014, our government collaborated with the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Parkinson Society Canada to host a high-level meeting on the topic of life with dementia. This event brought together experts and people with first-hand experience to answer questions and share insights on how to move beyond the diagnosis and improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers.

This event provided the critical perspective of Canadians living with the issue, and has helped to inform research as well as the dementia friends Canada program that our Minister of Health has been working to bring in.

Working under this motion, I know that we will continue to engage with Canadians to ensure our efforts are focused in the right direction. Before I close, I must address what is really at the heart of today's motion. My colleague from Huron—Bruce has done an excellent job of respecting provincial jurisdiction while at the same time calling for real progress to be made on the development of a pan-Canadian strategy for dementia. I fully support this call, and I am pleased that our government will be working to implement exactly that.

I know that all members will have their own ideas about the best way to accomplish the strategy, but the key part for me is that we get this done for Canadians. That is why I was pleased to see that economic action plan 2015 clearly commits to working with the provinces to develop a national plan.

Supporting today's motion is yet another way that we can ensure this important work is done and that we can build on the good progress that our Minister of Health has already been able to secure with the provinces.

I would like to again thank the member for Huron—Bruce for bringing forward today's motion. I hope all members can come together to support this and have Parliament speak with one voice about the importance of further actions on dementia.

Petitions June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today from many residents across Ontario asking that Parliament pass legislation that will remove all flavours from all tobacco products.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am really glad that question was asked because I just went through outlining a whole lot of things Canada was doing. While I did outline many things we were doing internationally, I really did not have enough time in my original remarks to talk about everything we were doing at home. In a minute I will tell the House about a few of the things we are doing at home as well.

I want to reiterate, however, as has been said over and over this afternoon, the bill does not talk about any particular racial or cultural practices. The bill does refer to any violence against women and girls. It sends a clear message to individuals coming to our country that harmful and violent cultural practices are unacceptable in Canada. I cannot understand why any Canadian would not want to ensure that people would know these types of harmful and violent cultural practices would not accepted in Canada.

Part of the question was why we were not doing some things. We are doing a lot of things. We are working in conjunction with many groups. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is working together with Justice Canada and the Status of Women Canada. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development has many programs in place, as do the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Public Health Agency of Canada. These people are all working together. There are many programs in place, not only internationally but also domestically.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and have an opportunity to speak on Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.

This bill takes a strong stance to ensure that no woman or girl in Canada becomes a victim of any violent practice that violates basic human rights. Bill S-7 sends a clear message to individuals coming to this country that harmful and violent cultural practices are unacceptable in Canada. These practices are incompatible with Canadian values and will not be tolerated.

Bill S-7 strengthens laws in Canada through amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act, and the Criminal Code.

We have had the benefit of hearing from a number of experts in the field during the citizenship and immigration committee hearings. Some have criticized the bill; others have been in full support. All, however, agree that combatting violence against women and girls is an important and laudable goal.

I would like to paraphrase one of the witnesses who came before the committee. Ms. Chantal Desloges, an immigration lawyer, said very aptly that this bill sends a concrete statement about Canadian values.

Within Canada, there is no room for a culture of violence against women and girls. I believe that when there are gaps in legislation that have allowed perpetrators to abuse those very people who count on them for protection or that have prevented victims from getting help, it is our responsibility to ensure that those gaps are closed.

Among other things, this bill proposes to fill gaps that have been identified with regard to early and forced marriage. These deplorable practices principally victimize young women and are often carried out by their own parents or other family members.

If I may, I will paraphrase from another witness before committee. Ms. Lee Marsh, a victim herself of a forced marriage, testified that if she had known that what her mother was doing was against the law, she might have felt better equipped to refuse that marriage.

