House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was respect.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for York South—Weston (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-Panama Free Trade Act October 20th, 2010

Madam Speaker, I listened intently to what my colleague was saying. I was very interested in the case study with respect to the Northwest Territories and its legislature in developing an anti-poverty strategy. Surely he would agree that an anti-poverty strategy in an underdeveloped or developing economy is creating jobs.

If this treaty creates jobs, and there are protections in side agreements with respect to civil rights issues, human rights issues and the rights of employees, would he agree that the climate he was just starting to allude to is the kind of climate that we need to set an example of with fair trade between ourselves and developing economies? It is good for the economies of those countries and ours if it is fairly done.

Would he agree that this is the kind of climate we want to create and that this legislation is an attempt to take albeit a modest step in that direction, but one that will trickle down and benefit the people in Panama?

York Lions Club October 20th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am certain that members of the House can attest to the incredible contribution that service clubs make to community life in their ridings.

In my community of York South—Weston, the York Lions Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Like many clubs in both rural and urban areas, under the mantra of “we serve”, the York Lions Club has made life better for youth, seniors and the disadvantaged.

Milestones in the 75 years of the York Lions Club include: the winning of the North America drum and bugle championships under the direction of the late Lion, Doug Saunders; the York Lions Steel Band under the direction of Lions Mike and Gail Stacey; and the ongoing support for the leader dog program to assist the visually impaired.

Lions Clubs throughout our country have contributed to hospitals, community centres and arenas and through their service have served as an inspiration for generations of Canadians. I know members of the House will join with me in celebrating and saluting Lions International and the York Lions Club on achieving 75 years of dedication to its motto “we serve”.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act October 8th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I note that many quotes have been attributed to economists. I am reminded that when people come to my office they are actually looking for accountants to help them. They do not go to economists. I am trying to find those who can answer their questions with respect to taxes and so on and so forth.

My friend from Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel is an accountant and is also a vice-chair of the finance committee. I would like to ask him a question with respect to the contradictions in the budget. For example, I think we would all agree that it is a good thing to concentrate on the accelerated capital tax allowance for green energy that encourages the production of green products. However, the real job creation is through consumers buying those products.

The contradiction I find in the budget concerns the accelerated capital tax allowance, which is good, but then we see the discontinuation on the consumer side of the eco-energy program which would in fact allow people to buy those green products.

From a strategic fiscal planning perspective, does the member not think that is a good example of the contradictions in the approaches taken by the government? Could he give any other examples of that?

Petitions October 8th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition in support of Bill C-544. It is signed by hundreds of people from across Ontario.

The petitioners supporting Bill C-544 are concerned about the use of horse meat. They point out that horses are primarily kept for sports and companions and are not being raised primarily for food production. The petitioners also point out that, as part of the maintenance and keeping of horses, drugs are used and may complicate things when horses are in fact slaughtered and used for food production.

The petitioners are asking the House of Commons and Parliament to bring forward and adopt Bill C-544, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act, thus prohibiting the importation and exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horse meat products for human consumption.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act October 7th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, our Bloc friend has quite rightly concentrated his remarks on the impact that the economic cycles have on working Canadians.

He says that Canadians who are not working are not able to contribute to pension plans. He also makes the point that the actuarial costs of multinational corporations are paying a large dividend, and that the actuarial costs with respect to corporate pensions are not in keeping with the draw required for retirement. It is much less. Corporations are going out of business and leaving workers high and dry.

The Bloc and the opposition parties looked at amendments to EI that would tap into the many billions of dollars that are in the EI fund. That is a fund that has been set up by workers and contributors to be used not only as insurance but also as an investment in workers.

We have been castigated by the government because they say the draw is going to be $10 billion on a fund that is now over $50 billion.

My question to the member is, are the criticisms of his comments and the government's principles fair or unfair?

Does the member see the ability to use the employment insurance fund for protecting workers and investing in key corporations?

I have to take exception to his criticism of the payments to the automobile industry, given the spinoffs and multipliers generated by that industry, particularly in the province of Quebec.

