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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is place.

Conservative MP for Lethbridge (Alberta)

Won her last election, in 2019, with 66% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply December 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Nose Hill.

Fidel Castro was not a kind man. He was not an admirable man. He was in fact a tyrant.

Wherever he went, he left behind a wake of violence, death, and misery, which is why it was alarming to those of us on this side of the House and to Canadians at large to hear the Prime Minister mourn his death as if Castro were a relative or a close family member. What is worse, however, is that the Prime Minister had the audacity to speak on behalf of all Canadians when he heaped praise on this abusive dictator.

This is not a partisan issue. Canadians at large confirmed this sentiment. In fact, Liberal MPs and supporters share the view that Fidel Castro was an oppressive dictator who ruled by terror. The Prime Minister's comments were inappropriate and do not reflect the beliefs of the Canadian public.

Castro was known for degrading women, murdering innocent people, and terrorizing anyone and everyone who disagreed with him. We do not, nor should we, condone these actions in Canada.

Here, we cherish freedom and democracy. There, Castro imposed his will through dictatorial rule. Here, we value tolerance and debate amongst political ideas. There, Castro imprisoned, tortured, and murdered those with a different view from his. Here, we reward entrepreneurs for investing their time, their talent, and their money to grow the economy, whereas Castro nationalized all businesses and arbitrarily outlawed or took over successful small entrepreneurial ventures.

Castro was in fact the antithesis of freedom.

International experts have documented these abuses of fundamental human rights for decades. Amnesty International said:

Over more than five decades documenting the state of human rights in Cuba, Amnesty International has recorded a relentless campaign against those who dare to speak out against the Cuban government’s policies and practices.

The Americas director of Human Rights Watch, José Vivanco, stated this week:

As other countries in the region turned away from authoritarian rule, only Fidel Castro’s Cuba continued to repress virtually all civil and political rights. Castro’s draconian rule and the harsh punishments he meted out to dissidents kept his repressive system rooted firmly in place for decades.

Meanwhile, Christopher Sabatini, a Columbia University expert on Cuba who advised Barack Obama's administration and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, has publicly said:

Unfortunately, his human rights record will not get the weight it deserves.... Let’s be honest: [at the end of the day] this was a regime which when it came to power lined up its opponents and shot them.

The most recent report by Human Rights Watch on Cuba states:

Under Fidel Castro, the Cuban government refused to recognize the legitimacy of Cuban human rights organizations, alternative political parties, independent labor unions, or a free press. He also denied international monitors such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and international nongovernmental organizations like Human Rights Watch access to the island to investigate human rights conditions.

And this is to say absolutely nothing about the treatment of the LGBTQ community. From 1950 to 1979, members of this community were arrested, put in forced labour camps, and worked to death because they were considered “incompatible” with the socialist revolution. Since 1979, “publicly manifested” homosexuality and “persistently bothering others with homosexual amorous advances” remain illegal under Cuban law.

Fidel Castro left a legacy of broken people and made Cuba even poorer than when he seized power, but then we know that this is true about socialist regimes.

It is clear that the values of Castro are not congruent with the beliefs and practices we hold here in Canada. Canadians value freedom, value democracy, and respect the rule of law. Cubans lack the freedom to express political views, to establish their own businesses, or to travel between different regions of their country without government approval.

Canadians, as witnessed by our actions here today, function with the freedom to express their political views on any subject without fear of reprisal. Our journalists publish a wide variety of opinions on the government without fear of punishment. No Canadian journalist has been roughed up, sent to a forced labour camp, or exiled for criticizing the government of the day.

Canadians are incredibly proud of the beautiful land we call home, and we travel freely from province to province and into the territories without impediment, without borders, and without needing government approval.

In Cuba, there is no rule of law. Arrest and detention are arbitrary and entirely at the whim of the Castro brothers. Connections within the Communist Party of Cuba allow others to ignore the law or use the law to make themselves wealthy by punishing their competition.

In Canada, we celebrate the fact that even the prime minister is bound by the same rules that guide us. It does not matter how connected people are to the government of the day; the justice system is there to hold them accountable.