Ms. Marsh also told the committee that this bill in isolation is not enough to combat these practices. We on the government side agree. This bill provides solid ground to give tools to law enforcement and front-line service providers to bring perpetrators to justice and to protect victims, but in addition to the legislation, people need to be aware of Canadian laws and values. We are not ignoring the importance of raising awareness or of providing training and resources, nor are we overlooking the importance of working together with our provincial and territorial counterparts and community partners in the field. Our government, through various departments, has been working diligently for years with many different stakeholders on these very issues.

Just to give a few examples, Justice Canada and Status of Women Canada have provided funding to a number of non-governmental organizations to conduct awareness raising and training on honour-based violence and forced marriages. Justice Canada contributed funding for the development of a high school curriculum that will teach students about human rights, including those related to early and forced marriages.

Over the years, Justice Canada has organized workshops with front-line workers across the country, including child protection workers, shelter workers, community-based workers, police officers, and crown prosecutors to share expertise, create networks, and discuss risk assessments and appropriate services for victims of these horrendous acts.

Justice Canada and Status of Women Canada co-chair an interdepartmental working group on early and forced marriage, honour-based violence, and female genital mutilation. This working group is creating a federal-provincial-territorial working group on these same issues.

The justice department has published public legal education and information materials on family violence that include information on early and forced marriages, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation.

Justice Canada and the RCMP have also created training materials for police officers on these issues as part of their domestic violence training. This training will be updated to reflect the changes in Bill S-7.

As I have demonstrated, there are many layers to our government's approach to tackling these issues.

The bill is but one aspect of the ongoing and collaborative efforts being undertaken by this government to address these disturbing issues. It is an integral and necessary part of the government's multi-faceted approach to tackling the issues, which includes prevention, denunciation, awareness-raising, training, consultation and collaboration.

Some critics of the bill are nervous that by criminalizing these forms of violence, we risk stigmatizing people who are already vulnerable. We believe that it is imperative to recognize that these forms of violence exist and to address and denounce them. We need to send clear messages to victims that they have a right of refusal and we need to let potential perpetrators know that forced marriage is a crime. It is not acceptable to turn a blind eye to child abuse or spousal assault just because it happens behind closed doors.

Similarly, we should not shy away from denouncing early and forced marriage as forms of family violence that will not be tolerated in our society.

Bill S-7 would complement existing Canadian initiatives, both at home and abroad, put an end to barbaric cultural practices that go against Canadian values because they cause harm to women and girls and prevent their full participation in society. These practices that we have already talked about, which include early and forced marriage, honour-based violence and female genital mutilation or cutting, have no place in Canada's free and democratic society.

Canada has long been a leader in this, and these are some of the things we have done on the international stage. Canada has made ending child, early, and forced marriage, or the CEFM as it is referred to, a foreign policy and development priority and is intensifying programming and advocacy efforts to address CEFM. These are some examples, and I will just name a few of them.

Canada spearheaded the initiative to establish the International Day of the Girl Child, which focused upon CEFM in 2012, which was its first year.

Then, in October 2013, Canada announced $5 million in new funding to address the causes and consequences of CEFM around the world. These funds were used for programs in many different countries.

In 2014, then minister Baird announced that Canada was contributing $20 million, over two years, to UNICEF toward ending CEFM. Also, in 2014, Canada committed institutional support to the efforts of the Royal Commonwealth Society to raise awareness in commonwealth countries about the need to end CEFM. Canada contributes to efforts to combat female genital mutilation by working with UN agencies and bilaterally with other countries, supporting projects to address violence against women and eliminate harmful cultural practices.

Those are just a few of the ways that Canada has been contributing to the international field in ending these barbaric practices. I am very proud that it is this Conservative government that is sending a strong message to Canadian society and to the world that Canada will not tolerate violence against women and girls. I would strongly encourage members of the House to give Bill S-7 their full support.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, certainly Canada plays a very strong role when it comes to protecting all of our shores. We know we have wonderful services in Vancouver on the west coast. It has full Coast Guard capacity there. It is doing all kinds of great work.

