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

Employment Insurance Act September 17th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time today with my colleague, the member for Oshawa.

Today I am very proud to express my support for Bill C-50 which will extend EI benefits for long-tenured workers.

Through Canada's economic action plan, we have been helping Canadians in all walks of life to get through a difficult time in our economy. For those who have lost their jobs, we are now providing longer EI benefits and more efficient service. For those who are at risk of being laid off, we have made it easier for companies to participate in work-sharing agreements. We are helping young people get a start in the job market and we are giving them incentives to get certified in the skilled trades.

We are helping older workers make the transition to new careers. We are ensuring that newcomers to this country can get their credentials recognized. We are working to create more job opportunities for aboriginal people. We are making record investments in skills and training to enable Canadians to prepare for the jobs of the future.

Moreover our actions with respect to the employment insurance program are working for Canadians. The actions we are taking are having a positive impact and we are seeing positive results.

Our government is taking further action to ensure the EI program responds to the needs of those workers hit by this global economic downturn such as long-tenured workers. Many of these workers have spent many years in industries that have been hit hard by this recession. Many of them are forestry workers from many provinces. Many of these workers are in the manufacturing sector and in the auto sector, especially here in my home province of Ontario and in my own area.

These hard-working Canadians have put in many hours over the years. They have paid into the EI system for many years. They are out of work through absolutely no fault of their own and they have seldom if ever collected benefits until now. Now a good number of them need some additional time to get back into the workforce. Bill C-50 will give them that support.

Petitions September 17th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise today and present this petition on behalf of several of my constituents.

Whereas there is an urgent need to upgrade the level of punishments for repeat offenders under the Canadian Criminal Code, and whereas Canada continues to show inordinate levels of crime have been taking place in our community and dealt with by unsatisfactory outcomes, and whereas the time has come to take measures to ensure that these offenders are held accountable to the highest levels for their actions, we the undersigned respectfully petition the Canadian House of Commons as follows: that the Government of Canada introduce a new bill for punishment and convictions under the Canadian Criminal Code and implement stiffer penalties forcing Canadian insurance companies and commercial firms to pay higher tort suits.

We, the people, would like to request to have the Canadian House of Commons pursue the following: introduce a new bill forcing Canadian insurance companies and commercial firms to pay stiffer, higher settlements if the people they insure or employ cause serious or deadly accidents; introduce a new crime bill that will apply stiffer penalties toward repeat offenders; introduce a new crime bill that will give crown attorneys and police agencies more freedom to upgrade sentences from two years less a day to two years plus a day for those who continue to terrorize the safety of the communities via driving offences or violence.

Sarnia-Lambton Committee against Trafficking of Women and Children June 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to pay tribute to a dynamic trio of women from my riding of Sarnia—Lambton.

The three women, Wilma McNeil, Vera Lawlor and Margaret Cushman, started a local group, the Sarnia-Lambton Committee against Trafficking of Women and Children.

From its humble beginnings of just three members a little over two years ago, these three women have persisted in bringing attention to this urgent issue and are now the proud founders of an organization that has membership from the Sexual Assault Survivors' Centre, the Sarnia Police Service, Sarnia-Lambton Crime Stoppers, the Salvation Army and a team of compassionate and dedicated volunteers.

They recently produced an info-pamphlet for distribution that identifies the signs of human trafficking and outlines actions for the public to take.

I invite all members of the House to join me in paying tribute to Wilma, Vera and Margaret for their selfless and tireless work in promoting human rights in our community.

D-Day June 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, this weekend will mark 65 years since D-Day, a pivotal moment in the course of the Second World War.

Thousands of Canadians served our country bravely on the shores of Normandy. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of freedom.

Could the parliamentary secretary please tell the House what the government is doing to mark this historic military anniversary and to honour those who served there?

Workplace Safety April 28th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, today is the National Day of Mourning. This is why the flags on Parliament Hill are flying at half-mast.

We stand united across party lines as we pay our sincere tribute to the workers and their families who have been permanently affected by workplace tragedies. Last year, there were 78 work-related fatalities in Ontario alone and another 257 from occupational disease. Over 78,000 Canadians were injured seriously enough to miss work.

