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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is deal.

NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 50.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions October 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by 2,000 residents of Montreal, principally in the riding of LaSalle—Émard, asking the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to reconsider the decision to deport the Fuh-Cham family of Montreal.

Mr. Fuh-Cham, his wife and three young children have been active community members in LaSalle, specifically the Saint Jean Brebeuf Church, for seven years. They are facing imminent deportation to Cameroon, where they face grave risk of persecution because of their Christian faith. In particular, the family fears the women and girls would be subjected to forced genital mutilation.

The undersigned in this petition are asking that the minister reconsider the deportation of the Fuh-Cham family scheduled for October 9, 2014, and allow them to remain in Canada where they can freely practise their religious beliefs and continue to contribute to Canadian society.

International Trade October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that does not say anything about whether Germany will ratify the deal.

What Canadians want is an explanation of why taxpayers' dollars were blown to treat European bureaucrats like royalty. We know that the last-minute decision to fly the EU delegation back to Europe cost over $300,000, but what about the security costs incurred by the RCMP when they were told to deliver them to a cocktail party in Toronto? How much in total did this poorly planned photo op cost Canadian taxpayers?

International Trade October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we now hear that the Europeans may not include investor state provisions in their trade agreement with the United States. The question, then, is why are Conservatives so adamant that it be in the deal for Canada, especially when it means that the U.S. would get a better deal and Germany may never ratify CETA?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The hon. member went on and on about the New Democrats not standing in this place and not voting for an agreement, and he challenged us to prove him wrong. I have the Journals from Monday, March 5, 2012, and I would like to table this document showing the New Democrats stood in the House and voted in favour of the Canada-Jordan agreement at second reading. Where he is confusing it is that, at third reading, we let that agreement go by a voice vote, which happens all the time in the House. As a matter of fact, we understand that the Liberals have sent a request to New Democrats to allow the South Korea agreement to pass by a voice vote.

The hypocrisy and the inaccuracy of the Liberal Party is again breathtaking. I would ask for unanimous consent to table this document in the House, so that the member will once and for all be quiet and no longer state that the New Democrats have not stood in the House and voted for the Jordan agreement, because we did.

Moreover, maybe he can answer a question. Besides the Liberals not supporting the free trade agreement in the 1980s—he prattles on and on about how the Liberals have always supported free trade, but Canadians remember they did not—the Liberal trade critic has said this about CETA:

We have been supportive of the deal from the start....

It's important to say this is a great step, but also we really need to start seeing some details. At some point though we need to see what it is we're actually supporting

Now is that not a classic description of the Liberal Party to support something without ever reading it, or—

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when speaking about the Canada-EU trade agreement, the Liberal trade critic said:

We have been supportive of the deal from the start. It’s important to say this is a great step, but also we really need to start seeing some details. At some point though we need to see what it is we’re actually supporting.

It begs this question. Why is it that the Liberals are willing to support trade deals before they even read them or see the details?

My question is about democracy. My hon. colleague mentioned favourably that Korea is a democracy, yet the Liberals supported a free trade agreement with Honduras, where the democratically elected government was overthrown by a coup, where journalists are regularly killed, where the LGBT community is persecuted, and where human rights are brazenly violated. They also supported the China FIPA, which has all sorts of problems in many other respects as well.

I am just wondering if my hon. colleague could name a single country with which the Liberals would not support signing a trade agreement.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do agree with that. When the government took office in 2006, Canada had a current account surplus of about $18 billion, and today it has a current account deficit of some $64 billion. So there has been about an $80 billion swing to the negative since the government came to power. I think that is because the government has taken an ideological approach to trade. Conservatives will sign any trade agreement with anybody, regardless of the terms, without taking a strategic, thoughtful approach to trade policy. New Democrats believe that we should take a thoughtful strategic approach, with balanced trade agreements that will benefit the Canadian economy. New Democrats would support those agreements if they do, and will oppose them if they do not.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague that it is regrettable and, in fact, wrong that the House did not have an opportunity to debate the Canada-China FIPA. Certainly the New Democrats brought forth a motion and devoted one of our opposition days to that very subject. We also moved motions before the trade committee to have that committee study it. Unfortunately, that was not accepted by the government. So the New Democrats have used every tool we have in the House to try to get a debate on that important deal.

We believe that all trade agreements, including FIPAs that govern investment, ought to be debated in the House. In the case of trade agreements, they usually require enabling legislation. That is why we are debating this, as these agreements must come before the House because they require legislative amendments. FIPAs often do not require legislative amendments, which is why cabinet has the ability to pass them. But as a matter of policy and good governance, both FIPAs and trade agreements should come before the House for thorough scrutiny and debate before Canada commits to them.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I cannot really speak about where the government gets its sources of information, but I will say that the Canada-China FIPA stands in stark contrast to the deal before the House. Many Canadians have serious concerns about this FIPA, not the least of which is that it provides for secretive tribunals to hold hearings behind closed doors on lawsuits filed by investors that will put taxpayers' liabilities in the billions of dollars, and which violate the Canadian concept of the rule of law. It is also undemocratic, and worse, the Canada-China deal will be in force for a minimum of 31 years. It is a bad deal and not a good example for Canada. I note that the Liberals support the Canada-China FIPA along with the Conservatives. Only the New Democrats have stood in the House with the Green Party and opposed the deal.

The agreement with Korea, in contrast, has guarantees of transparency in its investor-state provisions. The hearings must be open and the agreement is cancellable on six months' notice. All investments under that agreement would not fall under the ISDS provisions after the six-month period. So the New Democrats, when we are government in 2015, will be watching this agreement very carefully to make sure that the procedure is not abused, so that we can protect Canadian taxpayers.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my hon. colleague from the Liberal Party because it gives me a chance to comment on the Liberal approach to trade. The Liberal trade critic said about CETA that the Liberals have been very happy to be supporting that agreement for all these years, and they look forward to the text being released so they can finally determine what it is they have been supporting. That is not a thoughtful approach to trade.

As well, I should correct my hon. friend. He knows full well that the New Democrats voted in favour of this, and often votes are taken in the House where some we stand for and some we do not, but we all know what the result of that is. The Liberal Party is an expert in opportunism so the Liberals should know what they are talking about.

In terms of shipbuilding, again I would encourage my hon. colleague and members of his party to read the agreement. They would know that shipbuilding is exempt from this agreement.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague that history is made. It is the first time that a member of the Conservative government has called the New Democratic official opposition “intelligent and informed”. I would encourage a repetition of that astute observation.

The New Democrats' trade policy is one where we want to look at each trade deal on its own merits. We want to approach it from a rational, thoughtful and balanced point of view, and I have already pointed out the different criteria that we have. That has been typical of the New Democrats' trade policy for the last two years, and certainly this Parliament. Of course, my friend knows that this is not the first agreement that the New Democrats have supported. We supported the Canada-Jordan trade agreement, and we voted in favour of it.

In terms of the automotive sector, I wish it were that simple. We have a Canadian and American integrated auto sector, and I do believe that this agreement provides challenges and the auto sector has raised legitimate concerns. I would encourage the government to work with the auto sector, both industry and labour, to help improve the Canadian auto sector so that we can create good Canadian jobs and increase auto production in this country. Korea provides that opportunity to do so, but only if the government provides the policies that will assist the industry.