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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

Haven on the Queensway March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this past Thursday, the Prime Minister was in Toronto to honour this year's recipients of the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards. Haven on the Queensway, a phenomenal organization from my riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, was very deservedly given the Social Innovator Award for Ontario.

Haven on the Queensway is a charitable organization meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the people in Toronto and surrounding communities. Haven offers numerous programs including Clothing Closet, which offers a selection of apparel provided free to those less fortunate in our community; First Care, which offers assistance to pregnant women and parents of newborns; and a food bank. It also offers many other services that focus on recovery and well-being, along with programs that take place outside of its own building such as inmate rehabilitation and mobile Hope With Wheels units that deliver food, water, sleeping bags and words of hope to the homeless in Etobicoke and across Toronto.

Heartfelt congratulations to Bev Hynek, Susan Carbone, Pastor Billy and Roger Berg, along with the countless volunteers who make Haven possible.

Public Safety March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, jihadi terrorists have declared war on us. This is a fact, and it is impossible to dispute.

Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, a spokesman for ISIL, praised terror attacks in Canada. ISIL has specifically targeted Canada, urging supporters to attack disbelieving Canadians in any manner and vowing that we should not feel secure even in our homes.

Despite this clear and obvious declaration of war against Canada, the New Democrats still do not get it. According to the Canadian Press, the member for St. John's East and NDP defence critic said that the fact that ISIL has declared war on Canada is “preposterous as a notion.”

The only thing that is preposterous is the NDP's continued blindness to the threat that ISIL represents. ISIL represents a real threat to Canada. This is why we are not sitting on the sidelines, as the NDP and the Liberals would have us do. We are a proud member of the international coalition fighting ISIL, and that will not change.

Iraq March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP made a mistake this week. Earlier this week he said, “All that was ever asked for of Canada by the Iraqis was that we help with the humanitarian crisis”.

This is completely false. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was recently in Iraq and was thanked by the Iraqi government for all of Canada's efforts, including our air strikes and military training efforts. In fact, Iraq's foreign minister made a formal request for assistance to the UN in order to “...support the effort to eradicate [ISIL] and restore stability to our country.”

I call on the leader of the NDP to apologize for this inaccurate comment. Our government will never back down from protecting Canadians from the threat of ISIL at home and abroad.

Committees of the House March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on the question of development, there is more than one approach. Of course there is food security, education, health and various dimensions of development where Canada plays a very important presence in Africa and in many countries around the world. However, the other important aspect is economic development so these countries can really develop themselves. This is where I am very proud of Canada's record when it comes to the direct foreign investment that Canadian companies have had, including the sometimes maligned mining industry.

However, what I have heard from Africans is that they really admire Canadian investments, that Canadian mining companies, oil and gas companies and, in many cases, infrastructure companies building the new Africa are some of the finest corporate citizens in those countries, certainly when compared to other countries that make investments. These are the things that lead to longer-term jobs and prosperity.

Because of their human rights and human resources practices, when we talk about these direct foreign investments, it is very expensive to have Canadians working in these companies on expatriate packages. What the companies like to do is hire as many local people as possible and they have practices that reinforce the equality of women and men.

That is very important. Canadians have a lot to be proud of in how they are developing prosperity in the Africa of today and of tomorrow.

Committees of the House March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I was in the DRC in 2012 and I met with many members of civil society, including soldiers and members of the MONUSCO mission, who were based in Kinshasa. They spoke about the problem and how they do not have much of a presence in the eastern part of the country or North Kivu and also about the lack of infrastructure.

There are major challenges when it comes to prosecuting criminals in the eastern Congo. There is already a UN mission, which in reality does very little to prosecute criminals and gangs. For example, the M23 can do whatever it wants in some villages, particularly in the eastern part of the country.

Really addressing the problem of impunity will require a local DRC police force with support from the international community, of course. However, for the time being, chaos is reigning in eastern Congo. A sustained effort by many countries in the world will be required. Canada is there in its own way, and other countries, such as Belgium and France, are participating in this mission to set up this legal infrastructure in the DRC.

