House of Commons photo

Track Chris

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is refugees.

Conservative MP for Ajax—Pickering (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 44.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Rise in anti-Semitism February 24th, 2015

Mr. Chair, that was an excellent question by the distinguished member for Edmonton Centre.

It reminds us all that the United Nations serves some purposes. It is a home for discussion of humanitarian issues. It is a home for discussion of international security issues. We do not have another forum like the Security Council. It is a home for progress on issues like maternal, newborn, and child health, where Canada has shown leadership. Our Prime Minister has shown leadership.

However, in recent years it has become increasingly not the home of issues that need a home and that deserve to be at the centre of the international community's attention. One of those issues is anti-Semitism, where the United Nations, far from being a centre of excellence or a centre of discussion and action to stamp out this behaviour, has instead been a misguided organization, throwing out the welcome mat to those who would spew this hatred and this poison and disseminate it, giving them a platform, giving them a loud speaker.

There are three ways in which that happens. First are fora like Durban, anti-Semitic fora where free rein is given to views that are not just historically inaccurate and nonfactual, but that represent hatred towards a particular group. For the United Nations to be associated with such events is shameful.

Second, there is the tolerance of many in the United Nations, state and non-state actors, who reject the existence of the State of Israel and call for a jihad war, the elimination of the State of Israel. This is a voting member of the United Nations. There is no other member state of the United Nations whose existence and borders are not recognized and indeed negated by dozens of other members of the United Nations. Instead of asking those dozens of countries what their problem is with the existence of a democracy that has self-determined its constitution and institutions, the United Nations all too often victimizes Israel.

Third, there is the inconsistency of the United Nations with regard to terrorism, particularly Islamic jihadist terrorism. There have been flashes of insight on the part of the UN, terrorist lists for al Qaeda and the Taliban, a few other contributions to the global fight, but for the most part the United Nations has been notably schtum in refusing to name and shame, let alone take action against, the state and non-state actors. Here I emphasize the words state actors who continue to support organizations like ISIL, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others who in addition to victimizing civilians, in addition to fighting wars, proxy wars in many cases on behalf of states, have anti-Semitism as one of their stocks in trade.

Rise in anti-Semitism February 24th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I am thankful for the honour of taking part in tonight's debate. I would like to thank members of all parties who have made it possible. Above all, I would like to thank my colleagues on this side, many of whom are here tonight, who give so much of their best to the cause that is so fundamental to the foundations on which we stand.

My colleague, the Minister of National Defence, has said tonight, as we all say to ourselves on the many occasions around the calendar when it needs to be said, that anti-Semitism is the most ancient of hatreds and the most ancient of irrational tragedies in human behaviour. It represents the very epitome of those challenges to the values we hold dear: freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Our determination tonight to set our faces against this scourge, wherever it manifests itself, is a recommitment to our Canadian values and the values that have made our country, and the broader society and humanity to which we belong, great. It is truly humbling to speak after the hon. member who calls himself the son of Abram Adler of Lodz. There can be no story more moving for any of us in a debate like tonight's than that of a Holocaust survivor.

Let us remember that, despite those tragedies and the institutionalized efforts of the international community to never forget and to never let that tragedy be repeated, we live in a world where anti-Semitism is all too pervasive a fact. Whether it is recent attacks across Europe or an aggressive, belligerent, rapacious regime in Moscow that is prepared to make donations to far-right anti-Semitic groups across Europe, it harkens back to the alliance between Stalin and Hitler that made the Second World War a much greater tragedy than it would otherwise have been.

Whether it is jihadist groups around the world but centred in North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia who bring forth unspeakable tragedies and kill civilians in untold numbers and at every step of the way pepper their obscene language with the poison of anti-Semitism, it is not just ISIL. It is al Qaeda, which is still with us. It is 1,000 branch plants of those offices. It is the Muslim Brotherhood, which just apparently rededicated itself to jihad in late January.

In Nazi Germany, the Jews were stripped of their citizenship, denied their natural rights and their very right to exist. In contemporary times, there are those in these jihadist groups and in dozens of nation states who are trying to strip the State of Israel of its citizenship in the international community, circumscribe its right to exist, and attack its natural rights as a nation. All of them have in common the sin and the violation of fundamental rights that anti-Semitism represents.

We are proud on this side to be part of a government that stands up, stands behind the principles of the Ottawa protocol, and wants to monitor and end this kind of hatred on the Internet and elsewhere. We are part of a government that was the first in the world to withdraw from the United Nations Durban Review Conference, or Durban II. We refused to allow Canada's good name to be tarnished by an event where examples of anti-Semitism under the UN flag and auspices were flourishing openly, including the circulation of copies of Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and explicitly anti-Semitic symbolism.

Our stand was vindicated when Durban II was used by former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to purvey his particular brand of horrific high-octane anti-Semitism. We will continue down this path to ensure that Canada's name is at the forefront of those combatting this hatred, at the forefront of those reinforcing our values, and at the forefront of those calling together all around the world, who recognize anti-Semitism for the plague on our values that it has been for centuries.

