House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was status.

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

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

First, Mr. Speaker, I point out that when the Liberal government was in power for over 10 years, it did nothing to help women and girls, let alone aboriginal women and girls.

I do not know how the member can wonder what we are doing for women and girls in general, because no government has done more for women and girls and aboriginal women and girls than this government.

What we have accomplished in the last even five years is improved community safety, and that is working well. We have established a national centre for missing persons and unidentified remains. We have launched a new website for tips. We have developed a police database, a compendium of best practices to help communities. We have developed community safety plans, funded awareness materials, and allocated $25 million toward the missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is correct. I did sit on that committee for approximately a year, and I heard the same thing the member heard. When we listened to the families of the victims, only one family member asked for a national inquiry after she was finished her statement.

I am not sure why the member opposite thinks all the organizations and every aboriginal woman and girl is supporting a national inquiry, because that is not so.

Here are some examples. Despite the opposition's assertions that we are not listening to indigenous communities, we have heard some resounding support for our action plan.

The commissioner, James Wilson, of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba had this to say:

The announcement of [this] framework is a solid step towards building a new relationship that will address and overcome this issue. Through this relationship, we can help shape a brighter future for Indigenous women and girls across the country.

The president of the National Association of Friendship Centres spoke up and offered this input:

Experience has shown us that the most effective way to address this critical and troubling issue is in our own communities through targeted and sustained investments that address community needs and priorities. [This action plan] sets us on the right path to advance this important work.

We are listening to them.

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this important debate on the concurrence motion before the House today. I want to thank all the members of the special committee on all sides of the House who participated in this important study.

Our government takes this issue very seriously. I was pleased to be a part of the committee that heard from several expert witnesses, along with the families of the victims.

It is so important to speak to the first nations who have been affected and ask them how we can help. How can we work to break the cycle of violence? I am proud to speak about the special committee's report today and highlight the good work the committee has accomplished.

We have done Canadians a great service by bringing attention to this serious issue and shedding light on this complex problem. Our government is deeply committed to ensuring justice for all Canadians and to cracking down on crime.

The research is clear. Aboriginal women experience high rates of violence. The RCMP's recent report, for example, has confirmed that aboriginal women are overrepresented among murdered and missing women. Far too many aboriginal families have felt the effects of violent crime and have lived with the aftermath. This is unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour.

Canada is a country where those who break the law are punished, where penalties match the severity of the crimes committed and where the rights of the victims are fully recognized. Abhorrent acts of violence are not tolerated in our society. These violent crimes must be strongly denounced by the communities in which they occur and by all Canadians.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Status of Women met with aboriginal leaders and community groups to talk about violence against aboriginal women and girls. She also met with some of the families of the women who had been murdered or gone missing. At those meetings, they discussed what the government should do to address this serious problem. The minister was told repeatedly that the time for talk was over. What we needed now was action. It was time to stop these terrible acts in our communities and to rally around victims and their families.

The Government of Canada has put in place a range of measures totalling nearly $200 million to address violence against aboriginal women and girls. This includes supporting the DNA missing persons index, with $8.1 million over five years, as well as $1.3 million per year in ongoing funding; continuing to support police investigations through the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains; and providing safe haven for victims by funding shelters and prevention activities on reserve, with $158.7 million over five years.

In addition to these ongoing initiatives, our government has taken steps to improve the status and protect the rights of aboriginal women. For example, we passed the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act to ensure that people living on first nation reserves would have similar access to similar matrimonial real property and protections to those living off reserve. Both sides of the House voted against that.

We also introduced the Canadian victim bill of rights, which sets out for the first time in Canadian history clear rights for victims of crime.

Finally, there is our Safe Streets and Communities Act which eliminates the use of conditional sentences, or house arrest for serious and violent crimes.

This brings me to the action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women and girls. This action plan is our government's response to the report of the House of Commons Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women. It sets out how we will allocate our new investment of $25 million to reduce violence against aboriginal women and girls. The plan identifies how we will work with partners in three priority areas: preventing violence, supporting victims, and protecting aboriginal women and girls from violence.

Over the next five years, we will provide funding to aboriginal organizations and communities to develop local solutions to address these priorities.

By bringing together a broad range of initiatives, the action plan builds on the valuable work that is already under way to address violence against aboriginal women and girls. The goal is to leverage these earlier successes so we can build upon previous investments, while expanding our efforts. For example, under this action plan, more communities, both on and off reserve, will develop community safety plans. That is $8.6 million over five years.

These plans work because they are designed and implemented by community members who understand better than anyone the unique safety challenges of the community in which they live. This initiative has been very successful in empowering communities to take charge of their own safety.

