- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Brampton Centre (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2000, with 50.64% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Foreign Affairs May 11th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Could the minister give the House his reaction to the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners by the U.S. forces in Iraq?
Immigration April 27th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
In light of the Prime Minister's visit to the United States, will the minister report to the House on the progress of discussions with U.S. authorities in regard to creation of a safe third country agreement with the U.S. regarding refugees coming from the U.S.A.?
Vaisaiki April 26th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to join with Sikhs in Canada and throughout the world in marking the celebration of Vaisaiki .
From its origin in the Indus Valley, the Sikh faith has spread throughout the world, including Canada where the first Sikh pioneers settled over 100 years ago.
Over the past two weekends I joined with many of my Sikh constituents in a wonderful celebration of faith and pride in their culture. Congratulations to the Canadian Sikh community on the celebration of Vaisaiki .
[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Punjabi]
International Transfer of Offenders Act April 26th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, on December 12, when the new government took over, one of the offices established by the Prime Minister was that of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs with special emphasis on Canadians abroad. As hon. members will recall, I and the member of Parliament from Ottawa West went to Damascus to bring Mr. Arar home.
My question for the hon. member is, what impact will this have on the office of the parliamentary secretary, a job now being done by our colleague from the Pickering area? I wonder if there is any relationship he can see there with regard to transferring a prisoner here from overseas or from here to overseas. What job does he see for this new position established last year by the Prime Minister?
Justice March 29th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.
Tragically last week an innocent young woman in Brampton, Ms. Amretta Singh, died after she was gunned down on her doorstep. Unfortunately, crimes committed with firearms are increasing all over the GTA.
The use of a firearm in the commission of a crime is a serious offence. Can the minister tell the House what steps are being taken by the department to ensure that the incidence of gun crimes will be reduced and punished accordingly?
The Budget March 25th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for the presentation she made. I would like to ask her a question regarding the interest rates.
A few years ago, we had interest rates of 10%, 15%, 22% for mortgages, and now interest rates are the lowest they have been for the last 40 or 45 years. If someone had a house with a mortgage of $100,000 on average, or maybe a bit more now, savings from this interest rate mortgage payment would be enormous for the household of Canadians living with a mortgage.
The opposition complain that there are no tax breaks this time around, but we are living with the biggest tax breaks any government has ever given: $100 billion to taxpayers a few years ago. It is still in that process.
Could the hon. member comment on the low interest rate impact on mortgage payees? They are saving thousands of dollars a year because our government policy has generated such a low interest rate for mortgage holders and business people.
The Budget March 25th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I was following attentively the comments made by the critic for the Reform, Alliance, Conservative Party of Canada.
I have to remind hon. members that this is the seventh consecutive budget with a surplus. Canada is the only country in the G-7 nations that has done so. The government has given approximately $36.8 billion toward health care. It has also provided an additional $665 million to deal with health emergencies, such as SARS, so we will be ready for the future.
I wonder if my colleague read today's Globe and Mail headline which read, “PM seeks 10-year medicare plan”. The article states that the Prime Minister has asked the Minister of Health to prepare a sustainable 10 year plan for our nation in time for an upcoming meeting of the premiers in August.
Is the hon. member opposed to that plan? He said that he did not support the government nor the plan presented to Canadians in the budget. Everybody appreciates this plan with the exception of the hon. member. Could he comment on the points I have made?
Armenian People February 25th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I am sure anyone who would study these historical facts would find many undisputed facts in this presentation.
I mentioned earlier that the Créditistes in the 1960s were probably the first political party in the House of Commons to raise the issue of the Armenian genocide. Since then, in the 1970s and 1980s we passed many resolutions in the House to bring the issue into focus for the Canadian public.
I have to say that the issue was quite forceful and brought out many points of view on how to solve this problem. I am pleased that our Parliament in the past 10 years has passed many resolutions. One resolution was passed a couple of years ago by the Senate. The resolution asked the government and the Parliament of Canada to recognize this genocide as an historic event.
The second resolution passed nine to seven in the foreign affairs committee. That was an historic day for us. The foreign affairs committee accepted the fact that the House of Commons must recognize the act of genocide and passed the resolution on to the Government of Canada. I would like to have that motion passed again.
The motion was:
That the Committee invite the House of Commons to recognize the genocide of the Armenians, which began at the turn of the last C century, by the Ottoman Turks, during the First World War.
There was also a resolution passed in 1996 which was mentioned earlier. The resolution declared April 20 to 27 as a week of remembrance of the inhumanity to fellow man.
