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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was actually.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Scarborough Centre (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Public Safety June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would be very pleased to answer those questions, as I have done every time that member has asked the same questions. I just hope this time that he listens and actually remembers the answers.

Our Conservative government continues to take action to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians, including those from British Columbia. No one should ever be afraid for their safety when walking down a street in this country.

I am pleased to reconfirm once again that the deployment of the first 20 members committed to Surrey is under way and that boots are already on the ground.

What is clear is that while our Conservative government has passed over 30 new measures to crack down on crime, including new prison sentences for drive-by shootings, the Liberals and the NDP have preferred to vote against these common sense measures, and they should be ashamed. In fact, the member who just asked this question actually answered it. He said that they voted against it. This is a member who is proud to vote against tough-on-crime measures to keep Canadians safe.

Canadians expect and deserve police officers in their communities who are highly trained and professional, and our government will not compromise this in the interest of expediency. Given the ever-evolving complexities of ensuring the public safety of Canadians, this world-renowned training does in fact take time. It is unfortunate that the member opposite has absolutely no clue about this whatsoever.

Upon successful completion of the cadet training program, newly engaged members of the RCMP will be posted in accordance with these collective commitments throughout the country, including Surrey. Given the increased demand for more police officers, the RCMP continues to increase the training of cadets at the RCMP depot with the goal of getting more cadets out to detachments right across Canada. It is also worth noting that under the dark days of the previous Liberal government, the RCMP training depot was closed down.

The member has asked repeatedly what we have been doing. I would like to remind the member that we have actually been putting forward legislation to keep Canadians safe. In fact, we have put forward more than 30 tough-on-crime measures. However, I think what is more interesting and more important to note is what the member from the NDP has not been doing. He has not been voting to support any of these measures to support crime prevention, tough-on-crime legislation, or resources for our RCMP and police agencies across this country.

I am going to remind the member of a couple of things that the member for Surrey North has actually voted against. They include cracking down on drug dealers who target children, ending house arrest for serious and violent crimes, and early parole for white-collar fraudsters and drug dealers. I can hear from across the way that the NDP actually thinks this is funny.

What is clear as I hear remarks coming frm the NDP on the opposite side that there is only one political party in this House that is taking the safety and security of Canadians seriously, and that is this Conservative government.

Aboriginal Affairs June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, our government is committed to improving community access to lands and working collaboratively with first nations to deliver on our additions to reserve commitments.

Expanding the reserve land base through additions to reserve is an important mechanism by which first nations can foster economic development in their own communities. That is why our government remains committed to working with all Cree nations. We understand that improving the additions to reserve can create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in first nation communities right across our country. This benefits not only aboriginal communities, but all Canadians.

Aboriginal Affairs June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to the question from the member for Churchill.

Our government is committed to improving community access to lands and resources and simplifying processes for additions to reserves. Completing additions to reserves is part of our government's overall commitment to helping unlock the economic potential of reserve land. We understand the benefits that increased economic activity on reserve land brings to first nation communities. It increases their self-sufficiency and allows them to participate more fully in Canada's economy.

Since forming government, we have been committed to improving the Indian Act land administration to promote economic development on reserve and to provide first nations with the tools they need to take greater control of their own affairs. For example, by clarifying processes and improving alignment with provincial and municipal practices, the land designation and additions to reserve processes have become far more streamlined than in the past.

Our government supports the treaty land entitlement process in Manitoba, which includes the Cree nation mentioned by the member. We know that the fulfillment of treaty land entitlement agreements assists in building partnerships and spurring economic development on reserves and in surrounding communities. Businesses and citizens of nearby communities are able to feel the effects of the increased prosperity enjoyed by first nations in the area.

Adding land to reserve is just one way in which we are working with first nations to drive economic participation and job creation in aboriginal communities.

Our government also continues to support the first nations land management regime. This very successful first nation-led initiative enables first nations to manage their own lands, resources and environment outside the limitations imposed by the Indian Act. Currently, this regime has benefited 94 first nations across the country.