In addition to community safety planning, we will fund projects aimed at breaking intergenerational cycles of violence and encouraging healthy relationships. That is $2.5 million over five years. We will work with communities to empower women and girls to speak out. We will engage men and boys in preventing violence against women and girls.

The action plan also sets out a range of initiatives to support victims. That is $7.5 million over five years. This includes support for family-police liaison positions. Family-police liaison improves communication between police and victims families by ensuring that family members have access to timely information on cases.

Violence against aboriginal women and girls is a serious issue that requires a multifaceted response. No government or organization can tackle this problem alone. This work must be done in partnership across federal organizations with provinces and territories and through the leadership of the aboriginal communities and organizations.

The action plan is one important step toward safer communities for aboriginal women and girls. Specifically, we will continue to work with federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for justice and public safety to coordinate actions across the law enforcement and justice systems. We will ensure that aboriginal organizations and communities play a direct role in the community safety planning initiative and other efforts. We will provide communities and organizations with easier access to funding for a variety of projects to address violence against aboriginal women and girls, including those to raise awareness, promote healthy relationships and prevent violence on reserves.

By working together, we must ensure that aboriginal women and girls are no longer victimized, but are able to reach their full potential as mothers, as daughters, as sisters and as Canadians.

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, certainly our thoughts and prayers go out to the families. No one can even imagine what they have be going through for the last 20 to 30 years.

I am very proud of our action plan. I would like to ask the member opposite this: Does he not think that raising awareness to break intergenerational cycles of violence is important? Does he not think engaging men and boys is important? Does he not think that addressing underlying causes of violence through structured training initiatives is important?

We are doing many things in this action plan, and it will help aboriginal women and girls on reserve, and I am very proud of it.

Status of Women September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share another quote with the House, this time from Bernadette Smith. Her sister, Claudette Osborne, has been missing since July 2008. She said:

This Action Plan is something that our families have been waiting for. I would like to thank...the Government for their commitment to addressing this issue.... We've had numerous studies on this issue and the time for action is now. We can't stand idly by and talk about this without taking significant action. This Action Plan will have a direct impact on families and it will help keep our women and girls safe.

I am proud of the action our government is taking.

Status of Women September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we do not need a national inquiry. What we need is action. I would like to read a quote from Chief Ron Evans of the Norway House Cree Nation. He says:

We have spent years researching the statistics and systemic causes of violence; we have worked with and have involved families of victims, front-line workers, local and national organizations and law enforcement. Their input is the foundation of this Action Plan. This is a significant step forward in addressing family and domestic violence, intergenerational violence, providing supports and resources to front-line workers....

The government is listening to aboriginal communities and is taking action.

Status of Women September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, ending violence against aboriginal women is a priority of the government. We have taken concrete action and have invested $11 million since 2007 through Status of Women Canada toward local projects that work to eliminate violence against aboriginal women. We have made historic investments to improve the quality and ensure accountability of education on reserves for aboriginal students. We passed the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, extending basic rights and protections to aboriginal women living on reserves.

Maybe the parties opposite should have supported the bill if they wanted to stand up for aboriginal women.

Status of Women September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of our action plan to address family violence and violent crimes against aboriginal women and girls, which will counter violence. We will continue to work with communities to develop safety plans to raise awareness and take measures to empower aboriginal women and girls.

We are developing more community safety plans on and off reserve, including regions identified specifically by the RCMP. This action plan will raise awareness to break intergenerational cycles of violence. It will engage men and boys and it will address underlying causes of violence through structured initiatives.

Western University Homecoming September 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this weekend London will be painted purple. Thousands of Mustangs, past and present, will be in London to celebrate Western University's homecoming 2014.

I am proud, as the member of Parliament for London North Centre, to represent the Western community. From the world-renowned research and innovation, the Richard Ivey School of Business, and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to the Western Mustangs athletic program, Mustang pride is alive and well.

This year's homecoming will be capped off by the annual homecoming football game. This year, the Western Mustangs will take on the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. I encourage all Western University alumni to participate in homecoming activities either in London or in their respective cities. They can also follow all of the homecoming activities on Twitter using #westernhoco.

Happy homecoming 2014, and best of luck to coach Greg Marshall and the entire Western Mustangs football team. Go Mustangs.

Business of Supply June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the tax credits the member opposite mentioned are a measure welcomed by many Canadians. I would like to provide some statistics from a report on financial security from Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada found out that the median net worth of Canadian families was up 44.5% from 2005 and almost 80% more than the 1999 median, adjusted for inflation. This is a significant improvement in the wealth of Canadian families, which are benefiting from the policies and tax credits of our Conservative government.

Income inequality has not increased in Canada since 2006, and the proof is in the numbers. We have cut taxes 160 times, saving the average Canadian family over $3,400 a year, and poverty is at a record low for all Canadians, including children and seniors.