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Conservative MP for York Centre (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 48.50% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Journey to Freedom Day Act December 10th, 2014
moved that Bill S-219, An Act respecting a national day of commemoration of the exodus of Vietnamese refugees and their acceptance in Canada after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, be read the first time.
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to introduce Bill S-219, entitled the journey to freedom day act.
This bill will establish a day to pay tribute to the thousands of Vietnamese refugees who risked their lives escaping communist persecution after the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Bill S-219 would also establish a day to honour Canada's humanitarian tradition of accepting refugees during and after the Vietnam War. After the end of the Vietnam War, thousands were forced to flee and leave everything behind in the pursuit of freedom.
I am proud to say that Canada was among the first countries to welcome Vietnamese refugees with open arms. As a representative of a large and vibrant Vietnamese community in my riding of York Centre, it is a great privilege for me to introduce this legislation in the House, which honours not only the brave souls who risked their lives to live in freedom but also the generous spirit of the Canadians who welcomed them without hesitation.
(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks, I would like to note that I will be splitting my time with my colleague and friend, the chief government whip.
Since taking office in 2006, our Conservative government has been focused on what matters most to Canadians, and that is jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity.
We are on track to achieve balance by 2015, because we have been prudent. We cannot afford to risk the future of our country by engaging in reckless spending schemes and wild tax hikes. We will not lose focus.
Coming into government in 2006, the first thing our government did was fulfill some of our major campaign commitments. We cut the GST, created the universal child care benefit for families with children, and paid down the debt. In fact, we paid down about $38 billion worth of federal debt, which put us in good stead when bad economic times hit in the last quarter of 2008. This latter decision proved to be one of the best decisions our government made, as we would find out later.
Our government also created our economic roadmap, advantage Canada. It was an economic plan designed to position Canada for future prosperity. The basic principles of advantage Canada remain as relevant today as when our government created it back in 2006: no reckless spending, and lower taxes.
When Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, subprime mortgages in the United States caused a ripple effect through global economies and credit markets. Well, extraordinary times required extraordinary measures, and our government stepped up. When the dust began to settle, Canada was not only the last G7 country into the recession but the first G7 country out of the recession. Why? It was because our economic action plan worked. By paying down debt at the outset, we had more flexibility to take the necessary measures we did.
As a result of our economic performance, Canada has developed a great brand around the world. In fact, Tom Donohue, president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, has said about our government's achievements: “The great Canadian miracle is something we should follow”.
Notwithstanding the creation of 1.2 million net new jobs since the end of the recession, Bloomberg stating that Canada is the best place in the world to set up business, and our consistent AAA credit rating, we are not out of the woods yet. The Canadian economy still faces potential challenges from abroad. We must continue to take action where and when necessary. We must solidify our gains and take action now to mitigate against any potential dark economic clouds that may drift in from elsewhere.
Although the World Bank has ranked Canada's banking and financial sector as the world's best for six years in a row, our government has continuously been on the forefront to strengthen and bolster our financial sector so that it will remain number one.
As I noted, since the start of the global economic financial crisis, our government has implemented a number of measures to maintain Canada's financial sector's advantage and to reinforce stability for the sector. I want to highlight two of them contained within Bill C-43 that will continue to build on our strong foundation of stability within our financial system.
First are proposed changes to the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act. Second are proposed changes to the Canadian Payments Act. Both are key to maintaining Canada in the forefront of financial sector stability, otherwise known as the Canada brand.
The Payment Clearing and Settlement Act provides the Bank of Canada with the legislative authority and power to oversee clearing and settlement systems, also called financial market infrastructures, or FMIs, that may be operated in such a manner as to pose systematic risk to the Canadian financial system. Systematic risk arises when the inability of one participant to meet its obligations to the financial market infrastructure could cause other participants to be unable to meet their obligations.
The Payment Clearing and Settlement Act is the federal government's recognition of the essential role of major FMIs in the Canadian economy and the importance of regulatory oversight of these FMIs. The Payment Clearing and Settlement Act provides the Bank of Canada with two main oversight responsibilities: first, designating FMIs that have the potential to pose systematic risk as subject to bank oversight; and second, overseeing designated FMIs to ensure that they are adequately controlling systematic risk.