In Cuba, more than 80% of the land that could be used for agriculture sits entirely fallow. Why is that? It is because no one can be bothered to pick the weeds or plant a plot of land, because there is no incentive to work, no reward for labour. In Cuba, the locals are forbidden from eating local lobsters that they catch. This is not a health precaution. In fact, the lobsters are simply saved for the tourists who prop up the Cuban economy.

In Canada, we have free markets, and those free markets reward individuals for their hard work. We celebrate our entrepreneurs, who through vision and hard work build successful businesses.

As a self-declared feminist, a defender of human rights, and an advocate for the middle class, the Canadian Prime Minister should have stood against the acts of brutality committed by the late Fidel Castro. Instead, however, Trudeau took the opportunity to praise Castro, calling him a “remarkable leader” and even went so far as to state that Castro had a “tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people”.

Based on the public outcry of Canadians, including hundreds of my own constituents, I know with confidence that the Prime Minister's sentiments are not widely shared among the Canadian people. The outrage over the implication that Canadians support Castro is one of the most visceral reactions that I have seen from the people in my riding. Castro is not viewed as a paternal or warm and fuzzy figure who wanted the best for his country, who loved his people, and who advanced it. He is seen as a repressive dictator who chronically mistreated his people, who had zero tolerance for women, and who viewed the marginalized as a problem to be solved by imprisonment or forced labour.

I understand that the Prime Minister has some family connections to Castro, but as the Prime Minister of Canada, one would hope that Trudeau could put aside his personal affections—

Poverty Reduction Act November 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about poverty in the abstract, we miss the very personal and the very real stories of everyday Canadians who are struggling to improve their well-being from day to day. I come from Alberta, and my province has lost over 100,000 jobs just in this past year. Hard-working middle-class families are now grappling with poverty as jobs have disappeared and government assistance has completely dried up. My social media feed is now filled with families selling a lifetime's worth of belongings just to afford their rent, their mortgage, and the bills that face their family each and every month. Furthermore, food banks are overwhelmed with new clients. One teacher I talked to mentioned how the quality and the quantity of food that he is noticing in children's lunch boxes is actually diminishing. For the charities in my riding, the drop in the Alberta economy has been joined by a drop in donations, and those who are housing-insecure or are part of the working poor are now having to cope with scaled-back assistance.

Ensuring that all Canadians have the opportunity to live a meaningful and dignified life is one of the great motivations for those of us who are here standing in this place. Our previous government did an excellent job of reducing poverty. The universal child care benefit, increases to other child care benefits, and targeted tax cuts lifted more than 250,000 children out of poverty. In fact, childhood poverty was reduced to the lowest levels in Canadian history under the previous Conservative government. In 1997, 18% of children were living in families with low income. In 2013, however, that number was decreased down to 8%. This was after we clawed our way out of the recession of 2008.

So why did the Conservative approach work? It worked because it put parents in control of their own destiny, it put parents in control of their household budgets, and it reduced the cost of living for everyday Canadian families. The Liberals like to make fun of us for our tax cuts, but the 140 tax cuts that we introduced over our mandate put $4,000 per family back into their chequebooks. In fact, our Conservative government was celebrated internationally for our ability to respond to the recession while at the same time reducing poverty. Let me provide the House with a very important quote:

Canada's governments at all levels need to be commended for protecting many of our children from the brunt of a recession that wreaked havoc on the world's strongest economies. This was the worst economic downturn since World War II, but Canada emerged from the crisis with 180,000 fewer children living in poverty. This is the good news.

The House may be wondering who gave this quote. It is no other than David Morley, the president and CEO of UNICEF Canada. The Conservative approach worked because we focused on creating jobs and generating economic growth as the greatest solution to poverty. When the economy is growing and jobs are on the rise, poverty decreases. It is a natural relationship.

