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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

Citizenship and Immigration January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, instead of building a country where no one gets left behind, the government goes to court to try to ensure that people get left behind. Those court costs come right out of the pockets of hard-working Canadians. We know that the justice department spent more than $1.4 million defending a refugee policy that the Federal Court called “cruel and unusual”.

It is a simple question for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. I am sure he has the numbers right there in front of him. How much has his department spent fighting a vindictive campaign against refugees?

Government Policies January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is an unfortunate reality that Canadians are now used to the Conservatives making policy decisions solely based on political self-interest. However, most Canadians would be saddened and surprised to see the Liberals take the same tack.

Just yesterday, Liberal MPs and officials talked about their approach to the impending Conservative anti-terror legislation. They do not want to be "outflanked" by the Conservatives, so they will support the government's new anti-terrorism bill without even reading it first.

Why would the Liberals give the Conservatives a free ride? Canadians want sound, evidence-based policy, not policies based on political expediency.

Liberals remind me of the old saying, “If you don't stand for something, you'll go for anything”.

Labour January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the government has presided over a youth jobs crisis and the solution for so many young people has been to work for free. The federal Labour Code gives every single employee rights and protections. The problem is that unpaid interns are not considered employees under the code, so they do not have the right to refuse unsafe work. They do not have the same protections from sexual harassment in the workplace. Surely, the minister must agree with the NDP that these same protections should apply to all interns, paid and unpaid.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to International Experience Canada, for the years 2013 and 2014: (a) with which countries did Canada have an agreement; (b) what were the reciprocal quotas; (c) how many Canadians travelled to each country under the auspices of the agreement; (d) how many youths from each country travelled to Canada under the auspices of the agreement; (e) what measures has the government taken to promote the program to Canadians; and (f) what measures has the government undertaken to reduce barriers to Canadian participants in some countries?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to International Mobility Programs, for the years 2006 to 2014: (a) for each year, how many work permits were issued under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), in total and by source country; (b) for each year, how many Canadians worked in the United States and Mexico under the auspices of NAFTA; (c) which other Free Trade Agreements (FTA) include provisions on worker mobility, and for each FTA how many work permits were issued each year, in total and by source country; (d) for each year, how many Canadians worked in other countries under the auspices of a FTA and which countries did they work in; (e) for each year, how many work permits were issued under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), in total and by source country; (f) for each year, how many Canadians worked abroad under the auspices of GATS and which countries did they work in; (g) which international agreements allow workers to work for a Canadian employer in Canada without a Labour Market Impact Assessment and, for each agreement, how many work permits were issued each year, in total and by source country; (h) for each year, how many Canadians worked in other countries under these same international agreements and in which countries did they work; (i) which provincial agreements allow workers to work for a Canadian employer in Canada without a Labour Market Impact Assessment, and for each agreement, how many work permits were issued each year, in total and by source country; (j) which reciprocal employment programs or agreements allow workers to work for a Canadian employer in Canada without a Labour Market Impact Assessment, and for each program or agreement, how many work permits were issued each year, in total and by source country; (k) for each year, how many Canadians worked in other countries under these same reciprocal programs or agreements and in which countries did they work; (l) which employment benefit programs or agreements allow workers to work for a Canadian employer in Canada without a Labour Market Impact Assessment, and for each program or agreement, how many work permits were issued each year, in total and by source country; (m) for each year, how many Canadians worked in other countries under employment benefit programs or agreements and in which countries did they work; (n) which research or studies-related programs or agreements allow workers to work for a Canadian employer in Canada without a Labour Market Impact Assessment, and for each program or agreement, how many work permits were issued each year, in total and by source country; (o) which programs or agreements fall under “Other Canadian interests,” and for each program or agreement, how many work permits were issued each year, in total and by source country; (p) which programs or agreements fall under “Other work permit holders without Labour Market Opinion,” and for each program or agreement, how many work permits were issued each year, in total and by source country; and (q) for each year, how many spouse/common law partners were issued work permits, in total and by source country?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to International Mobility Programs: (a) when will Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) begin proactively posting more data, what data will be posted, and how often; (b) when will the new compliance fee for employer-specific work permits be levied, and at what level will the fee be set; (c) when will the new privilege fee be in place for open work permit holders; (d) how many CIC staff are assigned to investigations of employers for compliance; (e) how many employers have been investigated in 2014, broken down by month; (f) what penalty regime is in place for employers who break the rules; (g) how many employers have been subjected to penalties or sanctions for breaking the rules; (h) how many investigations have included an on-site inspection; (i) how many information-sharing agreements have been signed with other federal government departments; (j) how many information-sharing agreements have been signed with provincial and territorial governments, and which provinces and territories are they; (k) which streams have seen changes to their guidelines or requirements since June 2014; (l) has the review of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt streams to determine if they should become part of the LMIA-required stream taken place yet and, if so, what are the outcomes of that review; (m) what measures have been taken to promote the International Experience Canada program to Canadians; and (n) what is the new wage floor for Intra-Company Transferees with specialized knowledge and when did it come into effect?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to the court cases on the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program: (a) what are the costs, including legal fees, incurred by the government to date; and (b) what are the estimated total costs, including legal fees, of the government’s appeal of the Federal Court’s ruling?

