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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was important.

Last in Parliament August 2020, as Liberal MP for Toronto Centre (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 57% of the vote.

Statements in the House

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, we are working to make sure that we support Canadians through this challenging time. Of course we are trying to do that in a way that is appropriate to each situation.

We chose the Canada emergency business account to be available, $40,000 in credit for small businesses with $50,000 of payroll up to a million dollars' worth of payroll, recognizing that was critically important. We also have the Canada emergency response benefit, which is for people who do not qualify for that, and the wage subsidy as applicable.

We will continue to look for ways we can support businesses of all sizes and will have more to announce in that regard.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, it is very important that we focus on the urgent and important things that we need to do for Canadians. That's why with the emergency response benefit it was so important to get money out to Canadians immediately. That's why this wage subsidy is so important, as it will help not only employees but will help employers and employees stay connected.

Of course, with respect to pricing carbon, we know that money actually goes right back to Canadians so it is not a distortion and, in fact, will help them during this challenging time.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, what the member points out very correctly is that we are seeing businesses in many different sectors with significant challenges. That is why we have put in place credit opportunities for the very smallest of businesses, as well as credit opportunities for businesses that are larger, through the Business Development Bank and through Export Development Canada. Those businesses will be able to access credit during this time to help them get over what we recognize is a particular challenge, especially as they also have support for their employees through today's wage subsidy legislation.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, we recognize that businesses across the country are impacted in many ways as a result of COVID-19. Specifically, producers in the agricultural sector have real challenges. That is the reason we are providing credit support to them, and that is the reason we continue to work with those sectors to try to ensure we anticipate some of the challenges, to make sure that we help them through these challenging times.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, we know how important the farm sector, the agricultural sector, broadly, is not only to our economy but especially to Canadians at a time like this. It is for that reason we have done a number of things. Most importantly, we have taken off the previous limit on Farm Credit Canada to give access to credit to those organizations, to those farmers, and we will continue to think about measures that we can take to support farmers during this particularly challenging time.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, the program and the approach we have taken are focused on people and ensuring that we get funds into their hands as rapidly as possible. We saw millions of Canadians, in excess of three million people, come onto the Canada emergency response benefit this past week. We saw the opening of a special loan opportunity with banks, which started this past week as well, for more than a million small businesses. We are working as hard as we can to make sure we are supporting individuals and small businesses.

COVID-19 Pandemic April 11th, 2020

Mr. Chair, we are obviously working as hard as we can to make sure that the wage subsidy gets into people's hands as rapidly as possible. With the passing of this legislation, organizations will be able to go to their banks to make it even faster. My expectation is that, within two to four weeks or so, we will see that get into companies' hands.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Act March 25th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, first and foremost the message I want to get out to Canadian businesses is that we have a strong and resilient country. We have a tremendous starting point: Our health system is strong, our financial situation is strong and we have a banking system that is literally the best in the world. These are important assets as we face this challenging time.

The reason it is so important to have a strong financial position as a country is that in a difficult time, such as the one we are facing right now, it means we have the capacity to act and to continue to act, because that financial capacity allows us to face today's challenges and the continuing challenges that we will have to face together. Therefore, we have put forward measures that are very significant. They include $55 billion in tax deferrals, direct support to individuals, and support to businesses. We will continue to think about additional measures we can take as we face this situation. We do not know the severity of the situation and we do not know the duration, and that is why we are maintaining our ability to address a dynamic situation with dynamic measures.

We know our approach will get us through this time. It will help Canadians bridge this time to a better future.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Act March 25th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear that any employees of these small businesses that do not have revenue as a result of COVID-19 will be getting direct support, which is a wage subsidy directly delivered to the employee. For the employees who are still there, of course that is also important.

We are trying to ensure that this is something that employers have the capacity to manage through. That is the reason we have been working so hard to make sure that the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada have access to capital and can deliver that access through the business credit availability program and the current banking relationship that the small businesses have.

We know these measures, in tandem, will support people through a difficult time. We are going to continue to think about ways we can support Canadians, the people who are off work and businesses, through this challenging time.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Act March 25th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, this is a very important question. We are trying to make sure that we support small businesses through this very challenging time. We know that many if not most small businesses are employers. They may be sole proprietors, but they may be employers. That is why we are delivering a wage subsidy directly to their employees if they are unable to work as a result of COVID-19. We know that this will support their ability to maintain that employment as we come out of this. That is critically important. The employees who keep working will have a 10% wage subsidy. Of course, we are making sure that they do not have to pay pay their taxes until August 31.

We remain open to considering additional measures, because this is a very dynamic situation. That is something we continue to work on to make sure that we are supporting people during this challenging time.