House of Commons photo

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

Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act March 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, my colleague's point that the minister has arbitrary, sole power to designate or determine the status of a refugee based on his or her country of origin being designated a safe country is completely false. I would like to reiterate that: it is completely false.

The most important factors determining whether countries are deemed safe or not are objective and quantitative. That information is based on previous refugee claimants or asylum seekers who have either actually walked away from their claims to begin with or were refused by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

To ensure that the member opposite knows the facts, I would reiterate that this is not at the sole discretion of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

The hon. member across the way has also mentioned the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I would also state that her point is completely false: the legislation before the House today is not in violation of those rights and freedoms but is correct and legitimate.

Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act March 15th, 2012

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today and have the opportunity to speak on Bill C-31 protecting Canada's immigration system act.

Canada has the most fair and generous immigration system in the world. However, our immigration system is open to abuse. Canadians are generous people, but we have no tolerance for those who abuse that generosity and who take unfair advantage of our great country.

Canadians have told us, loud and clear, that they want us to put a stop to this type of abuse. Our government has listened and we are taking action. That is why our Conservative government introduced Bill C-31. It would make our immigration system faster and fairer. It is the latest step by our government to ensure that our immigration system is no longer abused by foreign criminals, bogus refugee claimants and human smugglers.

This bill includes three major components. First, it includes much needed reforms to our refugee system. Second, this bill includes the provisions in C-4, preventing human smugglers from abusing Canada's immigration system act. There is one important difference to note. It has been brought up in the House today, but it is important to stress once again, that there is now an exemption from detention for anyone under the age of 16.

Third, and the focus of my remarks today, is that this bill would provide the government with the authority to collect biometric data, specifically fingerprints and a photograph from foreign nationals who seek to enter Canada.

Canada welcomes thousands upon thousands of visitors each and every year, tourists, family members and business people, among others. In 2010, under our Conservative government, over 920,000 temporary visa permits were issued. That is a 13% increase compared to the previous Liberal government.

We have also increased the maximum length of multiple entry visas from 5 to 10 years to make it easier for eligible applicants to visit Canada and come back. Our government introduced the parent and grandparent super visa so that loved ones can visit their children and grandchildren for a period of up to two years at a time. Since 2006, our government has also lifted visa requirements from eight countries: Taiwan, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary and Lithuania.

Our government is facilitating the travel of legitimate travellers to Canada. I want to stress the word “legitimate”. It is no secret that there are countless numbers of people, each and every year, who are not allowed to come to Canada and who nevertheless find their way in.

There are countless examples on almost a daily basis of violent criminals, terrorists, human smugglers and war criminals, among others, who have entered Canada using false or fraudulent documents. There are several examples of criminals entering Canada on multiple occasions even after they have been deported. There are even examples of criminals re-entering Canada using false identities and documents up to 15, 19, 21 different times.

We must take action. We cannot allow this to continue. This has to stop. Biometrics would help our government end this fraud and the obvious abuse. Biometrics would help our government protect the safety and security of all Canadians. That is one of the number one priorities of any government. Biometrics is one of the most effective ways to correctly identify individuals. Biometrics would be an important new tool to help protect the safety and security of Canadians by reducing identity fraud and identity theft. As fraudsters become more sophisticated, biometrics would improve our ability to keep violent criminals and those who pose a threat to Canada out of Canada.

Let me explain how biometrics would work. When foreign nationals apply for a visa to enter Canada, they would go to a visa office or one of the many visa application centres located around the world. They would provide their fingerprints and have a high quality, digital photo taken.

This data would then be checked against other databases. If no flags were raised and they met all other criteria, they would be provided with a visa to visit Canada. However, if a flag were raised and a person found to be inadmissible, that person would be denied a visa to enter Canada.

When the visa holders enter Canada, they would again be asked to provide their biometric data. This would ensure the person who is entering Canada is the same person who provided the data when he or she applied overseas and who was approved to travel on that visa.

In other words, we must ensure that “who applies is who arrives”. Needless to say, biometrics would be an effective security tool.