Our government remains focused on ensuring Cree nations benefit from economic opportunities such as these. This is one of the most effective ways to improve the well-being and quality of life of aboriginal people in Canada. Our government is committed to working with first nations so that more first nations can access lands, resources and economic opportunities.

Criminal Code June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed my privilege to rise today to lend my voice in support of private member's Bill C-644, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (failure to comply with a condition).

I would like to begin by first thanking the hard-working member of Parliament for Lethbridge for his initiative in bringing this bill forward. In considering the elements that he has proposed in this bill, it becomes apparent that he is also concerned with improving offender accountability and improving public safety, improvements which our Conservative government has long advocated.

Indeed, since 2006, we have made it a top priority to help ensure that Canadians can live, work and raise a family in communities that are safe and also secure. This has meant investing in crime prevention programs and strengthening our laws to give police the proper tools to fight crime; tackle crime by holding violent offenders more accountable for their crimes; give victims of crime a stronger voice in the criminal justice system; and increase the efficiency of the justice system. Holding offenders to account, which is a critical goal of the bill before us, is an important part of our efforts to reduce crime and to improve the chances for offenders to reintegrate into the community as law-abiding citizens.

For example, we passed the Truth in Sentencing Act, which provides the courts with clear guidance and limits for granting credit for time served in custody prior to conviction and sentencing.

We also passed the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which made a number of important changes, including restricting the use of conditional sentences, including house arrest; providing better support for victims of crime; increasing offender accountability; and preventing individuals convicted of sexual offences against minors from applying for a record suspension.

We also passed the Drug-Free Prisons Act to improve opportunities for drug testing in our federal penitentiaries and thereby give offenders more chances to succeed in rehabilitation and reintegration. We also passed the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, which will better protect children from a range of sexual offences and exploitation at home and even abroad.

These measures are working in tandem to help us keep our pledge to Canadians that we will support victims and keep dangerous offenders off of our streets. Bill C-644 is one more step in the right direction.

Allow me to begin with a brief overview of how the conditional release system works today.

Offenders may be released on a number of forms of supervised conditional release, including day parole, full parole, or statutory release. This type of release is granted based on an assessment of the risk of reoffending, with a view to gradually returning offenders to the community under supervision. When an assessment indicates that it is safe to release an offender into the community, the Parole Board of Canada, in its capacity as releasing authority, imposes conditions on offenders in an effort to guide their behaviour. It must be said that public safety is always the paramount consideration in how these decisions are made. It is absolutely critical.

All offenders who receive conditional releases are subject to a number of standard conditions. For example, they are required to report to police as instructed, report to their parole officer any changes in address or their financial or domestic situation, and at all times must carry an identity card and release certificate. In addition, special conditions of release that are specific to their risk and needs may also be imposed on offenders. For example, some offenders may be ordered to abstain from alcohol, or be required to observe geographical restrictions. Still others may be ordered to refrain from initiating any contact with their past victims.

As it stands, authorities have a range of potential responses to address any breaches in these conditions, depending on the severity of the breach that has occurred. It is quite possible, however, and sometimes very likely that individuals who do not abide by their parole conditions simply receive a slap on the wrist and sometimes they do not receive any sanctions whatsoever. I think most Canadians would be alarmed by that. In fact, I have stood in this place many times and said that it is important to ensure that the correctional system actually corrects criminal behaviour. Teaching offenders that there are consequences for their actions will help achieve that goal. A slap on the wrist or no recourse at all has the opposite effect.

Let us discuss the two main elements of the bill. The first is to create a new Criminal Code offence for offenders who breach the conditions of conditional release. The second is to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to require that breaches be reported to the appropriate authorities.

The member's stated intention is to ensure that the justice system has the most complete information possible on an offender. I think this is absolutely critical. This includes accurate records on previous breaches of release conditions. In this way, authorities would be able to make the best public safety decisions by taking all available information into account.

