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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was tell.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Mississauga South (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Infrastructure June 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister announced a major contribution from the federal government to help improve transit in the city of Toronto and the GTA, including Mississauga.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs please inform the House on the impact this announcement will have for the people of Toronto and the surrounding region?

Taxation June 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadians in Mississauga South want lower taxes, more jobs, and a growing economy. The Liberal Party leader offers none of that. His high-tax plan for Canadians will cut jobs in my community, across Canada, across every sector, and it will weaken the economy.

Just recently, the leader of the Liberal Party stated that he would introduce a $1,000 payroll tax on all Canadians. For families and seniors in Mississauga South, this could be devastating. He believes that taking money away from Canadians is what is best for them, that he can spend it better than they can. Well, on this side of the House, we believe in standing up for all Canadians and putting money back into their pockets.

The Liberal leader's reckless schemes make it obvious that he is simply not ready to be prime minister.

Life Means Life Act June 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by the member opposite. She talked about missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls, as well as street gangs, and then went on to say that this bill is based on misinformation and does not provide true solutions to real problems. I would argue that it is a real problem when victims in this country are not treated with the respect they deserve, and part of that respect includes receiving justice for those who have committed crimes against their loved ones.

My question is perhaps a more personal one for the member. I would like to know if she has heard any concerns from victims themselves, if people have told her it is fair that when criminals are given life sentences that they should indeed serve those life sentences.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would agree that this is all about protecting victims. I think sometimes the opposition does not understand that this really is a serious issue. This bill was necessary. There were 219 cases of forced marriage reported in a report released in August 2013. In a two- or three-year period, between 2010 and 2012, there were 219 cases. That is not just one victim too many; that is 219 victims too many.

This bill shows that our government will not tolerate spousal abuse, honour killings, and other gender-based violence. We will not allow any of that to happen as a pretext to immigration as well, and that is a very important point to note, which is addressed in this bill.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address the hon. member's question about provocation. While it may be true that it is not a defence that has been used, we would be codifying that the defence of provocation has to be substantive. For example, one could not use as a defence dating a person whom one's family does not approve of, as a reason or as provocation. Instead, under this legislation, an accused could only use that defence of provocation if the victim were committing an act of violence that led to an offence indictable by five years or more. We are making sure that, if someone says, “I am going to use the defence of provocation as an excuse for this honour killing”, that is simply not possible.

As for her earlier question regarding polygamy, absolutely it has been illegal in this country since 1890, but this bill would provide immigration officers the tools they need to render applicants for temporary and permanent residency inadmissible due to polygamy. It is a regulation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, not a provision in the Criminal Code.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

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

In October 2013, our government committed to ensuring that early and forced marriage does not take place on Canadian soil. Bill S-7 delivers on that promise. This bill proposes to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code in order to enhance the existing protections against harmful and violent practices that are perpetrated primarily against women and girls. I would like to take this opportunity to situate this bill in the context of the many substantive measures that this government has taken to address violence against women and girls in Canada.

As Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration explained before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights, all violent acts committed against women and girls are unacceptable in our democratic Canada. Our government has taken and continues to take action to address various forms of violence against women and girls. Bill S-7 supplements Canada's robust responses to violence against women and girls by addressing some areas where gaps have been identified, such as the response to early and forced marriage, and strengthens the legislative tools in relation to other forms of gender-based violence, such as polygamy and so-called honour killings, as well as spousal homicides. This bill addresses certain forms of violence against women and girls that reflect antiquated notions of women as property or as mere vessels of family honour and reputation. These notions are clearly inconsistent with fundamental Canadian values of equality between men and women.

The zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act introduces important legislative measures that would protect potential and actual victims of early and forced marriage. Bill S-7 proposes to set the absolute minimum age of marriage at 16 in the Civil Marriage Act, and to codify in that same act the requirements that a marriage involve free and enlightened consent and that all previous marriages be dissolved prior to entering into a new marriage. This bill also introduces changes to the Criminal Code to criminalize active participation in an underage or forced marriage and to criminalize removing a child from Canada for these same harmful purposes.

Moreover, Bill S-7 expands the peace bond regime in the Criminal Code to provide for a new court order designed to prevent an underage or forced marriage from taking place in Canada, or to prevent a child from being taken out of the country to be forced into a marriage. In addition, Bill S-7 proposes to limit the defence of provocation, as we have heard a number of times this afternoon, in the Criminal Code so it could not be raised in cases involving so-called honour killings and in many spousal homicides where the alleged provocation often consists of verbal or offensive but otherwise lawful behaviour.