As our colleague explained, this impunity is basically preventing all development in this country.

Committees of the House March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague. Education is the basis of an informed society and a society where women and girls have a high quality of life.

However, countries like the DRC and other countries in conflict zones need security. We know that soldiers can completely destroy schools and prevent girls from receiving a basic education. Thus, the prerequisite for any type of education is a country and an environment that are safe, where teachers and students can come together to teach and to learn.

Committees of the House March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to the recommendations of the report on Canada's role in taking action to end sexual violence and impunity, which go beyond the specific context of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The first four recommendations in the committee's report, as well as recommendation 12, urged the government to take concerted action to strengthen the participation of women and girls, promote respect for their human rights, and prevent all forms of sexual violence against them, including through the implementation of Canada's national action plan for women, peace and security. The government really concurs with these recommendations. Equality between women and men, the empowerment of women and girls, the respect for and promotion of their dignity and human rights, and the prevention and response to sexual violence against them are fundamental Canadian values.

What is self-evident to Canadians is not so clear within other societies, where human rights may not be respected. Countries that are in conflict, such as the DRC, Central African Republic, Syria and Iraq, or those in post-conflict recovery and transition to democracy, such as Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, have many challenges and need to do more to empower women and protect them from sexual violence.

In too many countries, legal, economic, cultural and social frameworks and practices impede the freedom, human rights and dignity of women and girls. They create barriers to women's participation in their communities and countries, and impede the search for sustainable peace, prosperity and development. That is why the government is so committed to the promotion of maternal, newborn and child health; the ending of child, early and forced marriage; and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, including their trafficking.

It is my honour to describe some of the government's actions and policies aimed at promoting the empowerment, human rights, and well-being of women and girls in countries of concern.

First is maternal, newborn and child health. All mothers, newborns and children should be healthy and safe. That is why maternal, newborn and child health is Canada's top international development priority. At the 2010 G8 summit, Canada drew the world's attention to the issue by championing the Muskoka initiative for maternal, newborn and child health, MNCH. Thanks to the Muskoka initiative and the UN Secretary-General's “every woman, every child”, EWEC, initiative, maternal mortality rates are declining, and millions more children are celebrating their fifth birthday.

However, more needs to be done. That is why, in May 2014, Canada once again championed MNCH by hosting the “saving every woman, every child” summit in Toronto. At that event, the Prime Minister of Canada announced a recommitment to improving the health of mothers and children for the years 2015 to 2020.

The second topic is child, early and forced marriage. As members know, child, early and forced marriage is a widespread, harmful practice that threatens the lives and futures of girls and young women around the world. The statistics are staggering. Approximately 15 million girls are married every year. Over 700 million women alive today were married as children.

This is a violation of human rights. It denies girls their childhood. It disrupts or ends their education, jeopardizes their health, makes them more vulnerable to violence, including sexual violence, and limits their participation in economic and social spheres. When girls are not able to reach their full potential, everyone suffers, including girls, their families, communities and countries.

Canada has been instrumental in bringing the world's attention and action to this issue. For example, in 2011, Canada led the initiative to establish the annual international day of the girl child, which focused on child, early and forced marriage in its first year. In 2013, Canada played a leadership role in the development of the first resolutions focused on child, early and forced marriage at the United Nations Human Rights Council and General Assembly, putting this issue firmly on the international agenda for the first time.

Building on the success of these resolutions, in the fall of 2014, Canada and Zambia co-led the most substantive international resolution to date on child, early and forced marriage. The resolution showed the detrimental impact of child, early and forced marriage on international development goals, including on six of the eight millennium development goals, building consensus to meaningfully include the issue in the post-2015 development agenda. We are proud that this resolution was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly, with the overwhelming support of 116 co-sponsors from all regions of the world.

Canada has also committed to intensifying our programming efforts to end child, early, and forced marriage globally. Since 2013, Canada has contributed over $36 million to targeted programs aimed at ending child, early, and forced marriage globally. Our partners include UNICEF, Girls Not Brides, and civil society organizations around the world. Our programming focuses on empowering women and girls; preventing child, early, and forced marriage; supporting those who have already been married; engaging stakeholders at all levels; mobilizing communities; and strengthening legal frameworks.

