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NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre (Manitoba)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 53.70% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Canadian Museum of Human Rights September 16th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Museum of Human Rights is the first museum in the world dedicated solely to the evolution, celebration, and promotion of human rights.
This magnificent building, designed by architect Antoine Predock, stands as the manifestation of the vision and profound generosity of lzzy Asper, whose dream of a better world will now be his permanent legacy and will serve as a daily reminder of the values that guide and underpin Canadian society: equality, tolerance, inclusion, and, yes, the inalienable human rights of all the people of the world.
It is a reflection of the incredible community support for lzzy Asper's dream that this museum has raised more donations than all other museums in the country combined in their entire histories.
Today, on behalf of the grateful people of Winnipeg, I recognize and pay tribute to the Asper family, the Friends of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and its many generous donors, the skilled tradesmen who executed this architectural triumph, and the Government of Canada, which saw fit to sponsor the first national museum outside the capital region.
Petitions September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to present a petition signed by literally tens of thousands of Canadians.
The petitioners call upon Parliament and the House of Commons here assembled to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known and that Canada still allows asbestos to be used in construction materials, textile products and even children's toys. They point out that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial or occupational causes combined.
Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to ban asbestos in all of its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities that they live in, to end all government subsidies of asbestos both in Canada and abroad and to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos such as the Rotterdam Convention.
Red Tape Reduction Act September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the more I listen to this debate, the more I come to the conclusion that the NDP is probably the only real friend small businesses have in this country. People should be judged by what they do, not by what they say.
I am proud to say that in my province of Manitoba, we are in our fourth majority government. The small business tax in my province, when we took over in 1999, was 11%. Every year thereafter, we lowered the small business tax by 1% to 10%, 9%, 8%, 7%, and 6%, until now. Now the small business tax in the socialist paradise of Manitoba is 0%. That is putting our money where our mouth is.
If the Conservatives really believe that they want to stimulate small businesses, why are they hitting them with these punitive taxes? The Conservatives cut corporate tax rates religiously every chance they get, to where it is well below the OECD average, but they leave the small business tax at a punitive 11%.
The two things the Conservatives have announced recently, including a cutback in EI premiums, are not out of their wallet. They do not put one cent into the EI fund. The EI fund is entirely made up of contributions from employers and employees. Not one penny comes from the federal government. When it gives a few nickels of that back to small businesses, it is hardly coming out of its pocket.
This regulatory proposal the Conservatives are making is not a cost factor either. If they want to put their money where their mouth is, come to us with a dramatic reduction in taxes for small businesses. That is something the NDP has already demonstrated. We support it, and we do it.
Speaker's Ruling September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, even if it is only for two minutes, I am glad to join the debate on Bill C-520 because I have watched it with great interest since it was first introduced. My observation, after listening to the debate from my colleagues and observing the member for York Centre who sponsored the bill, is that the Conservatives' all too evident disrespect for Parliament seems to have made a quantum leap to an out-and-out contempt for Parliament. The bill personifies the attitude that they will systematically undermine and chip away at all of the things that make our Westminster parliamentary system function, and one of those is the independence of members of Parliament. They undermine and try to bring into disrepute the reputations of some of the most honourable people who uphold the integrity of our parliamentary system.
However, we cannot really blame the member for York Centre for this. We all know this is not a private member's bill. In fact, the Conservatives use their private members' bills in the cheapest way possible as a way to avoid the scrutiny and oversight that government bills actually receive.
We know that 25 out of 30 of the so-called crime bills put forward by the Conservative Party were put forward as private members' bills. The Prime Minister's Office writes them and finds a willing stooge within the Conservative caucus to sponsor these bills. That way they do not go through the same legislative and constitutionality checks to ensure these bills do not offend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They get all the media advantage without any of the scrutiny and oversight that are supposed to take place on bills.
I wish the member for York Centre had done one thing. He had a last opportunity in this second hour of debate to apologize to the officers of Parliament whose reputations he undermined and made accusations about. Somebody has to tell Conservatives that the truth does not have a liberal bias. Their xenophobia, their paranoia is that those people who make detrimental comments about anything they do are somehow now enemies of the state and they have the rug pulled out from under them and their reputations tarnished. That is offensive to me. The member for York Centre could have used this opportunity to apologize. This is one of the things that parties do to floor-crossers. They have give them a dog of a bill because they do not really trust them anyway.
Employment June 20th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Employment wears everything that is wrong with the temporary foreign worker program like some big stinking albatross around his neck. Now, at the eleventh hour, he wants to put lipstick on a pig, not to mix metaphors, on the very day that we adjourn for the summer. He knows that not a single temporary foreign worker should be working in our country if there is a single qualified Canadian available for that work.
In whose interest is it to give away Canadian jobs and drive down Canadian wages? What is he doing for all those people who were displaced while he mismanaged this program for the last eight years?
Asbestos June 17th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I know that members are well aware that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known. In fact, more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other occupational causes combined. Yet, the current government insists there are still safe uses for asbestos and it refused to join the rest of the developed world to ban asbestos in all of its forms.
I want to ask the Minister of Labour, as a medical practitioner, as a physician, how does she, in all good conscience, defend her government's reprehensible policy on asbestos?
Petitions June 16th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present a petition, signed by literally tens of thousands of Canadians, who call upon Parliament and the House of Commons to ban asbestos in all of its forms. They point out that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known, and that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial and occupational causes combined. They call upon the government to also stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to help protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention.
Ethics June 12th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, Conservative political operative Jean Yves Lortie has now revealed how, in 1993, he flew hundreds of delegates to Winnipeg using $500,000 in cash from his infamous briefcase to help Brian Mulroney take out Joe Clark, so no one should be surprised when Nigel Wright and other PMO operatives used wads of money to make this Prime Minister's problems go away. Apparently it is a time-honoured Conservative tradition, just like the Liberal tradition of dumping sponsorship cash into crooked firms during their time in the PMO. With such a sad record of payoffs, kickbacks, and backroom dirty tricks, it is no wonder the Liberals and the Conservatives are now joining forces to play judge, jury, and executioner to the NDP. It is the only kind of politics they know.
I hope we do not have to wait 80 years until they are wracked by guilty consciences to express regret for trying to turn this honourable chamber into a kangaroo court and for making a mockery out of any semblance of natural justice.
Committees of the House June 11th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, in relation to a certificate of nomination of Mary Elizabeth Dawson to the position of Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.