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Track Joe

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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is citizenship.

Conservative MP for Don Valley East (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 36.80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

It gives me great pleasure to stand today and speak to Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. We have heard in these debates that this bill contains amendments to the CSIS Act and technical amendments to the Strengthening Canada's Citizenship Act. My remarks today will focus on the amendments to the CSIS Act and why we are taking steps to give this vital agency the tools it needs to conduct investigations out of Canada related to threats to the security of Canada.

First I would like to speak to the global terrorist threat, the impacts here at home, and the steps Canada is taking to address that threat.

Acts of terror and murder have been carried out across the globe by extremist groups that have no regard for the lives of innocent people. In fact, we have all witnessed in the past weeks that Canada was the victim of two terrorist attacks within the span of one week. Because of radical Islamist terrorism, we lost two fine soldiers: Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was laid to rest this past weekend.

Terrorists kill people from all walks of life, including people from communities they claim to represent. Significant work has been done over the past decade, in particular since September 11, 2001, to counter terrorist activities. Canada has been a leader in global counterterrorism efforts. We have citizens and civil society organizations representing people of all faiths and beliefs. They work among themselves and with our government to prevent terrorism by building stronger and more resilient communities. All of these measures were captured within the four pillars of Canada's counterterrorism strategy: prevent, detect, deny, and respond. That strategy will serve us well on the difficult road we face ahead as our Canadian Armed Forces engage in a campaign to degrade and destroy the threat that ISIL poses to western civilization.

Indeed, our security agencies have been monitoring groups like al Qaeda and ISIL closely for years. We have taken concrete measures to disrupt and prevent violent and extremist activities. This is a comprehensive approach. While we join our allies in air strikes, we are also taking other measures that are working to help isolate ISIL and deny it and its partners resources, including funds and new recruits.

Let me explain.

As we know, terrorists need money, media access, weapons, and explosives among their resources to sustain themselves. We want to make sure that all groups that would assist terrorist organizations are restricted from doing so. Preventing terrorists from using the global financial system to commit an act of terror is essential in helping to suppress these groups. Therefore, we have certain provisions under the Criminal Code that we can use to deal with the assets and the operations of groups that support terrorist activities. Listing these entities under the Criminal Code is a public means of identifying a group or an individual as being associated with terrorism, and listing carries significant consequences. Once listed, an entity's assets are frozen and may be subject to seizure, restraint, or forfeiture.

Further, it is an offence for Canadians at home or abroad to knowingly participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, any activities that facilitate the activities of a listed terrorist entity. We know that terrorist groups are inspiring westerners to take up arms in support of their cause. In order to reach the individuals and guard against these tactics, we work closely with diverse communities, including through cross-cultural round tables on security.

We are working with leaders in communities right across the country to help engage Canadians in a long-term dialogue on matters related to national security, particularly in countering violent extremism. Through the round table, we have reached out to hundreds of respected cultural and religious leaders who have their finger on the pulse of their communities. These leaders have been integral to helping law enforcement and security agencies to address threats and identify the best ways of reaching individuals who may be leaning toward violent behaviour and redirecting them from the paths of radicalization that lead to violence.

However, rapid changes in technology, ease of communications, and the mobility of terrorist travellers have created new and complex challenges for Canada and all our allies as we work to keep our citizens safe.

As in other countries, despite everyone's best efforts, a small but significant number of individuals have left Canada to join terrorist groups in the Middle East. Denying ISIL its new recruits also means using Canadian law to crack down on those so-called extremist travellers. We brought forward the Combating Terrorism Act to make it an offence to leave Canada to take part in terrorist activities, and laws are in place to revoke the passports of Canadians who travel abroad to join extremist groups.

Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness have stated clearly that our government will continue to look at ways to help our national security agencies to investigate and track the activities of terrorists at our borders and beyond. One of the ways to do this is with the legislation that is before us today, which would amend the existing CSIS Act so that we would be better able to provide CSIS with the tools it needs to investigate threats to the security of Canada wherever those threats occur and ultimately to protect the security of Canadians.

It is important to note that the CSIS Act was created three decades ago. It was the age of the rotary phone, when our world was under the shadow of the Cold War. The act is in need of updates and upgrades that would confirm the authority of CSIS to investigate Canadian extremists and other threats abroad. That is why I urge members to support the bill that is before them.

