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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was certainly.

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

Business of Supply May 16th, 2007

Mr. Chair, I thank the hon. member for her clear commitment to the modernization of the Status of Women Canada. Her dedication is evident and admirable.

I listened with interest to the hon. member's description of a project in her riding called Crossing Communities Art Project Inc. The project sounds like it achieves the kind of direct impact that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women intended the new women's program to achieve.

Could the hon. member elaborate on the importance of boosting the confidence and self-esteem of women and girls? In her opinion, could she tell the House why we should be providing funding to projects such as this one?

Petitions May 4th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of hundreds of residents of my constituency in Sarnia—Lambton to present a petition on human trafficking. The petitioners request the government to continue its work to combat trafficking of persons worldwide.

Canada-U.S. Border May 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the Canada-U.S. border is a part of everyday life for the residents of Sarnia—Lambton. This includes recreational boaters who enjoy cruising on the St. Clair River.

Can the Minister of Public Safety please let the House know whether the federal government is doing anything to ease travel for low risk cross-border marine travellers while ensuring the security of our borders?

Brent Poland April 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honour my constituent, Corporal Brent Poland, who was among the six soldiers killed on Easter Sunday in Afghanistan. He is the second combat casualty from Sarnia—Lambton from this mission after last year's tragic death of Private William Cushley.

They represent the first combat deaths for Sarnia—Lambton since the Korean war, where Canadians gave hope to, in those days, the poorest people on earth. Now Canadians are giving hope to today's most downtrodden in Afghanistan.

I had the honour to speak with Corporal Poland before he was deployed and he told me he joined the forces because he was inspired by what they were achieving and, above all else, he believed in this mission.

The Poland family members have stated that they do not want their son's death to be the cause of any wavering will or political opportunism concerning the worthiness of the mission in Afghanistan.

My sincere condolences go to Don and Pat, brother Mark and all other family and friends.

Health March 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Standing Committees on Health and Status of Women, I could not have been more proud of my government for announcing a $300 million dollar immunization program for women and young girls to protect them against cancer of the cervix.

Dr. Gail Beck, president of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada, who had recommended that the government fund the vaccine, said, “The federation believes that this is the biggest breakthrough in women's health in many years”.

The human papillomavirus is responsible for most cases of cancers of the cervix, which is the second most common cancer in Canada. In July 2006 the government approved the vaccine, and now the launch of this vaccination program will protect women and young girls against the two types of HPV responsible for 70% of cancers of the cervix.

Canada's new government is serious about tackling cancer head-on, as we have already demonstrated through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. We are getting things done for Canadian women, as we aspire to a stronger, safer, better Canada.

Navy League of Canada March 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in January, I was proud to announce that the Navy League of Canada in Sarnia--Lambton had resolved its tax problems, thanks to the help of my federal colleagues, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Public Works, the Minister of National Defence and our Prime Minister. They all took action when I asked them to save the organization that runs the Sarnia Sea Cadets.

For nearly 20 years, young people aged 12 to 18 have learned all about seamanship and water safety, while being taught the importance of discipline, teamwork, self-reliance and leadership in Sarnia--Lambton.

It took a Conservative government to finally resolve a problem that had plagued the Navy League for years.

I would like to give further thanks to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, as well as the local Navy League, including Dave Anderson who always kept faith that our government would ensure such an important youth program survived.

Now we look to a bright future for the Navy League and the Sea Cadets. I urge parents in Sarnia--Lambton to sign up their kids in the cadet programs.

Anti-terrorism Act February 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in the House to speak in support of the resolution to extend the Anti-terrorism Act sunset clauses.

I would like to respond to what we have heard from some other hon. members during the course of this debate. For me, the most important point is that the threat of terrorism has not gone away since we last debated the Anti-terrorism Act.

In 2001 there was sufficient concern in the House about the potentially damaging effects of investigative hearings and recognizance powers that we would return to them after five years and see if they had been misused and if they were still justified.

Let us consider then where we are today. Have the powers been abused or caused any great harm to our system of tolerance, democracy and the rule of law? Quite the contrary, in the past five years recognizance powers have not been used at all.

In the one case where an investigative agency sought to use an investigative hearing, the result was litigation all the way to the Supreme Court which held that the power to conduct hearings and the related legislative scheme not only meets charter requirements, it exceeds them in at least one aspect.

The court did not just uphold the provisions; it told us how best to use them in practice. Its judgment has provided very helpful direction on how cases should be conducted in the future to ensure conformity with the charter and the appropriate balance of security, investigation, human rights and transparency issues.