Understandably, there are concerns about privacy when it comes to the collection of biometric data. I would like to be perfectly clear. Biometric data would not be required of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The personal information of visa applicants would be used, retained, shared and disposed of in accordance with Canada's privacy laws. Citizenship and Immigration is working closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on the implementation of biometrics. In fact, the Privacy Commissioner's office has stated that it is “satisfied that CIC is taking its privacy responsibilities as part of the protocol seriously, and with the fact that it has been receptive to much of our advice”.

It is also important to note that if someone acquired Canadian citizenship before their biometric data was due to be disposed of, it would be disposed of immediately upon the individual receiving citizenship.

The collection of biometric data makes such common sense that the only question it begs is why it was not done decades ago. In fact, it was done decades ago in many other countries around the world. Bill C-31 would finally put us in line with other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, countries of the European Union, New Zealand, the United States and Japan.

Biometrics would not just help our government keep those who pose a threat out, it would also facilitate the travel of legitimate visitors, and again I stress “legitimate“. It could lead to faster processing times.

There has been widespread support for biometrics. In fact, a Globe and Mail editorial on Bill C-31 stated:

The bill will also implement biometric identification, such as fingerprints and photos, for people who apply for visitor’s visas. This welcome change will guard against the use of false identities.

A Montreal Gazette editorial gave the following praise. It stated:

And it allows for the collection of biometric data--fingerprints and digital photos--of people entering Canada on a visitor visa, a work permit or a study visa. Both of these measures are advisable.... The collection of biometric information is a sensible security precaution that will be a valuable tool in preventing people from slipping into the country with false identities.

I know that all Canadians want our government to strengthen our security screening process to ensure that serious criminals, terrorists, bogus refugee claimants and war criminals, among others, are not permitted to enter Canada. My constituents in Scarborough Centre do not want these criminals to be able to enter Canada or live in our neighbourhoods. I am certain the NDP and Liberal MPs' constituents do not either. That is why I was so shocked to learn that the opposition parties, both the NDP and the Liberals, are voting against this bill and against the use of biometrics. Not only do they oppose the provisions to give the government the authority to collect biometrics, they also voted against the funding necessary to start the collection of biometric data. In other words, the NDP and Liberals have voted against and continue to vote against one of the most important measures to prevent criminals and terrorists from entering our great country. They are voting against a tool that would help protect the safety and security of all Canadians, including their own constituents. For that they will be held accountable.

Bill C-31, protecting Canada's immigration systems act, would make our immigration system faster and fairer. Most importantly, it would help protect the safety and security of all Canadians. I implore all members of the House to support this important and much needed piece of legislation.

Toronto Fire Services March 13th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to honour the men and women of Toronto Fire Services, in particular the brave firefighters who risk their lives every day to protect and save the lives of others.

In my constituency of Scarborough Centre, we are fortunate to have two fire halls within our boundaries, Station 245 on Birchmount Road and Station 232 at 1550 Midland Road, which is just steps from my constituency office at the corner of Midland and Lawrence Avenues. I should also note that the fire prevention division is also located in the heart of my riding of Scarborough Centre.

I am very proud of all of our City of Toronto firefighters. I have to admit there is one I am particularly fond of, my husband, Robert, who is acting captain of Station 141. He is here in Ottawa today, along with our two children.

Today I would like to thank all Toronto Fire Services personnel, especially our firefighters. I am in awe of their bravery and their dedication to the safety of the citizens of my great city.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act February 29th, 2012

Madam Speaker, Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to deliver safer streets and communities with our tough on crime agenda, and that includes holding offenders accountable and developing a correctional system that actually corrects criminal behaviour.

During our last debate on Bill C-293, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (vexatious complainants), the NDP member for Châteauguay—Saint-Constant was correct when he noted that this bill has a laudable goal. The goal of the bill is to crack down on vexatious complainants, attention seeking inmates who wilfully abuse the fair complaint process and prevent it from functioning properly.

The NDP member was also correct when he stated, “the complaint and grievance process is a tool that helps ensure transparency and accountability”. While the process is valuable, there is still room for improvement. Accountability is a two-way street and prison inmates who file grievances should be held accountable for the complaints that they file.