The protection of Canada from terrorists act would confirm that CSIS has the authority to operate outside of Canada when investigating threats to the security of Canada or when conducting investigations for the purpose of security assessment. It would confirm as well that the Federal Court has the authority to issue warrants authorizing CSIS to conduct activities outside of Canada without regard to the laws of the other states. This new legislation would also reinforce CSIS's statutory authority to investigate threats abroad and that when issuing a warrant, judges would only need to consider relevant Canadian law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the CSIS Act, and not foreign laws.

Clearly there are a number of ways our government protects the safety and security of Canada against terrorism, but first we must be sure that we have the right tools in place for our security intelligence agencies to do so. There is no time to waste. We must amend the CSIS Act and allow this vital agency to continue its work.

I urge members in this House to join me in supporting this bill.

National Defence November 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, once again the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces have acted with professionalism, bravery, and selfless courage in the face of danger. While stationed in Antalya, Turkey, several members of HMCS Toronto responded to a fire on the second floor of the restaurant where they were having a meal ashore. Without hesitation, our armed forces members acted not only to put out the fire but to assist those in need.

Can the Minister of National Defence please provide further details on this incident and the brave actions taken by our crew on HMCS Toronto?

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for such a succinct report on what we, as Canadians, are doing for Ebola, to control it, et cetera. Having visited my own local hospital, the North York General Hospital has set up laboratories that are available and are ready to take care of any Ebola issues, and units for isolating people if anything else like that happens.

How prepared does she think we are in Canada, particularly in the larger centres, to actually deal with the issue of Ebola entering our country?

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents of Don Valley East, today I pay tribute to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences next Einstein initiative, funded by our government through the International Development Research Centre. The goals of AIMS are to promote mathematics and science in Africa, to recruit and train talented students and teachers, and to build capacity for African initiatives in education, research, and technology.

Congratulations to AIMS for opening its fifth centre of training, research, and outreach in mathematical sciences in Tanzania this October. This centre joins others in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, and Cameroon. To date, they have graduated 731 alumni from 41 countries, and 30% were women. AIMS expects to graduate its one-thousandth scholar in 2015.

I invite all my colleagues to enjoy a reception and to hear the incredible story of AIMS in Africa, today at 5 p.m. in the Speaker's salon. I ask colleagues to join me in helping AIMS find the next Einstein in Africa.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question from my colleague. Clearly, in any agreement there are going to be disputes. There are interpretations of the text in a particular field or segment of the marketplace and clearly those differences need to be resolved. That is why every deal has a dispute settlement process. This one in particular, I believe, is one of the better dispute settlement processes, which allows disputes to be settled quicker than in some of the other agreements.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her comments on the agreement and I appreciate her support for the bill.

Certainly, there are provisions in the agreement to support the auto industry. They are mainly to do with the auto parts that are involved. This agreement would allow them to be manufactured in Canada, hopefully, at some point and benefit the workers here. Therefore, this is a positive statement in terms of Canada and Korea with regard to the auto industry.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while my colleague thinks this was put on a low priority, that is his perspective, not ours on this side.

We have been working diligently with the negotiators to make sure the deal was acceptable to us and beneficial for Canadians. All Canadians across every province of this country would benefit from this. The negotiations went on to achieve that, and that was the time it took to actually get it here to be ratified.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, if my colleague looked closely at the agreements between South Korea and the EU and the U.S., he would find that our agreement is in fact much better in terms of all the different aspects of the duties and implementation.

On the implementation, as my colleague said previously, these negotiations take time. At the same time, we have been negotiating with Europe as well as India and a number of other deals, and so this agreement took its place in priority to be completed.

We are here now, we are at the place where the agreement is ready. We just need to ratify it here and get on with it.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak today about the Canada-Korea free trade agreement, or CKFTA. This agreement is Canada's first FTA in Asia. It is a landmark agreement for Canada that would create thousands of jobs for hard-working Canadians.

The CKFTA also represents a watershed for the Canada-Korea bilateral relationship.

No government in Canada's history has been more committed to creating jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. Deepening Canada's trading relationships in dynamic and high-growth markets around the world, like South Korea, is key to these efforts.

Trade between Canada and South Korea is already significant, with two-way merchandise goods of just under $11 billion last year and two-way investment approaching $6 billion.