I suggest that the record of the previous five years speaks for itself. What it says very clearly in my view is that the powers are not a threat to our human rights and civil liberties. The most, and worst, opponents of the powers can say is that they might be abused somehow, someday. That is precisely what they said in December 2001 and the result was the five year deferral we see today.

Why should our decision today be any different? They are no more a threat now than they were in 2001. If anything, the record should reassure those who have concerns that they will be used, if at all, only when absolutely necessary and only then with restraint. If abuses ever were to occur, we have in place the same judicial and other safeguards in the future that we have had in the past, reinforced by developments since 2001. Those protections will become even stronger with the passage of time.

Minimum impairment of human rights is one of the principles under which the charter is applied and by which any use of these powers has been and will be tested by the courts. We should be reassured by this. It is also a very practical requirement and one reason the powers are only used as a last resort.

It is hard to use these powers. Investigators will not use investigative hearings if lesser means will work, because they are difficult and complex to arrange and they make it impossible to use anything the subject says as evidence if that person later turns out to be involved as a terrorist.

Recognizance orders have always been limited to scenarios such as domestic violence where we know that a crime is likely and we believe it necessary as a society to intervene before the crime is committed to prevent harm to the victims. These are also scenarios where the conventional powers of the criminal law, especially deterrence and the threat of punishment have proven not to be effective.

Law enforcement agencies use these powers when they must, but will always find it easier to investigate and prosecute past crimes rather than to predict and prevent future ones. Unfortunately, some crimes are sufficiently horrific that we have a moral obligation to Canadians and to anyone else who may be victimized to do everything in our power to prevent them.

If the threat posed to Canadians by the investigative and recognizance powers has not increased in the past five years, what of the threat of terrorism itself? In 2001 we adopted the powers with the sunset clause in the hope that in 2006, looking at terrorism with more experience and a greater perspective, we might conclude that they are not necessary because the threat of terrorism has gone away. Can anyone in the House make such a claim? I certainly cannot.

I want to review what we have learned since the act took effect at the end of 2001. There have been horrific attacks on innocent civilians in Colombia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Canada and Canadians have been publicly identified by leaders of al-Qaeda as targets of future terrorist attacks.

Our engagement in Afghanistan has cost the lives of 44 Canadian soldiers, including a very brave young man from my riding of Sarnia—Lambton, Private William Cushley, who fought alongside his comrades of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. Their great work to free millions from the oppression of these terrorists has unquestionably brought us to the attention of international terrorists.

An even more disturbing trend has been attacks on those involved in development and reconstruction. Peacekeepers, humanitarian workers, UN staff members and one of Canada's own diplomats have been murdered, people whose mission was nothing more than to improve the lives of the world's poor and marginalized and address the social conditions that breed hatred. This is work to which Canadians have always been committed and from which we cannot and will not be deterred.

There have also been a number of cases in which the vigilance of officials, using the legal powers provided to them by governments, have detected and foiled plots. These include plots that would unquestionably have killed and maimed Canadians.

I cannot, in view of the evidence, suggest that the threat of terrorism has gone away. It clearly has not. If anything, we stand today at greater risk than we did when these powers were first enacted. We have stood by our principles abroad in the global fight against terrorism and we have much to be proud of but there are costs.

Having fought terrorism abroad, we must also fight it at home, both for our own sake and because we made this commitment as a member of the international community. Our most fundamental principle in fighting terrorism is that we must do it in ways that respect the rule of law and which accord with our values as Canadians. We have not seen these values eroded in the past five years. We have seen them strengthened as our courts have upheld the legislation and as other states have used it as an example.

The power to conduct investigative hearings and to obtain and impose recognizance conditions is an important part of Canada's anti-terrorism legislation. I wish I could say that they were not but I do not think that I or any member of the House can reasonably conclude that Canada is not exposed to the threat or risk of terrorism or that we will never need powers such as these if and when such a threat materializes.

Others have said that they are not needed or justified because we have not been attacked or that we have rarely or never used these powers. My house has never yet caught fire and I hope it never will but I still expect the fire department to come if it does and to have the tools to put out the fire when they get there. Just as I expect my city to protect me from fire, Canadians expect the government to do all it can to protect them from terrorism.

I do not think we in this country can say that we live in such fireproof houses that we can start selling off our fire trucks just yet. There is no doubt that these are strong measures. I do not see the fact that they are seldom used as evidence that they are not needed. I see it as evidence that our law enforcement officials are exercising restraint in not using them unless absolutely necessary.

Our first commitment must be to the safety and security of Canadians but we also have other obligations. As an ally and as member state of the United Nations, we also have obligations to prevent and suppress international terrorism.

