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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was particular.

Last in Parliament September 2017, as Liberal MP for Scarborough—Agincourt (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 52% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply April 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I find it concerning that I am even rising in today's debate. The issues that have been raised recently remind me of the Shakespeare comedic play Much Ado About Nothing.

The point members opposite, including the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, are raising is the appearance of a conflict and I want to get specifically to that, which is the nature of my question.

If we are to apply the same standard that those members seek to apply to us, would the member also be willing to go back through 10 years of records when her party served in government, go through each of the records of the members of its executive council to see whether they had stakeholders attend their fundraisers when ministers attended as the guest speaker? Did they return the money to Canadians as well where there was that appearance?

Impaired Driving Act April 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for a very cogent presentation with respect to the scourge of drunk driving. Everyone in the House shares our collective concern that we want to take measures that will ultimately reduce the incidence of this practice.

I want to congratulate the member for introducing his private member's bill for debate in the House. It is an important issue and it has been a particularly important issue in my area, given a recent very public case with the loss of three unfortunate children and their grandfather in the greater Toronto area. That was an extremely public instance of a tragic loss of some very young lives due to drunk driving.

In reading the bill, there are many aspects that I can certainly support. However, one area I have some difficulty with, and where I would like to pose a question for the hon. member, relates to the use of mandatory minimum sentences.

I know there has been a penchant, particularly from the Conservative caucus, in various justice legislation to impose mandatory minimum sentences. Is there a particular rationale or reason why the member feels the five-year sentencing threshold would be appropriate in the case of drunk driving causing death?

Citizenship Act March 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my remarks, even the minister has acknowledged that no bill is ultimately perfect. That is why this government has adopted a process of strengthening committees and giving opportunities for members to exercise the democratic function in which they were elected.

I agree fully with the principle that executive power, particularly in a Westminster-style model, needs to be checked, and we are doing our best to do that. If there is a particular flaw in the bill, this side of the House will remain open to those effective changes.

All things ultimately require balance. At the end of the day, there is also a function of protecting Canadians and security. However, that should never be done in such a way that it is capricious, or without the application of the rule of law, or the principles of both procedural and substantive due process.

Citizenship Act March 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we agree that people we find offensive in our society, whether that be terrorists, murders, or whatever, need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We support that on the government side. The question is whether we create an additional penalty for certain classes of individuals. In this case, we are only talking about people who have a dual citizenship or the potential of a dual citizenship. Therefore, it can only be applied to certain people. From my perspective, that ultimately devalues the whole notion of equality of citizenship, which is much more fundamental.

There are many other mechanisms that my friend has articulated in his question that I think allows us to deal with it, whether that be confiscation of passports or travel restrictions. There are other mechanisms that we can impose on these types of individuals, but again, it gets down to fundamental values. The concept of equality is paramount.

Citizenship Act March 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my friend from Surrey—Newton.

It is a pleasure to rise today to speak to the government's plan to repeal the unfair provisions found under the Citizenship Act that were passed in the previous Parliament under Bill C-24, which allowed for the revocation of Canadian citizenship of dual or multiple nationals on the grounds of national interest.

Once again, our government is delivering on the commitments we promised Canadians during last year's federal election. From my perspective, Bill C-24 is not only a bill that personally affects the lives of many of my constituents but it also affects many Canadians across this country.

I note that in the speech by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, he articulated two broad principles that governed the intent behind Bill C-6.

First and foremost, he enunciated the concept of a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, which was something that we had heard throughout the campaign, and that we found the notion of two different types of classes of Canadian citizens to be offensive.

The second concept that was articulated by the minister was with respect to peeling back the changes found in Bill C-24 that imposed new barriers on welcoming immigrants to this country and becoming Canadian citizens.

There are a series of four provisions within Bill C-6 that attempt to bring back a much more welcoming atmosphere to becoming a Canadian citizen. Those are very important principles. However, I want to focus on two different principles.

I first want to note that I appreciated the speech made by my friend from the New Democratic Party, the member for Vancouver East, who I thought articulated in very clear terms the reasons why her party would be supporting the provisions of Bill C-6. She also put forth some legitimate criticisms that she found, namely, that we did not necessarily go far enough in Bill C-6.

I take the point the minister raised that this government remains open to making reasonable changes, which is a reflection of this particular government. For example, this government would definitely entertain some of the issues the member articulated.

I want to get to those two broad principles that I would like to articulate in the short time I have to talk to Bill C-6 that I feel were particularly offensive under Bill C-24.

The first concept I want to advance, which was a central theme that had been articulated by the previous government and in particular by the former minister of citizenship and immigration, Chris Alexander, is the concept that citizenship is a privilege as opposed to a right. I strongly disagree with the former minister's position on this substantive fate.

The whole concept of strengthening the Canadian Citizenship Act, as minister Alexander had framed it, was that citizenship was somehow a privilege. From my perspective, once it is conferred, it attaches rights. There are obligations and responsibilities that come with citizenship, but it confers rights that are protected specifically under the charter, as my friend from Vancouver East had noted. Therefore, once it is legitimately acquired, the concept of citizenship should not be taken away capriciously.

