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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was chair.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Mississauga—Erindale (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Marc Diab March 9th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, the life of another brave Canadian soldier serving in Afghanistan was lost to a roadside bomb. Trooper Diab was participating in security operations in the Shah Wali Kot District yesterday afternoon when his armoured vehicle was rocked by a powerful blast.

Trooper Marc Diab fled his native Lebanon as a teenager in 2000. I am told that his Lebanese culture influenced the last nine years he spent in Canada serving his community and his country. He lived with his family in Mississauga and regularly attended Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Toronto and volunteered as a camp counsellor every summer.

Trooper Diab did much of his military training in Petawawa and was described as a talented keyboard player and often referred to his jeep as his second baby, his first being his girlfriend, Mary Barakat.

As parliamentarians, our votes directly affect the lives of our soldiers and we feel the loss of each soldier we send in to duty. We, in the House, regardless of political stripe, thank and honour him for his courageous service.

Canadian Forces March 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the government has made a strong commitment to fight back against gangs and other organized criminal groups by introducing new laws that target drugs, gangs and organized crime. It is important that we stop drugs from hitting our streets in the first place.

Can the minister tell the House, do the Canadian Forces play a role in ensuring that illegal drugs do not find their way into the hands of organized crime and into the streets of our communities?

Robert Horner February 26th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in memoriam of a superb parliamentarian, the late Dr. Bob Horner, who served as the member of Parliament for Mississauga North and Mississauga West from 1984 to 1993.

Sadly for all who knew him, Dr. Bob passed away last June and the people of Mississauga bid their farewell to him, most fittingly, on Canada Day 2008.

Dr. Bob was born in Shawville, Quebec and graduated from the University of Guelph. He served first as a member of the RCMP and subsequently as a veterinarian for 25 years in Mississauga. As a member of Parliament, he chaired the parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor General.

During his professional and political career, Dr. Bob saw Mississauga grow from a largely rural community to the vibrant, diverse and prosperous city of over 700,000 people that it is today.

Dr. Bob reached out to and connected with Canadians of all backgrounds, made them feel welcome and represented their views with passion in the House of Commons. He was always ready with a helping hand and a generous sense of humour. He is survived by his lovely wife Elayne, daughter Catherine, sons Christopher and Mark, and five grandchildren.

I thank Dr. Bob. May my friend rest. He served his family, his community and his country well.

Infrastructure February 24th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, last week our Prime Minister and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty made a historic announcement in the greater Toronto area.

Could the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities tell the House how this investment will help the people in Mississauga and the greater Toronto area?

Business of Supply February 24th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, by concentrating the regulatory process in one national securities regulator there would be a lot more synergies between the finance business across Canada. It would be a great way to ensure we have people from across Canada who understand one system and it would make our markets much more efficient. As the hon. parliamentary secretary referred to earlier, it would make our markets safer and our regulatory requirements more enforceable if we had one national securities regulator.

It has often been stated in the financial media that some of the offences that have been prosecuted in the United States, for example, do not succeed currently in Canada but would succeed if we had a national securities regulator.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the tax revenue that would be generated by moving to a national securities regulator, which would be in the hundreds and perhaps billions of dollars in deals that are not currently being done in Canada, would provide significant more funds for things like employment insurance and all the other programs that we find so important and want to deliver to our constituents.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, in 25 years of working in the corporate finance business, I can tell my colleague that the cost of doing any capital fundraising in Canada is much greater than it needs to be and is much greater than in any other country of comparable size. This results in higher costs to the company, to consumers and to those investors.

In many cases, Canadian investors do not have the opportunity to invest in good companies that would be listed on Canadian stock exchanges simply because of this cumbersome, expensive, multi-jurisdictional process that makes it difficult and expensive for companies to list on Canadian exchanges and therefore list elsewhere. For example, they will not be able to invest in some of those companies through their RRSPs.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I was just reading from a press release.

In his Budget speech, [the] Finance Minister...responded positively to a number of Mississauga Board of Trade’s proposals to mitigate the impact of the recession and strengthen the economy....

Mr. Leiba said:

While the coming months will continue to be tough for many residents, employees and businesses, the fact that we now see a clear strategy should help to begin restoring consumer and investor confidence. We believe it is a positive step forward.

We were asked by employers and labour representatives to help laid-off workers by extending benefit periods to account for extra time required to find alternative work. We responded by increasing employment insurance benefit entitlements for a further five weeks.

Colleges and skills training organizations suggested that we assist workers forced to transition to new and different industries. We responded by increasing funding for training delivered through the employment insurance program by $1 billion over two years and by investing $500 million in the strategic training and transition fund and investing a further $2 billion to expand facilities at post-secondary institutions.

Skilled new Canadians in Mississauga and across Canada continue to struggle with the recognition in Canada of their foreign credentials to allow them to utilize their much needed professional skills and knowledge for the benefit of all Canadians. We responded by providing $50 million over two years for a national foreign credential framework in partnership with provinces and territories.

Business owners told us that they needed increased access to credit to continue to finance their operations in the normal course, to keep workers employed and to make new investments in competition enhancing production equipment and new technologies. We responded by providing up to $200 billion through the extraordinary financing framework through a variety of measures to allow businesses the financing they need to invest, grow and create new jobs and by creating the Canadian secured credit facility with up to $12 billion to support the financing of vehicles and equipment for consumers and businesses.

We were asked by the city of Mississauga, the region of Peel and community action groups to help protect the most vulnerable in our society by assisting the municipalities with the provision of affordable housing. We responded by providing approximately $2 billion through a variety of measures for renovating, retrofitting and new construction of social housing.

