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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

Committees of the House September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it has also released information about suspected adverse reactions to health products. Industry Canada has supplied broadband coverage data and the technical and administrative frequency list that contains data on radio system frequencies.

The Treasury Board Secretariat is making data available on departments' and agencies' financial expenditures and on the 2008 and 2011 public service employee surveys. These are just a few examples. New datasets are being added as they become available. Without a doubt, our government is committed to improving accountability and increasing transparency. We have proven that not just with words but with action as well.

The measures we have put in place help provide Canadians with the open and honest government they deserve, one that acts transparently, ensures value for money and demonstrates accountability. The committee's recommendations will only serve to improve the system already in place, and the government will consider how best to implement these improvements in a manner that furthers the purposes of the act.

Committees of the House September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.

I am very pleased to add to this discussion on the report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on the statutory review of the Conflict of Interest Act. Before I do that, however, I would like to thank the committee for undertaking such a thorough review of this act. This process provided an important opportunity to examine the act to ensure that it is providing the clarity, fairness and accountability that Canadians rightly seek.

As the committee noted in its report, the act is working well in accordance with its objectives, but before this act existed, the situation was far from satisfactory. There was much concern, and with good reason. The government touches on all sectors of the economy. It does this in a multitude of ways, through regulatory agencies, legislation, tariffs and tax policies, to name but a few. Canadians need to have the confidence that public office holders are impartial and act with integrity, and this government took real action.

Our first piece of legislation, the Federal Accountability Act, included the Conflict of Interest Act, which gave Canada for the first time a regime to govern the ethical conduct of public office holders, both during and after employment. These changes represented a major improvement to Canada's accountability regime, and the government welcomes the 16 recommendations outlined in the committee's report and agrees with the intent and improvements to the Conflict of Interest Act. Canada now has one of the most accountable and transparent systems of governance in the world, and the committee's recommendations can help us make that even better.

We know that a high degree of transparency makes government more accountable and is vital to the effective participation of citizens and organizations in the decision-making process. However, accountability and transparency in public institutions is something we can never take for granted. That is why we have been working hard to make more and more information available to Canadians.

By proactively making government information available, it becomes accessible to anyone who may be interested. In that same spirit, the President of the Treasury Board recently took steps to ensure that information disclosed about public service contracts is accessible and easy to understand.

The new measures ensure that more detailed information is published on contracts for services such as professional services and management consultant contracts. For example, rather than simply providing a generic description of the awarded contract, a more detailed explanation of the type of work and context is now required. It is all part of the government's effort to provide our citizens with information previously stored within the government's vault, so to speak.

In fact, we are opening the lid on a vast store of valuable information that has until very recently been diligently collected and just stored away. The Government of Canada produces and acquires vast amounts of data. This data supports service delivery in the areas such as health, environment, agriculture and natural resources. Through our open data efforts, we are now releasing information in machine-readable formats by way of portals, meta data and search tools for reuse by governments, citizens, voluntary organizations and the private sector in new and unanticipated ways. The door is now being thrown open and the possibilities are truly exciting.

The open data portal at data.gc.ca is a one-stop shop for federal government data that can be downloaded free of charge by Canadian citizens, researchers, voluntary organizations and private sector businesses. It is a collaborative effort among Government of Canada departments and agencies to provide access to data managed by the government that can be leveraged by citizens, businesses and communities for their very own purposes.

These datasets, which now number around 200,000, include everything from building permits and wait times for non-emergency surgeries, to pollution emissions and lineup times at the border. Statistics Canada, for example, has made its community level health profiles available as well as 2001, 2006 and 2011 census data and socio-economic geographic data. Environment Canada has put out information about fish stocks and freshwater quality indicator data from the Canadian environmental sustainability—

National Fiddling Day Act September 24th, 2014

moved for leave to introduce Bill S-218, An Act respecting National Fiddling Day.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce Bill S-218, an act respecting national fiddling day, which would designate the third Saturday in May of each year as national fiddling day.

The art of fiddle playing has a significant role in culture and social history of Canada and is practised in all regions of our great country. The enactment of a national fiddling day would give Canadians a chance to celebrate and appreciate the rich history and beauty of fiddle music in Canada.