Given that the intent of the bill is to increase the accountability of offenders who violate the conditions attached to their conditional release, I am pleased to note that it is a proposal that our government believes has strong merit.

There are further refinements that could be made when this bill is referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. I look forward to continued debate and discussion on this bill, and I certainly hope that all parties will support this important legislation.

Digital Privacy Act June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listen to the remarks of my hon. colleague from Don Valley East. He talked a bit about fighting financial abuse. He went on to say something related to making it easier to contact a family member or next of kin when financial abuse was suspected.

Could the member tell us who might fall victim to this type of financial abuse and why the legislation is so important in order to protect these people?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague, the parliamentary secretary, for all of the work she does in this area as well.

Canada is absolutely a leader when it comes to standing up for human rights and the protection of women, girls, and children, for people all around the world.

As I stated in my previous answer, I did sit on the committee for the status of women, and previously on the citizenship and immigration committee, and this is an issue that is extremely concerning to me. Standing up for the rights of women and the protection of our children is the absolute priority that every single Canadian across this country must take to heart and must stand united on.

It is very unfortunate that the Liberals and the NDP have voted against this bill, are poised to vote against it again at the next reading, and are trying to obstruct it. I am not sure why. It is perhaps that they are trying to win some votes in certain communities. However, I think many of those same communities that they are trying to win votes from actually support this legislation, for all the reasons that our government has brought it forward.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree with everything the minister just said. The NDP members are absolutely on the wrong side of this issue.

I wrote to the majority of women in my constituency of Scarborough Centre. I outlined the aspects of the bill and I asked for their feedback. Overwhelmingly, every single response that came in agreed on these issues and supported our government's stance. Unfortunately, I did not include in that letter notice of the opposition and obstruction of the bill by both the NDP and the Liberals. It is actually very sad.

Prior to being the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, I sat on the status of women committee and the immigration and citizenship committee, and this issue is very dear to my heart.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill S-7, zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.

The measures contained in Bill S-7 are the culmination of the Government of Canada's commitment to improving protection and support for vulnerable individuals, primarily women and children.

In the most recent Speech from the Throne, our Prime Minister acknowledged that millions of women and girls around the world continue to suffer from violence, including the disturbing practices of early and forced marriage. The Speech from the Throne underscored our government's commitment to ensuring that such barbaric cultural practices do not occur in this country. They have no place here in Canada.

In his appearance before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights on the bill, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration made it clear that any practice that involves violence directed at women is barbaric. I think if we asked most Canadians across this country, especially women, they would agree with that statement.

The measures in the bill would help vulnerable women and children in a number of ways.

First, it would strengthen Canadian marriage laws by establishing a new national minimum age for marriage of 16 years old, and by codifying the existing legal requirements for free and enlightened consent for marriage and for ending an existing marriage prior to entering another.

They would render permanent and temporary residents inadmissible if they practised polygamy in Canada. They would criminalize certain conduct related to underage and forced marriage ceremonies, including the act of removing a child from Canada for the purpose of such marriage ceremonies.

It would also create a new and specific preventive court-ordered peace bond to help protect potential victims of underage or forced marriages where there are grounds to fear someone would commit an offence. They would ensure that the defence of provocation would not apply in many spousal homicides and so-called honour killings.

I would like to take a few moments to focus specifically on those measures in Bill S-7 that address early and forced marriages, practices that contradict Canadian values and cause great harm to their victims.

There is currently no national minimum age for marrying in Canada. Provincial and territorial legislation set out certain ages for additional requirements, such as parental consent for those under the age of majority, or court approval for even younger children. However, they lack the constitutional jurisdiction to set the absolute minimum age below which no child can marry. Again, it is lacking.

