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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was clause.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Parkdale—High Park (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions May 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present petitions from many of my constituents in Parkdale—High Park who are very concerned about the government's Bill C-51. The petition calls for keeping Canadians safe without sacrificing our freedom.

Frankly, I have never seen a reaction like I have had in talking to my constituents about Bill C-51. Of course, people recognize that terrorism is a real threat and that we have to be kept safe from that, but they are fundamentally opposed to sacrificing our basic civil liberties and human rights in order to do that. Petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to stop this attack on our civil liberties and to join with the New Democrat caucus to vote down Bill C-51.

Housing May 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, thanks to Conservative economic mismanagement, Ontario's affordable housing wait list has hit a record high. More than 168,000 households are now waiting an average of four years for affordable housing, 78,000 of those households in Toronto. It is yet an other indicator of the growing inequality in our country. Canadians are working harder and falling further behind, with 1.3 million out of work and so many in need of affordable housing.

Will the Conservatives finally admit to the economic damage they have done?

Employment April 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the Conservatives have failed to build a balanced economy. Manufacturing output has slipped for the second month in a row, and workers are paying the price.

We have lost more than 400,000 good manufacturing jobs under the Conservatives' watch. Now GM has just announced that 1,000 jobs will be lost this year in Oshawa. What is the Conservatives' response? Give money to a German company to build cars in Mexico

Just where is their auto manufacturing strategy, and when will the Conservatives help the workers and families hit by massive job losses in manufacturing?

Employment April 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we just learned that 1,000 GM workers in Oshawa will be losing their jobs. We know that manufacturing sector output slowed in February for the second consecutive month. Instead of taking action to support the manufacturing sector, the Conservatives are authorizing a $500 million-plus loan to help Volkswagen create jobs in Mexico.

Why are the Conservatives not helping Canadian manufacturers create jobs here?

Ongoing Situation in Ukraine April 29th, 2015

Mr. Chair, that is exactly the position that New Democrats have taken in the House. We had many questions about the full nature of the military training support that was offered. We wanted to ask questions in the House prior to the decision being taken and as a parliamentary democracy would normally require, we wanted to have a vote on that initiative. None of that has happened.

The member is quite right that while a take note debate, while important, and we have had a few take note debates on Ukraine, it is coming after the fact that a decision was taken.

Ongoing Situation in Ukraine April 29th, 2015

Mr. Chair, as the daughter of a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic and was on a minesweeper, and was on Omaha Beach on D-Day, I also know that there are times when action must be taken.

Perhaps the member came in at the very tail-end of my remarks because I did talk earlier about a whole suite of approaches and actions from sanctions to military support, to democracy building, to diplomacy. There are many aspects to our response and we must be very robust on many fronts.

Earlier my colleague made an important point which was that Canada can and should play a more robust international role in encouraging other countries to fully contribute to the UN trust funds because those moneys are urgently needed and the investment in those funds has really dwindled in 2015. There is a whole menu of activities that needs to be undertaken and I agree with that.

Ongoing Situation in Ukraine April 29th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I thought I was going to have 10 minutes, so having 5 minutes I will speak a little quicker.

I am very pleased to take part in the debate on the situation in Ukraine. On behalf of the people of Canada, we are all here tonight united in the determination to not let the situation in Ukraine fall from our agenda and to ensure that we are standing strong in condemnation of Vladimir Putin and his actions, his invasion in Ukraine. We stand firm in support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

I am also very pleased to speak on behalf of my constituency of Parkdale—High Park, which has a large number of Ukrainians, many of the more than 1.2 million Ukrainian Canadians in Canada. The cities of Toronto and Kiev are twinned actually, so we have close links to Ukraine. I have really learned from the people in my community the lessons of history. These are people who lived under the former Soviet Union, whose relatives suffered through the Holodomor, the famine genocide. I have had the great privilege of being an election observer four times in Ukraine and of receiving young Ukrainian interns in my office here on Parliament Hill.

In particular, working with the young Ukrainian interns has taught me a lot. It has taught me that young people do not give up hope. They want, I think, what people everywhere want. They want a normal, modern democracy. They want to be governed by the rule of law. They want to have confidence in their judiciary. They want to have democratic freedoms and human rights and to be free of corruption. These young people come here to learn about our government and to learn about a democracy in the hope that they can go back and help build a stronger democracy in their country.