Our Conservative government championed Canadian jobs. We cut payroll taxes and income taxes for small and medium-sized businesses. We signed free trade deals to give Canadian companies new markets to which to export. We cut red tape and reduced the cost of dealing with the federal government. All of these measures created intense demand for Canadian workers. In my province of Alberta, we had some of the lowest unemployment rates that Canada had seen for a decade. Even if people worked at Subway or Tim Hortons, they still made significantly more than minimum wage.

This did great things for reducing poverty of course.

Fast-forward to today and what do we see? Today we see a federal government that has raised income taxes and is talking about bringing in even more taxes. These taxes will be hugely detrimental to our working families. The Liberal government is also a government that is increasing business costs by raising CPP rates and keeping EI premiums artificially high.

The results are not hard to see. Canada's economic performance is teetering on the edge. We could go into a recession next quarter. Economic growth is abysmal and long-term investor confidence has almost entirely dried up.

The Liberal government is spending like a drunken sailor, piling up massive deficits with absolutely no plan to balance the budget. Investors know that this means higher taxes down the road and they are pulling their money out of Canada and choosing to invest elsewhere.

We see this reflected in the job numbers. The Liberals have been in government for an entire year and not a single, net, new, full-time job has been created since they took office. When we consider all of the new young Canadians entering the workforce, there are fewer full-time jobs available per capita today than there were before the Liberals formed government last October. This is one of the reasons we have seen the unemployment rate increase over the last year.

Why do taxes matter in a discussion about national poverty? They matter because they go to the heart of how different parties tackle the issue of poverty. Our Conservative Party put money in the hands of parents and trusted that they knew what was best for their families. We trusted parents to invest in their children's future by involving them in sports and the arts. We knew that with a bit of extra cash, middle-class families could afford to put their daughter in hockey or their son in piano lessons.

The sad reality is that when parents are forced to choose between keeping the power on and putting food on the table or their child's hockey league fees, they have to prioritize the necessities of life. This is why a marginal income increase matters. This is why a reduction in taxation matters. It is the difference between our children being able to play sports or sitting at home and simply watching TV. It is the difference between nutritious food and not-so-nutritious food being put on the plates of our children.

The Liberal child benefit on the other hand delivers less money each month to Canadian families. It does not increase with inflation, meaning that the Liberals are giving Canadian families less money as time goes on. As a result of all of the cancelled tax credits, Canadian families will get less money back at tax time. This is to say nothing of the thousands of dollars that Canadian families will have to pay each and every year under the carbon tax regime being implemented very soon.

As I said at the beginning of my speech, while we all believe in the importance of reducing poverty, the approach that we take in the House is quite different. The bill that has been introduced and is on the floor today is a clear example of how the NDP approaches this problem, which is heavy on bureaucracy and light on action and help towards families. This legislation would establish a national poverty commissioner and a national poverty reduction council in addition to tasking federal civil servants with developing a national plan.

I will make it short and sweet. It does not work. At the end of the day we know that the plan that was put in place by the Conservatives did work. Reducing taxes works. Benefits for families with children work. Let us leave the decision with parents. They know best.

Rouge National Urban Park Act November 24th, 2016

Madam Speaker, when it comes to national parks, they are created for the benefit of people, the conservation of land, and the protection of animals. That said, when we create parks, we do so with the knowledge that they are for this generation and the next. How would the proposed change in terminology potentially impact the use of parks by future generations?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, female survivors of sexual slavery require special care and attention. Even the United Nations is calling upon Canada to ensure that Yazidi women and girls receive this type of care upon arrival. Yesterday, I put forward a motion at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women asking that Canada secure a plan for these young women and girls who are coming into our country in the coming months. Unfortunately, the Liberals were quick to defeat my motion without even so much as a discussion. Why are the Liberals rejecting every single effort put forward to serve these Yazidi women and girls?

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act November 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, producers in my riding have expressed their concern with regard to standards in the agreement. They want to make sure that the standards are equivalent in both the country of origin and the country their products are being exported to.