What is important is that we have to continue this struggle not only for the sake of Armenians, not only for the sake of the Turks, but it is vital to recognize the historical fact. When we take positive steps, it will help bring these two nations together forever. They will live together because Armenia and Turkey are still there. Armenia will not vanish and neither will Turkey.
It is better that we do our part to bring them together so they can move forward for the peace, security and prosperity of both the Armenians and Turks.
Armenian People February 25th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the documents I mentioned earlier. I have clippings from the Evening Telegram , the New York Times , the London Times and the Globe and Mail newspapers. These documents speak about the issue at the time. They are not edited. They are simply historical facts as they were written in 1915.
Armenian People February 25th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Laval Centre for presenting the motion. This is not the first and it will not be the last. I would hope it would be the last because we have worked on this in the past and we have to get on with debating other issues in the House to do with the Armenian-Turkish relationship. I hope we support this motion and go forward from here.
I want to reflect on the comments made by my colleague from Thunder Bay. He mentioned that Turkey is ready to join the European Union. That is a false statement because Turkey has tried for the last 30 or 40 years to join and every time it has been blocked for many reasons. The first issue was the human rights treatment by the Turkish government against a minority. The second issue was the Kurdish minority treatment. The third issue was the Armenian genocide. The fourth issue was the Cyprus issue. If it does not address these four issues, Turkey will never be a European Union country.
My colleague mentioned that the Turkish constitution is such a fantastic instrument. He may be right, but the Turkish constitution was written after the genocide. No constitution in the world would provide that type of clause. Even the Hitler constitution did not provide for genocide of the Jews. The Rwanda constitution and the Bosnia constitution never provided a clause to kill a minority.
These things are done in the name of national security. Turkey at the time felt that the Armenians were a threat to national security: “Let us eliminate them; let us solve it with a final resolution and get it over with”.
My colleague from the NDP mentioned Iraq, the U.S. and Canada. She is 100% right. We can afford to upset the U.S.A. when we do about $1 billion of trade a day. With Turkey our trade over two years was $1 billion. If we can provoke the U.S. in these conditions, what is the big deal about a so-called provocation with Turkey? Of course we know this whole thing is hot air.
When France passed a resolution two or three years ago, the Turkish ambassador was recalled from Paris to Ankara and six months later he went back. It said it was going to cancel the contract. No contract was cancelled. Therefore the argument is totally false.
My colleague from Thunder Bay mentioned that SNC-Lavalin and the Canadian government are involved in a contract with the Turkish government to provide some 300 rail cars. I have been there long enough, especially on this issue for 25 to 30 years. Three years ago there were discussions that Turkey was going to buy a Candu reactor from us.
Every time there is a motion in the House that this issue is close to a settlement or a final resolution, Turkey comes up with a so-called memorandum of understanding. If anyone believes that Turkey is going to buy these rail cars from Bombardier, good luck. They are really naive to believe that Turkey is going to pay for this. It has no money to pay for its own daily expenses so how could it afford to pay so much money for this kind of fantastic service? Bombardier should know better. That company is being used to provoke the Canadian government to take a stand against the Armenian question.
It was mentioned earlier that we owe it to ourselves to know and recognize the history of this issue. This is not to do with the Turkish government. At the end of the day the relations between the two countries, Turkey and Armenia, will improve because this issue is out of the way.
I have a list of the countries that have recognized the genocide. The most recent one is the Swiss government on December 16, 2003. Others are the Canadian Senate on June 13, 2002; the European parliament assembly on April 24, 2001; the Italian chamber of deputies; the Lebanese parliament; the French national assembly; the Belgian senate; the U.S. House of Representatives; the Argentine senate; and the European parliament. There was a French law in January 20, 2001. Again there is the European parliament; the French national assembly; the Swedish parliament; the council of the European parliament; the Lebanese parliament; the Hellenic parliament; the Russian Duma; the European parliament; the Cyprus parliament; and Uruguay. There was a joint declaration of France, Great Britain and Russia on May 23, 1915 to condemn what happened to the Armenians.
My colleague from Calgary also read a few pages of a book.
I have in my possession a newspaper articles from the Evening Telegram , the Globe and Mail , the London Times and the New York Times . I also have in my possession all the resolutions I read earlier, about 40 or 50 pages, that passed through the parliaments of Canada, the United States and the European parliament. I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House to leave these documents with the clerk for further study.
I remember debating this issue way back. I remember a few years ago there was the Créditiste Party some 30 or 40 years ago. They raised this issue--