House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was million.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for St. John's South—Mount Pearl (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Lost her last election, in 2011, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Fisheries and Oceans September 17th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government, at the end of the last sitting, tabled proposed amendments to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization agreement.

The proposed amendments threaten the sustainability of our country's fish stocks. Further, the changes are a threat to the sovereignty of our nation.

It is of such extreme concern that former senior executives of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who have extensive NAFO experience have taken the unprecedented step of speaking out, calling the amendments a “sellout of Canadian interests”.

The proposed changes to the agreement give an increased influence to NAFO inside the Canadian 200-mile limit. One clause even allows under certain circumstances for NAFO to apply its own measures in the coastal waters of Canada.

At the same time that the Prime Minister speaks of concerns on Arctic sovereignty, his government brings in amendments to an agreement which compromise the sovereignty of the country. The Conservatives promised custodial management but, instead, they tabled an amendment that could allow foreign intervention. How can we trust the government?

The Prime Minister should stand up for Canada and tear up these amendments.

Employment Insurance Act September 17th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. member for such an elegant impassioned speech.

The Conservative government has been reluctantly dragged into making some changes to the employment insurance program at a time when there is incredible devastation in our country with regard to employment and jobs.

What I note is that this Conservative proposal is dividing the unemployed into those deserving increased benefits and those not deserving. I assume that is what the government is doing.

I look at the fact that we have so many seasonal workers, so many workers who are in fields who would not meet the criteria to allow them to access this new proposal that the Conservatives have put forward. Five hundred thousand people have lost their jobs, yet the Conservative proposal, using its figures and I am not sure where its figures are coming from, says it will affect 190,000 people.

What about the other 300,000 people the Conservatives are not helping under this program? I am just wondering if the hon. member could answer the question, why does she think the Harper Conservatives are discriminating in this employment—

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 14th, 2009

With regards to the support of the sealing industry in Canada: (a) what actions have been taken by the government to correct misinformation being spread concerning the seal harvest by animal rights extremists; (b) what correspondence has been exchanged by the Government of Canada and other governments related to the seal industry, and what is the contents of this correspondence; (c) have any reports or briefing notes been prepared on this issue and, if so, what are the contents of these reports; and (d) how much has the government spent in marketing and advertising in support of the seal industry in 2007-2008 and in 2008-2009?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 14th, 2009

With regards to the boundary dispute between France and Canada related to the seabed off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador near the islands of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon: (a) what actions has the government taken in relation to this dispute; (b) what correspondence has been exchanged between Canada and France on this issue, and what are the contents of this correspondence; (c) what correspondence has been exchanged between the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on this issue, and what are the contents of this correspondence; and (d) have any reports been prepared on this issue for the government, and what are the contents of these reports?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 14th, 2009

With regard to government funding for research and development activity: (a) what research and development projects have received federal funds in Newfoundland and Labrador in the past fiscal year; (b) how many of these projects have required matching provincial, municipal, or private funding and what is the breakdown of funding matched for each project; (c) how much federal research and development funding has gone into each province and territory on a per capita basis; (d) as a percentage of the gross domestic product, how much federal funding has gone into research and development funding in each province and territory; (e) what reports have been prepared to analyze or make suggestions related to strategies for increasing research and development activities in the Atlantic Region, and what are the contents of these reports; and (f) what reports have been prepared to analyze or make suggestions related to strategies for increasing research and development activities in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and what are the contents of these reports?

Questions on the Order Paper September 14th, 2009

With regards to government advertising, how much money has the government spent on television and radio advertising since January 1, 2006, giving particulars of (i) how much has been spent by each department or agency of government, (ii) the subject and nature of each advertisement, (iii) the broadcast outlet on which each ad was broadcast, giving the name and location of the station, (iv) the dates on which the advertisements aired?

Search and Rescue September 14th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador today are reeling from another tragedy at sea. As rescue efforts continue for one missing crew member, questions are again being asked about the adequate availability of search and rescue service.