Bill S-3 would apply to all ports, so it is not just a bill that would apply to the east coast if that is what the member's concern was.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we do know that there have to be 25 member countries ratify this agreement before it comes into force. As of this date, I believe 11 countries have ratified it. We have two others that are very close to ratifying. Of course, Canada is moving forward with the amendments proposed in Bill S-3.

We certainly do not want to be the last country ratifying this agreement. We have always taken a leadership role when it comes to conservation and when it comes to trying to protect our fisheries. We want to be able to continue to do that. There are meetings constantly with other countries and we are certainly promoting that other countries do take part in this ratification.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is 100% right that Canada has always played a leading role when it comes to protection and conservation and doing the right thing when it comes to protecting our fisheries.

We are a major exporter of fishery products and because of that we are not immune to the economic impacts of illegal fishing in international trade. As I said in my remarks, this is indeed an international issue, and that is why Bill S-3 is being put forward. We do want to continue with our excellent role that we have been playing globally. We do want to be able to take part in the port state measures agreement.

To do that, we need to have the amendments that are being put forward in Bill S-3. We want to be able to continue to prevent illegal fishing and we want to be a part in setting the global standard for actions when vessels do seek to enter a port and they should not be.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, before I start, I would like to note that I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is a serious problem in many parts of the world. It is one of the main barriers to the achievement of sustainable fisheries worldwide. Illegal fishing affects some of the poorest countries, where dependence on fisheries for food and livelihoods is high.

By its nature, illegal fishing is not a problem for one country to solve on its own, because the problem respects no boundaries. These exploitive activities put pressure on the sustainability of all fish stocks and marine wildlife and distort the price of fish on world markets.

In recent years, the international community has been working to develop global tools to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal fishing activities. Improving the control of foreign fishing vessels through a global standard for action that can be taken in ports is one tool to stop illegal fishing. In short, if criminals cannot land their illegal catches, they will not be able to continue their operations.

I am proud to say that our government is part of this movement. As a nation with a well-regulated fishing industry, Canada has a strong interest in protecting fish stocks and in ensuring that fishing regulations are respected around the world.

In 2009, Canada and other countries approved the port state measures agreement that had been negotiated at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Canada signed this agreement in 2010 to signal the importance of taking strong action in ports to prevent illegal fishing, and today we are taking a step towards ratifying this important agreement. So far, 11 nations have ratified. The United States is in the process of passing ratification legislation, and it is expected that other countries will soon follow suit.

Before Canada can ratify this new global standard, we must address areas where our current legislation differs from the international agreement. These are the amendments we are discussing today through Bill S-3.

Through our current legislation, the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, Canada already has a rigorous port control system for foreign fishing vessels. The proposed changes contained in Bill S-3 will make this system even stronger.

The proposed amendments to the act can be grouped into three broad categories. The first category concerns authorities related to foreign fishing vessels. The port state measures agreement generally promotes a country's ability to refuse port entry to fishing vessels that are suspected to have engaged in or supported illegal fishing. However, there may be situations when the country responsible for the fishing vessel will want Canada's assistance to conduct an inspection and gather necessary evidence against the suspect ship.

The proposed changes will create an enforcement permit that will apply when a foreign fishing vessel has been directed by its flag state to enter a Canadian port for inspection. In this case, Canada would issue a specific entry permit for the sole purpose of inspection and enforcement. This is important, as the current system requires that the vessel itself request a permit to enter a Canadian port. Naturally, those who would commit illegal fishing activities are unlikely to seek permission to land in a country with as rigorous an inspection system as Canada's. This amendment will allow Canada, in partnership with the flag state, to direct a ship to port so that our officers can catch the criminals.

The proposed changes will also give our Canadian fishery protection officers greater authority to take enforcement action in such circumstances. When that foreign fishing vessel is directed to port under the new permit system, these powers will allow Canadian fishery protection officers to inspect and search the vessel and seize any illegal catch.

