House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was liberals.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Essex (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

International Trade May 7th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rose months ago to ask a question about the Liberals' decision, when they signed the new NAFTA, to give up a percentage of our supply management, specifically dairy.

We know that we have given access to the United States that compromises our supply management and that, quite frankly, hurts farmers. That is something we have heard consistently. I have dairy farmers in my riding of Essex. It is something that, as New Democrats, we have stood against. We believe strongly that we should not be giving up supply management, certainly our dairy, in agreement after agreement. The question really is why the Liberals have betrayed farm families and our food security in Canada. That day I posed the question to the Prime Minister.

The NDP strongly believes that we should be defending our supply managed sectors, not sacrificing them in trade deal after trade deal.

I do not know how much more our dairy farm families in this country can bear. They are continually thrown under the bus in every trade agreement, and enough is enough. In CETA, CPTPP and now the new NAFTA, we have conceded 8.4% of our dairy production in Canada. To put that in perspective for Canadians who are watching at home, that is 800 million litres of milk that will be permanently removed from our farms. That will have a very serious impact on farm families across our country.

We know that this is an erosion of our supply managed dairy farm families' livelihoods and the communities they live in. The Liberals have the nerve to stand in this House, and the Prime Minister on that day, repeating the line that we have heard over and over, which is just a complete and utter falsehood, which is that they, of course, will protect supply management and defend supply management in some way. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Do Liberals not understand that dairy farmers are not falling for their claims that they are protected in any of these agreements? When the agreements come out at the end, dairy farmers can see in black and white that they were sacrificed. In fact, the previous minister of agriculture himself admitted that, saying that we had to give it up. We had to do something.

I am not sure how this goes along with the rhetoric that the Liberals will protect supply management and that they have in the USMCA, because nothing could be further from the truth. It is very disrespectful, I have to say, to our farm families. My farm families locally are tired of hearing it. It is Liberal spin. It does not make any sense. It is not the truth. I think the Liberals have to start being honest about that.

I want to talk about supply management and what protecting it means. There are three pillars of supply management: import control, pricing mechanisms and production. In production, we have a quota system in Canada. We make sure that we are only making as much as the market demands. What is being thrown away in every single trade agreement is the pillar of import control. When we start to have, in this case American milk, which is not up to the standard of Canadian milk, we can certainly talk about health standards, bovine growth hormones, antibiotics and the fact that Canadians will not know if their milk is 100% Canadian, with the little blue cow. We know that the U.S. system is not working, and their farmers are looking for a place to dump their milk. Quite honestly, Canada should not be that place.

I live in a border city. I live in a border area, down in Essex County. Canadians are not going across and purchasing milk, because they are aware of the different standards and the different health impacts of the milk in the U.S. compared to Canada.

Why have Liberals betrayed farm families and our food security in Canada?

International Trade May 7th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the Liberals' definition of “working” is. The Liberals promised to defend the Canadian steel industry when they signed the new NAFTA, but the number of layoffs we have seen over the past six months tell a different story. There were 12 layoffs at Nova Tube in Montreal, 50 layoffs at Iavaco Rolling Mills in Ontario, 228 layoffs at EVRAZ in Calgary and 230 layoffs at Tenaris in Sault Ste. Marie.

These are not just numbers. These are real people, and they are struggling to make ends meet. How many more Canadians will have to lose their jobs before the Liberals take action to end Trump's tariffs on steel?

Ethics May 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, so basically, the best Liberal wins.

The Liberals are so arrogant that they do not even realize the harm they are doing to the Canadian system of government. Canadians expect us to put the partisanship aside when it comes to the nomination of our judges, senators and officers of Parliament. We depend on the integrity of our institutions for a democratic and fair society.

The Prime Minister promised to do politics differently. Will the Liberals commit right now to Canadians not to use their partisan database for future appointments?

Ethics May 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals were elected, they promised to do politics differently. How things have changed. We have now learned that they are using a partisan tool to fill influential positions in our country, like judges and senators, just like the Conservatives appointed their friends when they were in power. These appointments must be based on merit and not party alliance. Experienced people are being overlooked for those with big red lawn signs and even bigger cheques.

Why does the government care more about its wealthy supporters than the crucial requirement that our courts be independent of politics?

Petitions May 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present a petition today that was given to me at the Welcome Centre Shelter for Women that serves Windsor-Essex. I visited with the women at the shelter, and they presented me with this petition. They are asking for better funding for feminist women's organizations.

They spoke about the fact that they have been struggling for decades to keep the lights on and the doors open due to a lack of federal core operations funding. They also talked about the fact that they are the most underfunded in Canada's nonprofit sector, but they are the single most effective means for building better lives for women.

The petitioners say that the current Government of Canada's program funding is insecure and competitive and takes workers' time away from helping more women. They also say that direct federal funding of women's organizations represents less than .01% of total federal program spending. That is only about $1 for every woman in Canada.

