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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was things.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Etobicoke—Lakeshore (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 May 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in the House to speak in favour of the anti-terrorism act, 2015. There has been a lot of discussion in the House and in the media about this bill, and it is long overdue.

It must be noted that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada. Canadians are being targeted by jihadi terrorists simply because these terrorists hate our society and the values that it represents. Contrary to what some groups and even opposition members of Parliament have suggested, jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war. That is why our Conservative government has put forward the measures contained in this bill, which would protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live. That is also why Canada is not sitting on the sidelines, as some members would have it do, and is instead joining its allies in supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIS.

I would like to begin by touching on the issue of financial resources in the fight against terror. Our Conservative government has already increased the resources available to our police forces by one third. The Liberals and NDP voted against those increases each step of the way. Now, budget 2015 would further increase resources to CSIS, the RCMP and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources that they need to keep Canadians safe.

There is broad support for this legislation from people from all walks of life in Canada. I would like to quote Danny Eisen, the co-founder of the Canadian Coalition Against Terror:

Put plainly by Osama Bin Laden, “The enemy can be defeated by attacking its economic centre.” This tenet was evidenced just recently by threats from Somali terrorists — not against synagogues, churches or MPs — but against malls in England, the U.S. and Canada.

The consequences of terrorism therefore are not restricted to rubble and funerals. Terrorism and its related enterprises cost Canada tens of billions of dollars yearly while the global economy has expended and lost trillions...

The tools in C-51 therefore deserve more tempered consideration by critics given the risk and perhaps the probability that Canada will not escape the attacks seen in other countries. For while legislation can always be revisited at a later date, no act of parliament can reconstitute lives shattered by a terrorist attack. Too many Canadians are already living examples of just how true that is.

These are powerful words from a man who lost family in the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001.

We must remember what this debate is about. We have to stop jihadi terrorists from attacking us. We must remember that it was not long ago that this very building was besieged by a jihadi terrorist bent on destruction.

While the Liberals and the NDP have refused to call the terrorist attack what it is, and have sought to make excuses for the horrific attacks, our Conservative government has taken firm actions, and we have strong support for these actions. Ray Boisvert, former assistant director of CSIS, said:

[C-51] will be a very effective tool to get [jihadist propaganda] material off the Internet.

David Cape, of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said:

[The seizure of terrorist propaganda] would empower the courts to order the removal or seizure of vicious material often encouraging the murder of Jews. Removing this heinous propaganda, particularly from the Internet, would limit its capacity to radicalize Canadians and inspire attacks.

Tahir Gora, of the Canadian Thinkers' Forum, said:

The government's proposed Bill C-51, when passed by Parliament, shall help Canadian Muslims to curb extremist elements...

Over and over again, credible Canadians have come forward to say that this legislation would help to combat the jihadi terrorist threat. Contrast these civil society groups, academics and former intelligence operatives with the so-called experts who have maligned the bill. They have demonstrated a lack of knowledge, which leads me to believe that they are terribly misinformed or that there is some other type of agenda at play to try to mislead Canadians.

It is certainly unfortunate that debate in this place has often stooped quite low over this issue, so I would like to raise the tone of debate by reminding the House of Commons of some of the comments of eminent security thinkers.

Professor Elliot Tepper, of Carleton University, said:

Bill C-51 is the most important national security legislation since the 9/11 era...

Bill C-51 is designed for the post-9/11 era. It's a new legislation for a new era in terms of security threats. While it's understandable that various provisions of the legislation attract attention, we need to keep our focus on the fundamental purpose and the fundamental challenge of combatting emerging types of terrorism.

Professor Salim Mansur of the University of Western Ontario said:

Bill C-51 is directed against Islamist jihadists and to prevent or pre-empt them from their stated goal to carry out terrorist threats against the West, including Canada...the measures proposed in Bill C-51 to deal with the nature of threats Canada faces are quite rightly and urgently needed to protect and keep secure the freedom of her citizens.