Bill C-293 would correct a costly problem that currently exists in Canada's correctional system. The bill targets a specific group of inmates who file more than 100 grievances per year. The accumulated total of these complaints account for a whopping 15% of all grievances filed, with some cases occurring where offenders have filed in excess of 500 grievances.

The bill would allow the Commissioner of Correctional Services Canada, or his assigned representative, to designate an offender as a vexatious complainant. Once this has occurred, the offender would be held to a higher standard of proof for future claims. Someone designated as a vexatious complainant would have his or her complaint shut down after the first of four levels of the grievance process if the institution decided that the claim was vexatious and not made in good faith.

I am certain that Bill C-293 would considerably improve how grievances are processed in our correctional system.

Bill C-293 is important to Canadians for the following reasons: One, the current system does not require that grievances be filed in good faith. Two, the current system is a financial burden on the taxpayer. Three, the system allows prisoners to act like they are the victims. Our government was given a mandate to support Canadian families and law-abiding citizens and this means supporting the real victims of crime. Four, allowing prisoners to file numerous frivolous complaints detracts from their ability to focus on real rehabilitation. Five, the present system creates a negative impact on the morale of staff involved in managing the grievance process.

The benefits of Bill C-293 are obvious. I must say that I am very pleased to hear that the members of the Liberal Party, hon. colleagues of mine, will be supporting sending this bill to committee.

I would like to state the specific reason Bill C-293 is a benefit. The correctional system would no longer require correctional staff to process large volumes of complaints without merit. This would mean that the correctional system with respect to the complaint process would function more effectively and in the manner that it is supposed to by focusing on legitimate complaints.

Ultimately, Bill C-293 would correct a costly loophole in our correctional system which would be a benefit to all Canadian taxpayers. In the last debate on Bill C-293, my hon. colleague from the NDP stated, “The NDP supports legislation that will make our prisons safer. We also support legislation that will allow our prisons to operate in a quick, fair and efficient manner”.

If that is the case, then I am sure the official opposition, the NDP, will vote with our government and the Liberal Party of Canada in support of the bill.

Black History Month February 1st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, every February Canadians celebrate Black History Month by learning about and reflecting upon the legacy and accomplishments of black Canadians.

In conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, we are taking a special look this year at the important contributions made by black soldiers to the historic battles that helped define our country.

Many former slaves and black Loyalists fought on the Canadian side during the War of 1812. They settled in places such as Nova Scotia and in my province of Ontario. They and their descendants formed communities that continue to enrich Canada to this very day.

This February, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about how black Canadians have helped contribute to and shape our great country, and to participate in activities in their communities that celebrate this important part of our Canadian heritage.

Justice January 30th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about crime and the reaction I have heard from my constituents regarding yesterday's verdict in the so-called honour killings of four women in Kingston confirms this very fact. We now know that the Shafia sisters, along with Rona Amir Mohammed, were killed because they were women, women who wanted nothing more than to live their lives according to Canadian values, free from oppression and free from violence.

As Justice Maranger said yesterday, “it is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime than killing your own children for no other reason than some perverted sense of honour”.

Could the Minister of Justice please provide the House with our government's view of the so-called—

Scarborough Historical Museum December 14th, 2011

Mr.Speaker, I rise today to talk about the Scarborough Historical Museum located at the entrance of Thomson Memorial Park in my riding of Scarborough Centre.

Earlier this year, I met the museum's curator, Madelaine Callaghan, and stepped through the doors of yesteryear by way of a museum tour. I also had the opportunity to meet many of the wonderful youth who had benefited from the museum's youth diversity experience program, a program designed to integrate newcomer youth into their community through heritage and cultural projects. That is why I am very pleased to hear that, under the interaction multicultural grants and contributions program of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Scarborough museum has received a $400,000 grant to expand and enhance this program.

I congratulate Ms. Callaghan on the expansion of the youth program. I also want to recognize the Scarborough museum as an important part of our Canadian heritage.

Business of Supply December 5th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting that the member talks about the environment and yet it was her party that signed on to the Kyoto agreement, an agreement that saw less than 20% of the world's emitters participating in that agreement. In fact, some of the largest emitters in the world were excluded from that agreement, including China, India and the United States.

