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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was safety.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Vancouver South (B.C.)

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

Statements in the House

Graduation Ceremonies June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this month, thousands of young Canadians will walk across a stage to receive their diplomas, celebrating their graduation from high school.

As my own twins, Sam and Alex, their friends and students just like them take part in graduation ceremonies, I reflect upon this milestone and the difficult decisions and endless sacrifices Canadian parents make to raise their children and make ends meet.

However, parents know that at these challenging moments, they can count on our Conservative government to stand with them and help, whether it is through the expanded universal child care benefit, income splitting for hard-working families, the child fitness tax credit or the numerous other measures that our government has put in place. Canadian parents can count on our government to support them to make the best decisions about how to raise their families.

On this occasion, I want to congratulate students and their parents in my riding of Vancouver South and across Canada for all of their accomplishments and success.

Good luck and Godspeed from our Conservative government.

Health June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there are now even more marijuana stores in Vancouver than ever before, many located near our schools and community centres and playgrounds. Some have even been caught selling marijuana to children.

Could the Minister of Health please give this House an update on the serious research-based health risks from smoking marijuana?

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

Mr. Speaker, I want the member to know that I am an immigrant myself. I have worked with immigrant settlement agencies across Canada. I have worked with immigrant women and children across Canada for over 30 years.

I want the member to know that it is our government that has stood up for women and children and taken action on this. We have doubled funding for women's programs across Canada. We brought forward Bill S-2. We are bringing forward Bill S-7.

I would like to ask the member why his party, instead of using rhetoric, is not standing and voting for Bill S-7, because this is what would protect women and children in Canada.

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

Mr. Speaker, again, I would like to thank the member for the question, because it gives me the opportunity to say how truly sad I am that the member and his party did not support Bill S-2. Bill S-2 gave women and children protection on reserve, and the Liberal Party did not support it when it was brought before the House several years ago.

It is very personal to me, because the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women is one that is very dear to us in the Lower Mainland in B.C. We want to move forward. We want to address these issues. That is why we have an action plan for missing and murdered aboriginal women. We do not want to just study it again for another several years, which is what the opposition wants to do. The opposition wants inaction. It wants to just talk about it. We have heard the opposition's rhetoric today. We want action and we are doing it.

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member why the opposition is not supporting women and children.

We have heard in various debates and speeches today and before that women need this protection in Canada. There are gaps in the law. That is very clear. In fact, I outlined that in my speech today.

Despite the rhetoric from the opposition over the years saying that it cares about women and children in Canada, why is it not standing up to support the bill, to support women and children facing abuse in Canada?

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

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today in support of Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act. I would like to take this opportunity to respond to some of the arguments that have been raised in opposition to Bill S-7.

Members of the opposition have claimed that Bill S-7 is unnecessary because the criminal law already covers early and forced marriages, and is sufficient to respond to these heinous forms of violence. They also claim that these proposed amendments will have unintended consequences on victims because the proposals will criminalize early and forced marriage.

We have heard many members in the House condemn these forms of gender-based violence as serious violations of the human rights of women and girl. We have heard about the serious harms inflicted upon women and girls forced to marry against their will. Our government will not sit back when we know that women and girls in Canada are being forced into marriage or being taken abroad, sometimes under false pretenses of attending someone else's wedding, only to find that they are the ones getting married despite their lack of consent.

These are completely unacceptable practices. They are an affront to the values of our country, to the freedom of choice, to the right to be protected from violence and to the principle of gender equality. It is our government that is standing up for the victims of these horrific forms of violence by ensuring that these victims and law enforcement have all of the tools they need to prevent these marriages from happening in the first place.

Yes, there are already criminal offences to address aspects of early and forced marriage, but there are also some significant gaps in the law. This bill is about filling those gaps to ensure that our strong justice system is enabled with responses that are even more robust. In addition, the bill provides a range of responses to these forms of violence that are specifically designed to prevent them from even occurring.

I will now take some time to address some gaps in our current laws.

First, there is currently no criminal offence that addresses child or early marriage where force or threat of force was not used prior to this marriage. Some claim that the current criminal provisions relating to the age of consent for sexual activity is enough to address early marriage. That is simply inaccurate.

