Michelle DOCKRILL

DOCKRILL, Michelle

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Bras d'Or (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
May 22, 1959
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Dockrill
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=f36fd6b5-ecd6-4ba3-9668-3afcf8b6c3a0&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
health care provider, public servant

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
NDP
  Bras d'Or (Nova Scotia)
  • Deputy Whip of the N.D.P. (June 25, 1997 - October 22, 2000)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 44)


October 5, 2000

Mrs. Michelle Dockrill

Mr. Speaker, I do not think there is a doubt in anybody's mind how much more difficult the government has made it for Canadians, whether it is people trying to access health care, whether it is people trying to access unemployment insurance or whether it is our youth who are trying to access a quality education, one they can afford.

Tonight there will be 1.5 million Canadian children going to bed hungry. The reality is very clear, especially to the people in my part of the country. This is about an election, not about the unemployed. What a legacy for this Prime Minister to leave Canada: 1.5 million Canadian children who will be going to bed hungry tonight. Children are not poor. They come from poor families.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance Act
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October 5, 2000

Mrs. Michelle Dockrill (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I could not help but listen to the member from the Alliance when he talked about his motion. The first thing that came to my mind was, will the real Alliance Party stand up?

The member talked about the initiative as helping seniors across the country. I do not think we will find anybody in the Chamber who is not committed to initiatives that will help seniors. However, when I listened to the member I could not help but wonder why his party did not want to help the largest portion of seniors in terms of a national pharmacare program.

We have read study after study that talk about our aging population and the fact that, as we all know, when we get older unfortunately we have the need to access the health care system. He talked about putting money back into the pockets of seniors. I know that the seniors in my riding would really appreciate having some assistance in paying for their drugs. In my part of the country I have seniors who literally play Russian roulette in choosing between taking medication or buying groceries. This winter it will be about putting fuel in their tanks to heat their homes.

The hon. member talked about spending on frivolous programs. Is the Alliance saying that medicare is a frivolous program or that the Canada pension program is a frivolous program? It is interesting to listen to the Alliance day after day. When we look at some of the initiatives that have been put forth by the Alliance over the last three years, there is one key thread that continues to run through all of them and that is the divisiveness which its initiatives cause in this country.

The member talks about seniors. Why not, as I said, support an initiative that would help all seniors, not just some seniors? Why not have an initiative to provide that anybody who makes $15,000 or less does not have to pay income tax? That would surely help an awful lot of seniors in my part of the country.

What we have is the Alliance again bringing forward initiatives that will create division among various groups of our population. We know all too well that once it creates division the Alliance is very good at fueling that division.

It was interesting to note that the hon. member who spoke prior to me said that men over 65 living alone actually make $6,000 more than women over 65 who live alone. Is the member for the Alliance targeting men with his initiatives? If the member truly believes that it is the responsibility of the Alliance to create initiatives that help all seniors, why does his party not support a national pharmacare program? Seniors across the country have clearly indicated that they need it and they need it now. That is clearly what would assist seniors to put money back into their pockets.

I talked a number of times today about the legacy that the government is leaving Canadians. We have 1.4 million children living in poverty. We have a majority of seniors who worked hard all of their lives with the hope that they could sit down, enjoy life and smell the roses. However, seniors are being gouged because they have to pay exorbitant prices for drugs which they need to maintain breath in their bodies.

What we have seen from the member from the Alliance Party is an initiative that clearly will cause division within the groups in our society. If the member is really committed to helping seniors put money back into their pockets, then I ask the member and his party to support a national pharmacare program that will do exactly what the member says he would like to do.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Taxation
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October 5, 2000

Mrs. Michelle Dockrill (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions we have sat here listening to members of the opposition talk about what the government is doing wrong and especially how it has affected those of us in Atlantic Canada.

One of the hardships that has been caused with respect to what the government has done to EI is the government's clear ability to take the money off the backs of Canadian workers and apply it to the debt. This has caused tremendous hardship in my part of the country. There is a little piece of reality in this.

The process of taking money off the backs of Canadian workers and the unemployed and applying it to the debt was started by the Progressive Conservative Party. That is how the Liberal government was able to get away with it. I would like the member to comment on her party's role in what the Liberal government has done to Atlantic Canadians and seasonal workers.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance Act
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October 5, 2000

Mrs. Michelle Dockrill (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address Bill C-44, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act.

It is almost ironic that we are here tonight talking about the Liberals tinkering with the unemployment insurance, given that over the course of the last seven days, day after day, minute after minute, all of us have heard Canadians talking about our former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the legacy he left them.