The government has a responsibility to make sure that it negotiates well, to make sure that the provisions with regard to standards are included in this agreement. The government has a responsibility to make sure that our producers here in Canada are not put at a disadvantage because of this agreement. The former government did work hard. It was in the process of securing that for Canada. It is my hope that the government now in power would also be able to secure that for our producers here at home.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act November 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we need to ask what our producers need to get their goods to market. Producers in my riding are incredibly resilient individuals. They are incredibly innovative individuals. They started their businesses from scratch and grown them to be quite large and quite successful. More than anything else they really need the government to sign, seal, and deliver this deal and then get out of the way.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act November 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to stand in the House today to speak on behalf of CETA and Bill C-30, the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement implementation bill.

Canada is an exporting nation. From the voyagers to the Hudson's Bay Company to the cod fisheries of our east coast, Canada has been a place of abundant natural resources that have been harvested for exports.

As a grand nation that spans the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, that was united by bands of steel through our national railway, our identity as Canadians has been shaped by our export economy.

Whether it is beaver pelts, cod, grain, beef, minerals, oil and gas, or cars and trucks, all these products helped build our great nation into the prosperous land we call home today.

For those who might be hesitant to support CETA, here are some contextual facts about the importance of exports to Canada, the country we love and serve.

International trade represents more than 60% of Canada's gross domestic product. One in five Canadian jobs is linked to exports. This means there would be three million fewer jobs without international trade, and that is a big deal. This then would drive up Canada's unemployment rate to more than 25% if we were to all of a sudden stop exporting tomorrow.

Clearly our shared prosperity as a nation is very dependent on opportunities to get our goods to international markets, which is why it is so important for us to enter into free trade agreements.

This is why the Canada-EU free trade agreement will give Canada unprecedented access to 500 million EU customers. The size of the European Union's combined economy is $18 trillion, an economy that Canada's businesses will now have barrier-free access to. The European Union is the world's largest importing market for goods, with annual imports that are worth more than Canada's total GDP. The European Union is already the fourth-largest export market for Alberta agriculture after the United States, China and Japan.

A joint Canada-EU study that supported the launch of negotiations concluded that a trade agreement with the EU could bring a 20% boost in bilateral trade, and a $12 billion annual increase to Canada's economy. This represents the economic equivalent of adding $1,000 to every family's income or almost 80,000 new jobs to the Canadian economy.

CETA is in fact good news for our country.

The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance estimates that when fully implemented, this trade agreement could result in $1.5 billion in new Canadian agrifood exports to the EU. When this trade agreement comes into force, 98% of EU tariffs on Canadian goods will be entirely eliminated.

Every region of Canada stands to benefit from the opportunities contained in this agreement. Of course I am very interested in my riding of Lethbridge.

Lethbridge is a hub for agricultural exports, from grains and oilseeds, to poultry and beef, the fertile soil of southern Alberta provides an abundance of food that is available to be sold around the world. In conversations with many of my local agricultural processors, I have heard overwhelming optimism and support for the CETA agreement. Traditionally, EU tariffs on agriculture and processed food products have been quite high, particularly on products such as beef, pork and wheat.

Canada has also faced many non-tariff barriers in the European market. This is why the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers creates fantastic opportunities for Canadian agricultural producers, again, particularly affects my riding.

This agreement establishes a joint committee that will ensure that sanitary and phytosanitary measures to protect human, animal, and plant life do not unnecessarily harm trade. This is very important. This body will determine which certifications and standards should be deemed as equivalent. These non-tariff barriers have been the primary obstacles that in the past have stopped Canadian agricultural exports.

Our Conservative caucus will be paying close attention to the non-tariff barriers and will be holding the present government to account with regard to advocating on behalf of our Canadian producers.

For the grains and oilseeds producers in Lethbridge, this agreement would completely open up a market that was previously blocked by very high tariffs. Here are some examples of the EU tariffs that would be eliminated for grains and oilseeds producers once the agreement is fully implemented: the $114-per-tonne tariff on grains, including oats; the $122-per-tonne tariff on low to medium-quality common wheat, a product that currently sells for only $225 in the EU; the $120-per-tonne tariff on barley and rye; the tariff of up $190 per tonne on durum; and the tariff of 9.6% on oils, including canola oil, a crop that currently sells for $540 a tonne in the EU. All of these tariffs would be eliminated by the CETA agreement. Alberta Barley estimates that an additional $100 million in grains and oilseeds exports would result from signing CETA.