I would like the member to respond to the criticisms having to do with using the fund for investment in workers, in light of the objectives that he has outlined.

Petitions October 6th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of Mr. Gary Freeman, who was involved over 30 years ago in a racially charged incident in Chicago.

In 1974 he came to Canada. He has raised four children. In fact, I knew Mr. Freeman when he was an employee of the Metropolitan Toronto Library, and he has had an absolutely impeccable character and record of service in that position.

A few years ago, he was ordered for extradition and returned to the United States, where he stood trial on the charge that he was given over 30 years ago.

He made restitution. He served two months and he was on probation. He is not on the no-fly list, but he is unable to visit his family. After 30 years, the petitioners feel that justice delayed is justice denied. They are asking that the Minister of Immigration use his ministerial discretion under section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to grant a temporary resident permit on humanitarian and compassionate grounds so that Mr. Freeman can be reunited with his family.

Maurice Foster October 6th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, it was with sadness that we learned this week of the passing of Maurice Foster. The former Liberal member of Parliament will long be remembered as a devoted and compassionate public servant.

Dr. Foster passed away on Saturday, October 2, after a battle with pulmonary fibrosis. For 25 years, from 1968-93, he proudly represented the people of the riding of Algoma, the same riding previously held by former Prime Minister Lester Pearson.

He served as parliamentary secretary to the President of the Treasury Board for nine consecutive years. He was the chair of three parliamentary committees, the deputy whip and an adviser to former Prime Minister Chrétien. He fulfilled all these roles with dedication, humility and humanity.

He was always a gracious presence on Parliament Hill, always someone whose door was open, always welcoming and always highly respectful of colleagues of all stripes.

I am certain that all members of this House join with me in extending our condolences to Dr. Foster's family and friends. He was a great Canadian.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act October 5th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has talked about the sophistication that now accompanies auto theft rings and about the twinning of VIN numbers. I think he said that CSIS was providing an analysis as to how security codes could be placed in a vehicle and how the law could support that kind of approach.

I will ask him a question similar to the one I asked the last speaker. It is at an even higher level than that. It is not just the question of chips. Auto theft now takes place at a level where the circuits and systems are analyzed and stolen, fed to a ring of thieves that steal the car without having to break a window or anything else. They simply know the codes to unlock the doors, to start the ignition and overcome the GPS capabilities the chips have or any other level of technology at this point. Law enforcement has pointed that out.

Could the member comment on whether the committee could look at it at that level? I have not heard anyone touch on that level of sophistication. The law does not seem to come to grips with that. Perhaps the committee could look at it, call witnesses and take the kind of remedial action that would be required.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act October 5th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the bill, and the member in his explanation, touches on organized crime and trafficking of parts. We all accept that this is an extremely serious issue. He has also talked about the theft of cars and the harm that can be done to innocent bystanders. He cited examples of that.

In respect of the sophistication of the technology, the member mentioned the VIN number. With some of the high-end vehicles, investigations have found that the GPS systems designed to give locations in the event of a theft can be compromised by the sophisticated technology that the legislation is aimed at preventing.

Does this bill also look at the level of technology used for illegal purposes? People who work at dealerships and have access to the VIN numbers could become accessories to theft on a large scale. Does the legislation anticipate that level of sophistication? Is the member satisfied that the recommended approach in the legislation will act as a deterrent to those who may be interested in pursuing theft at that level?

Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act October 5th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, both my colleague and a previous speaker referred to the very low percentage of those under the old regime who had applied for parole and received it. There was a caveat, though, that another percentage were given parole, who did victimize others when they were on parole and were sent back to jail.

How can we err on the side of caution and on the side of victims to attempt to totally minimize those who would be given parole and would go out and commit further crimes, even after they had been found guilty of very serious crimes? Does the member not feel we should find every opportunity possible to protect those who have been victimized and to ensure that those who are on parole do not victimize others? The Canadian public deserves to have an explanation of how we feel as legislators about the potential that even one could get out and would victimize further. Do we not owe it to those we represent to ensure that it does not happen, to leave no stone unturned?