I trust all members of the House will support this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Finance September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government is proud to have lowered taxes, putting thousands of dollars directly back into the pockets of Canadian families. However, yesterday the leader of the Liberal Party criticized income splitting and said he would reverse it. I know that the seniors in my riding will be outraged when they find out that the Liberal leader would reverse our income splitting, forcing them to pay more.

Could the Minister of State for Seniors explain how reversing income splitting would affect seniors?

Shootings in Moncton June 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that Canadians from coast to coast to coast turn their attention to Moncton, New Brunswick. Today, along with family and friends, thousands of RCMP officers, law enforcement officials, and first responders, joined by the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, gather in Moncton to honour the lives and memory of three fallen RCMP officers.

Let us take a moment to remember and send our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of Constable Fabrice Gevaudan, Constable David Ross, and Constable Douglas Larche. A candlelight vigil in honour of the officers is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in front of the Codiac RCMP headquarters.

I know I speak for all members of the House when I say we shall mourn their passing and that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Transport May 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last month the Minister of Transport met with stakeholders from my province of New Brunswick and listened to the concerns regarding CN's plan to discontinue rail operations in the Newcastle subdivision. Yesterday, my home province was pleased to host the minister for an important announcement regarding passenger rail service in New Brunswick.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice please update this House on the agreement reached between VIA and Canadian National Railway?

Miss Universe Canada Pageant May 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to acknowledge and salute Miss Breanne Tozer of Miramichi, who will be representing New Brunswick in the Miss Universe Canada pageant this month.

Breanne is a bright and talented young lady, who holds degrees from the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University. She received several scholarships, including the prestigious National Millennium Excellence Award. Breanne now has a career in the Canadian construction and mining services industry.

Breanne has a big heart, and is a volunteer in her community. Through the Miss Universe Canada pageant, Breanne will be helping to raise awareness and support for two of these wonderful organizations: Operation Smile and SOS Children's Villages.

On behalf of Miramichiers, I wish Breanne good luck in Toronto. We are very fortunate to have such a capable and caring young woman representing all of New Brunswick on the national stage.

I also encourage people to visit missuniversecanada.ca and vote for Breanne.

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act May 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, from June to November of 2011, the national panel held seven regional round tables and one national round table, conducted site visits in 30 first nation communities and 25 schools, and held meetings with key individuals and organizations in each region.

The panel's final report, issued in February 2012, provided the government with valuable feedback and recommendations on the next steps to improve educational outcomes for first nations, including the development of legislation.

We have done our work and we are ready to move on.

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act May 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government will keep fighting for first nations children and the Assembly of First Nations and will continue to move forward with this historic and necessary bill.

Reform of first nations education has been a topic of discussion for many years, including through dialogue in the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education for Students on Reserve.

The way forward negotiated between the government and the Assembly of First Nations in February follows years and years of discussions, dialogue, and studies reflecting the efforts of many first nations and governments to arrive at this point of legislation that would recognize first nations control of first nations education.

If we followed the ideas of the opposition, the bill would be at a standstill and the money that our government is ready to put into the studies of aboriginal students for their benefit would be at a standstill. However, our government is ready to act and move forward.

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act May 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am rising in the House today in support of Bill C-33, the first nations control of first nations education act. I welcome this opportunity to outline the advantages of Bill C-33 and the many benefits it would bring to the first nations and all Canadians.

The proposed legislation would provide flexibility for each first nation, while establishing legislation that sets out standards to encourage students' success. For the first time ever, every first nation youth would have a guaranteed access to the high quality education that all Canadian students enjoy.

I want to speak about the need to improve the quality of education for first nation students and why it is a shared priority for our government and first nations. First, I want to acknowledge the first nation communities across Canada that have demonstrated commitment to improving education for their youth. We have seen the success these approaches can deliver, and we hope that Bill C-33 can empower other first nation communities to achieve similar results.

While first nations have worked hard with our government, provincial governments, and other partners to establish quality schools, the vast majority of first nation children do not have the same educational opportunity as other Canadian children do. Statistics show that this has a dire impact on their chances for success later in life.

There are numerous success stories, but we still have an urgent situation at the national level. According to the 2011 national household survey, only 38% of registered natives living on reserves, ages 18 to 24, had completed high school, compared to 87% of non-aboriginal Canadians. I am sure members will agree that this is a shocking and appalling number.

