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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was families.

Last in Parliament August 2011, as NDP MP for Toronto—Danforth (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 60.80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Post June 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, negotiations between Canada Post and its workers have broken off. After locking the doors of post offices and sorting stations, Canada Post has no reason to negotiate in good faith because the Prime Minister is doing the dirty work on its behalf. He is preventing a healthy bargaining process, and imposing a labour contract with lower wages.

Where is the Prime Minister's good faith?

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day June 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to wish my dear friends in Quebec a happy national holiday. It is a time to celebrate our language, our culture, our heritage, our history and our nation.

Quebec has a great deal to offer and many reasons to celebrate. On behalf of the entire NDP team and caucus, and especially the 59 members from Quebec, I wish all Quebeckers an excellent national holiday.

I would also like to take this opportunity to point out that francophones across Canada will be celebrating Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day tomorrow. May the French culture, history and language be at the heart of our celebrations from coast to coast to coast.

Libya June 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is critical that the people of Libya receive humanitarian aid. For that to happen quickly, it is essential that a ceasefire, even a temporary one, be called.

What concrete action has this government taken to ensure that humanitarian aid is actually getting to the Libyan people? What aid has Canada given to Libyan civilians to date?

Libya June 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats proposed and secured amendments regarding the mission in Libya, including an increase in humanitarian aid and that there would be a focus on strengthening our diplomatic role.

The House also made it very clear that the UN mandate would focus on protecting civilians, as the UN calls for, and working toward a ceasefire.

In light of the Italian foreign minister's call for an immediate suspension of hostilities to establish humanitarian corridors to deliver that aid, can the Prime Minister tell us if he has been in contact with our Italian allies to work toward that kind of a ceasefire?

The Senate June 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister show the same disrespect if we are forced to have to ask the House not to sit on Canada Day next Friday?

Disrespect is something we are seeing extended to the provinces with a force-feeding effort for legitimacy for the Senate. He is trying to create a two-headed monster, some elected, some not. He is trying to impose elections on provinces and premiers who do not want it.

Why not just give Canadians what they want: a chance to vote in a referendum on the future of the Senate?

Canada Post June 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the government is adding insult to injury. First it attacks workers, now it is disrespecting Quebeckers. The NDP proposed to the Conservatives that we respect Quebec's national holiday by not sitting that day. The Conservatives said no. It is not important to them. I urge the Prime Minister to reconsider. The Standing Orders provide for this. We can resume sitting after the holiday.

Will the Prime Minister agree to suspend the work of the House and respect Quebec's national holiday?

Canada Post June 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's message to workers could not be more clear: if they do not swallow whatever the employer gives them, then they can fully expect to get a worse raw deal in legislation from the government. The Conservatives are imposing even lower wages than the employer was offering to the workers.

He says that mail service is important to the economy and small business, but then he locks the door on the mail sorting plants and post offices. How can the Prime Minister blame the workers for the situation when it is his government that is shutting down the mail?

Aboriginal Affairs June 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, today is National Aboriginal Day, and New Democrats join in paying tribute to all first nations, Métis and Inuit people's cultures and traditions.

Three years after I joined with the Prime Minister to express our apologies for the residential school system, more clearly needs to be done. We need to build stronger relationships with aboriginal peoples and, on a nation-to-nation basis, reconcile their interests with those of all Canadians.

Would the Prime Minister share my assessment that Canada is moving too slowly?

Canada Post June 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, this is not a strike called by the workers. It is a lockout imposed by the management of Canada Post. It is the government's mess.

Now it is forcing through legislation what it could not claw back through negotiation. With this bill, the government is imposing wages that are lower than what management was prepared to offer these workers who deliver our mail.

Is the Prime Minister signalling to workers that if they do not accept the first offer that is given by management, that the Conservatives will simply come and legislate something worse? How is that possibly to be considered fair?

Canada Post June 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the employees of Canada Post used legitimate pressure tactics to defend their rights while continuing to deliver the mail. The response from Canada Post, which is owned by the government, was to lock the doors and suspend mail delivery. The special back-to-work legislation clearly takes the employer’s side.

The government and Canada Post came to an agreement in advance, did they not?