The amendments to the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act would expand and enhance the Bank of Canada's oversight of financial market infrastructures to ensure that risks to financial market infrastructures can be identified and addressed in a proactive and timely manner. These amendments would address the gaps in oversight identified in our government's review of the system undertaken in 2012. Addressing these gaps and the oversight of major clearing systems are critical to the efficient functioning of the Canadian financial system and the economy.
What are the gaps these changes seek to address? Under the current regime, the Bank of Canada's oversight is limited to clearing and settlement systems that pose systemic risk. It does not extend to non-systemically important systems for which a failure can have a serious impact on the economy and on general confidence in the payment system.
In addition, some of the regulatory tools currently available to the Bank of Canada are insufficient for addressing certain types of risk in clearing and settlement systems. These proposed amendments would broaden the scope of oversight to prominent payment systems and would enhance some of the tools available to the Bank of Canada to respond to these risks. The proposed changes would also expand the definition of “systemic risk” to capture disruptive effects, not just on financial institutions but on financial markets and their participants. The changes would also better align the definition with international standards.
How would the changes impact the industry? In fulfilling its oversight role, the Bank of Canada uses a co-operative approach to ensure that owners and operators of clearing settlement systems are adequately controlling risk. The changes would ensure that the Bank of Canada would be able to backstop this co-operative approach should it need to respond to risks in clearing and settlement systems. These changes would allow the Bank of Canada to respond to potential risks in a more timely and proactive manner.
The second set of amendments would be to the Canadian Payments Act.
The Canadian Payments Association owns and operates national payments and clearing systems. These systems are used by financial institutions to transfer money among themselves. Types of payments cleared and settled through the CPA system include payroll, debit transactions, and wire payments.
Everyone is in agreement that the CPA is a capable owner and operator of these systems. These amendments would improve the CPA's governance by, first, introducing greater independent decision-making to its board of directors by establishing a majority independent board, led by an independent chair; second, improving the CPA's accountability to government and the public by requiring the CPA to submit a corporate plan and to publish an annual report; and third, expanding the power of the Minister of Finance to issue directives to the CPA. These measures would ensure that the CPA system was operated for the benefit of Canadian consumers, businesses, and the economy. They would also support competition and innovation in the payments industry.
Canadians make roughly 25 billion payments, worth more than $44 trillion, each year. The payments system is vital to consumers and to the continued strength of the Canadian economy. Advances in information and communications technology are changing the way Canadians pay for goods and services.
While payments systems are evolving, they must always be safe and sound so that Canadians can have confidence in them. That is why we are seeking these changes. I look forward to the support of all members of this House for these amendments and for Bill C-43.
Takeover of Stelco December 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the member's comments and was actually astounded by the level of hypocrisy in his remarks. He was a member of the Bob Rae government in the early 1990s that reopened collective agreements and chose not to pay civil servants an agreed-upon wage.
I am absolutely astounded that the member has the audacity and temerity to stand in his place in the House and not make reference to his own past when he was part of a government that reopened freely negotiated collective agreements and stabbed workers and public servants in the back in the province of Ontario. How does he explain that hypocrisy?
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 2nd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I would like ask my hon. friend a question.
Let me first put this in context. Let us remember back to when the NDP was in power in Ontario. The only thing that increased back then was the unemployment rate. Ontario entered a dark age in economic performance, from which it is still reeling.
As far as the Liberal Party goes, we saw that the just society was a dismal failure. Now it is trying to enter the Justin society. It is a party that plundered the employment insurance fund of $54 billion, which the Supreme Court ruled was illegal and that this money belonged to the employers and the employees. Now the Liberals are advocating for increased taxes.
I hope my hon. friend can answer these simple questions. How has our government been staying on track? Our government has a plan that is recognized around the world as a plan that gets results in achieving a balanced budget in 2015. Our lower taxes have helped create employment in our country, leading to 1.2 million net new jobs being created since the end of the recession? Could my hon. friend comment on how lower taxes help create jobs in our country?