When we consider that aboriginal youth represent the fastest growing segment in the Canadian population, it becomes clear that steps must be taken to close this education gap. Currently, standards vary in on-reserve schools and, as a result, students have no guarantee of being able to transfer to a provincial system without academic penalty or to receive a diploma or certificate that is recognized by their university or employer of choice.

Recognizing that first nations are best placed to determine how to achieve the best results for their communities, the bill is informed by and built upon the fundamental principle of first nations control of first nations education. It gives first nations the same authority that is awarded to provincial school boards. The ability to set curriculum, hire and fire teachers, and set student and teacher evaluations are just a few examples that come to mind.

First nations would retain these authorities as long as they meet basic standards that are legislated in the act, and these would include requirements for teacher certification; requirements for minimum instruction days similar to provincial requirements; a recognized high school diploma; transferability between systems without penalty; and access to education for every first nation student.

These are basic requirements that every school off reserve must fulfill and are essential to ensuring a high quality of education. By setting standards, education legislation ensures that the features of a quality education system are there for our children every day.

In the rest of the country, legislation allows provinces to set standards for schools and school boards, like annual planning, health and safety, and requirements for daily operations. Legislation ensures that everyone involved knows their job and their responsibilities, from education directors and school principals to teachers and parent community committees.

Such legislation is in place in every province and territory in Canada except on first nation reserves. The proposed legislation would provide stable and predictable statutory funding consistent with provincial education funding models. This means the first nation would have the resources to determine the best means for educating its children, integrating language and culture, and developing policies and procedures for its school system.

Equally important is that first nations would be able to choose the governance model for their education system. First nations would get to decide whether they wanted to operate their own community school, whether they wanted to join a first nations education authority, or whether they wanted to participate in a provincial education system.

Supported by funding for governance and administration costs, first nations education authorities would be school-board-like organizations that would be run by first nations and would have the size and capacity to provide participating first nations with functions such as hiring teachers, setting policy, and purchasing supplies, as well as providing a wider range of support services for students. Whether first nations chose to enter into agreements with provinces or decided to form first nations education authorities, these organizations would provide support to schools to ensure they are meeting their requirements under the act and providing a quality education for students.

Let me emphasize again that the bill would establish first nations control over first nations education and would provide first nations with the flexibility to determine what is effective for their students' success. Parents, community members, and first nations leaders would be able to work with school administrators on the operations, planning, and reporting processes in their schools.

In addition to setting important standards, Bill C-33 would strengthen governance and accountability and provide mechanisms for stable, predictable, and sustainable funding.

We want to ensure that on-reserve schools provide the support services that are so important in achieving good educational outcomes and in ensuring that first nations children get the resources they need in order to succeed. We want all first nations students to have access to the quality and the quantity of the tools they need to learn: desks, textbooks, computers, sports equipment, and all the rest. We also want to ensure that first nations students are able to transfer seamlessly between schools on reserve and the provincial system if necessary.

First nations students and parents deserve to feel confident in their quality of education and confident that graduation comes with a recognized diploma or certificate so they are prepared to enter the labour force or continue their education.

We know that in order to provide the high quality of education that all other Canadian students enjoy, we need to ensure that first nations students are being taught by certified teachers and are spending a minimum number of days in class each year.

The proposed legislation would help turn the corner for first nations elementary and secondary education. That is why the historic announcement made in February by our Prime Minister with the Assembly of First Nations on first nations control over first nations education legislation included an unprecedented amount of money, $1.9 billion, to support it. When this bill passes, the funding would be guaranteed by law. It would also be subject to a 4.5% escalator, replacing the 2% funding cap that the Liberals put on first nations spending.

The proposed legislation and the new funding respond to the five conditions for success set out in a resolution by the Assembly of First Nations and endorsed by the Chiefs-in-Assembly in December 2013.

These are investments in the future of first nations children and in Canada's prosperity. Bill C-33 would establish first nations control over first nations education, with the flexibility for first nations to choose what works best in their communities. It is not about making all on-reserve schools the same; it is about making sure that every student has the same opportunity, no matter where he or she lives in Canada.