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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was international.

Last in Parliament March 2008, as Liberal MP for Toronto Centre (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 52% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Environment November 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the government is getting a reputation for being economical with the truth. The Prime Minister claims internationally that he supports Kyoto while he winks at home to his friends as he kills programs to stop climate change.

This weekend the head of the UN environment program stated that Canada's step back from Kyoto was deeply regrettable and even dangerous. Having already killed 15 climate change programs this spring, why is the government now putting the boot to five key climate change programs for agriculture and then cynically demanding that public servants take the fall for the ending of the programs?

Taxation November 23rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, this is unbelievable. A short time ago, we heard that we supported their budget. Did we support it? Finally, they understood. We do not agree with their vision of Canada in fiscal matters. That is clear.

Thanks to the previous Liberal government, this Conservative government inherited a fiscal situation that is the envy of the world. Instead of allowing all Canadians to benefit from it in a way that is fair, they prefer to take advantage of the situation to change our society based on their neo-conservative vision.

The government has enough money to offer all taxpayers a considerable tax break. Why are all Canadians not benefiting from tax reductions that are fair to everyone? What is wrong with taxes—

Taxation November 23rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, while the finance minister was complaining yesterday about how mean the federal Liberals were to him when he was Ontario's finance minister, as if that were responsible for the fact that his record in Ontario was an unmitigated disaster, our taxes have gone up by over $1 billion in this country.

Now, along with the Prime Minister, he is putting forward policies that are nothing more than the same Conservative discriminatory policies that failed in the Mike Harris government.

Why is a working single woman any less deserving of a major income tax cut? Why is an unmarried senior treated less fairly than other seniors?

When will the Conservatives stop manipulating our tax system and instead offer real tax breaks to all Canadians who--

Taxation November 23rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, thanks to successive Liberal governments, the Prime Minister is in a great position to provide tax fairness, including major tax cuts, for all Canadians. Unfortunately, despite the $13 billion surplus, all we have seen so far are the government's cuts to programs for literacy, women and the disabled. The problem is the government's tax policy is driven by right-wing ideology and political opportunism rather than the best interests of the Canadian economy.

When will the Prime Minister end this ideological approach that favours some Canadians over others? When will he introduce tax cuts that apply fairly to all Canadians?

The Québécois November 22nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the applause in this House to the Prime Minister's words clearly indicates the devotion of all federalist members in this House to the cause, first and foremost, of Canada, beyond all partisan purposes.

Speaking on behalf of the Liberals, we have spent our lives devoted to building a stronger Canada, inclusive of Quebec. We believe that the present prosperity and the social harmony of our country are a testimony to the efforts of successive Liberal governments, following on the efforts, as the Prime Minister was good enough to say, of Conservative governments that were devoted, first and foremost, to our country.

We Liberals have spent our lives building our country, and our country has always included Quebec.

As I travel across this country or as I live in my great city of Toronto and see the multicultural experiment that is the modern Canada of today, I say to modern Canadians that multicultural Canada became a reality because it was a bilingual and bicultural Canada that was the foundation of our races, a foundation that was built on a sense of tolerance and respect for each other that has enabled us to be the envy of the world, a world which, as the Prime Minister has said, today is struggling with racial disharmony and sectarian differences.

People are looking for examples in a modern world that will give them hope. It is the duty of the members of this House to give them that hope. It is our duty to transcend whatever partisan issues we have in order to inspire not only Canadians but other people in the world.

For our part, we are devoted to this great country with its marvellous history and unlimited potential. We have committed ourselves to building a Canada with Quebec as a key component.

For its part, the Bloc Québécois is dedicated to destroying Canada. Although we have the greatest respect for the members of this House, we fundamentally disagree on this point.

The Bloc is committed to the breakup of Canada and, for whatever respect we might have toward individual members on this point, we must clearly and fundamentally disagree and fundamentally fight for the rights of Canada and the whole of Canada.

There are federalists and nationalists in Quebec who believe in Canada and who are deeply dedicated to a Quebec within Canada. There are women, young and old, immigrants and those born here, families and singles who believe with every fibre of a Quebec within Canada.

How could we ever support a motion on Quebec by a party that has zero commitment to Canada and which is blind to the greatness available for Quebeckers within Canada, a country in which they are at home from coast to coast to coast because we have sought to make them at home because it is their home? It is not just Quebeckers within Quebec. A Quebecker is a Canadian in British Columbia or in St. John's, and they are equally Canadian and equally welcome in that community, which is part of their community. It belongs to them.

