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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was certainly.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Miramichi (New Brunswick)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Justice October 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, auto theft has a significant impact on individual Canadians and businesses, with an estimated cost of more than $1 billion each year. While Canadians suffer the financial and emotional impacts of this crime, organized crime profits.

Would the Minister of Justice update the House on the status of our government's legislation?

Income Tax Act October 23rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, Bill C-290 proposes a costly refundable tax credit related to shortfalls in pension plans with a potential estimated cost of about $10 billion per year. This Bloc proposal would not be good pension or economic policy. It would not be fair to the taxpayers of the country.

This Bloc proposal essentially suggests that corporations and big businesses be let off the hook from the important responsibility to properly manage their pension plans and to control risks. This is because in a situation like Bill C-290 plan sponsors may exercise less due diligence knowing that benefits are backstopped by the government through a refundable tax credit.

The fact that these corporations and big businesses would not be required to contribute anything whatsoever to cover the cost of the refundable credit would worsen that potential. The Bloc proposal not only would be costly for taxpayers, it also would raise fairness issues, given that the costs would be borne by all taxpayers and it would only benefit a minority of those participating in the pension plan.

What is worse, the Bloc proposal would place on the federal government's shoulders the responsibility for providing compensation for all pension plans that were unable to meet pension obligations, even though only about 10% of all pension plan members participate in federally regulated plans. Since the provinces are responsible for the protection of pension benefits for plans sponsored by provincially regulated employers, this makes little to no sense.

This Bloc proposal is undoubtedly not the best way to promote the security of pension benefits. It would undermine sound pension policy objectives and be unfair to taxpayers. It would reduce incentives for employers to properly fund and manage their pension plans. And it would place the responsibility on the federal government for providing compensation for provincially regulated plans.

This Bloc proposal also ignores our government's comprehensive agenda to improve the retirement savings system and provide tax relief to pensioners and seniors since 2006. For example, as part of Canada's economic action plan, we increased the age credit amount by $1,000. This is on top of the $1,000 increase in the age credit amount.

That is why, to improve incentives for Canadians to save, our government has established the landmark tax-free savings account, the TFSA, what BMO Financial Group called “the single most important savings vehicle since the introduction of the RRSP in the 1950s”. The TFSA will assist Canadians in meeting their retirement savings goals by allowing investments to grow tax free. In this respect—

Income Tax Act October 23rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, today I will address the many deficiencies in the Bloc proposal being debated, and also highlight the important work our Conservative government has done to address concerns surrounding pensions and pension security. Before outlining the numerous flaws in this costly Bloc proposal, we should look at the broader context of Canada's pension system and the actions taken by our Conservative government to ensure it remains sound.

Clearly, all parliamentarians recognize that pension security is a matter of the utmost importance to all workers and a key element in ensuring the effectiveness of Canada's retirement income system.

Canada has a diversified retirement income system based on a mix of public and private pensions. The two public pension pillars, the old age security and the guaranteed income supplement programs, along with the Canada and Quebec pension plans ensure a basic level of income in retirement for Canadians.

The third pillar, tax deferred private retirement savings, includes registered pension plans and RRSPs. These plans provide Canadians with incentives to save for retirement and to help bridge the gap between public pension benefits and their retirement income goals.

Employer-sponsored pension plans are a key component of the third pillar of the retirement income system. The best way of ensuring that pension benefits are secure is to have healthy supervision. Pension benefit standards are a responsibility of both the federal government and the provincial governments.

I note here that only about 10% of all pension plan members participate in federally regulated plans. At the federal level, pension plans are regulated under the Pension Benefits Standards Act and are supervised by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

This retirement income system has been relatively successful when compared to other jurisdictions internationally in ensuring Canadians achieve acceptable levels of income in retirement in order to maintain their living standards.

As was reported in the Toronto Star earlier this week, Canada actually has one of the best retirement systems in the world. This country is essentially tied with the Netherlands, Australia and Sweden for pensioner protection, as measured by adequacy of funding, long-term sustainability of payouts and integrity in management. The survey of 11 industrial nations was conducted by Mercer LLC, one of the leading world corporate benefit consultants, and the Melbourne Centre for Financial Studies.

Nevertheless, all parliamentarians would concede that while our retirement income system is effective and sound, that does not mean we should not be working to improve it further. That is exactly what our Conservative government has been doing.

Since the beginning of the year, we have been looking at ways to ensure that the retirement income system is responsive to the needs of workers, pensioners and seniors, consistent with sound and sustainable policy principles. In January, we released a major research paper on federally regulated pension plans for comment, after which we conducted a cross-country and online public consultation open to all.