That brings me to the second concept. My friends in the New Democratic Party touched upon this particular theme both in the comments made by my friend from Vancouver East and in the question from the finance critic for the NDP, which is the concept of the encroachment of executive power and the lack of procedural due process that was found under Bill C-24. Again, I deeply oppose this concept.

I take the comments that my friend from Vancouver East noted seriously. She remains concerned that there needs to be procedural due process whenever citizenship is stripped away. This government would be amendable to those kinds of amendments to the legislation.

I found particularly odious the previous government's perspective to grant the minister the arbitrary right to decide which individuals would get to keep their citizenship and which ones would not. It was particularly odious because it could be done capriciously and without any sort of procedural due process. There would be no capacity to appeal. There would be no capacity to bring new facts to the table.

I know what members of the Conservative Party are ultimately going to say. They are going to say we would only be stripping citizenship from convicted terrorists. All we heard in the debate in the House from the previous minister and from my friends in the opposition is that at the end of the day once individuals are convicted of a particular crime, they should serve their time, and that is the ultimate sanction. Stripping citizenship from certain classes of individuals is not fundamentally appropriate. More important, it would undermine the whole concept of the fundamental principle of rule of law, where all citizens are treated equally. I note that concept was very well articulated earlier, and I want to reinforce that principle in my comments today.

These are really the fundamental issues of why I will be supporting Bill C-6 in addition to the principles that were enunciated by the minister.

My sense is that this is about what it means to be Canadian, what it ultimately means to create conditions where we are a welcoming society, as noted in the opening comments of the minister, a society that values people who come from around the world. My friend from Calgary Nose Hill articulated the same principles.

I do not agree with my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan that somehow this is about an elevation of values. This is very much a values debate, but the value we are attaching is to the protection of fundamental principles, principles that are found in the charter, the principle of rule of law, the principle of equality. That is why we are here in this place. If we cannot protect those fundamental principles for the people we find most offensive in our society, then why are we here? That for me is the core of the debate and why Bill C-6 must be supported.

Income Tax Act March 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend from Regina—Qu'Appelle for his comments. I listened very carefully to his contribution to the debate on Bill C-2, and I take to heart what he was saying about the inflationary factors that ultimately may erode the savings of Canadians, but what we really ultimately need to look at is a fundamental difference in approach with respect to savings.

This side of the House is not opposed to Canadians saving their hard-earned money. The question at the end of the day is this: who ultimately benefits? Who can actually maximize the contribution limits that had been proposed by the previous government, the new savings limits that had been proposed for TFSAs? From the perspective of his particular party, was the increase from $5,500 to $10,000 an inflationary factor, or was it fundamentally about rewarding those who fundamentally do not need it?

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 24th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I take to heart much of what my friend from Timmins—James Bay said. In my address in this place a few days ago, I raised many of the same issues that he raised. In particular, I raised concerns with respect to a post-conflict era in which, for example, the bombing in Libya has now led to a profoundly difficult situation on the ground.

Does he believe that we should go back to a Pearsonian view, one in which we had the type of mission that took place when it was brought forward by this side of the House, the government at the time, by Mike Pearson, back in the 1950s and 1960s, or are we in a different era? Does he support, for instance, some of the other initiatives that the government has brought forward in this motion, which talk about investing in diplomatic initiatives in the region, investing in humanitarian aid, and other initiatives that could provide the basis for a more stable region in the long run?

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 23rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands, for her contribution to the debate and her support for the government's decision to withdraw the six CF-18s.

However, in her comments, I also noted that she did question some of the other additional contributions the government is making to the coalition efforts. On my part, I support a lot of those efforts, for example, as they relate to the humanitarian front, the diplomatic front, on which I think she eloquently outlined some of the very challenging issues in that particular region.

However, does she not think it is still appropriate to contribute military assets as part of an effort to contain a very unstable part of the world?

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the reason that particular component, paragraph (e) of the motion, is not specific is that I think the hon. member is forgetting to separate the difference between government-sponsored refugees, of which the government has committed to bringing in 25,000, and refugees who come from different categories, including the blended category and privately sponsored refugees. In those particular categories, there may be a somewhat indeterminate number, depending on the generosity of Canadians.

It is my understanding, having spoken to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, that it is the government's estimate that we are looking at somewhere between 35,000 to 50,000 potential refugees from this particular region, when you include these three different categories.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I might reframe my friend's question somewhat differently. My perspective is that we operate within a coalition and we play a particular role and that there will always be changing circumstances in theatre. At a certain point, no different than what we did in Afghanistan, we serve in a particular theatre for a period of time and then others carry on the burden as we rotate out.

That is essentially my perspective on this issue. The previous government had the right to make the decision. It made the decision and sent six CF-18s. We have pledged to remove those CF-18s, but not to remove our contribution to our coalition partners.

I do not want to diminish the importance of the contribution that the CAF has made to date, but that component of our contribution will now be carried on by others and we will carry a different burden as we move forward.