Third is the elimination of violence against women and girls. The unequal treatment of women and girls is one of the main reasons why they are unable to realize their basic human rights and is a contributing factor to violence against women and girls. Canada leads the annual resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council on accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women. The 2014 resolution at the Human Rights Council focused on violence against women as a barrier to women's political and economic empowerment, was co-sponsored by 81 member states from all regions, and passed without a vote. Canada also uses the opportunity afforded by the Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council to voice our concerns and make our recommendations when it comes to preventing violence against women and girls and promoting their human rights.

As well, Canada is a strong supporter of the resolution on the “intensification of efforts to eliminate...violence against women” at the United Nations General Assembly.

Fourth is children and armed conflict. Canada is a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its first two optional protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. However, more needs to be done. Canada is recognized as a leading advocate for children in situations of armed conflict. We established and chair the Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict, an informal New York-based network of more than 38 member states. Members of the group have formed a united front to press for more robust action by the Security Council, including sanctions to hold perpetrators accountable for committing grave violations and abuses, such as the killing and raping of girls and boys and attacks on schools and hospitals. Canadian development investments in fragile states support child protection mechanisms. Our humanitarian assistance responds to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable, including the needs of children affected by conflict and natural disaster situations.

Fifth is trafficking in women and children. The Government of Canada recognizes the serious nature of human trafficking, which disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable members of societies, predominantly women and children. Human trafficking knows no boundaries and affects all countries, including Canada. Canada supports programs in countries that enhance the capacity to prevent and respond to threats posed by transnational criminal activity.

In June 2012, the Government of Canada announced Canada's national action plan to combat human trafficking, a comprehensive blueprint to guide the government's fight against this serious crime. In addition to taking concrete steps to address this scourge at home, Canada supports programs in countries that enhance the capacity to prevent and respond to threats posed by transnational criminal activity.

Sixth is women in international peace and security. Canada also addresses the rights of women and girls in conflict-affected countries and fragile states, as well as in situations of humanitarian crisis. Conflict and crisis can be both a cause of increased suffering for women and girls and a result of their subjugation within their communities and countries.

The empowerment of women and girls and their freedom from discrimination and violence are prerequisites to sustainable peace, development, and prosperity. This is why the government announced Canada's national action plan on women, peace, and security in 2010 and has tabled in Parliament the first two annual progress reports. The government continues to implement the action plan in close co-operation with Canadian civil society organizations and will be submitting the 2013-14 progress report soon. The government welcomes the report of the committee and agrees with the recommendations for the government to take a broad approach to promoting the empowerment, human rights, and well-being of women and girls.

Canada will continue this important work.

International Trade February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the World Wine Trade Group’s Agreement on Requirements for Wine Labelling, which was signed in Canberra on January 23, 2007. There is an explanatory note with the agreement.

Foreign Affairs February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this part of the world is called the cradle of civilization. These priceless artifacts belong to all of humanity. They tell us something about who we are and where we come from. For these barbarians to so wantonly destroy a part of human history in an attempt to wipe out an entire people is offensive to the core.

Canada strongly condemns this barbarism. This is why the Canadian Armed Forces is there. We will not sit on the sidelines while an entire civilization is extinguished not just from the Earth but from history itself.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

We have been listening to this debate on the pipeline safety bill for a few hours now, and we have heard all kinds of crazy plans to completely reorganize Canada's oil industry. People have talked about various ideas for oil refineries. That has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Pipeline safety is absolutely essential to the Canadian economy. The sector does not account for the entire Canadian economy, but it is a big part of it.

I did not hear my colleague say where he stands on this bill in his speech. If he does not support it, it is a little hypocritical of him to criticize the Conservative's management record for this sector. Since this is an asset to the Canadian economy, we need a distribution system and safe pipelines. That is why this is a good bill.

Will the member support it?