Although at times not all Canadians agreed with the former prime minister, I think there is a sense across the country that he did believe in justice for all Canadians. What he also taught Canadians was to reach for the unreachable, to touch the untouchable and to dream the impossible dream. In order to do that he taught us to believe in ourselves and that it was the responsibility of the government to empower its citizens, and that it was also the responsibility of the federal government to play an active role in that empowerment.

Now I stand here in the Chamber and ask myself what kind of legacy the Liberal government will leave Canadians. What kind of legacy is the Prime Minister going to leave children, like my 11 year old daughter and my two year old son? Today in the discussions we had some sense of what that legacy is going to be. It is going to be about long waiting lines for health care and people who cannot access critical surgeries they need.

When we talk about the unemployed, what legacy has the government left? Being from Atlantic Canada I have to say it has been very clear that since 1993 the Liberal government has clearly made a frontal assault on not only seasonal workers but on Atlantic Canadians.

As my colleague from Halifax West noted, we have to ask ourselves, why now? Why at this point in time? We know there are a number of members on the opposite side of the House who have urged the government to recognize the problems its changes to EI have made and to effect some change. I guess the question is can we deny that in this bill there is no change? No we cannot say that. There has been some tinkering with the legislation.

The Minister of HRDC stood time and time again in the House and told us that her department was monitoring the changes to the employment insurance. Up until approximately two months ago she continued to tell us that Canadians thought it was working fine. We know that is not a reality.

In my part of the country people are not seasonal workers because they want to be. There is no such thing in the country as a seasonal worker. It is the work that is seasonal. People in my riding want nothing more than to work 365 days a year with holidays and vacations. However, at the hands of the Liberal government they have had difficulty doing that.

Some people on the opposite side of the House talk about the dependency on the government in Atlantic Canada. In my part of the country the dependency was created by the same Liberal government. We had walls which cost Canadian taxpayers over a million dollars. We heard about projects like Scotia Rainbow. Cape Breton Island is full of those kinds of projects. Were those projects initiated to assist people in gaining employment? No, they were not.

The reason for those projects and others was to make sure that the Liberal government could continue to funnel money to its friends and do it on the backs of poor individuals in Cape Breton who wanted nothing more than to get up every morning, go to work, come home and feel good about their ability to feed and clothe their kids.

When we talk about dependency, it has been created by the government. In 1997 less than 20% of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 qualified for unemployment insurance. We heard the government stand up time and time again to talk about how good it had been and how much it had done for youth. Today that figure is only 15%. That is the good job the government has done.

Thirty-two per cent of women who are unemployed receive employment insurance benefits. I even have a problem referring to it as the government employment insurance. As we know, it originated as a safety net, as unemployment insurance. We paid into it in the event there was a possibility that some day we might have to take out of that. However, when the name changed the government abandoned the unemployed of this country.

Why change it now? Are we on the eve of an election? Mr. Speaker, you might have more of an inside track than I do, but it sure sounds like it.

In 1995 the finance minister's own words were that any economic recovery would bypass Cape Breton. This is about buying votes. Everyone knows it. Backbenchers on the government side know that is what it is about. This is not about helping the unemployed. This is not about helping seasonal workers. This is about taking money from an individual's cheque for a specific purpose and then using it for another purpose.

I think that is the definition of fraud, when we take something meant for something specific and use it for something entirely different. We have a finance minister who sits in the House and who goes across the country and boasts about his $33 billion surplus. What does this legislation mean in terms of putting anything back? It means 1.5% of that $33 billion.

Do Atlantic Canadians buy this? No way. Do Canadians buy this? No way. We have a Liberal government that talks about values and talks about its commitment to social programs, but Canadians have suffered from the actions of the Liberal government.

I have no doubt that the government should never under estimate Atlantic Canadians. Atlantic Canadians sent them a clear message in 1997 and said “No more. You are not going to use us any more”. Atlantic Canadians will say that again.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance Act
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October 5, 2000

Mrs. Michelle Dockrill (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I will read for my hon. colleague a little comment that comes from my colleague from Acadie—Bathurst on the human face of unemployment insurance. It is from a mother and says “It shows the complete lack of compassion on the part of the government when a mother is not given an opportunity to support her children and when instead her money is used to balance the budget”. This clearly shows the direct correlation between the hungry Canadian children that there are as we sit in the Chamber tonight, and the government's devastation of unemployment insurance.

Would the member like to comment on whether the government could have gone further with the EI legislation and in effect made some good strides toward eliminating poverty in the country?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Employment Insurance Act
Full View Permalink