Jewish Refugees November 28th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, for 2,500 years Jews lived in Arab lands, but in the 20th century many Arab regimes expropriated the property of Jews, stripped them of their citizenship, and expelled, arrested, tortured, and murdered scores in some of the most vicious pogroms ever perpetrated against the Jewish people.
Some 850,000 Jews were displaced. It is imperative that under international law, these people be determined to be refugees. Our own House of Commons standing committee on foreign affairs agrees. In its report from 2013, it recommended that:
...Canada officially recognize the experience of Jewish refugees who were displaced from states in the Middle East and North Africa after 1948.
In Israel, a law has been enacted marking November 30 as the national day for commemorating the flight of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Across Canada and around the world, there will be events to mark this day.
In 2013, Canada became the first country in the world to formally recognize Jewish refugees from Arab countries. I encourage nations around the world to follow our lead and recognize this injustice. Under the Prime Minister's principled leadership, our country will stand proud and tall for the values that make Canada great, which are freedom, democracy, human rights, and the—
B'nai Brith Canada November 27th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to recognize the contributions that B'nai Brith Canada has made to our country since its founding in 1875.
Many Canadians, including myself, my family and friends, have grown up participating in B'nai Brith programs. From attending summer camp to youth organizations and sports leagues, B'nai Brith is a rite of passage for most Jewish youth in Canada.
However, B'nai Brith is more. The organization is one of Canada's premier defenders of human rights. Their annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents is an important tool for policy-makers and law enforcement. They also assist low-income families with housing and food, and just recently opened a state of the art Alzheimer's residence and research facility in York Centre.
Tonight on Parliament Hill, MPs, senators and staff will come together to commemorate this important Canadian institution. We will also honour B'nai Brith's outgoing CEO, Frank Dimant, and the contribution he has made over the last 36 years defending Canadian values.
Incoming CEO, Michael Mostyn, has now taken the helm of B'nai Brith. A lawyer, accomplished businessperson, Michael has been a strong voice in the community. We wish him mazel tov.
Canada is a better country because of B'nai Brith. I wish the organization a yasher koach and may it enjoy many more years of great success.
Jerusalem November 19th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Jerusalem, during the morning prayer service, five Israelis were killed and eight others were injured, including a Canadian dual citizen, in a brazen terrorist attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem. According to witnesses, the terrorists attacked the synagogue with knives, meat cleavers, and guns and attacked worshippers. The attackers were subsequently killed in a shootout with police. The terrorists were identified as members of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine.
This incident is the latest in a series of terrorist attacks perpetrated against Israelis in recent weeks. Cars have been used as weapons, and some people have been stabbed on street corners. In total, six people have been murdered in these cowardly attacks in Israel.
Canada has condemned these terrorist acts in the strongest possible terms. As our Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:
Attacks on innocent worshippers, in what is supposed to be a place of peace and tranquility, are cowardly and must never be tolerated.
On behalf of all Canadians, our government offers our deepest, heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Let me be clear. Canada stands with the people of Israel.
Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act October 23rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, this is not a debate about Line 9. I wish the member would give a speech that is more germane to the debate at hand and not debate frivolous items at this point. That debate is for another day.
Youth Mental Health September 30th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow parliamentarians will join with the Canadian Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, and the National Initiative for Eating Disorders here on Parliament Hill to discuss youth mental health.
Today, an estimated 1.2 million Canadian youth are affected by mental illness. Two-thirds of adults living with a mental health problem report that symptoms first appeared during their youth. Therefore, establishing the foundation for healthy emotional development early on is vital to ensuring the mental well-being of all Canadians.
Youth with mental illness can experience an array of challenges, from family difficulties, academic issues, and financial problems, to an eating disorder, to increased risk for physical illness and shorter life expectancy. The key to prevention in many of these cases is early intervention.
Empowering youth, educators, and health professionals with a better understanding of mental health can help alleviate the impact of some of these disorders. Programs that provide youth and their families with the much-needed opportunity to discuss and address issues before they become a problem can go a long way to ensure healthy development.
Tomorrow's meeting will be a key step in this direction.