The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to immediately provide secure, multi-year core operational funding to feminist women's organizations and set national standards to ensure quality of access to services and protection of all women.

Telecommunications May 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, nearly six million people do not have access to high-speed Internet, and the Liberals are telling them to wait until 2030. All people should have access to a strong Internet connection no matter where they are, whether in downtown Toronto or in Essex County on a farm.

Internet and cellphone bills are ridiculous in Canada. We pay more than most countries in the world. In Essex, people need access to reliable, affordable Internet and cell service for work, education and safety.

Why are the Liberals denying rural Canadians, like the people in Essex, affordable, reliable Internet? My question is simple: Why are the Liberals ignoring the needs of rural communities?

An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families May 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it is stunning to hear the difference in the Conservative Party of this Parliament versus the Conservative Party of the past. The Conservative government fought first nations child and family services and fought indigenous kids in court.

Why did the Conservative government never act to reform the first nations child and family services program, instead fight it in court for years?

Business of Supply May 1st, 2019

Madam Speaker, I am baffled by that question, to be quite honest. I am not sure what the member is suggesting. Is he suggesting force, that we go in militarily? I do not know what that question even means.

We have been pretty clear about what we are suggesting, which is to go to China and to appoint an ambassador to China. Let us talk about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Let us pull out of that. We could be doing many things. I do not know the member's definition of force, so I will take him at his word that he means to be strong. The New Democrats are asking the government to stand up, to be strong and to take these other initiatives.

Let us send someone, a trade attaché, to China. Let us resolve this face to face. Let us get an ambassador over there as soon as possible, because this is only the beginning. China is already threatening us on other commodities. We need to be prepared.

We have not even talked about the fact that lives are hanging in the balance. The lives of Canadians who are detained and imprisoned right now are hanging in the balance because we have no diplomatic tie there. No one is going to China where Canadians are being detained. Canadians are being sentenced to death right now in China and the government is sitting in Ottawa. It is not sending our foreign affairs minister, nor our agriculture minister, nor our Prime Minister to China to do what needs to be done, and that is to stand up for Canadians.

Business of Supply May 1st, 2019

Madam Speaker, most certainly Canada has not been showing strength under the Liberal government and under the Prime Minister when it comes to trade disputes. We saw that in the renegotiation of NAFTA. We ended up with a worse deal than we had before. How is that possible? Some aggressive bargaining happened and the Liberals stood and talked about it.

We are not doing well with respect to trade. We are having disputes with our closest trading partners. We are now talking about farmers who are at great risk. We could be doing a lot. Why are we not sending an attaché to China right now? Why is that not happening? Why is the agriculture minister not in China? Why is she in the House? That makes zero sense.

Considering the fact that this is our largest export, why on earth are the Liberals not showing any strength by getting to China and resolving this issue? It is a baffling question. I have absolutely no idea why the Prime Minister refuses to have the backbone to go and stand up for Canadians. It is extremely frustrating across the spectrum.

Business of Supply May 1st, 2019

Madam Speaker, I will take a quick moment out of my time to congratulate you and your husband on 37 years of marriage. All of the partners of members of Parliament who serve along with us certainly play a big role. To my own husband, Germaine, I also say thank you for that.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques today to speak about the opposition motion.

Before I do that, though, I want to set the record straight a little. We have heard from the Liberals today about the opposition parties not bringing this forward at any other time. I would like to say that the NDP attempted to bring this before the agriculture committee as a very important issue and could not achieve that.

As vice-chair of the international trade committee, I was a participant in calling for an emergency meeting. We were able to achieve that, but we had only two meetings. In this Liberal-majority committee, we were only able to secure two meetings on canola. As members can see, there is no report before the House. The Liberals are speaking about the importance of this issue, but that certainly was not reflected at committee by the Liberal members who sit there, so I would like to set the record straight.

I would like to start with some facts about the canola industry, because it is important that we understand what is at risk here, and there is a great deal at risk.

The canola sector contributes $26.7 billion toward our overall GDP, much of it through exports. The total value of canola exports in 2017 was $11.4 billion. Canada shipped $1.7 billion worth of soybeans to China in 2018, $2.7 billion worth of canola; and $514 million worth of pork.

There is a lot at stake in our relationship with China, and recently we have heard from the Chinese that they are looking at other commodities to impact. The fact that today there was some badly needed movement on the canola file does not insulate and protect us from what could be coming forward, unfortunately, in this very bad trade relationship in which we currently find ourselves.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz was quoted as saying that the global trade war was “the biggest threat” to the Canadian economy. We need to take this issue seriously.

This could be the beginning of a very difficult trade period for our agricultural communities. There are 250,000 Canadian jobs related to canola. A lot of folks across our country rely on canola for their livelihood, not just farm families but everyone involved in the production down the line. The value of farm cash receipts for canola was $9.9 billion in 2017. That makes canola Canada's top agricultural commodity. Canola is a homegrown Canadian success story and a major driver of our agricultural exports.

