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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was chair.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Scarborough—Rouge River (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 22% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Member for Scarborough—Rouge River June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as my first term draws to an end, I take this time to thank the constituents of Scarborough—Rouge River for giving me the honour of representing them in Parliament. They took a leap of faith in electing the first ever woman and person of colour to represent the constituency federally, Canada's first ever member of Parliament of Tamil heritage.

At this point, I would like to recognize the members of the Islamic faith who are observing Ramadan, a month dedicated to spiritual reflection; zakat, giving to those in need; and sawm, fasting during the Holy month.

In the face of many challenges over the four short years, I always strove to do my best in the interest of my constituents and all Canadians by working together with members of my community and parliamentarians alike. I have championed initiatives and conversations about the elimination of poverty, the promotion of women's rights, affordable housing, access to education, employment equity, and the preservation and celebration of our diverse cultures. I have worked tirelessly to improve the immigration system and the lives of our seniors and veterans as well as to increase youth engagement and opportunities for leadership.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of my staff and volunteers for everything they have done and continue to do, and I look forward to coming back here as the MP for Scarborough North, with an NDP government.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 17th, 2015

With regard to government funding for the constituency of Scarborough—Rouge River for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions and loans to any organization, body or group, broken down by (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the municipality in which the recipient is located, (iii) the date on which funding was received, (iv) the amount received, (v) the department or agency providing the funding, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 17th, 2015

With regard to the government’s commitment to address child, early and forced marriages, and sexual violence: (a) what programming approaches is the government supporting; (b) what percentage of funding will be or has been directed towards (i) reproductive health care, (ii) family planning; (c) how much funding has the government committed to provide in order to address sexual violence; (d) which organizations and other partners will the government take on when establishing this programming; and (e) will any of the partners identified in (d) be former co-sponsors of the 2014 Human Rights Council resolution on violence against women, if not, why not?

Questions on the Order Paper June 17th, 2015

With regard to the government’s role in promoting consensual, healthy sexual relationships, as well as sound reproductive health: (a) what steps is the government undertaking in this regard; (b) what budget allocations has the government made in this regard; (c) what steps is the government taking to ensure that quality sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion services, are accessible and available for all; (d) will the government impose penalties on provinces failing to ensure the availability of individuals’ right to access safe abortion services without discrimination; (e) what steps is the government taking to ensure that all individuals are able to access sexual and reproductive health services and information, free from all barriers, including timely and systematic referral in the event of conscientious objection on moral or religious grounds; (f) what steps is the government taking to ensure that conscientious objection exemptions are well-defined in scope and well-regulated in use; and (g) how is the government working with provinces to improve the accessibility and availability of abortion services in Canadian hospitals and in rural or remote areas?

Petitions June 17th, 2015

Finally, Mr. Speaker, the third petition contains thousands of signatures of petitioners who are calling for the removal of the gender-specific discriminatory tax on feminine hygiene products.

I am happy to report while I table this petition that the NDP motion to do the same thing has now been adopted by this House, and as of July 1 this year, this gender-specific discriminatory tax on women and feminine hygiene products will no longer be in effect.

Petitions June 17th, 2015

The second petition, Mr. Speaker, is signed by youth and adults alike across the country and talks about the flavouring of tobacco products that are marketed to youth by the tobacco industry. The petitioners are requesting that all flavours be removed from all tobacco products.

Petitions June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present three separate petitions.

The first petition is from petitioners who say that multinational seed companies are gradually replacing the immense diversity of farmers' seeds by industrial varieties. They are obtaining an increased number of patents on different seeds and are threatening the ability of small family farms to produce the food that is required to feed their families and their communities.

The petitioners are asking the government to adopt international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and recognize their vital role in the struggle against hunger and poverty, and that these policies be developed in consultation with small family farms.

Rouge National Urban Park Act June 17th, 2015

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-696, Act to amend the Rouge National Urban Park Act (ecological protection).

Mr. Speaker, over the last year, the government has pushed through critically flawed legislation for Rouge National Urban Park, ignoring the advice of several thousand Canadians, 106 members of Parliament, the Ontario government, and several of Canada's top environmental organizations. Even the former chief scientist for Parks Canada, Stephen Woodley, publicly stated that the Rouge National Urban Park Act “falls considerably short” of the accepted environmental standards for protected areas, whether urban or wilderness.

The new park that is being created would be less than two square kilometres and would not include the currently existing Rouge Park. The bill that I have put forward would actually fix many of the serious flaws in the existing Rouge National Urban Park Act by prioritizing and protecting the restoration of ecological integrity and watershed health; by respecting water quality agreement objectives and policies for the provincial Greenbelt, Rouge Park, the Rouge watershed, the Oak Ridges Moraine, and the Great Lakes; by requiring good public consultation and scientifically sound park management; by supporting healthy and sustainable farming in the park; and by respecting the history and heritage of the first peoples of the land.

I hope that we will be able to move forward with the bill and see a Rouge national park that is 100 square kilometres, a people's park and will continue to be the gem in everybody's backyard in the city of Toronto and the greater Toronto area.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Revenue Agency June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have spent $13 million already on a witch hunt against Canadian charities that disagree with them. Now the Canadian Bar Association is warning that loopholes in the Criminal Code could allow the Conservatives to target legitimate charities and accuse them of funding terrorists.

People are worried that the real target here are the charities that disagree with Conservative policies. Will the government fix the loophole instead of leaving the law open to abuse?

Petitions June 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of hundreds of Canadians from across the country who are calling on the House to adopt Motion No. 534 to eradicate child poverty in Canada.

I want to thank all of the petitioners for their hard work and thank the House for supporting the motion. I hope we will be able to move forward to actually create an action plan to end child poverty in this country.