Indeed as part of the consultation process, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, the member for Macleod, engaged with Canadians through public meetings across Canada, including stops in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Whitehorse and Vancouver. Based on the feedback we received from Canadians, comprehensive regulatory changes to improve the federal pension framework are being drafted and will be released shortly.

Also, we have long recognized the need to work with our provincial partners to examine the larger pension concerns facing Canadians. That is why we raised the issue at the annual meeting of finance ministers in late 2008, and earlier this year set up a joint federal-provincial research working group with respected academic Jack Mintz as director of research to conduct an in-depth examination of retirement income adequacy.

The Minister of Finance has already convened a national summit of his provincial and territorial counterparts for this coming December to discuss the findings of this important group.

Without a doubt, our Conservative government has taken the pension issue seriously and is treating the issues surrounding it in a comprehensive manner.

On the other hand, Bill C-290 falls short in this respect.—

The Economy October 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader has boasted that he likes to tax and spend. He has said he will have to raise taxes on hard-working Canadian families.

With the release of the pink book, the Liberal leader has made dozens of huge, uncosted and irresponsible spending proposals that will hurt the pocketbooks of Canadians and harm our economic recovery.

Could the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development tell the House what the impact of the Liberal leader's wild spending will be on Canadian families?

Liberal Party Platform October 22nd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal leader released a Liberal platform that is filled with huge, irresponsible and uncosted spending proposals.

For example, he repeated his commitment to the Liberal EI 45-day work year. This plan is offensive to hard-working Canadians and will cost $4 billion per year. The Liberals continue to want to impose a national day care system that the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada has costed at $6 billion per year. These two proposals alone would cost $10 billion per year and there are dozens more.

Yesterday, Canadians were reminded that the Liberal leader does not want to help hard-working Canadians and that he does not trust parents to raise their own children. We know how he is going to pay for these Liberal pet projects: by huge tax increases on hard-working Canadians.

This is more proof that he is not in it for Canadians. He is in it for himself.

Justice October 21st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, drug trafficking and drug production is, without a doubt, the most significant source of illicit money for organized crime groups.

Our government is aware of the immense role illicit drugs play in gang violence across this country. Canadians from coast to coast to coast support our government's legislation that will ensure mandatory jail time for serious drug offences that involve organized crime, violence or preying on youth.

Despite the support from members in this House, Liberals continue to drag their feet and delay this bill in the Senate. When will the Liberal leader show some leadership and tell his Liberal colleagues to pass this important piece of legislation?

This is yet another example of the Liberal leader's soft on crime approach.

Let us get this bill passed. Canadians deserve better.

Justice October 20th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, organized crime is flourishing with the advancement of modern technology and Canadians recognize violence associated with organized crime. Our government has implemented a comprehensive approach to combat gangs in this country.

Our drug bill and our auto theft bill are both currently before the Senate and nearly two years later we are anxiously awaiting the passage of our identity theft bill that would give police the tools they need to fight this lucrative activity.

What is the status of our government's bill to combat--

Sergeant-at-Arms October 9th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, as MP for the riding of Miramichi, I rise today to pay tribute to a man all of us know as the Sergeant-at-Arms but very few of us know of his roots. Yes, Kevin Vickers is a constituent of mine and a true Miramichier.

This week I attended an event, along with a few of my colleagues, which recognized Kevin Vickers for his long, outstanding service to our country and his efforts to promote bias-free policing and diversity in the workplace.

The people of Miramichi celebrate with this son the recognition bestowed upon him by the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada.

Kevin is a role model for many youth back home. We are so proud of him.

Fisheries October 7th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party's perilous slide in the polls has Liberals scrambling to shore up even the previously safest Liberal seats.

In a note left behind in a Liberal meeting room, obtained by the Saint John Telegraph-Journal, the Liberal member for Sydney—Victoria worries that his leader has no vision for Atlantic Canada. He makes clear that his party sees fearmongering about the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization as just political opportunity. “If we don't carry the ball on this, the NDP will”, the note warns.

Instead of using opposition time to raise their concerns, the Liberals resort to intentionally misleading Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to distract them from their leader's determination to force an unwanted opportunistic election.

After years of sitting on its hands, Canada is now the leader at the NAFO table while the Liberals played games and sat on the shore for 13 long years.

Marine Safety October 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, pirates continue to pose a security risk to merchant ships in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden area.

In the past, Canadian frigates have successfully participated in multinational efforts to fight piracy efforts in the Arabian Sea. Does the government have any plans to further deploy Canadian ships in the fight against piracy?