I would like to read from a press release from the region of Peel released yesterday in which it describes how the government offers to support families and businesses in Peel. The headline reads, “Peel Community to Benefit from Federal Budget”. The statement reads:

The federal government’s 2009 budget announced yesterday offers support to families and businesses in Peel.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan identifies budget measures such as the expansion of the Working Income Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement, and the Child Tax Benefit that will support low-income working individuals and families.

“The priority areas identified in the budget are consistent with Regional Council’s recommendations to the provincial and federal governments,” said Regional Chairman Emil Kolb. “We are also pleased to learn of the new investment for infrastructure and remain committed to working in partnership with the provincial and federal governments to help expedite funding for our projects.”

At our town hall forum in Mississauga, ordinary, hard-working families and seniors told us that they needed tax relief and incentives to help them provide for their families. We responded by delivering meaningful tax relief to low and middle income Canadians.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, as a lawyer involved in corporate finance in Canada for 25 years, I can say that contrary to the Bloc motion, the current passport system does not function very well. Such a statement is naive and would only be made by someone unfamiliar with the corporate finance business.

Each year many Canadian companies and foreign companies choose not to raise funds on the Canadian public capital markets because of the expensive and cumbersome multi-jurisdictional securities regulatory process. I know from first-hand experience that hundreds of millions of dollars of capital funding business are lost each year to the Canadian investment industry because we do not have a single national securities regulator.

Frankly it is an embarrassment and it costs us jobs, excellent, high paying, high value added, tax-revenue-generating jobs. The spinoff effects of these lost opportunities are very significant to our economy.

In my view, the government's economic action plan provides much needed stimulus to our nation's economy that is timely, targeted, temporary and cost effective. I believe that the measures contained in our plan will lay the foundation for long-term growth.

As we all know, Canada is facing the domestic effects of an unprecedented global financial crisis. Our financial institutions, while strong and sound by international standards, face the double jeopardy of an unavailability of liquidity to provide much needed loans to business and a short-term negative economic forecast which causes them to hold back in making the loans and investments that Canadian business requires.

Credit-worthy Canadian businesses cannot access necessary sources of debt and equity to operate in a normal course and make the types of investments that will enable them to enhance their competitiveness and operate in a more environmentally sustainable way.

Hard-working families are justifiably worried about their jobs and financial security, and accordingly, are cautious about spending and incurring debt.

These are truly extraordinary times. This is not a normal economic downturn. Despite the fact that Canada's economy is in relatively much better shape than any G7 nation, thanks in large part to the previously implemented economic and fiscal policies of this government, we must take extraordinary steps now to offset the domestic effects of the current crisis in world financial systems.

Given Canada's very favourable debt to GDP ratio, we have an opportunity now to borrow modestly at historically low interest rates and put that money to work for all Canadians to soften the impact of a financial crisis created beyond our borders and to help our economy emerge stronger, more competitive and a leader in cutting edge technology in industries.

The economic action plan is a coordinated plan which will simultaneously protect jobs through critical support for the auto industry, tax incentives for new investments in production machinery and environmental technologies, and generous enhancements to employment insurance.

It will create new jobs through immediate and strategic investments in roads, bridges, public buildings, colleges and universities, investments which will enhance the efficiency of our economy and improve the quality of life for Canadians throughout this great land.

It will maintain and create further jobs by incentivizing consumers to purchase homes and automobiles and to renovate existing homes to enhance their value and energy efficiency.

It will also protect the most vulnerable in our society by providing significant new support for training for those laid-off workers, to give them the knowledge and skills required to shift into new and emerging industries.

It will provide tax cuts for hard-working, low income Canadians and significant investments in affordable housing.

The economic action plan is proof that we listened and we delivered. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and all of our members of Parliament met across the country with thousands of individuals, businesses, municipal and provincial governments and other stakeholders. This broad and comprehensive consultation process elicited many good suggestions which are reflected in the economic action plan.

As a Conservative member of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, I participated in meetings with over 45 stakeholder groups. In my home province of Ontario, I met with the Region of Peel, the City of Mississauga, local boards of trade, labour groups, charitable and social welfare organizations, and ordinary citizens at public town hall meetings. In all of these consultations there quickly emerged a consensus on broad initiatives to stimulate our economy and protect workers and the most vulnerable in our society.

I am pleased to acknowledge that these important and desired initiatives have been included in Canada's economic action plan.

We were advised by the Mississauga Board of Trade and many others to revise the employment insurance program to help save jobs through work sharing. We responded by extending support for work-sharing agreements by 14 weeks.

I would like to read from a press release by the Mississauga Board of Trade in which it describes how the government responded to its requests. The headline reads, “Federal budget is a positive step forward for business and economy”. The statement reads:

Mississauga Board of Trade was pleased to see the federal government present a budget that took extraordinary measures to address an extraordinary economic climate.

...MBOT President & CEO, Sheldon Leiba, [said] “Now we have the confidence that the federal government has a plan and strategy in place to restore our economy and achieve long-term competitiveness”.

As the city’s leading business association, Mississauga Board of Trade developed a pre-budget submission that was sent to the Federal Minister of Finance and local MPs and was presented at a local pre-budget consultation meeting hosted by Mississauga-Erindale MP and Conservative member, Bob Dechert.

In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty responded positively to a number of Mississauga Board of Trade’s proposals--

Sri Lanka February 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are seeing the images of what is going on in Sri Lanka. Like all Canadians, I am concerned about the heavy cost to civilians. I know that those with loved ones in Sri Lanka, like many in my riding of Mississauga—Erindale, are especially concerned.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation inform us how Canada is reacting?