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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was actually.

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

Employment May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, summer is coming and too many people across Canada, especially our young people, are looking for jobs and not finding them.

I fought for the youth in my community and was able to get additional funding for the Canada summer jobs program in Scarborough—Rouge River. Though this is a small victory for our young people, we need to do more for all who are suffering from the low level of good jobs in Scarborough. Our community has been robbed by cuts in the manufacturing industry, cuts that have replaced secure, good jobs with jobs that are temporary, part-time, and low-paying. Next weekend I am hosting a discussion and job fair with local stakeholders and employers who are creating job opportunities in the Scarborough community.

The current Conservative government has made empty promises about support programs and job creation, promises that have not delivered in our communities. Instead the promises reflect an irresponsible system, incompetence, and failure in addressing the important issue of unemployment.

Canadians deserve a government that delivers on promises, makes the economy work for all, and works hard for the well-being of youth. We need good jobs in Scarborough. We need a government that will create good jobs in all of our communities. That government will be the New Democratic government to be formed later this year in October.

Questions on the Order Paper May 25th, 2015

With regard to government spending on women's rights and sexual and reproductive health as part of its development assistance: (a) As part of the 2010-2015 Muskoka Initiative (the Initiative), how much funding was disbursed specifically (i) for family planning, (ii) for reproductive health, (iii) to women's rights organizations; (b) what percentage of the recently announced $3.5 billion in new funding for the “Saving Every Woman, Every Child” Initiative 2015-2020 will be directed towards family planning and reroductive health care; (c) how will the government meet its commitment to devote at least 10% of official development assistance to sexual and reproductive health, as agreed to during the 2012 International Parliamentarians Conference on the Implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development; (d) what has been the total amount disbursed specifically for family planning and reproductive health care under the auspices of government spending intended to address sexual violence in conflict-affected areas; and (e) what has been the total amount disbursed specifically for family planning and reproductive health care under the auspices of government spending intended to address child marriage, early marriage, and forced marriage?

Petitions May 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to table petitions on behalf of residents in my riding, specifically from the Rainbow Circle Co-Op and others across the GTA.

The petitions are in respect to the fact that in Canada more than 620,000 social housing units, nearly all created between 1970 and 1994, were provided with long-term agreements with social housing providers, ranging from 25 to 50 years depending on their mortgage. These agreements allow for social housing providers to financially support their tenants, who only devote 25% to 30% of their income to rent.

In the last four years, nearly 26,000 social housing units have been affected by the end of the long-term agreements, and by 2016 the number will reach almost 100,000. The federal government is still refusing to renew these agreements. By 2030, nearly 85% of the entire federal housing budget will have been cut.

The petitioners are requesting that the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the provinces, territories, municipalities and community partners, maintain and expand in line with Canada's obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to ensure that the government renews the funding or preserves the rent subsidies to provide the support that these tenants need.

Ethics May 15th, 2015

Let me try something else, Mr. Speaker.

According to the RCMP, the Prime Minister's Office interfered in a confidential Senate report about Mike Duffy. Nigel Wright is quoted in court documents saying, “Mike is pleased with this so it will give us a little bit of time if David can pull it off”, adding, “Marjory is fully on-board.” Yet Conservative Senators David Tkachuk and Marjory LeBreton continue to sit on the Senate's internal economy committee.

Is the PMO planning to yet again interfere while the Senate drafts reports on rule-breaking senators?

Government Advertising May 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are using public money to promote partisan interests. The jobs minister is focused on self-flattery when he should be focused on the thousands of Canadians who lost their jobs this week. He once railed against the Liberals' abuse of taxpayer dollars for partisan self-promotion, yet now he is finding ways to be even more unaccountable than the Liberals.

Why is the minister using public servants and taxpayer dollars to create vanity videos of himself promoting the Conservative Party platform?

Telecommunications May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, many families in my riding of Scarborough—Rouge River rely on OMNI television for their Canadian programming in their language. OMNI tells stories in which many Canadians of diverse backgrounds can see themselves and their communities represented, but recent cuts announced mean that OMNI will no longer be able to do any of its own news gathering.

What will the government do to ensure that these Canadians have access to media that covers their stories and keeps them informed about what is happening in Canada in their own language?

Iran Accountability Week May 5th, 2015

Mr. Chair, they are yelling “terrorists”, but it is not just terrorists, it is all Canadian citizens whose charter-protected rights are now being violated by the bill the current government is bringing forward, and that is an affront to our democracy.

Iran Accountability Week May 5th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I hear Conservative members laughing and making comments, but from looking at the bills that they have put forward, for example, Bill C-51, which openly and overtly attacks my fundamental rights of expression as a Canadian citizen, we can talk about everybody.

Iran Accountability Week May 5th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague from Hochelaga for that question, as well as her husband for his years of service as a journalist. When there are bombs and guns, and shells being dropped, we know the imminent danger. Journalists who are writing and telling stories are storytellers who put themselves in situations of danger. We have to tip our hat to them and understand that they are putting themselves in that situation voluntarily in order to be the voice and to share the stories of what is happening on the ground. In that sense, the work that journalists do needs to be valued and elevated to another level. When journalists, scientists and government are silenced, like what is happening in this country, we start to slowly deteriorate the quality of the democracy in that country, and we are seeing it at a much elevated level in Iran.

As my colleague hinted, we are seeing in Canada as well where our journalists, or our scientists in the government, are being muzzled and our journalists are not being allowed to report certain aspects of stories that they do uncover. That should not be the case. It should be a case where our charter rights are recognized and valued. Freedom of expression should be available to all members and all citizens of this country, which includes opposition members of Parliament and every Canadian citizen who wishes to express and stand tonight.

Iran Accountability Week May 5th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I am thankful to the parliamentary secretary for her mention of a dissertation. I am hopeful that some day I will have the opportunity to do my PhD and do a real dissertation. However, today I am just standing up as a citizen of Canada who is privileged to speak in this House and provide my voice as one of the voices in this country to stand up for defending human rights in Iran.

Perhaps I will continue with what the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights mentioned on the situation in Iran. He issued two reports last year that:

...found an “apparent increase in the degree of seriousness of human rights violations” and expressed alarm at the “rate of executions in the country, especially for crimes that do not meet serious crimes standards.”... “no sign of improvement” on rights issues previously raised by UN monitoring mechanisms.

It just goes to show what the world knows at this point, and we need to ensure that we have the mechanisms in place and that we are doing everything we can to ensure that it is not just words in us saying that Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Iran in fighting for freedom and democracy, but that we are actually making sure our actions show that as well.