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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was workers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Davenport (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2011

With regard to the Georgetown South rail line: (a) what is the total volume of correspondence received by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and by departments for which the minister is responsible calling for the electrification of the rail line from (i) individuals, (ii) organizations, (iii) elected officials; (b) what is the total number of petition signatures received by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and by departments for which the minister is responsible calling for the electrification of the rail line; (c) what are the names and addresses of all organizations in (a); (d) since 2006, what reports has the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the departments for which the minister is responsible produced or received regarding (i) the health impacts of diesel trains in urban centres, (ii) the benefits of electrification of urban rail, (iii) the noise pollution of diesel trains; (e) what, if any, federal funding has been provided for the Georgetown South rail line; (f) if federal funding was provided for the Georgetown South rail line, were any conditions put in place requiring the electrification of the rail line; and (g) what is the government's position on making the electrification of urban rail lines a condition for receiving federal funding for transit projects contained within an urban area?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 19th, 2011

With regard to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and its programs and initiatives related to homelessness and affordable housing: (a) how much funding is dedicated to the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP); (b) what is the status of the RRAP with regard to program delivery for fiscal years 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014; (c) what is the status of any agreements with the provinces with regard to delivery of the RRAP, and, if no agreements are in place, what is the status of any negotiations with the provinces with regard to delivery of the RRAP; (d) broken down by electoral district, by fiscal year, how many applications for funding under the RRAP have been (i) received, (ii) approved, (iii) rejected; (e) broken down by electoral district, by fiscal year, (i) what are all applications approved for funding under the RRAP, including the amount of funding approved, (ii) what are all applications denied funding under the RRAP, including the amount of funding requested and the reason for the rejection; (f) how much funding is dedicated to the Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI); (g) what is the status of the AHI with regard to program delivery for fiscal years 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014; (h) what is the status of any agreements with the provinces, with regard to delivery of the AHI, and, if no agreements are in place, what is the status of any negotiations with the provinces with regard to delivery of the AHI; (i) broken down by electoral district, by fiscal year, how many applications for funding under the AHI have been (i) received, (ii) approved, (iii) rejected; (j) broken down by electoral district, by fiscal year, (i) what are all applications approved for funding under the AHI, including the amount of funding approved, (ii) what are all applications denied funding under the AHI, including the amount of funding requested and the reason for rejection; (k) how much funding is dedicated to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS); (l) what is the status of the HPS with regard to program delivery for the fiscal years 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014; (m) what is the status of any agreements with the provinces, with regard to delivery of the HPS, and, if no agreements are in place, what is the status of any negotiations with the provinces with regards to delivery of the HPS; (n) broken down by electoral district, by fiscal year, how many applications for funding under the HPS have been (i) received, (ii) approved, (iii) rejected; (o) broken down by electoral district, by fiscal year, (i) what are all applications approved for funding under the HPS, including the amount of funding approved, (ii) what are all applications denied funding under the HPS, including the amount of funding requested and the reason for rejection; (p) broken down by year and by type of funding, since 2006, how many new units of affordable housing have been built using CMHC funding; (q) how many people are currently on waiting lists for affordable housing, broken down by (i) province, (ii) municipality; and (r) since 2006, what was the average number of people on a waiting list for affordable housing, broken down (i) by province and year, (ii) by municipality and year?

Questions on the Order Paper September 19th, 2011

With regard to the G20 Summit ex gratia payments: (a) to date, how many applications have been approved and paid to claimants; (b) how many applications have been approved but not yet paid to claimants; (c) of the approved applications awaiting payment, what is the reason for payment not being made; (d) how many applications have been rejected; (e) of the applications rejected, what was the reason for rejection; and (f) what are all applications for compensation, the amount of compensation requested, and, if approved, the amount of compensation that was approved?

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 25th, 2011

Madam Speaker, the government says that it does not interfere with Canada Post, of which it is the sole shareholder. That is a bit of a head-scratcher for many people. Then it turns around and does just that and offers postal workers less than what management offered initially.

Does my hon. colleague not think it would be fair if the government withdrew the wage clause in the bill?

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, like many members in this House, I have received emails describing that even though there were no rolling strikes in Toronto, Canada Post was not staffing stations. Consequently small businesses along Dundas West were not receiving their mail.

It is unbelievable to hear the hon. minister say that somehow we are thwarting small businesses when Canada Post has not been staffing sorting stations and small businesses were not getting their mail before the lockout. Now there is a lockout, and that lockout is up to the government to deal with.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, many of us who come from Ontario have seen this movie before. It is called manufacturing a crisis in order to justify draconian measures. We are now seeing it again.

Small entrepreneurs, small business people, self-employed people are not buying it. They see that their interests are very similar, if not exactly the same, as CUPW workers because they need the same thing. They need a living wage. They need an income that can support their families. They need pensions so they can retire in dignity. These are Canadian values and that is what we are fighting for.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, representing all Canadians is exactly what we are trying to do on this side of the House.

When we have one-third of all income gains in the last 20 years going to the top 1%, who is representing whom? We are very clear on this.

In my riding of Davenport we have real estate agents buying pizzas and donuts for CUPW workers because they recognize they are partners.

