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Conservative MP for Mississauga East—Cooksville (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 40.00% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Business of Supply October 21st, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak about the motion from the Liberal party on the outbreak of the Ebola virus. I will be using my time to talk about what our government is doing to keep Canadians safe, specifically in our ports of entry.
While there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Canada, Canada must be prepared for a case to come here. Provincial and local health officials are the lead on any Ebola case in Canada, but the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assist them to ensure that they remain prepared.
We all have taken notice of the advance of Ebola in West Africa and have followed its spread in that part of the world with great concern. We understand the toll this has taken in the affected countries and we offer our support to the victims of the disease, their families, and the health care workers who are on the scene dealing with this horrible situation.
To date, Canada has committed over $65 million to the global effort to address the spread of the disease in West Africa. In addition, we have financed the deployment of humanitarian and medical experts in support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as well as United Nations humanitarian operations. These are just some of the actions we are taking to address this outbreak.
We take the potential spread of the disease very seriously, and we must rely on the advice provided to us by public health officials who have told us that the virus does not spread easily from person to person. It is not spread through casual contact. It is spread through direct contact with an individual with symptoms.
It is worth underscoring that Canada is well prepared should an Ebola case arise here, though I must stress that there have been no cases of Ebola in Canada to date. That being said, our government is taking all appropriate precautions to keep Canadians safe and to prevent Ebola from reaching our shores.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is the lead government agency responsible for monitoring and screening travellers for the Ebola virus. In doing so, PHAC is working closely with the Canada Border Services Agency to identify travellers arriving in Canada with symptoms of the Ebola virus, or any communicable disease for that matter.
It is a part of CBSA's responsibilities to provide a full suite of border services that support public security and safety priorities. CBSA officers who work at our ports of entry are designated as screening officers under the Quarantine Act. As such, they have received training on how to respond to a traveller displaying the symptoms of illness.
With respect to the current outbreak, CBSA officers, at the recommendation of the Public Health Agency of Canada, are directing all travellers arriving in Canada whose travel itinerary included Liberia, Guinea, or Sierra Leone to secondary examinations for more detailed questioning
CBSA officers are also talking to all travellers entering Canada if they have travelled to one of the affected West African countries or been in contact with someone who has. They also ask travellers if they have been exposed to someone suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus. However, once they have answered these questions, all travellers from these regions will be automatically referred to a quarantine officer for further questioning and examination. This is how the CBSA is working collaboratively with the Public Health Agency in enforcing the Quarantine Act to ensure the safety of Canadians.
In cases where a referral for health reasons coincides with a referral on an immigration or customs matter, the referral to the quarantine officer takes precedence. After clearance by the quarantine officer, any other potential reason for secondary questioning will be taken at that time. The health concern is the number one concern for these travellers.
In addition to this specific questioning of travellers, CBSA officers are acting on their usual health screening protocols with even greater care and vigilance. As part of the regular screening, officers are looking for travellers with signs of illness as they approach the primary inspection lane. CBSA officers are referring any travellers displaying disease symptoms to the Public Health Agency quarantine officers, as per usual protocol.
Along with the extra care being taken at our international airports, the CBSA is also monitoring marine vessel traffic from the affected areas. All vessels are required to supply a maritime declaration of health 24 hours prior to arrival in Canada. The CBSA reviews the declaration, and if there is an illness reported on the vessel, the information is conveyed to the Public Health Agency's quarantine officers for their action.
I would like to say again that, while we are monitoring the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, Canada is well prepared. Canadian hospitals have sophisticated infection control systems and procedures in place that are designed to limit the spread of infection, protect health care workers, and provide the best possible care for our patients.
The Public Health Agency meets regularly with colleagues in the provinces and territories to share information and data and to update and distribute guidance documents on Ebola, including for health care workers to help detect and respond locally.
Examples of these guideline documents include infection prevention and control measures for borders, health care settings, and self-monitoring at home; interim biosafety guidelines for laboratories handling specimens from patients under investigation for Ebola virus disease; and environmental sanitation practices to control the spread of communicable disease in passenger conveyances and terminals.
To date, there have been several patients with Ebola-like symptoms in Canadian hospitals, but thankfully none have tested positive, and we know that our testing is a global gold standard. We also have five Ebola rapid response teams in place, which include epidemiologists, lab expertise to quickly confirm diagnosis, and emergency supplies from our national strategic stockpile such as masks, gloves, and gowns. These rapid response teams would support the provincial and territorial health authorities in their response should a case of Ebola occur.
I would also point out that the Public Health Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade have noted in travel advisories that Canadians should avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
The Minister of Health also highlighted that the Department of Foreign Affairs is advising that Canadians in these countries should return home immediately while commercial options remain available to them.
Even so, we are taking additional precautions at our ports of entry to help ensure that this terrible disease does not reach our shores. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency are taking proactive measures to help keep Canadians safe. The CBSA's border operations centre is providing officers with the latest information through regularly updated bulletins so that they can act accordingly. CBSA officers are working 24-7 to protect the border against this threat. For over 10 years, the CBSA has been on Canada's front line, keeping our country safe from threats.
The men and women of the CBSA are dedicated, well-trained professionals who exercise their responsibilities with utmost care. Yes, the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is a cause for concern, but with the efforts being taken by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, and other government departments and agencies, we have the people in place ready to detect and respond quickly, if necessary.