I ask the minister responsible for search and rescue, given this most recent tragedy off our coast, will the minister now do a total review of search and rescue service in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Sealing Industry June 17th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, sealing has thrived in Newfoundland and Labrador for hundreds of years. Today, as in the past, the seal harvest remains an integral part of our economy, employing over 6,000 people. The focus remains on a sustainable harvest that is based on solid science, an industry based on the full utilization of the animal and humane harvesting methods with no tolerance for any inhumane practices.

Despite misinformation being spread by animal rights extremists, the seal population continues to thrive and is nowhere near being an endangered species. The northwest Atlantic harp seal population is now estimated to be approximately 5.4 million animals, nearly triple the population it was in the 1970s.

Despite what the animal rights groups say, there are no seal pups or baby seals being killed. In fact, such activities are against the law. The marine mammal regulations prohibit the trade, sale or barter of fur.

I would like to thank the members of our caucus for wearing symbols of their support for sealers today.

June 15th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it takes a lot of nerve to stand up and say that we are not going to have a deficit, repeatedly, and then turn around and show $2 billion in deficit. It takes a lot of nerve to stand up and say there will not be a recession when we are in the midst of one. I find it highly unusual that he would use that term of phrase.

I find it interesting, as well, that the government is leaving 400,000 Canadians without employment insurance, and we are hearing a number of announcements being made but no one is actually telling us how much is being spent.

I am going to ask the government this question. How much money has it actually spent in infrastructure over the last 90 days, and how much money will it spend, not announce but spend, in the next 90 days?

June 15th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, in April, I asked the government to provide a response on how it was creating jobs for Canadians and where the details for its economic recovery plan could be found. Instead of a response, I received an indication that the details I was looking for would be contained in the government's quarterly report to Parliament. Alas, as we have seen, this is clearly not the case.

It was only a few short months ago that the government said that there would not be a recession. Now Canada has been and continues to be in one of the most brutal recessions it has seen. We have seen six consecutive quarters of zero or negative labour productivity growth. This is the worst record on this economic marker since Statistics Canada began collecting data on this measure in 1980.

There have been more than 1.4 million Canadians waiting in unemployment lines across the country and near record numbers are filing for bankruptcy. The economy is performing poorly. However, instead of looking for ways to increase our competitive advantages in the global market, the government continues to reannounce funding without actually delivering it to hard hit communities.

Last fall, the government also said that there would be no deficit. In fact, in October the Prime Minister told Canadians that he would never run a deficit. In November he went on to project four consecutive surplus budgets for his government. That was November. We now know that at the time the government already knew that would not be possible.

The truth, as we now know, is that the Conservative government had this country's finances in the red by more than $2 billion in the 2008-09 fiscal year. While the Minister of Finance was publicly saying that the financial picture was “on track” to meet his economic action plan, he was really crafting the largest budget deficit in Canadian history.

The government said that there would be no deficit but the deficit has now ballooned to more than $50 billion. I cannot help but wonder which track the government thinks we are actually on. Job losses are climbing, productivity is falling and businesses are failing.

Small businesses, the biggest generator of jobs in this country, are being hard hit by the economic downturn and the government is doing precious little to help. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimates that small enterprises represent roughly half of Canada's economic situation. They employ more than five million people or close to half of all the private sector jobs and private sector employees in Canada.

There is historical evidence to show that small businesses have been the creator of new jobs even during economic downturn. For example, small business continued to create jobs through the 1982-83 recession when large companies were having to cut back.

A recent poll of small business owners conducted by the Angus Reid Strategies group shows that the past six months have been particularly rough for small businesses. Two-thirds responded that they were stressed by the state of the economy. More than half said that their financial positions were currently on a downturn and two in five reported that the situation was getting worse.

Access to capital is a prime concern for small business. Equity markets and foreign banks have withdrawn from lending. A new study recently revealed that access to capital was the number one concern facing the biotechnology and life sciences industry, for example. The study, compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that half of the survey respondents said that raising capital was their largest business problem.

What exactly is the government doing to deliver on its plan to get our economy going again?