I can only imagine what the future holds for Canada. I can only imagine the incredible opportunities for all Quebec and Canadian youth who live in a country that is the envy of the world. Francophone communities outside Quebec are asking for and want the participation of Quebeckers in order to build a better community and a better life for themselves as well. It is our duty. We must also recognize this fact.

We think of those Quebeckers, when we talk of our country, who fought for Canada in the past, and we think of those who are risking their lives in Afghanistan and around the world for Canada and for a better world for all Canadians and a better world for everybody in this world. They are risking their lives for that principle and we cannot let them down.

The Liberals will be pleased to debate any motion before this House if it will support Quebec and Quebeckers, support Canada and realize the full potential of our country.

To do otherwise is a betrayal of future generations of Quebeckers and also of Canadians. We are asking that Canada assume its responsibilities.

On behalf of my party, I say to the Prime Minister that we will work with all parties in the House, with all members who have the interests of all Canadians at heart, to adopt a solution that respects Quebec and Quebeckers and gives them that future within our wonderful country.

It will guarantee to the world that an example will continue to be given to them. There are many who wish to follow our example, an example which, if we fail them, will make the world a worse place because there are many people who wish to move into a peaceful and socially harmonious 21st century and for whom Canada will remain a beacon and an example. We cannot let them down and we must not let ourselves down. We will transcend partisanship. We will be faithful to our country, to our principles and, in the end, in so doing, Mr. Speaker and Prime Minister, we will be faithful to humanity.

Transfer Payments November 22nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, we shall see who the chickens are in this House.

The Conservatives eliminated billions of dollars earmarked for child care. There was a signed agreement with the provinces. However, children still need these day care spaces. The Conservatives cut millions of dollars in transfers for university students. And, if the Prime Minister is suddenly truly concerned about the environment, why is he withholding over $300 million from Quebec to combat climate change? These are concrete examples of this government's contempt. There is not a shred of social or economic justice.

Will it restore the $6 billion that it has taken away from the provinces—

Transfer Payments November 22nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Prime Minister alleges, the provinces know that he needs to invest $6 billion just for them to get back to even.

It is not governments we are talking about here; it is real Canadians who are being shortchanged and deprived. We are talking about money that the government has deliberately refused to deliver for aboriginal infants, university and college students, housing for the poor, immigrant settlement, climate change, workplace skills, apprenticeships and employment for those with disabilities.

Will the Prime Minister please tell the House today that he will end his shell game that is really hurting Canadians in need and restore their money before we belabour his question of fiscal imbalance?

Transfer Payments November 22nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, since the government came to office, it has acted to worsen the situation of the provinces and territories by $6 billion. It has off-loaded and downloaded and has broken agreements on child care, labour market development, environment money for Quebec and more than $3 billion for the people of Ontario.

Could the Prime Minister explain why, due to his actions, today the provinces are out over $6 billion in funding that they came to count on in previously signed agreements with the Government of Canada? Instead of trying to confuse Canadians with his illusory promises on fiscal imbalance, will he first restore the more than $6 billion he has taken away from the people of our provinces?

Foreign Affairs November 21st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Prime Minister that I have just as many embarrassing pictures of myself as they do on that side.

Everyone agrees. This government gave a pitiful performance in Asia. It confused Canadians. It contradicted itself. All because this Prime Minister is trying to manipulate the press.

I have specific, clear questions that I want the Prime Minister to answer for this House. Where is Mr. Celil being held? What are the charges against him? Has the Prime Minister received additional assurances as to Mr. Celil's safety and when Mr. Celil will be coming back to Canada?

Canadians do not need tall tales from the Prime Minister, they want answers—

Foreign Affairs November 21st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Prime Minister on his photo op. He was spectacular in that gown he was wearing.

The Prime Minister's mania for secrecy and control is undermining our country's conduct of international affairs. It is not just the press the Prime Minister tries to keep in the dark. It is his own Minister of Foreign Affairs who said yesterday that the Prime Minister received a promise from China that Mr. Celil would not be executed, but later the minister was contradicted by his own staff. Any commitment was given seven months ago by Uzbekistan.

Why is the Prime Minister seeking to keep his own foreign affairs minister as much out of the loop as he tries to keep our citizens and the press? What exactly did the Prime Minister achieve for Mr. Celil and Canadians?