The current Criminal Code provision that sets out the minimum age for sexual activity, section 150.1, is 16 years of age, with exceptions for those who are close in age and have explicit exemptions for married persons. In other words, right now a person under the age of 16 who is married to someone considerably older is not covered by this protective provision.

Permit me to also explain why this exemption for marriage currently exists. It exists because there is no national minimum age for marriage below which marriages are automatically illegal. Apart from the federal minimum age of 16 for marriages in Quebec, there is currently no federal legislation setting out the minimum age for marriage in the rest of Canada.

As many of my colleagues have pointed out, this leaves the old federal common law to fill the void, which is unclear, but appears to set the minimum age at 14 for boys and 12 for girls. It is therefore possible that a child under the age of 16 can currently be married in Canada, except in Quebec. It is also possible, on the basis of private international law rules, that a Canadian child under the age of 16 can be taken out of the country and married in a country where such child marriages are legally solemnized, and upon that child's return to Canada, the marriage is currently recognized as legally valid, except in Quebec. This is because there is no federal legislation that renders a child legally incapable of consenting to the marriage. This bill would address that gap.

By introducing a national minimum age of 16, below which no child can legally consent to marriage, the bill would not only prohibit those underage marriages from taking place in Canada, but it would also have the effect of rendering underage marriages of Canadian children abroad invalid because a child lacked the legal capacity to marry.

When Ms. Kathryn Marshall, a lawyer and equity activist, spoke at committee, she clarified:

We can't simply rely on the common law. The common law is something that's very much open to interpretation; that's the nature of it. It should be codified. It's extremely important to do so.

She explained that codifying the national minimum age of marriage is an important step in ensuring that no young woman or girl is forced into marriage.

The current gaps in the law related to early marriage are significant and warrant remedial legislative reform. Right now, the actual underage or forced marriage ceremony itself does not currently constitute a criminal offence and the provision in question does not refer to underage or forced marriage. Under the existing provisions, the authorities would need to be able to prove that a sexual or violent offence was intended to be committed abroad.

As a result, we need to have anchoring offences in the Criminal Code that are founded on the harms associated with underage and forced marriages themselves, as distinct from the harm of physical or sexual violence. That is why the bill would amend the Criminal Code to make it clear that anyone who actively participates in a marriage ceremony with full knowledge that one or both of the participants is under the age of 16 or is marrying against their will may be criminally liable.

These two new offences would act as the touchstone for amendments to the provision related to the removal of a child from Canada so that the authorities would have the tools to stop someone from taking a child out of the country for an underage or enforced marriage.

These two new offences would also act as the basis for the creation of a new peace bond designed to prevent underage and forced marriages from taking place without having to lay a criminal charge.

This speaks to the second gap in the current laws to address forced marriage, what I would refer to as the prevention gap.

This government is aware that many victims of forced marriage are reluctant to see their family members criminally prosecuted. This is something we see in all forms of family violence, be it intimate partner violence, child abuse, or elder abuse. Victims need more tools to prevent these forms of violence from happening in the first place. That is exactly what the bill would do.

These two new anchoring offences of underage and forced marriage were specifically designed so that victims could use the peace bonds to prevent these marriages from happening and so that the authorities could stop someone from removing a child from the country to commit these crimes. These are necessary tools to fill the gaps in the current law.

The bill would make it clear to perpetrators that we will not tolerate abuse, such as so-called honour killings, early or forced marriages, or any other type of gender-based violence. We are taking steps to strengthen our laws to help ensure that no young girl or woman in Canada becomes a victim to early or forced marriage.

Instead of voting for this important legislation and actually taking action to protect young women and girls, the opposition continues to play politics. It is time for the games to end and for us all in this House to stand up for women and children.

I urge that all my colleagues join with me in supporting this important bill at third reading.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 11th, 2015

With regard to government funding in the riding of Vancouver 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?

Petitions June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions today from a number of British Columbians. The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to condemn discrimination against girls through sex-selection abortion.

Interparliamentary Delegations June 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-China Legislative Association, respecting its participation at the 17th bilateral meeting in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, People's Republic of China, from November 9-17, 2013.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 8th, 2015

With regard to government funding in the riding of Vancouver Centre, 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?