Finally, this bill puts forward important changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that would specify that a permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible if he or she practises polygamy in Canada.

I would like to take a few moments to point out how the proposed amendments in this bill would align Canada with many like-minded countries around the world.

First, in relation to early marriage, Bill S-7 introduces a minimum age of 16 below which marriages could no longer be legally conducted in Canada even with parental or court consent. There has been some misunderstanding about this provision of the bill, so let me be perfectly clear. The free age of marriage in Canada, or the age at which a child becomes an adult and can give consent to marry on his or her own with no additional requirements, is 18 or 19 years of age, depending on the province or territory where the marriage takes place. Bill S-7 does not change this. Instead, Bill S-7 proposes to legislate in relation to the absolute minimum age of legal capacity for marriage, which is a matter of federal jurisdiction under the Constitution. Currently, federal law sets age 16 as the lowest age for marriage only in the province of Quebec. Elsewhere in Canada, as there is no federal legislation, the old pre-Confederation common law applies. This bill proposes to close that loophole and set a national floor at 16, below which marriages may not be legally conducted.

If we compare Canada with similarly situated countries, we see that many have set the lowest age for anyone to marry at age 16, including the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, and Norway. This is what Bill S-7 proposes to do.

Several other like-minded countries have set 18 as the age at which a person can marry without the requirement for consent from their parents or the courts. These countries have no absolute minimum age of marriage: Belgium, France, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and most of the United States. This is similar to the current law in Canada.

It is important to point out that many countries cited as setting the minimum age for marriage at age 18 actually have a similar legal structure to that of Canada. They set age 18 as the free age, or the age of majority, meaning that a person can marry without any other person's consent.

This is subject to a number of exceptions where a person below the age of 18 can marry with some form of additional consent or approval, and so it does not represent the absolute minimum age. In fact, very few countries have set their lowest age for anyone to marry at age 18. Switzerland is the only similarly situated country that we are aware of to have done so.

Bill S-7 addresses certain gaps in the range of existing measures to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls in Canada. Our Conservative government is taking steps to strengthen our laws and to help ensure that no young woman or girl in Canada becomes a victim of early or forced marriage, polygamy, so-called honour-based violence, or any other form of harmful cultural practice.

I would be pleased to take any questions about any of these other important aspects of the bill as well.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill and align Canada with like-minded countries that are grappling with similar forms of violence against women and girls.

As a former member of the parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women, I am just so proud to be able to support this very important bill. It would affect many hundreds of young girls going forward. These girls live in Canada and perhaps might have backgrounds different from my daughter's and her experiences growing up, but I think we have a responsibility to protect them from violence and barbaric cultural practices.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, an actual victim of early and forced marriage had this to say about the bill:

Forced into an abusive marriage at 17 and unable to leave it for 18 years, I can attest to the fact that a forced marriage is effectively a life of slavery. I congratulate the Canadian government for taking a bold step on behalf of women who have nowhere to turn for help.

This was said by Aruna Papp, a woman I had the great honour of meeting. She was a victim of this barbaric practice of forced marriage and commends this government for taking action. I am wondering if the hon. member opposite has a comment to make on Aruna Papp's statement.

Taxation June 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has consistently lowered taxes and created voluntary savings options, like the tax-free savings account. Our low-tax plan saves $6,600 this year for a typical family, but the Liberal leader has exposed his scheme to cut back tax-free savings accounts and hike taxes.

Could the Minister of State for Finance please clarify the government's position on mandatory payroll taxes?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 11th, 2015

With regard to government funding in the riding of Mississauga South, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) 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?

Taxation June 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can trust only this Conservative government to give them the ability to keep their hard-earned money to spend on their priorities.

Last month we learned that the Liberal leader wants to bring in a mandatory expansion of the Canada pension plan. This is absolutely unacceptable to the people of my riding of Mississauga South. His plan would kill jobs and hike taxes on hard-working Canadians. My constituents understand that this would mean that an individual earning $60,000 would have to pay $1,000 more in taxes.

Our government rejects this, the people of Mississauga South reject this, and on this side of the House we cut taxes, we do not raise them.