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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is cfia.

Liberal MP for Guelph (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Veterans Affairs June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last week, the minister tried to justify spending tens of millions of dollars more on advertisements and commemorations, instead of programs and services, by telling Canadians about all of the veterans who received $10,000 a month in benefits. There are four who receive that amount. That is less than 1% of seriously injured veterans. Most get much less.

It is insulting to veterans to justify wasteful advertising spending by trying to make it sound like, somehow, they just won the lottery.

When will he stop running away from our veterans and finally provide them with the care they desperately need and deserve?

Petitions June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the petitions I am presenting to the House today are signed by my constituents in Guelph as well as by Canadians across the country.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to allow cities, local residents, and politicians to make their own decisions when it comes to the installation of cell towers. They are concerned that we still do not fully understand the health impact of emissions. They indicate that there must be advance consultations with residents within a 1,000-metre radius so that the people most significantly impacted can have a say.

Specifically, the petitioners are asking Industry Canada and the Conservative government to reject proposals for the installation of Rogers Communications cell towers at the intersection of Alma and Crimea Streets in Guelph.

I look forward to the government's response.

Drug-Free Prisons Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor for his enlightening remarks.

We have learned over the last number of years that the government likes to characterize anyone who does not agree with its crime legislation as being soft on crime while it is tough on crime.

We have learned from our American friends and our British friends that in fact the dichotomy is not tough or soft on crime; it is smart or dumb on crime. Right now the Conservatives are being dumb on crime. The remarks and the suggestions by the opposition and the third party Liberals are being smart on crime.

I am wondering if my friend might talk to us a bit about why they are being dumb, in this legislation, as opposed to being smart, having had the opportunity to be so.

Agricultural Growth Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for her informative comments. She raised some questions in her previous answer about whether the government would do this or that. As a former member of the agriculture committee, I can advise the member that hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars have been cut from public research, particularly on the breeding of seeds. I am truly alarmed by it.

The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands brought to our attention the fact that now we are moving public research away from the public and into private industry. It is clear that the intention of the government is the corporatization of this kind of research, which is enhanced by parts of this bill that basically restrict the right of farmers to keep and save their seeds.

I am wondering, notwithstanding the rhetoric of the government, if the member is as alarmed as I am by the tenor of this bill.

National Defence June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, for Conservatives, $32 million to National Defence commemorating military history is a priority, while hiring additional mental health workers and acting on a backlog of investigations into suicides is not. For Conservatives, $50 million from Veterans Affairs on commemorations is a priority, but $5 million on regional offices and programs for veterans is not.

Has the minister not heard them? Veterans are pleading for more services, not more ceremonies. Why will the Conservative government not listen to them?

Citizenship and Immigration June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration continues to stand by his degrading comments about the loyalty of immigrants who arrived in Canada after 1977. By smearing generations of newcomers and talking about cheapened Canadian citizenship, he is creating different classes of Canadians. Many of the people that he is deliberately insulting are doctors, architects, shop owners, and legislators, among so many hard-working and contributing members of Canadian society.

Will he stand and apologize for his despicable comments, or do he and the Conservatives stand by his slur?

Ontario Election June 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it turns out that reports of the death of liberalism in Canada have been greatly exaggerated. Yesterday, Ontarians went to the polls and voted for the Ontario Liberal Party's plan for investment in much-needed transportation infrastructure and more accessible education for Ontario's children, from full-day kindergarten to assistance for college and university students.

They voted for jobs, not cuts, a robust health care system, and filling the gap to ensure that Ontarians across the province are better prepared for retirement, something this federal government refuses to do. It is a win-win, and while some did not think Kathleen Wynne would be elected Ontario's first female premier, we never had a doubt.

Running for office is not an easy task, so I want to take a moment to not only congratulate those who won their races yesterday but to also congratulate every Ontarian who was courageous enough to put their name on the ballot for what they believe in.

I am sure this whole House will join me today in welcoming Ontario's strong, stable, majority Liberal government.

Service Canada Mandate Expansion Act June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we had not considered that at all because it was not particularly relevant to the legislation. However, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Bereavement Ontario Network for its letter of support. It called this bill a “practical and compassionate attempt to ease the burden for bereaved Canadians during what we know, from extensive experience, can be a very difficult time”.

The Hospice Palliative Care Ontario wrote to me and said:

Compassionate bereavement care and support for caregivers are foundational to the philosophy of hospice palliative care. Bill C-247 will help reduce the stress of grieving families and minimize the bureaucratic process that many now find daunting or overwhelming.

The Funeral Service Association of Canada, which came to the Hill yesterday to support the bill and speak to members about the bill, said:

We believe this bill addresses a non-partisan issue that would serve to reduce red tape for Canadians and ease the process of dealing with the death of a loved one.

Finally, I would like to thank Robert Berry, from the law firm Miller Thomson, who stated in his letter of support a very simple notion: “this is common sense legislation”.

Service Canada Mandate Expansion Act June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I regret her question opened with a partisan comment.

I did not contact specifically the department the member speaks of, but we anticipated the issue. When the first-time contact is made with Service Canada advising it of the death, the form would include a permission from the estate representative to distribute that information to all departments automatically. This issue is important, but exceedingly easy to deal with.

Service Canada Mandate Expansion Act June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there is an automatic system right now whereby provincial agencies and vital statistics agencies inform Service Canada of a death, except in Saskatchewan or the territories or if he or she was out of Canada. That process does not trigger the responses that are intended by this bill.

However, it is my intention, and I am hopeful, that the bill would speed up the process of better communication even between the federal government and provincial governments. Many provinces already have their own single points of contact within the province. This could accelerate a full nationwide federal-provincial harmonization of the process.