Federal law currently sets the absolute minimum age at 16 years old, but only in Quebec. In other parts of Canada, the common law applies because there is no federal legislation. The common law minimum age causes uncertainty. It is usually interpreted as a minimum of 12 years of age for girls and 14 years of age for boys. That is 12 for girls, and 14 for boys.

Amending the Civil Marriage Act to set a national minimum age of 16 years old for marriage would make it clear that underage marriage is unacceptable in Canada and will not be tolerated. Even though, in practice, very few marriages in Canada now involve people under the age of 16, it is important that we clarify the law.

Other significant amendments to the Civil Marriage Act proposed in Bill S-7 include codifying the requirement that those getting married must give their free and enlightened consent to marry each other. The amendments would codify the requirement for the dissolution of any previous marriage as well.

Continuing on from proposed amendments to the Civil Marriage Act, Bill S-7 also contains measures that would amend the Criminal Code to help deter and prevent forced or underage marriage. These measures would criminalize knowingly officiating at an underage or forced marriage; actively participating in a wedding ceremony, knowing that one party is marrying another against his or her will or is under 16 years old; and removing a minor from Canada for a forced or underage marriage.

There is also a new peace bond, which would give courts the power to impose conditions on an individual when there are reasonable grounds to fear that a forced marriage, or a marriage under the age of 16, would otherwise occur. The ways such a peace bond could be used to prevent an underage or forced marriage include requiring the surrender of a passport and preventing a child from being taken out of Canada.

This is important for young women, women across this country, and for our children. It would help to prevent family members from taking them out of the country to be forcibly married, without being placed in the difficult situation of requiring individual women or girls to press criminal charges against another family member.

All of the provisions in Bill S-7, including those that address underage and forced marriage, would help to ensure that women and girls are protected from isolation and violence.

Women seeking a better life in Canada should never be subjected to fear and threat of violence or death simply for seeking better opportunities for themselves and living their lives the way they choose to.

We know that immigrant and newcomer women and girls may face additional barriers in protecting themselves and seeking assistance compared to women who are born in Canada. We want to ensure that the protection and assistance they need is available when they need it. Everyone here in Canada deserves the same protection.

All violence directed against women and girls, including the practices for early and forced marriage, have a very negative impact on families and society in general. They also seriously affect all those who are directly involved, from influencing immigration outcomes, to breaking down opportunities for integration and success and creating isolation and fear.

Bill S-7 would strengthen our laws, protecting women and girls from violent and barbaric cultural practices. I am sure we would all agree that we must stand up for all victims of violence and abuse and take the necessary actions to prevent these practices from happening in Canada.

By enacting Bill S-7, our government is sending a strong message to those in Canada, and also those who wish to come to Canada, that we will not tolerate activities in this country that deprive individuals of their human rights. We are sending a signal that we respect the freedom of choice of all individuals, regardless of gender.

That is exactly what we would do by ensuring that the bill is passed into law. I urge all of my hon. colleagues in the House who will be voting on the bill to stand up for the rights of vulnerable women and children, vulnerable women and girls, and join me in supporting the passage of the bill.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened very intently to the member's earlier speech before question period. He made a comment questioning why there would be criminal charges if it is within a family. Child abuse and incest are within a family as well, and thank goodness we have laws against those offences to protect young people across this country.

The member also scoffs at the title of this bill, saying that it should not be called “barbaric cultural practices”. When someone who is a minor, a child, a girl of 12 or 13, is forced into an early marriage with a man 40 years old who is overseas, from another country, that young woman, that young girl, that child is going to be raped every single day for the rest of her life.

How could the member not think that is barbaric? Does he just simply think it is all in the family?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have taken this bill to heart. It is one that resonates with almost every woman across the country. In fact, I wrote to every woman in my constituency and I received back unanimous support. Every person who wrote back to me was in favour of the bill for the very reasons that it would protect women and girls.

This could also happen to a young man or boy, however, the reality is that it is young affects women and girls. How important is it to stand up and protect vulnerable women and young children in our country?