The situation abroad is serious, but it is in hand here at home. Whatever our political affiliations are, I think we can all applaud the work of the Canada Border Services Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada, who work on the front lines to keep us and all Canadians safe.
Dalai Lama October 20th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to welcome honorary Canadian citizen the Dalai Lama back to Canada.
On November 17, 1950, at the age of 15, Tenzin Gyatso was selected as the 14th Dalai Lama.
His message of peace and compassion has been recognized around the world. In 1989 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work and contribution in the struggle for the liberation of Tibet and the efforts for a peaceful resolution.
In September 2006, while in Vancouver, the Dalai Lama was presented with honorary Canadian citizenship by our government.
While here he will be sharing his message of compassion by speaking in the public school system. He will also be meeting with Canadian parliamentarians to discuss struggles Tibetan people face in their non-violent search for religious freedom and language rights.
The Dalai Lama is a true example to all of us of what it means to live a life of compassion and peace.
St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish October 7th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, October 5, I was very pleased to attend and bring greetings on behalf of our government to the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of St. Maximilian Kolbe Church and the 35th anniversary of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Mississauga.
The church was named after a Polish priest who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz. The church received a blessing by Pope John Paul II while on a papal visit to Canada in 1984.
Welcoming many families and individuals, this parish remains a gathering place for those committed to upholding Christian ideals of faith and service, while preserving a deep attachment to their Polish heritage.
I would like to thank Father Janusz Blazejak and his pastoral team, parish council and many parishioners who have blessed countless people through their community service for the past 35 years. Such service is a true example of the values upheld by Canadians. God bless them as they continue in growth for future generations.
Health October 6th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am encouraged to see Canada taking a leadership role in the global fight against the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Canadian expertise is a valued commodity in this outbreak, and our government is ensuring that the supplies and resources needed are being provided where they are most needed. This includes protective gowns, masks, and gloves that front-line workers need to stay safe.
Could the Minister of Health please update the House on the latest developments in shipping Canada's donated equipment?
Health September 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, people in my riding are closely watching international efforts to address the faraway public health threat posed by Ebola and more familiar public health issues closer to home, such as the yearly flu season.
I myself have been very proud to see Canada at the forefront of the world's united response to the Ebola outbreak and the fact that our public health agency has had a significant hand in developing a number of experimental vaccines and treatments. Could the Minister of Health please update the House on the latest developments in Canada's public health agency?
Russia September 22nd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, 75 years ago, on September 17, 1939, 16 days after Germany's invasion and the start of World War II, the Soviet Red Army invaded Poland in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and entered the war on the side of Nazi Germany.
The aggression ended with the division and takeover of the whole of the Second Polish Republic by Germany and the Soviet Union. Despite the treaties that guaranteed Poland assistance if attacked by a foreign power, Great Britain and France did not act and Poland was left alone to defend its territory.
Is this dark history repeating itself now? Seventy-five years later, Russia, under the leadership of an oppressive regime led by Vladimir Putin, is again a major threat to its neighbours. The Russian invasions and illegal annexation of parts of Georgia, Moldova and now Ukraine are unacceptable.
I hope Canada's allies will wake up and join us in strong action to eliminate the Russian threat to world peace.
Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the way and I have been working together for a few years now at the health committee. I do not know whether we will continue that work together.
However, I did provide some numbers of financial support provided by Canada to this effort to fight Ebola. If we add all those figures together, it is more than $5 million. Also, let us not forget that the experimental vaccines that were provided to this crisis did not come out of nowhere. This was developed because there were financial resources that we should add to this effort. These were the contributions of Canada. These were financial resources that were allocated to develop these experimental vaccines.
Therefore, if we add all the figures together, I do not think we are in the back of the till in international efforts. I think we are in the forefront.
Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, as I stated before, this is a problem that requires an international and coordinated effort. As we stated many times in the House, the World Health Organization is the one that is coordinating, and should be coordinating, all the efforts of the international community to deal with this terrible Ebola outbreak.
I truly hope that through research we will develop a vaccine that will prevent people from getting a disease, but where we are right now, we do not have the vaccine. It is still in clinical trials and we all hope that through coordinated efforts, through coordinated work, we will get there and will defeat this terrible disease, which is what Ebola is.
Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, as I already stated, financial support is required and Canada is taking its part and contributing to the effort.
I would mention a few numbers: $2.95 million to work sharing organizations to strengthen the full response to the outbreak; $1.7 million to support humanitarian interventions led by Doctors Without Borders to reduce and control the spread of the virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone; $160,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross to support a response to the outbreak; $200,000 to the WHO through the international grants program to support a request for assistance toward operational costs in West Africa.
Therefore, there is a contribution and Canada is not on the sidelines. Canada is taking an active part in helping the affected regions to deal with the efforts, which have to involve both partners. We have to ensure that everybody contributes and eventually that we are successful in dealing with this deadly issue.
Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I spoke of the money because listening to speeches and comments from across the aisle, one would think that if we were able to raise x number of dollars the problem would be solved. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, money is needed. Financial resources are needed to contain the disease, to contain the problem, but money would not solve the problem we have. Research needs to be going on to make sure that we eventually find a treatment to prevent the disease.
I am not a medical doctor; therefore, I am not an expert in the field, but since the disease is not spread easily we have to make sure that those places where it occurs have the tools to deal with it. Improper hygiene is the core of the problem. Running water, proper hygiene and other things are necessary so the disease will not spread so easily.