In a strong nation such as Canada, it is fitting that we pay homage to the men and women who have had their lives tragically cut short, and those injured at work. These men and women have paid the ultimate price while making our nation a better place to live, and they deserve the honour we bestow upon them today.

We must remain committed to making all Canadian work environments as safe as possible to protect employees across Canada.

Let us please give our respects to those workers who have fallen in their line of duty.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, right now the passports are being issued in a very timely fashion. They have been for quite some time. I believe people can access a passport in less than three weeks. That is thanks to our government and the extra people it has put on board to do that.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I think we could all cite specific incidents on many issues, border security and border crossings being one of very many. We could all relate an incident that has happened to somebody in our riding.

Living in a border community, that is one of the things I hear. I hear issues about people trying to get into Canada or the United States. Those issues are dealt with, and dealt with properly. They are dealt with by the officials who are responsible for them.

I meet regularly with my counterpart in Michigan. We deal with these issues, we deal with the people responsible for making those decisions, and those issues will continue to be dealt with.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I certainly think we need to address some of the myths that are out there. There is no question about that. Certainly the myth is that the northern and southern U.S. borders are the same. That is a myth. The reality is that they are not. The Canada-U.S. international boundary is the longest shared border between any two countries in the world. We have talked about that today.

We have also talked about the historic and vital relationships we have had and how this has brought business people, families, trade and all the other good things, the first responders, all the different tourism efforts, and so on, historically that we have enjoyed. That is why this government is certainly endeavouring and engaged in open dialogue and sincere practices to continue and better these relationships.

We have heard of differences that we know are myths, and we are correcting those myths as we go along.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for St. Catharines.

There is no doubt that Canada-U.S. trade is an engine of economic growth and job creation. We share one of the world's largest and most comprehensive trading relationships, which supports millions of jobs in each country, and the numbers are impressive.

Two-way trade in goods across the Canada-U.S. border crosses at the rate of $1.9 billion a day, well over $1 million a minute. We are each other's most important partner in economic growth. Canada is the biggest export market for U.S. products, more than China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany combined.

To put it another way, Canada buys four times more from the United States than China buys from it. In fact, Canada is a larger market for U.S. goods than all 27 countries of the European Union combined, which has more than 15 times the population of Canada. One in 25 American jobs depends on free and open trade with Canada.

Sometimes it is difficult for people in the street to understand that trade both ways creates American jobs, both exporting and importing, both goods and services, but it is very true.

Through our embassy in Washington, D.C. and our network of consulates general located throughout the United States, representatives of Canada are emphasizing these facts in meetings with their American counterparts, whether in discussions with government officials, speeches to the business community or in meetings with the media.

Furthermore, ministers of this government have met with administration officials and legislators to regularly discuss our overlapping economies, including issues ranging from the efficient crossing of the border, to labelling regulations, to the crisis facing the North American auto industry and our common response. In fact, the Minister of International Trade is in Washington this very day to meet with the U.S. trade representative and engage on these issues of great economic importance to Canadians.

Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1988 and then NAFTA in 1992, there is no doubt that our bilateral trade has been a major driver of economic growth on both sides of the border. Over the last two decades, Canada-U.S. trade has tripled. Investment flows have also increased substantially.

Given the scale of this success, it is clear that the path to continued economic growth for our two countries lies in our North American supply chains. Supply chains are highly integrated international networks through which components or services are acquired, transformed and delivered to customers rather than within one country.

Our North American competitive position in the global marketplace relies on the strength and efficiency of our cross border supply chains.

Our trade does not mean that the U.S. drops container loads of finished products on Canadian shores and vice versa. The essence of our supply chains is that we make things together, thereby improving the competitiveness of the final product through lower cost, better technology or better design. Much more of our trade is buying and selling within North American supply chains than it is in finished goods headed for the retail shelves.

As trade has expanded freely across the border, more and more industries, companies and their suppliers are operating on both sides. Assembling the parts of a single finished car for example involves multiple border crossings in various stages of manufacturing.

Today about one-third of Canada-U.S. trade occurs between branches of the same corporations and a similar amount for trade within supply chains. Thousands of Canadian and American companies are taking advantage of opportunities on both sides of the border to improve the value of their products to make them more competitive.