Scott Tod, the Deputy Commissioner for Organized Crime Investigations with the Ontario Provincial Police said:

Bill C-51 offers improvements for the federal police to share information among our justice sector partners, security partners, but more importantly and hopefully, with the community partners and government situational tables designed to reduce the terrorist threat and improve community safety and well-being.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy said:

Disrupting doesn't mean arresting these individuals or violating their personal property rights or taking them out of commission. You're actually just disrupting a plot.

It's amazing to me that disrupting is currently prohibited, I could go on all day about the support for this important bill. However, I see that I have limited time and so I will close my remarks by saying that I would like to remind members of exactly what the bill would do.

The bill would allow Passport Canada, for example, to share information on potential terrorist travellers with the RCMP. It would stop known radicalized individuals from boarding a plane bound for a terrorist conflict zone. It would criminalize the promotion of terrorism in general. For example, statements like “kill all the infidels wherever they are” would become illegal. It would allow CSIS agents to speak with the parents of radicalized youth in order to disrupt terrorist travel plans. It would also will give the government an appeal mechanism to stop information from being released in security certificate proceedings if it could harm a source. The bill would not turn CSIS into a secret police force, or somehow systemically violate the rights of peaceful protestors.

When this bill comes to a vote shortly, I hope that all members will be able to base their vote on facts and not fear, and will support this legislation.

Ongoing Situation in Ukraine April 29th, 2015

Mr. Chair, on August 24, 1991, Ukraine declared to the world that it would no longer be part of the Soviet Union, it would seek its own independent and democratic future.

In the very early years of the country's independence, Ukraine had to make many tough decisions as it established its sovereignty.

Ukraine had to make some difficult decisions in establishing its sovereignty.

One of the most important choices for the Government of Ukraine was to rid the country of nuclear weapons and to accede to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Taken in the spirit of non-proliferation and disarmament, and contributing to global security, this decision was applauded by the world community.

In return, the Government of Ukraine sought guarantees in signing the Budapest memorandum on security assurances on December 5, 1994. This document governed the removal of weapons of mass destruction from Ukrainian territory in exchange for assurances from its partners and co-signatories the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia. The signatories committed to respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

They agreed that they would refrain from the threat and use of force. They guaranteed, also, that their weapons would never be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. They reaffirmed their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine if it should become a victim of an act of aggression.

Russia, through its reckless and cynical policies, has broken its commitments. Instead of being a guarantor of Ukraine's security, it has become its biggest threat. In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea illegally. Today it continues to maintain troops in eastern Ukraine and to provide weapons and support to insurgents there. Russia is determined to break up Ukraine.

Russia continues to conduct a relentless media campaign propagating falsehoods about the Ukrainian government and the political and economic reforms the country is trying to achieve.

This aggression is an attempt to undermine efforts by the government and the people of Ukraine to change direction towards democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Russia's complete disregard for basic international norms and its own commitments has necessitated a strong international response to assist Ukraine in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

I am proud to say that Canada has stepped up. In response to a request from the Ukrainian government and in collaboration with international partners, Canada has provided non-lethal military equipment to the Government of Ukraine to address a number of the critical needs of Ukraine's forces. Specifically, these contributions, which include night-vision goggles, medical kits, a mobile field hospital, high-frequency radios and ordnance disposal equipment, enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces in their fight to defend their country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Canada has also recently announced a significant military contribution to assist Ukraine in building the capacity of its armed forces. These initiatives are part of a whole-of-government effort to make sure we are providing the best possible support to our partners in Ukraine.

To this end, the departments of National Defence and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development have worked together closely over the past year to deliver timely and effective support to Ukraine's security and defence forces, including through jointly delivered material assistance and direct collaboration on the development of the recently announced military training initiative at every stage.

In addition to training and equipment support, Canada is also working to build capacity and reform Ukraine's security institutions. Canada is contributing to the NATO Ukraine trust funds, with a focus on assisting Ukraine in developing its command, control, communications and computer capabilities.

