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Conservative MP for Brampton—Springdale (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 48.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Vaisakhi April 10th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, on April 14, Sikhs in Canada and around the world will celebrate Vaisakhi, one of the most important observances in Sikhism.
Vaisakhi marks the founding of the Khalsa in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, our tenth Guru. It also marks the beginning of a new year in many parts of India and around the world.
The celebration in Canada focuses on observances at gurdwaras and gatherings with family and friends at vibrant parades and processions. Canada is home to one of the largest Sikh populations outside of India. The Sikh community has made many contributions to our great country in all areas of endeavour and has contributed significantly to Canada's rich diversity and heritage.
On behalf of all of my colleagues in the House, I extend my best wishes to all those celebrating Vaisakhi around the world.
Veterans April 9th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, our government has a strong record when it comes to supporting Canada's veterans, especially under the leadership of our Prime Minister right here.
We have invested almost $5 billion in additional funding since coming to office in 2006. The real question is, why do the opposition, the NDP and Liberals both, continue to oppose virtually every single initiative we have brought forward to help Canada's veterans?
Battle of Vimy Ridge April 9th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to all those who served and sacrificed in service to Canada during World War I.
Today marks the 97th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, where 3,600 brave young Canadians lost their lives and 7,000 more were wounded.
Ninety-years later, Canadians still regard the Battle of Vimy Ridge as more than a much-needed victory in the First World War. Many also proudly point to it as Canada's coming of age as a nation.
It is our national duty, as Canadians, to ensure that the memories of those who died that day live on forever.
Lest we forget.
Veterans April 8th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, that member knows full well that the courts did not impose anything on Veterans Affairs on their programs. Our government voluntarily increased benefits for veterans receiving earnings loss, Canadian Forces income support, and the war veterans allowance.
This means thousands of dollars for veterans in addition to added benefits, such as snow removal, lawn care, home-cleaning services, and lower costs for long-term care.
I would encourage the opposition members to support the government, get on board, and help Canada's veterans.
Veterans April 8th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, our government has a strong record when it comes to standing up for Canada's veterans.
Our government has voluntarily increased monthly financial benefits to veterans across Canada. More than 5,000 veterans will benefit from these important changes, which include more money each month in addition to more veterans being eligible for home-cleaning and grass-cutting services, and in addition, there is more money for medical, rehabilitation, and retraining programs.
What is more disappointing is the opposition. The NDP and the Liberals have voted against every single initiative we have brought forward.
Veterans Affairs April 7th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to share with the House some very moving testimony before a Veterans Affairs committee by Sergeant Bjarne Nielsen. Sergeant Nielsen, a veteran who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan, shared his tragic yet truly amazing and inspiring experience on the road to recovery. Members from both sides agreed that never has a committee heard such a powerful testimony.
...if recovery was to be put into a number or percentage, 49% comes from all the resources that surround us. That's you, the government, our friends, our family, the cleaners, the doctors, the nurses. I have to bring that 51%. I have to bring that little bit more to make all those resources worthwhile.
On behalf of the committee and all the members of this House, I would like to thank Sergeant Nielsen for his service and sacrifice as he continues to answer the call of duty with his tremendous courage.
Veterans Affairs April 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, no other government in the history of our great nation has done more for Canada's veterans than this government under the leadership of our Prime Minister. We have invested almost $5 billion in additional funding since coming to office in 2006.
I would like to ask the opposition parties why they have voted against every single initiative that we have brought forward. It is about time that they should stop playing politics with our veterans and get on board.
Former Canadian Forces Members Act April 2nd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I welcome the chance to speak to private member's Bill C-568. I would like to begin by commending the member for Saint-Jean for his good intentions with this bill. Unfortunately, it is difficult to square Bill C-568 with the circle that is the record on that side of the House.
On June 22, 2011, the member for Saint-Jean and his party, the NDP, voted against $770 million for veterans' health care and $430 million for veterans' disability awards. On June 6, 2012, the anniversary of D-Day, the day of days, the day that so many brave Canadians made the ultimate sacrifice, that member and the NDP voted against $1.6 billion in payments under the Pension Act and nearly $750 million for veterans' health care benefits. This shameful record goes on and on.
Our government is proud to be working hard for Canada's veterans and their families. As the Minister of Veterans Affairs has indicated, our government has already invested almost $4.7 billion in new funding to improve the benefits and services we provide to veterans and their families. This is real money that we have allotted to ensure that veterans and their families have the care and support they need when they need it. We are helping thousands of veterans to get the treatment they need for operational stress injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder; we are providing comprehensive rehabilitation services for those who have suffered physical and mental illness; and we are providing the financial support and health care benefits they need. Whenever a veteran is hurting, wherever a veteran is in need, we are there ready to help.
