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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was terms.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Brampton West (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions March 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, as the House will recall, a few weeks back we had an emergency debate in terms of the unfolding tragedy in Sri Lanka. Since that time nothing further has occurred from the Canadian government.

On behalf of concerned citizens, I am reading the following petition which states that: “We, the undersigned, call upon the Government of Canada to: intervene immediately to stop the war and urge for resumption of peaceful negotiations, urge the Sri Lankan government to allow NGOs to the affected areas, urge the Sri Lankan government to allow access to independent media, and urge the Sri Lankan government to allow an independent human rights monitoring mechanism.

Employment Insurance March 26th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, in the Toronto area alone, 207,000 unemployed Canadians are not receiving EI benefits. One of those many Canadians is my constituent, Dan Trotta, a 41-year-old disabled Canadian with spinal stenosis. He has three young children, a mortgage and numerous financial obligations. He and his family are very afraid. EI approved him only for re-education funding, not benefits.

On behalf of Mr. Trotta and all unemployed Canadians, why will the Conservatives not provide the help that is needed now? Mr. Trotta is watching right now--

Committees of the House March 2nd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I move that the first report of the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations presented to the House earlier today be concurred in.

Committees of the House March 2nd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Joint Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations in relation to the review of statutory instruments. If the House gives consent, I intend to move concurrence in this report later today.

Automotive Industry February 24th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the residents of Brampton, where there is a major Chrysler plant, are tired of the Conservatives doing nothing to protect their jobs.

The Prime Minister, just moments ago, failed, yet again, to show leadership by refusing to create a parliamentary committee on the auto crisis. Given that vacuum of leadership, the official opposition will today call for an industry subcommittee of Parliament to immediately tackle the auto sector crisis.

The Prime Minister mentioned the industry committee. Will he at least direct his committee members to support our proposed subcommittee, yes or no?

BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 2009 February 10th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I would like to compliment my friend on her very worthy contribution to this debate. She has described the fact that the budget obviously is far from perfect, but is necessary at this stage and that Canadians cannot afford a $300 million election right now. They need the economic stimulus help. I am wondering if she could provide any examples from her riding specifically showing why the situation is so urgent, why this has to pass and why people need assistance.

The Economy February 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, yesterday it was announced that Bombardier would be cutting over 1,300 jobs and HBC would also be slashing 1,000 jobs. The TD Bank also announced that Canada could lose an additional 325,000 jobs this year in addition to the massive job losses of 2008. This will raise the unemployment to almost 9%, once again proving that Tory times are tough times.

These massive job losses are the direct consequence of the government being asleep at the wheel while the economic crisis worsens.

Canadians are losing their jobs because the Prime Minister failed to act in the fall and instead locked MPs out of Parliament in December in order to save his own job rather than worry about the jobs of Canadians.

This economic mismanagement is the reason why the Liberal Party has put the government on probation. Canadians simply deserve better.

Situation in Sri Lanka February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the point is not whether one supports or does not support other organizations. They are all worthwhile organizations. The point is to help the 300,000 people who are trapped, as fast as possible and in the best possible manner, and to construct a permanent solution.

When Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize, he did not say to look to other organizations and maybe they can do it. He did it. I want Canada to take a lead role right now to help these people, without excuses that other people could not get the job done.

Situation in Sri Lanka February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment all of my hon. colleagues from all parties who took the time to be here to show their commitment to this issue.

What really matters is finding a permanent solution. To get there, we have to understand the history of this conflict. It started principally because the minority in that country were not being treated fairly. They were not allowed to attend universities on the same basis. Their language was being restricted. They were told what religion was the official religion of the country. These are things that obviously were unacceptable, that Canadians would not accept, and that they should not have to accept.

Political solutions were tried, but they failed and eventually violence came to be. That was wrong. That was the practical result of grievances not being addressed. Once again, that was wrong.

If the grievances are not addressed on a permanent basis now, history could repeat itself. Even if this conflict ends and the Tamils of the north are defeated, it does not mean the conflict will end. It could be extended. There could be another 37 years of another type of conflict, even on a more limited basis. We need a permanent solution. How do we get there?

I am happy that the government brought forward its position today. It should have happened a long time ago. It could have anticipated this problem back in 2008 when the government essentially said that the ceasefire was over. Something should have been done at that point. We should have sent somebody in, negotiated and stopped it when it first started. We should have done something at that stage. It did not happen. It is better late than never, but it is very late.

In terms of helping the people now, we have to ensure that the $3 million that is being committed actually reaches the people. Everybody on all sides of the House has heard the stories about aid that has been stopped either by the government or by the Tamil Tigers. It does not matter who did it. All that matters at this stage is that the money gets through to help the people.

Essentially there is a group of people, roughly the same size as the population of Hamilton, who are in a war zone and are being fired on. We need to help them. Money is only part of it. We need to get a Canadian representative, perhaps the Canadian high commissioner, but it does not even matter who, to stop it, to help negotiate and try to achieve something constructive.

If that does not happen, the next step is to put increased pressure on them. Why not, even for a short period of time, recall the Canadian high commissioner? We must make a statement that does something to pressure other countries of the world and show that Canada has taken a stand. There could be trade sanctions. We must do something to let them know that it is not just words. Respectfully, this statement today unto itself is just words. We need to do more.

The point behind all of this is that we must look for a constructive permanent solution. I would like the government to develop immediately a policy of financial assistance and to do more to try to end the conflict, but thereafter there should be a leadership role, as we used to have as peacekeepers, in order to build a permanent solution there, such as a political structure that treats the minority fairly so that we end the conflict finally, not just on a short-term temporary measure.

Situation in Sri Lanka February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, my friend spent at least half of his time attacking one side of the conflict. I do not think that is constructive. We are here tonight on an emergency basis to discuss a tragedy. What are we going to do about it?

The piece of paper that was released by the government today with its plan is something that should have been released months ago, not today. The $3 million is a pittance. The government is talking about a $100 billion deficit over five years. Three million dollars will do very little, even if it reaches where it needs to go.

My question to my friend is, I hear the words, but what is the government actually going to do now to see that this is implemented? Who is going for a meeting with the Sri Lankan government? Who is actually going to do something to try to get a ceasefire and to end this 300,000 person humanitarian tragedy?