However, what is called the “spirit of Maidan” has really been betrayed. There were people killed there and many more have died since. I was going to recap some of the terrible recent history. However, a couple of years ago who would have thought we would be in the situation we are today with 6,000 dead; more than 1.2 million Ukrainians displaced; thousands of buildings, apartments and factories destroyed; and the Ukrainian economy very perilous right now.

We join together. This is a debate in the spirit of collegiality to say that we stand in unison with the people of Ukraine.

I want to especially give a shout-out to Paul Grod and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, because it has been the Ukrainian diaspora that has really been vigilant and forceful in demanding accountability and support for Ukraine. I really want to thank them. There have been many long cold vigils and rallies and it has been a pleasure to stand with the community, as many of us here have.

Let me be clear, as my colleagues have been, my colleagues from Ottawa Centre and from St. John's East, that we support the actions of our government in terms of training and professionalization of the military in Ukraine because, really, it did not have much of a military.

We especially want to emphasize the notion of democratic development. Let us keep in mind the spirit of these young interns who come to Canada and help in the building and fostering of a democratic society. That is really what is going to bring long-term stability in Ukraine, having a free and open media, an active and accountable government, and a reputable judiciary. Clearly, they need economic aid.

I have asked several questions this evening, as have my colleagues, about sanctions and the need to really target those sanctions to put the pressure on Putin's key friends and allies and to keep squeezing the Russian economy. I think that is going to continue to be very important.

Let us not forget diplomacy. I know we all want to be immediate and take as much action as we can, but ultimately, we are going to have to find a solution here, so let us not forget about that.

I know my time is up and I want to end with a quote from the Ukrainian minister of finance. She said:

International support can only be effective if the Ukrainian government is also effective and diligent in its efforts to reform the country, fight corruption, improve transparency and accountability, improve the rule of law and create the conditions for the return of economic growth and prosperity.

Surely, ultimately, that is what we all need to be working for.

Ongoing Situation in Ukraine April 29th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I know that the member has been personally engaged in issues around Ukraine and is very committed to that.

I want to raise one question with him with respect to sanctions which I know has been raised with him before. We all agree that sanctions are important, but I want to make the point that quality matters more than just quantity. Our foreign affairs critic has led the way in calling for tough, coordinated, targeted sanctions. In fact, he was banned from entering Russia because of his call for tough sanctions.

We have demanded that Canada target close friends of President Putin. We think that would be effective. There are a couple of key people who are on the American and European lists, such as Igor Sechin of Rosneft and Vladimir Yakunin of Russian Railways.

I would like the member to clarify something. There was a time when he said we want to be careful with respect to Canadian interests. I presume that he does not mean that we would not sanction people because of the impact on the Canadian economy. Perhaps he could just clarify that.

Ongoing Situation in Ukraine April 29th, 2015

Mr. Chair, all parliamentarians in this House stand with Ukraine. We continue to want to send a very strong message to Putin to get out of Ukrainian territory. We appreciate that.

I do want to raise the issue of the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. We know that there are more than one million people in Ukraine who have been displaced. There is tremendous concern about the economic well-being of people in Ukraine with the hryvnia, the currency, having dropped by more than 70%.

I know the minister talked about offering some loans to Ukraine, but given that it is so highly indebted, and the conflict is costing it $5 million a day, I am wondering what specific humanitarian aid is being offered to help people in their desperate need, those who have been affected by this conflict.

Given the desperate financial situation, can we do more to help the economy of Ukraine and to help its indebtedness?

Ongoing Situation in Ukraine April 29th, 2015

Mr. Chair, surely, we are all united in wanting to see a better future for Ukraine.

I would like to quote from the minister of finance for Ukraine, who said recently:

International support can only be effective if the Ukrainian government is also effective and diligent in its efforts to reform the country, fight corruption, improve transparency and accountability, improve the rule of law and create the conditions for the return of economic growth and prosperity.

The minister mentioned building democracy. He mentioned election observers. I have been one on four occasions. Could he be more specific about what kind of specific support is Canada offering Ukraine that would address the very real and serious concerns raised by the Ukrainian finance minister?