Wendy LILL

LILL, Wendy, B.A.

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Dartmouth (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
November 2, 1950
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendy_Lill
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=40e50704-8f9f-4468-93fd-1abf14fff088&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
community-development worker, historian, journalist, playwright, writer

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
NDP
  Dartmouth (Nova Scotia)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
NDP
  Dartmouth (Nova Scotia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 95)


May 12, 2004

Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak tonight to Bill C-456, an act to amend the Excise Tax Act to exempt cloth and disposable diapers from the GST. I appreciate the bill put forward by the member for LongueuiI. I also appreciated her comments at the beginning of the debate. I hope that her two boys are watching their mom on CPAC, or whatever the equivalent is in Quebec. I hope they are watching their mother speak out on an issue which is very important to families.

I think, if anything, this bill speaks to the reason why we need a lot more women in the House of Commons. We see issues that are very down to earth and essential to our families. They need to be discussed here in order to bring forward practical solutions. This is as good an example as any why we need a lot more women in the House of Commons.

I support this bill and I believe that New Democrats support this bill. We are trying to come up with ways of eliminating more of the hardships facing Canadian families all over this country and helping people deal with the rising costs of raising children. It will make a difference. It will bring relief on a dollar per dollar basis of the amount that goes out every week on essentials, such as diapers. That is a really positive benefit of this bill.

The member for Longueuil mentioned that Quebec is more progressive when it comes to measures to assist families. I have always looked to Quebec and the kind of day care assistance it gives to families. I have wished very much that we could offer the same kind of assistance for all families in Nova Scotia, where I live and where I represent people.

I think that Quebec has also been working to assist families deal with escalating costs of raising children in other ways. I read that effective March 31, the Quebec sales tax is no longer applicable to the following items, and these are again important items involved in child raising: children's diapers and training pants, breast and bottle feeding equipment, waterproof pants worn over washable diapers, absorbent liners, and biodegradable paper used with children's diapers.

The goods and services tax continues to be applied to these items, but the Quebec sales tax, QST, has been removed. This is an important progressive step. The NDP believes in this kind of step to remove these consumer taxes on items that are essentials in daily life.

In February, my colleague, the member for Winnipeg North Centre, introduced a private member's bill to eliminate the goods and services tax on feminine hygiene products. That is another important elimination of a consumption tax on essentials. At that time, she said that charging the GST on feminine hygiene products clearly affects women only. It unfairly disadvantages women financially, solely because of our reproductive role.

If a proper gender based analysis had been done when the GST was introduced, this discriminatory aspect of the tax would never have been implemented. I agree with the member for Winnipeg North Centre.

I would say that applying the GST to diapers unfairly disadvantages people who have children. I would hope that this is certainly not the intent of the government. It certainly is not the intent of anyone in the New Democratic Party. The NDP finds this kind of consumption tax on essentials unacceptable.

The NDP has been at the forefront in speaking out on child poverty in this country. A decade ago the House of Commons gave unanimous support to an NDP motion made by our leader at the time, Ed Broadbent. It was a resolution to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. At the present time, one in five children still lives in poverty.

There is a direct relationship between child poverty and poverty facing parents in this country. Last week I had the opportunity to speak with people from Campaign 2000, a group speaking out about child poverty. I heard some astounding statistics. More than 60% of single mothers living in poverty earn less than $10 an hour.

Canada is a very low wage country among industrialized countries in terms of our wage scale. We are second only to the United States. One in four wages in this country is under $10 an hour. Into that mix are added on some very expensive consumer taxes to essential products such as diapers and feminine hygiene products. It is unacceptable that we have such low wages and unacceptable that so many people are living in poverty. It is also unacceptable that we further penalize people by putting on these kinds of consumption taxes.

I appreciate and support the bill put forward by my colleague from Longueuil. I hope that the bill will have the support of everyone else in the House.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Excise Tax Act
Full View Permalink

May 11, 2004

Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her comments about private for profit delivery. One of the ways provinces struggle with the cuts to health care funding is very clearly to put their money into such things as P3 facilities. We have seen this happen across the board in terms of schools. We now have public-private partnership schools and public-private partnership health care clinics. That allows the provincial governments to put off the payments until a later date and to get them off the books.

Everyone is struggling with the financing of both education and health care. The point is it is just putting the costs off. They pay now or they pay later. With these public-private health care clinics, we see an increase in long term care for people, an increase in user fees and an increase in hospital support services that the private companies need to put in place simply to get their profits. Could the member comment on the phenomena of P3 health care services?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
Full View Permalink

May 11, 2004

Ms. Wendy Lill

I apologize, Mr. Speaker.