I am talking about every day Canadians, whether they are in a union, or they are a dishwasher, a cab driver, a web designer or a small entrepreneur, we are all in this boat together. It is the government that is trying to hive off a certain part of the Canadian community and play that one part off against the rest.

We will not stand for that and we have drawn that line in the sand.

Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act June 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, last night we heard a phenomenal speech by the leader of the official opposition. He raised the bar and raised the tone of civility of this debate. He also focused our attention on some of the really important things that matter and that mattered in the last election.

I want to remind those in the chamber of another speech made last night. It might have been this morning; I can't quite remember. It was by the member for Acadie—Bathurst, the official opposition labour critic. He talked a lot about the history and culture of working people. He reminded the House and Canadians of the battles that have gotten us to a place where so many people in this country take having a weekend off for granted. He talked about his father, who was a lumberjack. He himself was a miner. I thought it was a really powerful speech, because we forget that nothing comes without a fight.

The government has repeatedly asked why we are here. We are here because we want to bring it to the government's attention that we want to speak for all workers, not just unionized workers.

I want to speak to the fact that I have been a self-employed small-business person. My father was as well.

I represent a riding where there are a multitude of different kinds of small businesses and self-employed people, and they are workers too. They want pensions. They want benefits. They want job security. They would like to have access to EI. If their children get sick, they would like to take a couple of days off to look after their loved ones. This is not an option for many Canadians.

We are here tonight, and for as long as it takes, to focus the government's attention on the fact that workers in this country are hurting. A win for a trade union is a win for all workers, and a loss is a loss for all workers.

There are people in my riding who worked for companies for 23 years, were let go, and now have no workplace pensions. They have none. Do members know what they are doing now? They are competing with their grandkids for jobs at KFC.

The government asks what we are doing here. When we in the NDP see legislation like Bill C-6, which offers workers less than what management was offering in the first place, we have to say that this is not right. The leader of the official opposition, the member for Toronto—Danforth, drew a very clear and respectful line in the sand.

I too have received e-mails and phone calls from small-business people in my riding. For example, I received an e-mail from a member in my riding who publishes two magazines, not one but two. He is dependent on postal service. He e-mailed me to say that we have to stand with the workers at Canada Post and that the principle of collective bargaining is a principle that our grandparents and great grandparents fought for.

Last night I listened to many of the members opposite talk about how their fathers were in the trade union movement. I thought that was interesting. If it were not for the hard work and dedication of men and women over decades and decades, many of us would not have had the opportunity to end up where we are right now. That is very important for us to consider.

Another thing I respectfully ask the members opposite to consider is this. In 1995 a CEO's salary was 85 times the average worker's. That seems a little high. Most reasonable people would think there was something out of whack with that kind of equation.

I know some of our friends across the aisle like to characterize some of us on the official opposition side as some kind of wild-eyed folks that they do not want around their money.

However, today a CEO's salary is 220 times the average worker's pay. Whether one is a small business owner, a medium-sized business owner or a big business owner, or a worker, something is wrong with that.

That brings me back to Bill C-6. If we allow pensions to be chipped away at for workers who have fought for so long to achieve and to protect this benefit, then we will not help workers across the country who have no pension in the first place. If we let this happen, it moves the marker back for everybody else.

I was elected in the riding of Davenport on the promise that I would advocate for, speak up for and fight for, among other things, those who had no pensions, benefits or access to a safety net like employment insurance.

If we look at the data, we see a large-scale migration from the unemployed line of the ledger over to the self-employed line of the ledger. The problem is that for so many people who are self-employed, they are not really making enough money. They are trying to get businesses off the ground.

The government likes to trumpet the fact that it has supposedly created hundreds of thousands of jobs, but it never says whether these are full-time jobs. It never says whether these are jobs on which one can raise a family. We need a means test because one cannot raise a family on a $10 an hour or $12 an hour job. One cannot raise a family on a job where at the whim of the employer he or she loses a couple of days of work. That is happening all across the country.

At the same time, housing affordability has plummetted. It is almost impossible for most young families to afford to live in the city of Toronto.

We have postal workers who are key to our communities, to our economy and we have been asked to agree with the government to chip away at their living wage. We will not do that.

We have many workers in the country who are looking for leadership from the official opposition—

Citizenship and Immigration June 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer shows that he either does not get Toronto or he does not care.

When he cut this funding, not only did he abandon new Canadians, but he took decades of on the ground knowledge and tossed it out the window. In my riding of Davenport, the South Asian Women's Centre and the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre lost $1 million in funding, despite passing their official assessment.

If these agencies are getting a passing grade, why is the government steamrolling ahead with cuts and ignoring immigrant families in Toronto?

Business of Supply June 20th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the hon. member's eloquent speech.

A couple of things really strike me and I wanted to bring them up. The government talks a lot about the economy improving and yet seniors cannot seem to reap any of the benefits of this economic expansion. In fact, more and more seniors in my riding of Davenport are living in poverty.

It is nice to hear the government is finally adopting some of the NDP's messaging around seniors. It now says it wants to lift every senior out of poverty. If the government wants to lift every senior out of poverty, then what does it say to seniors in Davenport and right across the country who, in the last election, were asking the question about why the government was giving seniors $1.65 in its plan and giving the bankers billions?