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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was athletes.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Bramalea—Gore—Malton (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that is a great question. It goes to the heart of this bill.

As we know, one victim is one too many. The zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act would send a clear message to those coming to Canada that forced marriage, honour-based violence, and other harmful cultural practices are not acceptable in Canada. That is the clear message we want to send, and that is what the bill would do. It would send a clear message to everyone around the country.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is very funny to hear Liberals saying they support the bill but do not like the title. For 10 years, they did nothing for immigration. Under the Liberals' watch, the immigration system was broken, and we are trying to fix it.

Polygamous marriages and honour killings are cultural practices in a lot of communities. We want to send a clear message to Canadians that we are standing behind victims. We are standing behind vulnerable women and girls. The message needs to be sent. Therefore, the title is very important so that people will know that we will not tolerate these cultural practices and that we are standing with victims.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we all know that violence against women is very bad, and that is why we brought in Bill S-7.

Any measures we have brought in to support victims, the opposition parties, especially the NDP, have voted against.

Bill S-7 is very important, especially in immigrant communities, because of so-called honour killings and polygamous marriages. We need to send a strong message that this government is standing up for victims. We are helping victims get their rights. Human rights are a fundamental Canadian value. Freedom is a fundamental Canadian value.

Opposition members always oppose any measures we put forward. I urge the member to read this bill and support it so we can protect vulnerable women and girls.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for beautiful Wild Rose. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this important debate.

In Canada, we are proud of women in leadership and their roles. We can see that in this House. Especially, we are always exploring ways in which barriers preventing anyone from living to their full potential can be removed. I am very proud that last night I was at a FIFA World Cup game in Montreal. This tournament is happening coast to coast and is a great showcase for Canadians in women's leadership roles. This is one example of women acting as great role models and being a great inspiration to all Canadians.

Unfortunately, there are many young women and girls who are not given the same opportunities. In the most recent Speech from the Throne, our Conservative government committed to ensuring that women and girls would no longer be brutalized by violence, including through the inhumane practices of early and forced marriages on Canadian soil.

I am pleased that our government is focused on strengthening the protection of all women in Canada and Canada's immigration system and on forcefully and resolutely supporting the rights of all Canadian women. In order to do so, the government must ensure that Canada's immigration policies and practices are especially focused on strengthening the protection of immigrant women as well. Indeed, it is deeply troubling that harmful cultural practices such as polygamy and forced and underage marriages still exist as a reality for some Canadian women. That is why I am happy to note the government's proactive approach today toward decreasing the vulnerability of immigrant and newcomer women.

For example, the regulations put in place in recent years have made it much more difficult for people convicted of crimes that result in bodily harm against members of their family or others, particularly violent offences, to support any family class members to come to Canada.

Other measures have been introduced to deter foreign nationals from entering into marriages of convenience to gain permanent resident status in Canada. These measures include a two-year conditional permanent resident status for certain sponsored spouses.

However, to protect sponsored spouses who are in an abusive relationship, our government put in an exception to these measures in instances where there is evidence of any abuse of a physical, sexual, psychological, or financial nature. This exception would also include those who are victims of forced marriage. Better guidelines and training have been introduced to assist front-line officers in processing requests for exceptions based on abuse or neglect and in handling sensitive information related to abusive situations.

As members can recall, the member for Mississauga South introduced a motion last fall to bar the accommodation of proxy, telephone, Internet, and fax marriages for immigration purposes because they may facilitate non-consensual marriages. Our government supported this motion.

While it should be noted that the practice of forced marriage can victimize men and boys, girls and women are more affected by this tradition. Women and girls who are forced to marry someone against their wishes are almost always also beset by a list of other restrictions of their human rights. These are restrictions that deny them education and the opportunity to find employment and place limits on their mobility. These are all against our Canadian values of freedom for all.

Why are immigrant women particularly vulnerable to harm caused by these practices? For one thing, they might not have knowledge of French and English, which can be a barrier to accessing social services and information on their legal rights in an abusive relationship. Some women may also lack the economic independence to leave abusive situations, especially if they are under age.

Under Canada's settlement programs for newcomers, the government also provides funding to a variety of organizations that offer programs and services that respond to specific needs of permanent residents, including immigrant women and their families who find themselves in vulnerable situations.

Also, Canada's citizenship study guide, Discover Canada, and the Welcome to Canada orientation guide are both being updated to reflect the fact that Canada's openness and generosity do not extend to harmful practices such as forced marriage or other forms of gender-based family violence.

Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration devoted a considerable amount of time meeting with representatives of organizations that provide services to immigrant women, and with victims of abuse, at a number of round table discussions across the country. These important discussions focused on domestic violence, polygamy, forced marriages, the immigration process, and how to strengthen the protection of vulnerable women and girls. The result is Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.

