House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rcmp.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Etobicoke Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 41.20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, my question is for the minister. We have heard the responsibility to protect, R to P, invoked a number of times. I was incredibly fortunate to have been at the United Nations six years ago when former Prime Minister Paul Martin gave a speech to the general assembly laying out this principle. To everyone's surprise, it actually passed the general assembly. It was an incredibly proud day for Canada.

Today we are invoking this responsibility to protect as being the principle that provides us with the mandate. In fact, it is two UN resolutions that give us the legitimacy of the allied actions that are taking place today to stop the bloodshed that has been unleashed by the Gadhafi regime against innocent civilians in Libya.

However, throughout the debates, we have also heard thanks given to the Arab League for its facilitation and its decision to support a no-fly zone.

What is the guiding principle? Is it the responsibility to protect mandate given by the resolutions at the United Nations? If the Arab League had not supported this no-fly zone and in fact the Gadhafi regime, as Gadhafi's son had said, unleashed rivers of blood in Benghazi during these days, would we be standing aside or would we have stepped forward, without the Arab League's facilitation, done the right thing and invoked the responsibility to protect in this circumstance?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I congratulate my colleague on his foresight. A couple of weeks ago, twice he requested an emergency debate on the situation in Libya. He foresaw that the situation there was quite different from what had happened in Tunisia and Egypt. Unfortunately, that debate did not take place, and finally we are having the debate at a time when we are in the midst of a war, in a war zone. I wanted to note that and note his foresight on this particular file.

Coming back to the issue he raised with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Coptic minority in Egypt, 10% of the population has been terribly attacked and at times terribly repressed.

Did the minister raise the issue of the Coptic minority, of minority rights, democratic rights, when he was in Cairo, either with Egyptian officials or with the secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, who is an Egyptian himself?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, the foreign minister intoned the historical nature of the changes that are occurring in North Africa and the Middle East over the last couple of months. The people of Egypt saw what was happening in Tunisia and they found their voice. They rose up and they overthrew a regime that had repressed them for decades.

We saw similar uprisings in a number of countries, including Libya. But it was not just the people learning. Dictators learned from what was happening in the Middle East. Colonel Gadhafi realized that he was facing regime change unless he used lethal force. That is what we saw. One of his sons said there would be rivers of blood.

Prior to this allied action, a number of regimes that are facing uprisings used lethal force against peaceful demonstrators, civilians, who after decades of oppression had found their voice. This happened in Bahrain, in Yemen and most recently in Syria.

Has our government spoken with officials or diplomats from those governments and stated clearly and unequivocally that Canada views the use of lethal force against peaceful civilians as unacceptable?

March 1st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the announcement was not enough.

The reason that this is so important was illustrated in literature put out by the member for Edmonton East which said that the present UCAM building does not provide the proper environment to house the extensive ethnographic or tribal and library collections of the museum. Without such an environment, there is a risk of damage to many unique artifacts that are an important part of Canadian cultural history. In fact, this past summer many documents were water damaged because they are improperly housed.

Why has the government shortchanged the commitment it made as far back as two years ago? Why is it not providing the full amount necessary to move this museum into the new facility that is there and waiting to be opened up to the public?

March 1st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, this year we will be noting an incredible anniversary, the 120th year since the first arrival of Ukrainian Canadian pioneers on the shores of this great nation of ours, Canada.

As they arrived, they got on to trains and headed west to Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. In fact, Saskatchewan and Alberta were not provinces at that time. They transformed what was the bush of the Northwest Territories and of Manitoba into the golden wheat fields of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

It is an incredible history of perseverance and nation building. In fact, I have said this in meetings out in western Canada. When we talk about the tremendous contribution those pioneers made in building Canada, the Ukrainian Canadian community, those hearty pioneers that began arriving in waves 120 years ago, are in fact one of the founding peoples of our great country.

There was a labour of love that was worked on and built in Edmonton. It is called the Ukrainian Canadian Archives & Museum of Alberta. It was first open to the public in 1974. It includes over 2,000 artifacts, 40,000 books, 5,000 photographs, 400 pieces of art, 300 maps and a collection of 320 newspaper titles from 17 countries, archival documents that tell a story of those pioneers.

I have had the incredible opportunity to look at some of those documents. I have read letters written by young women who arrived and had to basically burrow in crates to get through the harsh prairie winter that first year. They wrote back home and talked of how they had lost their children during that first winter and the hardships that they went through in those first years.

We have a beautiful outdoor architectural museum in Alberta, where we see those original thatched huts and some of the churches those pioneers built after establishing themselves. However, there is nothing that actually has wide public access which talks about and documents the story of what took place.

This is the role of the archives museum in Edmonton. People there have been waiting for years for the federal government to step forward. The municipal government of Edmonton and the provincial government each came forward with $3 million. The community came forward with large amounts. The Chwyl Family Foundation put in $750,000. They were looking for a contribution of $6 million from the federal government to match the funds. In the fall, the government announced $6.25 million in a press announcement, which everyone took at face value. That meant this archival museum would finally open and the documents would not be lost. It turns out that this included the provincial funding of $3 million.

Why has the government not come forward with the funding required for this museum?

Petitions February 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I am pleased to present a petition signed from Acadia University and Queen's University students in support of Bill C-380. The purpose of this bill is to add “sex”, the legal term for “gender”, to the list of identifiable groups, which currently includes “ethnicity”, “race”, “religion” and “sexual orientation” in relation to hate propaganda provisions in the Criminal Code.

These university students are well aware that half of Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16 and that violence against women is often motivated by gender-based hatred.

For the sake of our sisters, our mothers and our daughters, the petitioners urge the government to adopt Bill C-380 and add “gender” as a category into our hate crimes legislation.

Points of Order February 15th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Twice during question period I referenced a document that I received as a result of an ATIP request in which the secret quotas for family reunification are listed, for example, for Poland, 5, and Ukraine, 25.

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for this document to be tabled in the House so that people can see the heartless numbers of those who have been targeted, the quotas not only for Warsaw and Kiev, but also for Nairobi, Ankara, and a list of other places.

Citizenship and Immigration February 15th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, what is the secret quota for Poland? How many parents and grandparents can Canada's one million Polonia expect to welcome in 2011? We can count it on one hand: five.

The government is leaving Canadians to fend for themselves when it comes to child care. Now it is clamping down on new Polish Canadians' ability to reunite with their loved ones.

How can the minister and his party claim to support family values while pursuing such an anti-family agenda?

Citizenship and Immigration February 15th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, secret immigration quotas obtained under the Access to Information Act show that the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism is planning on slashing reunification for parents and grandparents this year.

Even worse, Ukrainian Canadians should not expect to see their loved ones anytime soon, since Ukraine has been allotted only 25 of 11,200 spots.

Odds are against Ukrainian Canadians' parents and grandparents ever being reunited with their families in their lifetime. Why such a heartless quota?

Petitions February 4th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to present a petition signed by over 100 Canadians who have been hit hard by the economic downturn and are looking to the government to show compassion and leadership by improving the employment insurance system.

The petitioners urge several improvements to the current system, including maintaining the EI benefit duration at 50 weeks, eliminating the two-week waiting period, and ensuring that workers' best 14 weeks of employment are used as a basis for their claims.

In times of crisis, Canadians expect the government to enact policies to help ensure individuals and families are not left behind.