From what I have just described, it follows that a smart, efficient and secure border is essential for our highly integrated industries. Yet the Canada-U.S. border is a challenge for both of us and why the United States cannot ignore it any more than we can.

It is the efficiency of North American supply chains that allows our businesses to compete more effectively with Asia and Europe and spurs innovation in our workforce. Conversely, inefficiencies in the supply chains translate into decreased competitiveness for North American companies. Therefore, a border problem is not just a Canadian problem; it is also a U.S. problem

On average, more than 300,000 people a day travel across the border, and $1.9 billion in goods every day. In the nearly eight years since 9/11, both countries have invested heavily in border security for all the right reasons. Both Canada and the United States need to work to ensure that our shared border is a true gateway to our prosperity, not a cumbersome checkpoint that stifles our competitiveness.

What do I mean by that? We do not need more thickening of the border. Thus our government is committed to ensuring that security protects our supply chains and impacts two-way trade as little as possible. Our competitive edge in the global marketplace depends upon it. As the new administration in Washington moves forward on a new direction in government, we remain confident that there will be good collaboration between our two countries during this critical period.

As members know, the temptation is great around the world to turn inward, close doors to global co-operation and become protectionist. We have been taking every opportunity to remind our trading partners, including the U.S., that this is not the approach to take. As the Great Depression showed us, protectionism feeds upon itself, spawning retaliation after retaliation, and can quickly spiral out of control.

We need to think in the long-term and harness the opportunities inherent in international trade and investment to not only ride through the storm, but to come out on the other side stronger, more competitive and more co-operative than ever before. Canada's message of co-operation is certainly needed these days and it is one we continue to emphasize with the United States.

If we could point to a classic example of a trade relationship that has worked for Canada, it would no doubt be our relationship with the United States. Our economies have grown together. Our communities have thrived together. It is safe to say that in some ways, we pioneered the notion of global value chains and we have created a model of co-operation by working through some very thorny issues such as softwood lumber.

With such close economic ties and such a deeply integrated industrial base, it is clear that our economies will succeed together or fail together during this challenging time. That is why we would be deeply concerned with any proposed U.S. measures that may limit the ability of Canadian exporters to access this key market. A recent example of this would be our response to U.S. stimulus efforts that would limit foreign suppliers to new infrastructure projects. We are monitoring the situation very closely and not standing idle. Our government and Canadian officials are closely engaged with their U.S. counterparts on this issue.

We have also shared Canada's concerns with other nations around the world that trade with the United States. Our embassy in Washington is working closely with U.S. Senate and congressional leaders to ensure that the U.S., like all other nations, lives up to its international trade obligations of open and fair trade.

As MP for the border riding of Sarnia—Lambton, I have met with my American congressional counterparts to discuss the issue of border thickening. Dialogue on this urgent issue exists at every level between the American and Canadian government.

It is clear that American jobs and American communities rely upon Canadian inputs, Canadian know-how and Canadian investment. Canada is a valued and long-standing customer of American goods and services as well. Our economies need one another. It is clear that Canada must be part of American efforts to get their economy up and running again, to help both of our economies move through this crisis.

As a government, we are committed to underscoring this message at every opportunity. Globally, we think Canada is in a good position to deliver this kind of co-operative message. We have always been a trading nation. Whether it is at the WTO where we continue to push for a successful conclusion to the Doha round or through an extremely successful North American Free Trade Agreement, collaboration, co-operation and good will are the hallmarks of our bilateral relationship.

Our two countries have built broad and deep foundations through 350 agreements and treaties that cement our mutual co-operation. This Conservative government will continue to work closely with the United States to ensure that the border is not an obstacle to our continued prosperity but a gateway to further growth.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, those of us who come from border municipalities fully understand the importance of issues at our border crossings. We know the government is committed to ongoing co-operation, open dialogue and concrete actions to advance our position and our interests at border crossings.

To date we have worked very strongly and successfully on delaying the WHTI implementation date. That has given both governments, as well as the general public, an opportunity to prepare for it. It will happen in June this year.

We also have the Canada-U.S. cross-border law enforcement and justice co-operation and integrated border enforcement teams. Does the member opposite agree with these IBE teams and what is his take on them?