Canada is also supporting efforts to help reform Ukraine's logistics systems and increase its interoperability with NATO. Military capacity-building programming to Ukraine includes the deployment of a Canadian security expert to the NATO liaison office in Ukraine, as well as military police training.

We do not stand alone in our efforts to support Ukraine's security. Through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, we are supporting efforts to ensure that the international community is aware of developments on the ground. Canada is a strong supporter of the OSCE's special monitoring mission, an unarmed civilian mission that aims to reduce tensions and foster stability and security.

We have deployed 22 Canadians who are experts in security, human rights, the rule of law and media to the monitoring mission. Canada has a long history of contributing to free and fair elections in Ukraine and the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections were no exception. Through bilateral and OSCE elections observation missions, Canada sent some 300 Canadian observers to each election, contributing to Ukraine's efforts to elect officials in free, fair and democratic elections.

Unfortunately, Russian policies and actions have a destabilizing impact across the region. For this reason, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and International Development is contributing to the NATO-accredited centres of excellence in the Baltic states to help strengthen the regional framework in areas of cyber defence, energy security and strategic communications.

While Canada has done much to help Ukraine meet its security challenges, the needs of the country are still greater. The Government of Canada will continue to work with our Ukrainian and international partners to further Ukraine's security.

Canada will not rest, nor back away, when the security of Ukraine, a close friend and partner, continues to be threatened by a belligerent neighbour.

Questions on the Order Paper April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 1111 and 1112.

Government Response to Petitions April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to six petitions.

Foreign Affairs April 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the treaties entitled “Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the State of Israel on Air Transport”, done at Jerusalem on January 21, 2015, the “Agreement on Social Security between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People's Republic of China”, done at Ottawa on April 2, 2015, and the “Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Burkina Faso for the Promotion and Protection of Investments”, done at Ottawa on April 20, 2015.

An explanatory memorandum is included with each treaty.

The Environment April 24th, 2015

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the Arctic Council is very important for Canada. Obviously we have a very important role to play. The chairmanship over the last two years was led very ably by our Minister of the Environment.

I would also say that the Arctic Council is an important forum for us to discuss a variety of issues, including Arctic sovereignty and Canada's claims on sovereignty in the Arctic. We are backing that up with strong investments in the Arctic. We are making sure that our voice is heard at the Arctic Council.

The Environment April 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government is proud of the initiatives we put forward during our chairmanship of the Arctic Council, and we look forward to the meetings in Iqaluit.

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum for co-operation on sustainable development and environmental protection issues. It does not deal with matters related to defence and security, as members know. However, the fact remains that no other government in Canadian history has done more to stand up for our Arctic sovereignty than this Conservative government.

The Budget April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech of my colleague opposite.

He was talking about his confusion regarding infrastructure and transit spending. I would urge him to look at a very nice chart on page 193 of the French version—and page 175 of the English version—of the document, which shows unprecedented federal spending on infrastructure. There is a spending level of about $100 million or $200 million for several years, and a major increase in 2006. Note that that was the year the Conservative government came to power. We see an investment rate of about $5 billion a year, maintained for a decade. It began with the seven-year building Canada plan, followed by the ten-year new building Canada plan.

I would like him to comment on that, because the plan for investment in transit goes beyond the building Canada plan. Therefore, big cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, and every municipality in the country, already have access to huge, unprecedented funding to invest in transit.

I would urge all Canadians to look at this fine chart, which clearly shows the federal investments in public transit.

Islamic State April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are proud to stand up for Canadians' rights and freedoms at home and abroad. Unfortunately, the Liberals do not agree. According to the Liberal candidate for Red Deer—Lacombe, ISIL's goal “is not international terrorism”.

In fact, the death-cult ISIL has declared war on Canada. It has made it clear that it targets Canadians by name and it has called for brutal attacks on Canadian civilians.

Our goal is to degrade ISIL to the point that it no longer represents a threat to Canada, and we will not allow it to have a safe haven in Syria. Unlike the Liberals and their NDP comrades, who would prefer that we sit on the sidelines, we are taking action against a threat to Canadian and international security.