The numbers bear this out. For example, 70% of all applications for veterans' disability benefits result in a favourable decision on the first try. The system is working. It is ensuring that veterans get the care and support they are eligible for: the treatment benefits, the home care program, and long-term care they have earned.
Bill C-568 would needlessly turn all of this upside down. It would force the government to comprehensively change the federal-provincial jurisdiction for veterans' health care by creating a parallel system. It would also commit the department to creating new bureaucracy that would needlessly cost Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars just to launch and operate. For that reason alone, our government is unable to support the bill. Rewriting the veterans' health care regulations would be a time-consuming and unnecessary process.
Moreover, a closer look at the proposed bill would make members quickly realize that there are other serious flaws with it. Among other things, the bill is based on the faulty premise that we should be creating a duplicate health care provider exclusively for veterans and solely because the member opposite wants to fix eligibility criteria that are not broken.
I will take a moment to explain how those eligibility criteria have evolved over the years. When Canadians volunteered for service in the Second World War and the Korean War, most of them were not professional soldiers. Instead, they put their real careers and lives on hold to serve our country in its hour of need. These civilian soldiers also served at a time when there was no public health care system to take care of them if they returned home wounded or ill. The Government of Canada was their only hope. So Canada continued to build veterans' hospitals and our national government developed treatment programs and provided long-term care.
I do not think I need to convince anyone that things are different today. Not only do we now have one of the best public health care systems in the world, but our men and women in uniform are different too. They are all professional soldiers. Most are career soldiers. They are highly trained. When they are released from the military, they possess the most remarkable skills to start a new career.
As retired Canadian Armed Forces personnel, most of them have enviable retirement pensions and many are able to retire much sooner than most Canadians. No one holds that against them. I think most Canadians would agree that these men and women deserve some generous consideration for their service and sacrifice toward our great nation.
What is more, our research shows that modern-day veterans are much more likely than most Canadians to have supplementary health care plans, such as the Public Service Health Care Plan. These veterans do not need a separate health care system, nor can I imagine that many of them are asking for it. They just want continued access to the provincial health care system already in place when they need it. The eligibility criteria in our veterans' health care regulations reflect this. They are written to ensure that those who need our help the most are able to get it because they have suffered an injury or illness related to their military service. These are the men, women, and families we need to be helping, and we are. Eliminating the eligibility criteria would needlessly shift Veterans Affairs Canada's efforts away from those veterans who need our help the most.
Members should consider this example. Veteran X retired from the military in his late forties before starting a second civilian career. By the time he retired for good, he might have two pensions; a Canadian Armed Forces superannuation pension and a civilian pension. It is a comfortable life. He is happy. Then one day he is injured in a car accident or a mishap on his way home. Should Veterans Affairs Canada really be expected to serve as a second health care provider for that veteran, or could his local hospital and the provincial health care system take care of him just as well? If that is a reasonable exception, where do we really draw the line?
Our government recognizes our responsibility to be there for Canada's most seriously injured veterans. We want to be there for those courageous men and women injured in service to our country. We readily accept this duty with pride and gratitude.
In short, Bill C-568 would only create unnecessary extra red tape and duplicate bureaucracy to provide veterans with the care and support already available to those who need it. For all of these reasons, we cannot support this bill.
Former Canadian Forces Members Act April 2nd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I would like thank my colleague on the other side for his very passionate speech and his concerns about veterans. We all care very much about our men and women who have served in uniform, and the freedom that we so dearly enjoy.
I was a bit puzzled listening to his speech. I was trying to figure out what the real intentions are of this particular PMB. I was puzzled because I could not really figure out why the NDP, over the years, has voted against every single initiative we have brought forward to help Canada's veterans, including the latest in this year's economic action plan 2014. Since we took office, we have introduced roughly 10 budgets.
I wonder if the member opposite can explain why the opposition and NDP members have voted against virtually every single initiative we have brought forward to help Canada's veterans.
Veterans Affairs March 31st, 2014
Mr. Speaker, on November 19, the minister appeared at the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, where he stated on the record his support for the social contract:
The work our government does each day has been and can be called many things: duty, responsibility, commitment, social contract, obligation, sacred or not, or covenant. Colleagues, I believe it is all of those things.
This is nothing new. I call on the member and his party to stop playing partisan games and get onboard.