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure what the member was trying to ask. I believe he was trying to retroactively claim some kind of responsibility.

I will focus on the key issue, which is social licence, accountability and transparency. Let us focus on the fact that if the Conservatives want to run a pipeline, create a large piece of transit infrastructure, or convince Canadians, for example, that they are sincerely guarding the environment, then they need to give their heads a major shake.

There are significant concerns around the protection of our environment. This is not a rural-urban issue; this is an issue about which all Canadians are concerned. As reflected in this bill, the government still does not take these issues seriously at all.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague raises a very important question. Ultimately, the question revolves around a matter of trust. The government has implemented bills that instead of strengthening environmental protection for our lakes, our rivers, our streams and our oceans have actually weakened them. It has gutted the public process regarding pipelines. Then it turns around and hectors the opposition for raising questions about which, quite frankly, Canadians across the country are incredibly concerned. Fundamentally, the government has lost the trust of Canadians when it comes to large infrastructure projects.

When it comes to protecting vital resources, and what could be more vital than our water, the government has consistently shown an aversion to public participation, and for transparency and for accountability. For those reasons, it will find it increasingly difficult to gain the social licence that is required for these big infrastructure projects.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place today to speak on behalf of the good people of Davenport in the great city of Toronto at third reading of this important bill. It is important in a number of different ways.

As many of my colleagues have already underlined, we will be supporting this bill. However, in my last speech of the year, it is important to reflect on what we can learn from this bill and its process, including what it says about the Conservative government.

It is true that we have had much debate on the bill and the various decisions that were made leading into third reading. What I would like to focus on, though, is the process and the fact that, once again, we see the government not listening to the very people who should be a vital part of the process. It brings me back to my own constituency in Toronto. I would like to talk a little bit more about some flaws in the process and connect it to the bill.

I just want to let you know, Mr. Speaker, that I will be splitting my time with the member for British Columbia Southern Interior.

We have significant infrastructure projects right across the country. I will focus on the riding I represent. We can talk about the Line 9 project. Currently, we have a project that is running dirty diesel trains from the airport to Union Station in Toronto.

We have a variety of issues where the public has been unable to weigh in on and have an impact on the decision. For example, in my own riding, we have a nuclear processing plant that has been there for 50 years. We are supposed to have a full public engagement program, and people living right across from the plant did not even know that the program existed, because the government has said that it is not going to play the public engagement card too strongly. It sees that as an impediment to it doing the things it wants to do.

Fundamentally, what we are saying on this side of the House is that if we do not have social licence or if we have not consulted fully with first nations, projects simply cannot go forward. For example, if we want to run a large piece of infrastructure through a heavily populated community like the one I represent, and we are going to run that infrastructure using 19th century diesel technology that the WHO has ranked up there as a carcinogen similar to arsenic and mustard gas, we need to talk to the people who are going to be living right there. We need to get their buy-in, and if we do not, we have to find a way through. We have to consult. We have to listen, and listening is not something that the Conservative government likes to do. We saw this with this very park proposal.

I would also like to talk a little bit about the deficit in infrastructure improvements and how that is also part of a trend. Just in case my hon. friends across the way think that the deficit issue with regard to parks is a one-off, unfortunately it is not. We saw in December 2013 the Toronto Star reporting that there was an almost $3 billion backlog in deferred maintenance at Parks Canada.

The Conservative government loves to cut ribbons. It loves to announce big projects, but it is really not interested in supporting the infrastructure and improving it.

We have billions of dollars of infrastructure deficit in the city of Toronto. We have a public transit system that was built for 1960s population use. It is about twice the requirement now.

The government loved to pop by, especially when its buddy Rob Ford was the mayor, and cut some ribbons and popped some champagne when the Prime Minister wanted to help him out by putting some federal money into public transit. However, the problem is that we have a huge operational deficit. What cities, municipalities, and certainly the city of Toronto, need is a government that realizes that it cannot just come up with a big-time capital announcement. It has to be there for the whole project.

Therefore, it concerns us that the government does not understand the need for long-term, sustainable funding. An example is the need for public transit across the country and certainly in my city.

This bill and the process show a very disturbing trend by the government. It is trend that we will most certainly see change after the election in 2015 when we can make some significant changes with the first NDP government in the history of Canada.