If the Prime Minister's 10 year health care plan is something that we should be taking seriously, we should have a look at his last 10 years of growing privatization and ignored innovation. That seems to me to be the record that we have to be taking to the people in the next few weeks in terms of an election.

I will return to the issue of home care for a minute because that is an issue that is critical to people in Dartmouth and in all of Nova Scotia.

Canadians made it very clear in the Romanow submissions that home care services were too important to be excluded from the definition of insured health services under the Canada Health Act. Much of the care that was once provided in a hospital or in physician's office has moved to a patient's home. The care is still medically necessary but is provided in a different setting.

Why do the Liberals think that type of care should not be covered, or worse, why do they think it should be provided by for profit businesses?

Statistics show that for profit delivery of health care, regardless of the setting, results in reduced outputs for the patients.

I want to read from the Romanow report. It states:

--a comprehensive analysis of the various studies that compare not-for-profit and for- profit delivery of services concluded that for-profit hospitals had a significant increase in the risk of death and also tended to employ less highly skilled individuals than did non-profit facilities

In his report, Roy Romanow called home care the next essential service. It is the fastest growing component of the health care system and provides comfort and independence to the people who use it. It costs less than equivalent care in a hospital or in a long term care facility while improving the care and quality of life of patients.

The NDP wants to implement a public non-profit system of home care based on the successful Manitoba model. Since care in a hospital can cost from $9,000 to $16,000 more per patient per year than community based home care, this plan makes economic sense.

In my role as NDP critic on the status of persons with disabilities, I have heard over and over how important our health care system is to persons with disabilities. Groups, such as the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, have asked for a national system of disability supports, including home care or support to help people with disabilities with their quality of life.

Right now, many people with disabilities cannot access adequate home support for their needs. In some provinces, home support is only available after an acute health emergency. People with disabilities literally have to be sick enough to go to a hospital before they can get any support in their homes, and then the home care only responds to the acute medical emergencies, not an ongoing disability.

In other provinces, there is a monetary limit to how much home care a person can use per month. People with a disability must pick and choose which services they will give up each month so that they do not go over their limit.

In other situations, access to home care is linked to eligibility for other programs. For example, someone who is injured at work can access a home care program as part of workman's compensation, while a young person with a disability who wants to live independently in his or her own home is not able to.

There are many startling examples of people with disabilities finding today's health care system insufficient to meet their needs. This is the true danger of a not for profit system of health care. People with disabilities are disproportionately poorer than other Canadians, so if for profit health care costs increase, it will affect them more than ever.

The NDP is very clear and passionate about its commitment to a not for profit, publicly delivered health care system which will include pharmacare and home care in its new evolution in the years going onward.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
Full View Permalink

May 11, 2004

Ms. Wendy Lill

Mr. Speaker, what we seem to have witnessed over the last two terms in the House of Commons is a connection of disturbing proportion between the government side and the official opposition. There seems to be a consensus that it is acceptable to allow for profit health care to take place. Roy Romanow and many studies around the world have shown that for profit health care does not provide effective, efficient or reasonably priced health care benefits for the population.

The idea is to allow for profit companies to get into our health care system and make that additional 15%. That is the money we all hear is the sacred trust that private companies have to make at the end of the day. That additional money comes out of the pockets of individual Canadians in user fees. Some people cannot even go to hospitals or to doctors because they cannot afford those additional costs.

As profits in for profit health care companies increase, we see a decrease in the health status of Canadians

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
Full View Permalink

May 11, 2004

Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her comments and commitment to public health which I believe is very real.

I am trying to understand as I listen to the thousands of comments that are now flying around about health care. All Canadians have the same concerns. They have concerns about the lack of diagnostic services, about waiting lists, about the lack of cancer treatment, about the fact that we have a sicker population, about the fact that we have an unequal level of services across the country.

All of those problems are deeply embedded in our very troubled health care system which has been underfunded for many, many years. I do not believe that money is the only thing that is required at this point in time but it clearly is one of the things that is needed to bolster our system.

In light of the huge structural problems that now exist, how is it that the government can actually stand up and say that it is going to do this and this without putting forward a significant dollar figure? That figure at this point is way above what is going to be available from what I am hearing from the member.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
Full View Permalink