Canada is a very generous and tolerant country, and we want to keep it that way. I am sure we can agree that Canada's openness and generosity do not extend to underage, forced, or polygamous marriage or to other harmful cultural practices that deny gender equality.

In this country, we do not and should not accept spousal abuse, so-called honour killings, or other gender-based violence. That is why measures in the bill would also amend the Criminal Code to address so-called honour killings and gender-based violence perpetrated against family members, usually women and girls, who are perceived to have brought shame or dishonour to the family.

Under our Criminal Code, someone charged with murder can raise the defence of provocation to obtain a reduction to a lesser charge of manslaughter. Measures in Bill S-7 would amend the Criminal Code so that legal conduct by a victim could not be legally considered a provocation. This would preclude accused murderers, including those involved in honour killings, from trying to reduce the charge they faced by using the argument that a victim's legal conduct provoked them into a heat of passion and that they killed while in that state.

In summary, the measures in Bill S-7 would strengthen our laws to protect Canadians and newcomers to Canada from barbaric cultural practices. The measures in Bill S-7 would improve protection and support for vulnerable individuals, especially women and girls, by rendering permanent and temporary residents inadmissible if they practised polygamy in Canada, by strengthening Canadian marriage and criminal laws to combat forced and underage marriages, and by ensuring that the defence of provocation would not apply in so-called honour killings and in many spousal homicides. That is why this bill is so important.

As legislators, it is our duty to uphold the equality of men and women under the law. I would go so far as to say that this is a fundamental Canadian value. Nevertheless, we must recognize that thousands of Canadian women and girls continue to be subject to violence and that barbaric cultural practices still exist as a reality for many Canadian women.

By supporting these measures and ensuring that they pass into law, Parliament would be sending a strong message that we will not tolerate on Canadian soil any practices that deprive anyone of their human rights. I have no doubt that everyone in this House would agree that in our capacity as representatives of the people of Canada, we have an obligation to always support victims of violence and abuse and to do everything we can to prevent such practices from happening in this country.

Our government is taking steps to strengthen our laws to help ensure that no young girl or woman in Canada becomes a victim of early or forced marriage, polygamy, so-called honour-based violence, or any other form of harmful cultural practice I urge all my colleagues in this House to support Bill S-7.

Sports May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate this young man for his accomplishments. My office is working with Special Olympics Canada to make sure that this matter is dealt with.

We are proud of supporting our athletes, especially Special Olympics Canada. We had $10 million in last year's budget and $20 million for Olympians and Paralympians this year. We are proud of our investment in sports.

Sports March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, safety for those participating in Canada's sports system is a priority for the government. Also, the government is working with national sports organizations, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Paralympic Committee to make sure that athletes are safe when they participate in sports. However, this matter is before the courts, and that is why we cannot comment on that.

Sports January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we all agree that an active, healthy lifestyle is good for people of all ages. That is why we have great organizations like Participaction, KidSport, Special Olympics, Sport for Life and Canadian Tire's Jumpstart that we fund.

This is why I am proud the Prime Minister doubled up the fitness tax credit to $1,000. Also the universal child care benefit has been increased.

My hope is that parents put those words “sports for the kids” so kids can get involved in sports and physical activity, and excel in education as well.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for an excellent speech, especially on the sport side.

I do not agree with my colleague's remarks about participation. When girls won the 2012 soccer bronze medal, participation in soccer skyrocketed. We have over one million kids registered in soccer across the country, and 42% of them are girls.

When I talk to people, especially athletes, they tell me they love the credit. Parents love this credit, as it helps them register their kids into different sports. I think that is the biggest single help they are getting with this budget.

I would ask my colleague to explain how families back home are reacting to this tax credit for participation in sports.

Sport October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Brampton West for the question. He is an Olympian himself.

We are proud to be hosting the largest multi-sport games Canada has ever hosted next summer. The venues, including buildings such as the athletes' complex in North Shore, the Velodrome in Milton, and an aquatic facility in Scarborough, will leave a lasting legacy.

I am also pleased that our government is supporting a torch relay, which I first announced alongside our honorary torchbearer, Commander Chris Hadfield. Pan Am will need 3,000 volunteer torchbearers to carry the flame through 130 communities across Ontario and five major cities across Canada that have hosted major games.

I know that this will be an opportunity to showcase everything that Canada has to offer. I encourage everyone—

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 June 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is very funny listening to the member talk about infrastructure when it is at the highest level under our Prime Minister and under this government. It is Liberals who are trying to criticize that instead of going after the facts. The fact is that funding for infrastructure is at the highest level. When we talk to municipalities across the country, they are happy with all the infrastructure money, all the gas money this government has transferred to them.

Instead of criticizing the infrastructure funding, the hon. member should look at the facts. The facts speak for themselves.

As I mentioned earlier, the sports funding is at the highest level. Every athlete in Sochi, Russia came and thanked us for the government's investment in sport.