Canadians want real action on the environment and this government is committed to that real action. That is why I am so very proud that we recently announced $600.8 million in funding to achieve the real target that Conservatives will get to.

Business of Supply December 5th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, yes, the member is absolutely correct. The government will always take into consideration both the environment and balancing the economy, unlike the opposition parties. Unlike the NDP, we will never sacrifice jobs, the economy and growth in this country by killing jobs and stalling the economy with taxation on different things for the environment.

I am very proud of the commitment that our government has taken with regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to air quality improvements. As I mentioned in my speech, along with respective programs in place, we have actually reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost one-quarter per cent toward our targets of 2020.

When Canadians expect to see real action on the environment, they can count on the Conservatives to deliver that, while balancing the economy and ensuring that we continue with our low tax plan for jobs and growth.

Business of Supply December 5th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to this important issue and our government's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air quality for all Canadians.

We are approaching the sixth anniversary of the successful clean air regulatory agenda. Our government developed this program in 2006 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve air quality. We want this good work to continue, so we have announced that over the next five years we will invest $600.8 million to continue the clean air regulatory agenda. This funding will sustain the clean air agenda's considerable momentum, providing the scientific research, monitoring, modelling, regulation and enforcement required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. In short, it will ensure that Canadians will literally breathe much easier.

We are also taking strong action to address climate change. Our government has committed to reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Given the highly integrated nature of the Canadian and American economies, we have aligned our target with that of the United States of America. We also have stated policy to align our greenhouse gas mitigation approaches with those of the U.S., as appropriate in the Canadian context.

We are pursuing a sector by sector approach by developing regulated performance standards for the major emitting sectors in Canada in tandem with the United States. We have also put in place a number of measures to reduce emissions from our key greenhouse gas sources. Together with existing provincial measures, we are already about a quarter of the way toward meeting our 2020 target. We started by developing regulations for transportation and coal-fired electricity, two of the largest GHG emitting sectors.

In the transportation sector, we have been working with the U.S. for some time to put in place harmonized greenhouse gas regulations. As members know, the North American automotive industry is highly integrated. Therefore, a harmonized approach is critical. We have established progressively tighter GHG emission standards for new cars and light trucks over the 2011-16 model years in alignment with U.S. national standards. We are now working with the U.S. on developing harmonized and progressively more stringent targets and standards for 2017 and later model years. In fact, we just released a consultation document on the development of the proposed regulations.

The government is also developing regulations to establish greenhouse gas emission requirements for new heavy-duty vehicles harmonized with that of the United States.

In the electricity sector, we published proposed regulations for coal-fired electricity generating units. These proposed regulations would help enhance Canada's position as a world leader in clean electricity generation and would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality for all Canadians. They would promote a transition toward lower or non-emitting types of generation.

The government's recent announcement for funding for clear air will allow us to continue to implement and enforce these regulations to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions from these key sectors.

In addition to supporting the government's climate change agenda, the clean air regulatory agenda also supports the government's equally important efforts to improve the air that Canadians breathe. We have been working with the provinces, industry and non-governmental organizations to finalize and implement a new national air quality management system, a system that will include new ambient air quality standards for key pollutants, new emissions requirements for major industrial sectors and equipment groups, and the management of air quality at the local and regional level. The funding that we have just announced will allow us to carry this work forward and to address air quality in a very comprehensive manner.

Three additional components of air quality management will also be addressed or continued: one, strengthen commitments to reduce transboundary air pollution under the Canada–U.S. Air Quality Agreement given that air pollution does not respect national borders; two, measures to improve indoor air quality, an important component as Canadians spend approximately 90% of their time indoors; and three, nationwide implementation of the air quality health index, known as AQHI, to help Canadians make informed decisions to protect their health.

These important efforts to improve air quality will have a very real, everyday impact on Canadians across this country from coast to coast to coast.

At the same time, we are continuing to develop and implement further measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in other major sectors, including the oil and gas sector, complemented by additional provincial and territorial actions in the respective jurisdictions.

Canadians expect and deserve real action on climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of air. This government is taking those actions. Together, these measures I have outlined on climate change and air quality will continue to contribute to improving the environment, the air that we breathe and the health of all Canadians.