The agreement is expected to significantly boost bilateral commerce and, in turn, economic growth in both countries. On our side, the projection is that the CKFTA would increase Canada's GDP by $1.7 billion annually and our exports by about one-third over current levels. Those are significant numbers.

Most importantly, the Canada-Korea free trade agreement would restore a level playing field for Canadian companies in the South Korean market, where foreign competitors including the U.S. and the EU are already enjoying preferential access due to their respective FTAs with South Korea. For Canada this was a crucial consideration as we have seen our exports to South Korea fall sharply, particularly in the wake of the Korea-U.S. deal that was implemented in 2012.

The enhanced market access and regulatory commitments would be on par with the best treatment provided to any foreign companies, including from the U.S. and the EU.

Turning to investment, while Canada and South Korea enjoy a well-established relationship, there is considerable scope for expansion above current levels—about $5 billion in South Korean investment in Canada and $534 million in Canadian investment in South Korea.

Canada benefits from greater foreign direct investment. Canadian foreign direct investment in South Korea would improve our access to South Korean markets, technology, and expertise and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian firms in Asia.

Greater South Korean investment in Canada would stimulate economic growth and job creation here at home, providing new technologies and increased competition in the Canadian marketplace, ultimately benefiting Canadian consumers. In addition to financial services, which I mentioned, key sectors that stand to benefit from the agreement include automotive parts, transportation, and telecommunications.

Yet despite all the evidence that trade creates jobs, economic growth, and economic security for hard-working Canadian families, the NDP, together with its activist-group allies, is and always will be ideologically opposed to trade.

Just as bad are the Liberals who, during 13 years in power, took Canada virtually out of the game of trade negotiations, putting Canadian workers and businesses at severe risk of falling behind in this era of global markets. The last time the Liberals tried to talk seriously about trade, they campaigned to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The investment chapter of the CKFTA provides strong disciplines against discriminatory treatment as well as protection from expropriation and access to independent investor-state dispute settlement.

These and other provisions would put Canadian investors on a level playing field with their competitors in South Korea and provide investors from both countries with greater certainty and transparency and protection for their investments, while preserving the full right of governments to regulate in the public interest.

Canada has also maintained its ability to review foreign investments under the Investment Canada Act, and decisions made under the ICA could not be challenged under the agreement's dispute settlement provisions.

In the area of government procurement, now a $100 billion-plus market in South Korea, the FTA would give Canadian suppliers access to procurement by South Korean central government entities for contracts valued above $100,000. This would put Canadian suppliers on an equal footing with U.S. competitors and in a more advantageous position relative to key competitors like Japan and the EU.

Strong intellectual property rights provided for in this agreement would complement access to the South Korean market for Canadians who develop and market innovative and creative products. New protection for geographical indications “Canadian whiskey” and “Canadian rye whiskey” would secure the national brand recognition for Canadian distillers in the South Korean market.

The intellectual property outcomes would also be also covered by the FTA's dispute settlement procedure, which would give Canadian copyright, patent, and trademark owners an additional layer of protection in the South Korean market.

Our Conservative government understands the importance of trade to our economy. It represents one out of every five jobs in Canada and accounts for 64% of our country's annual income. We are proud of our record on trade because of the benefits trade brings to Canadians in all regions of our country and in all industries.

To put it simply, the Canada-Korea free trade agreement is a historic initiative that would strengthen our trade and investment ties across the Pacific, increase the prosperity of both countries, and result in job creation and enhanced opportunities for Canadian and Korean businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, as well as investors, workers, and consumers.

Canadian stakeholders from across Canada have called for the CKFTA to enter into force without delay to secure Canada's competitive position in the South Korean market. We must pass this legislation to implement the CKFTA so that Canadians can access the benefits and opportunities of this agreement as soon as possible.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the advice has already been posted and is available to all people. Clearly, the effect is going to be an economic one. It is a risk. There is no reason at all for travelling there except for essential business, because the risk of catching this and bringing it back to this country is higher if people do that. The advisories have been given for these countries. It will affect them economically and it would affect us economically as well if we were to have an Ebola outbreak here. That is clear.

In terms of the advice being given to passengers, I am not familiar with that part of it. From a Canadian perspective, I visited North York General Hospital just the other day and it already has Ebola facilities ready. They have tested two cases, which were not positive. Therefore, the infrastructure that we have in place in Canada is also ready for a potential outbreak of Ebola and I think we are in good hands.