Rise in anti-Semitism February 24th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I thank the hon. member for his moving commentary. As a child of Holocaust survivors, as someone who knows that history so intimately in a family setting, how are we in Canada doing as leaders and how is the world doing on the important issue of Holocaust remembrance, to which we have committed ourselves and recommitted ourselves as a government, but which obviously will require redoubled efforts globally if the tragedy and the unspeakable horrors of the Shoah are to be remembered in all parts of the world?

Citizenship and Immigration February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Mississauga—Streetsville for his hard work for his constituents and for Canadian citizenship, because Mississauga is one of the places in this country where we swore in a record number of citizens in 2014, and we did it through a public declaration.

The oath of citizenship is a statement that one is joining the Canadian family and that he or she is committed to Canadian values and traditions. That is why most Canadians find it offensive that someone would conceal their identity at the very moment when they are joining and expressing their commitment to Canadian laws, values, and traditions.

It is not a matter of practical policy. This is a matter of principle. The oath of citizenship is something we do publicly. Someone keeping his or her face hidden from view at the moment he or she joins our country—

Citizenship and Immigration February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member may not have had the honour of living in a majority Muslim country where the hijab has been used to cover the face of women just as the niqab has been used and just as the burka has been used under the terrible influence of the Taliban in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Those practices have no place in our citizenship ceremonies, where we insist on confirming the identity and confirming the commitment of new citizens to our laws, to our sovereign, to our values, and to our traditions.

Canada-China Relations February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich for the NDP to ask us to support a motion to change the Chinese government's visa policies, when the NDP themselves voted against the investment protection agreement, and when they themselves voted against all our immigration reforms to help Chinese business people, tourists, and students come to Canada. This is just more NDP hypocrisy.

The Conservatives, however, will continue to promote a very dynamic relationship with China.

Canada-China Relations February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member obviously thinks we have our Canadian policies so right that they do not even deserve a motion from him. He needs a motion to go after Chinese policies for visas for Canadians.

We have enhanced the business relationship with China in every way. There are more direct flights. There are more visas being issued. One-quarter of all the visas we issued in the world last year were issued to Chinese citizens, most of them 10-year multiple-entry visas, and yes, we will continue to work with the Chinese to ensure that more tourists come, that business expands, and that business people have every opportunity to grow a vital trade and investment relationship.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to listen to my colleague's speech, but I was disappointed by its content.

She used the word “barbaric” in her first question, but she refuses to use that word in the title of the bill. This is a reflection of the NDP's approach to everything, when it comes to criminal justice and this bill. The NDP denounces forced marriage, honour crimes and violence against women, but it does not want to take any action. It advocates inaction. It wants young girls to report offenders and people who hurt them, but without making it clear that a crime was committed. Why?

Does the hon. member not think that in the case of misrepresentation, someone living in a polygamous relationship should be deported like anyone else found guilty of misrepresentation? If we are talking about sexual assault, of course, there is recourse and the possibility of staying here. However, misrepresentation is unacceptable in the case of polygamy and in other cases.

Let us talk about provocation. Should a person be able to use honour as a reason for pleading provocation as a defence for a crime like murder? If a young girl does not want to go through the criminal process, is the hon. member aware of peace bonds? Using—

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, no, we will not remove the word “cultural”, because it is deeply relevant to the objective we are trying to achieve here.

No specific culture, either national, ethnic, or territorial, is being targeted by this bill. What is being targeted is a culture of tolerance and sometimes a culture of indifference to these issues that have found a place in Canada and in many other places around the world. I would challenge anyone in the House to deny that there is a certain cultural environment, yes, in some communities in Canada, but definitely in some countries around the world, that tolerates these barbaric practices.

I am not surprised to hear this criticism from a member of the Liberal Party, because it was his leader who objected to the use of the term “barbaric” to describe any of these practices whatsoever. He was not willing to describe violence against women, whether female genital mutilation, forced marriage, or honour killings, by the name that Canadians, with our principled approach to these issues, insist on using.

This violence, whether against aboriginal women and girls, immigrant women and girls, or women and girls in some other community in Canada, is unacceptable and barbaric. That culture has no place in Canada. It is incompatible with Canadian values.

I will take the example of Lee Marsh, a Jehovah's witness who just turned 18. As reported in a recent issue of Maclean's, Lee Marsh's mother came into the room and told Lee that she would marry a 20-year-old man whom she had met only once before. She was quoted as saying that she was not allowed an opinion. She wanted to run, but she was not allowed to. She was compelled into this marriage.

The culture surrounding that type of practice is unacceptable, and the consequences, the violence that can ensue, the repeated sexual assaults, are indeed barbaric.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for her question and her general support for numerous measures found in the bill. Yes, we all have the shared goal of preventing violence against women, and, in fact, all violence, period. I also want to thank her for using the term “barbaric”, because these practices really are barbaric and should be called what they are.

I am well aware of the testimony given in committee. When it comes to both immigration and the Criminal Code, we always see so-called specialized groups in one sector or another that say there is no need to legislate, that we should just let them take care of it and they will solve the problem, and no one from the legal system or the immigration system needs to get involved. We tried that method for decades. Early and forced marriages, polygamy and honour killings continue to be practised in many cases. It is time to provide women and girls who have been the victims of these crimes the same degree of protection as that provided to Canadians in all other areas and for all other crimes.

We need the full force of the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to prevent these barbaric practices and crimes. There is no other way to ensure proper protection other than legislating as we are prepared to do.