Lethbridge also has a sugar beet industry and the Rogers Sugar refinery plant is very nearby. The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance estimates that this agreement would boost exports of sugar-containing products, such as sugar beets, by $100 million per year. Again, that is excellent news for the producers in my riding.

Canada is also a major meat exporting country, a significant amount of which is produced and processed in southern Alberta. The Canadian Meat Council reports that Canada currently exports $1.3 billion worth of beef, $3.2 billion worth of pork, and $5.7 million worth of bison. Sixty-five thousand Canadians depend on this industry for their job each and every.

For the agricultural producers in my riding, 94% of goods would be tariff-free once CETA is signed, sealed, and delivered.

Lethbridge is also a hub for the Maple Leaf Foods processing plant, which, of course, is processing pork, to a great extent. The Canadian Pork Council has projected that for specific cuts of pork, this deal could create sales of $400 million per year. This is excellent for the pork producers in Lethbridge.

Lethbridge is also home to a large number of beef producers in Canada. In fact, we are known by the nickname “Feedlot Alley”.

Canada has some of the greatest beef genetics in the world and our breeds are known for their excellent quality of meat. Canada has world-leading safety systems, including complete traceability of each and every animal.

Once CETA is fully implemented in three to seven years from now, 65,000 tonnes of beef would be allowed to flow into the European markets duty-free, which would represent more than $600 million in new exports.

That said, reaching an agreement on the equivalency of phytosanitary measures is absolutely critical for this agreement to benefit the producers in my riding and the producers across this country. Phytosanitary measures is simply a fancy way of saying “measures to protect human and animal health in the farming process”. Because of our different climates and the different scale of industry, Canada uses different methods from the EU to ensure the safety of meat. These methods are backed by the latest science and technology. The challenge for the government in negotiating this agreement would be to ensure that science-based equivalencies are negotiated before this agreement comes into full effect.

In summary, this trade deal is excellent news for Canadian exporters. It would create jobs, it would help to grow our economy, and it would increase Canada's standing on the world stage.

I am thankful for former Prime Minister Harper and the members for Abbotsford and Battlefords—Lloydminster for all the work they did in the previous government to negotiate and seal this deal through to it signature.

The farmers, agricultural businesses, and exporters in my riding of would enjoy a more prosperous future because of CETA.Lethbridge

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 14th, 2016

With regard to the offices of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and their staff: (a) what are the costs associated with all fit-up, renovation, information, technology, or furniture purchases; (b) what is the total cost, as well as an itemized breakdown of costs for all of the purchases and work described in the above Ministers` responses to Q-295; and (c) what is the itemized breakdown for all costs associated with the items described in parts (a) and (b) of the government`s response to Q-295 from the following Ministers (i) Minister of Justice, (ii) Minister of National Defense, (iii) Minister of Status of Women?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 14th, 2016

With regard to pictures and pieces of artwork in government buildings, since November 4, 2015, broken down by department and agency: (a) how many pictures, paintings, or pieces of artwork have been installed or put on display in government buildings, not including employees individual offices, cubicles, or other personal space; (b) what are the costs associated with each of such pictures, paintings, or pieces of artwork including, but not limited of cost of acquisition or rental of image/artwork, framing, mounting and installation; (c) how many pictures of the Liberal leader and current Prime Minister have been installed or put on display in government buildings; and (d) what are the costs and location associated with each picture listed in (c), including, but not limited to cost of image, framing, mounting, and installation?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 4th, 2016

With regard to contracts under $10 000 granted by Status of Women Canada since January 1, 2016, what are the: (i) vendors' names, (ii) contracts' reference and file numbers, (iii) dates of the contracts, (iv) descriptions of the services provided, (v) delivery dates, (vi) original contracts' values, (vii) final contracts' values if different from the original contracts' values?