The second set of proposed changes relates to information sharing. To meet the requirements of the port state measures agreement, these changes provide clarity on the authority to share information with our enforcement partners. The proposed changes cover both the type of information and with whom it would be shared.

These proposed changes would clearly outline that the minister could share information regarding the inspection of a foreign vessel, the denial of entry to port, any enforcement action taken and the outcome of any of those proceedings. They would also outline the international partners with which such information could be shared. Applied globally, this effort would make illegal fishing operators easier to identify and facilitate the denial of entry at ports for those bandits throughout the world.

For our officers at home, the proposed changes would clarify the ability of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency to share information related to the importation of fish and seafood products.

The third major category of proposed changes concerns import prohibitions. Under the proposed changes, it would be an offence to import illegally caught fish into Canada.

The amendments would also give authorities new tools to enforce these prohibitions. For example, Bill S-3 would expand the powers of fishery protection officers to inspect any place, including containers, warehouses, storage areas and vehicles. These inspections could also be conducted in all ports of entry. This would be an important change since, currently, such powers are limited to fishing vessels and wharves. The amendments would also allow fishery protection officers to seize illegally caught fish in these places and seek their forfeiture in the event of a conviction.

Illegal fishing is a global threat to sustainable fisheries and to the management and conservation of our marine environment. Regional fisheries management organizations are increasingly requiring documentation for high-value species that are targets of illegal fishing. Canada can play its part in preventing economic gains going to illegal operators by preventing the import of fish and fish products that do not have the required documentation. If a court finds the person guilty of an importation offence under the act, significant fines would apply. In addition, with these amendments, the court could also order an additional fine equal to the financial benefit the defendants gained from committing the offence. This would ensure that fines are not able to be factored into the criminal's operating costs and would provide a real deterrent to these operations.

In addition to these three broad categories, the proposed amendments would also change several definitions, in order to be consistent with the port state measures agreement.

The amended definition of “fishing vessel” would include any vessel used in transshipping fish or marine plants that have not been previously landed. The scope of this definition is limited so that it would not include vessels that merely ship across the sea, such as those transporting grain. The proposed changes would also redefine the term “fish” itself. In keeping with the port state measures agreement and the Fisheries Act, “fish” would come to include fish, shellfish and crustaceans, whether processed or not. The amendments would also add a definition of “marine plant”.

Bill S-3 would strengthen the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, aligning it with the new global standard of the port state measures agreement.

As part of meeting our international obligations, the bill would allow us to protect the livelihoods of fish harvesters in Canada more effectively by limiting the amount of illegal fish that enter global markets.

I urge all hon. members to join with me in supporting these critical amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act.

Van Tuyl and Fairbank Hardware May 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize a company in my riding of Sarnia—Lambton, Van Tuyl and Fairbank Hardware of Petrolia, Ontario, for passing the milestone of 150 years in business.

Founded in 1865, the same year that Petrolia was being organized as a town, Van Tuyl and Fairbank today, as their website puts it:

...has one foot in the 1800s and another in the current millennium. Now owned by the fourth generation of the Fairbank family, it sells solar thermal panels for outbuildings and nails by the pound.

The store is one of a kind. In the early years, it carried hardware used by oilmen, as well as groceries, liquor, and wine. As Petrolia blossomed and grew with the drilling of the first commercial oil well in Canada, it expanded and flourished.

Van Tuyl and Fairbank has outlasted six monarchies and has been a pillar in the community throughout technological advancements and cultural shifts.

Congratulations to Van Tuyl and Fairbank for this outstanding achievement.

Taxation May 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, families with children in my riding of Sarnia—Lambton are pleased with our government's plan to put more money back in their pockets. That is why we introduced the enhanced universal child care benefit and family tax cuts, which benefit low and middle-income families.

Could the Minister of Employment please update the House on how we can ensure that all Canadian families with children benefit from our plan?