There are many such obligations. For example, in resolution 1373 of the UN Security Council, which was adopted in the wake of the September 2001 attacks against the United States, we are directed not only to refrain from supporting terrorism but “to take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts, including by provision of early warning to other states”.

This is binding on Canada as a party to the charter of the United Nations and we are regularly called upon to report to the Security Council's counter-terrorism committee on what we have done to implement the requirement. Can we truly say that we have done all we can to detect pending terrorist attacks and warn our friends, neighbours and allies if we allow these power to lapse?

We are also party to treaties against terrorism, including the 1997 and 1999 conventions for the suppression of terrorist bombing and terrorist financing. Both of those require us to criminalize specific terrorist activities, as we have done, but they also call on us to provide all other states or parties with the widest measures of legal assistance in relation to their own criminal investigation. They also oblige us to investigate offences in Canada and to alert other interested states.

The treaties do not specifically require us to impose recognizance or conduct investigative hearings but we are obliged to have effective powers to prevent and suppress terrorism and to assist other states. There is no question that our capacity to meet these obligations will be weakened if these powers are allowed to lapse.

That in turn has other implications. Canada has taken a very strong position against international terrorism. We have supported strong and effective measures in international law and we have engaged all of our military development and reconstruction capacity in an effort to ameliorate and redress the conditions in Afghanistan, which spawned the worst acts of terrorism the world has ever seen, in the hope that they are also the worst the world will ever see.

The world allowed Afghanistan to become a failed state which paved the way for extremist groups like al-Qaeda to create a home base in which to launch their war of terror. Canada reacted by going to Afghanistan to meet the needs of this failed state. Canada also reacted at home for the need to strengthen our own laws. When there is need, Canada has responded. If we find ourselves in need, we expect our allies to respond in kind.

What will other states make of this weakening of resolve? How will they react if we allow these provisions to lapse? Canada has not just taken a strong position. We have also taken a balanced and nuanced one. We understand that, as a threat to human rights and the rule of law, terrorism must also and always be fought from within the frameworks of human rights and the rule of law.

While others may have succumbed to the temptation to take direct action, Canada has not and we should all be proud of this. Our own Supreme Court said as much when it upheld the power to conduct investigative hearings under the charter. It said:

--the challenge for a democratic state’s answer to terrorism calls for a balancing of what is required for an effective response to terrorism in a way that appropriately recognizes the fundamental values of the rule of law. In a democracy, not every response is available to meet the challenge of terrorism. At first blush, this may appear to be a disadvantage, but in reality, it is not. A response to terrorism within the rule of law preserves and enhances the cherished liberties that are essential to democracy.

The court did not just find that the power in issue met this test but that it exceeded it, especially in the protection against self-incrimination that was embedded in the legislation. It also set out conditions for the use of the provisions and ground rules for media access and transparency that ensure continuing conformity with the charter and fundamental Canadian values and safeguard human rights while ensuring the effectiveness of anti-terrorism measures.

One of the justices who wrote that opinion saw first-hand what can occur when the rule of law breaks down. Not long before that judgment, Madam Justice Louise Arbour was prosecuting offenders before the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. Not long after that, she was appointed to one of the most important positions in the United Nations, that of high commissioner for human rights. In that capacity, she has continued to strongly advocate the need to fight terrorism from within the framework of the rule of law and she has cited this legislation in a Supreme Court decision on it as an example of how this can be done.

In my view, we have a duty to Canadians to be vigilant and that includes an obligation to protect and defend human rights. It also includes an obligation to protect and defend human security. We have pursued the goals of human security in the international community. Our obligation is to do no less at home here in Canada. Human security includes the security of Canadians. We have sought ways to protect ourselves and, in these measures, we have found a path that is effective and balanced.

The Supreme Court has said that it is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society, and I agree. As long as the threat of international terrorism remains, so will our obligation to counter that threat and to protect Canadians.

We enacted these provisions on that basis in 2001. No member of this House can say that the threat has gone away. The threat to our basic rights and values does not lie in these investigative and preventive powers. It lies with those who would kill and maim Canadians in an attempt to shake our faith in those values.

That is why I will vote to extend these powers and why I urge all hon. members of this House to do the same.

Health February 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, last night CBC television aired a story related to the level of mercury in canned albacore tuna.

Can the Minister of Health explain to the House what action he took to protect the health and safety of Canadians on that matter?

Petitions February 15th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, signed by over 1,000 constituents, supports Remembrance Day as a national holiday.

Petitions February 15th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege today to present two petitions to the House.

The first petition is from constituents in Sarnia—Lambton requesting Parliament to consider restoring to the Criminal Code the prudence it held prior to 1968 by removing the words “after becoming a human being” from subsection 223(2).