At the committee, we heard from farmers who are very concerned. Currently they have the seed on their farms and they are ready to go for this year, but they find themselves in a financial position where they cannot back away. Quite frankly, canola has been quite good to these farmers and their families and the communities where they live. When they are rotating crops, it has become a necessity for them to use this to be able to make money to sustain themselves.

It is very important that we work hard to get out of this precarious position that we are in. Canola producers should not be paying the price for the Liberals' icy relationship with China. Our farmers need a government that will stand up to China.

New Democrats will be supporting the motion before us today because we recognize the importance of canola farm families and the canola producers in our country and the importance across our entire country of canola as a very critical export.

Currently we are going to other countries, but China is certainly the number one destination for our canola. We heard from farmers at the committee that they have enjoyed a good relationship with China. They have never had any of these issues come forward in the past. They have been able to send canola, and our canola is quite highly sought after, as members can imagine, in China. This issue does not stem out of their relationship with their trading partners there; they are being caught up in a diplomatic problem that the Liberals currently have with the Chinese government.

The decision to stop accepting or to delay shipment Canadian canola is very concerning and completely unjustifiable. Hard-working Canadian canola producers in our canola industry are in a crisis. It is essential that these people do not suffer from these current diplomatic problems between Canada and China.

I want to talk a little about what has happened here, but also about the decision being completely unjustifiable.

If we ask canola farmers, those in canola communities, or average Canadians why we currently find ourselves in this situation, they understand—because certainly this issue has been across the national new recently—that these actions are about a tit-for-tat and that we cannot just stand by and let this situation threaten Canadian jobs. Canola producers should not be the ones who are paying the price for the Liberals' inability to fix their dispute with China.

We know that part of this motion today relates to not having an ambassador to China. We actually have no one at the diplomatic level who can have those conversations with China. We have no one in China right now who is representing us in an ambassadorial role. The Liberals will say that we do have folks over there, but this is the way that our diplomatic system works. It is an ambassador who would be the key person to talk through this dispute. With the lack of that person, the Liberals are not taking this issue seriously enough. As I have said, we rely on other commodities being exported, but those commodities are already being threatened. What are the Liberals waiting for? When it comes to appointing an ambassador, the time is now.

New Democrats do not agree with Canada's membership in the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank or any efforts that results in the privatization of public infrastructure, whether here or abroad. We know that the Conservatives supported our participation in the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. At the time, New Democrats raised the alarm and said that we should not be a part of it. Now that we find ourselves in this trade dispute, the Conservatives are coming on board with the NDP to say that we cannot be a part of a bank that is funding private infrastructure for China when we are suffering under China's unfair attack on our canola sector, so we are pleased that the Conservatives are calling for this along with New Democrats.

I will talk about today's announcement.

We certainly saw the limit increased beyond the previous $400,000. This is something that farmers have asked for, but this alone is not enough, because these farmers, once they plant and harvest, are going to be looking for a market for their canola. If they cannot find a market for that canola, then that canola will sit, and it is a perishable item. It cannot just sit on farms indefinitely. This is a cyclical problem, and it is not ending with this announcement today. It is a beginning and it is part of what needs to happen, and I know that the canola farmers will be pleased to see this step by the government, but that alone will not resolve this very serious issue that we find ourselves involved in.

As New Democrats, we also strongly believe that the Liberals need to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization. Why is the Liberal government so afraid to launch complaints? No one else is afraid to launch complaints against Canada at the WTO. The U.S., other countries and all kinds of people are launching complaint after complaint at us. Why is it that we are so timid in that space?

We just had the steel producers asking for safeguards, which the Liberals failed to do. They let down steel producers and steelworkers in this country. Why? It is because they do not have the courage to challenge them. We are being challenged on trade at every single turn, and no matter how many agreements we sign, that is not going to stop the fact that we are going to continue to be challenged, because we have painted a big target on ourselves. We have said that we are nice. Canadians are nice, and we play by the rules. Other countries are not playing by the rules, and they are not being nice to Canada. What do we do? No, we are not going to launch a complaint. Why? We still do not have an answer as to why we have not launched a WTO complaint right now on the canola issue.

Yes, there is a working group, but the working group, I believe, will result in asking the government to launch a complaint. We have no choice. Across the globe we see that trade is being challenged in every single country. It is time for Canada to stand on its own two feet and show the courage that is necessary to protect the industries at home—farmers, in this case—who need our help.

We are initially talking about two major Canadian grain companies, Richardson International and Glencore, which was Canada's Viterra. Their export licences, of course, were revoked, but this is just the beginning of what could end up hitting our pork and soybean industries. It is very important, and the Liberal government must consider a wide range of options to restore this market access.

We are not going to be able to get canola into other countries fast enough by the end of this harvest season. It is time for us to stand up for canola producers and truly look at every single one of the steps that we have: appoint an ambassador, talk about getting out of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and do everything we can to support agricultural canola farmers in Canada.