House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was mentioned.

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

Canada-U.S. Relations February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a trading nation and our largest trading partner by far is the United States. Canadians are rightly concerned about protectionist rumblings in the United States Congress.

Can the Prime Minister give us an update regarding this critical situation?

The Budget January 29th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to share my time today with the hon. member for Red Deer.

I am pleased to speak today in favour of Canada's economic action plan, as tabled by the hon. Minister of Finance, and I respectfully encourage all my fellow parliamentarians to support budget 2009. In my view, the government's economic action plan provides much-needed stimulus for 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 that 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 the 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 and industries.

The economic action plan is a coordinated plan that 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 the employment insurance program.

It will create new jobs through immediate and strategic investments in roads, bridges, public buildings, colleges and universities, investments that 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 new investments in affordable housing.

The economic action plan is proof that we listened and delivered. As members know, 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 have 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 those 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 arrangements by 14 weeks.

I would like to read from a press release, released by the Mississauga Board of Trade yesterday, in which it describes how the government responded to its requests.

The headline reads, “Federal budget is 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.”

Immigration November 28th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, today, the Minister of Immigration announced further details of the Conservative action plan for faster immigration, as well as immigration levels for 2009.

Under our action plan, skilled workers, such as nurses and doctors, will be able to come to Canada in six to twelve months, down from the five to six years wait under the Liberals.

Would the Minister of Immigration please tell the House about his exciting announcement today.

Address in Reply November 19th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, all members of the House will agree that Canada needs strong leadership and responsible fiscal management in these uncertain economic times.

People's jobs and economic stability, their savings, pensions and retirement incomes are of supreme and paramount importance. The initiatives as laid out today by the Governor General will ensure that the economy and health of our people and our country remain strong and free.

Address in Reply November 19th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Canadian people understand that in these tough economic times, their jobs contribute to all our government institutions. In order to ensure that we can fund health care and education, we need to keep our jobs and our economy strong.

Today the Governor General has laid out a very clear plan to show Canadians how we will continue to keep our economy strong and make their incomes and pensions secure so we can have all the good things that government provides to us.

Address in Reply November 19th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I believe all members in the House will agree that the people of Canada want us to work together to ensure that Canada's economy remains strong and that their jobs and the health of their families are secure.

The Governor General outlined today that the government would make it a priority to secure jobs for families and communities throughout Canada by encouraging skilled trades and apprenticeships, supporting workers facing transition and providing further support to automotive and aerospace industries.

It will expand investment in trade by modernizing investment, competition and copyright laws, while working with the United States to address shared challenges and pursuing trade agreements in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

By keeping our economy strong and people's jobs safe and working together to do so, I believe we will be able to address all the concerns of Canadians in the months and years ahead.

Address in Reply November 19th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am sure all members of this august House will agree that Canada needs strong leadership and responsible fiscal management in these uncertain economic times. People's jobs and the economic stability of their savings, pensions and financial retirement incomes are of paramount importance. The initiatives laid out by the Governor General today will keep our economy and the health of our people strong and secure.

Address in Reply November 19th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise today and second the motion for an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

I want to thank the Governor General for her gracious remarks. I also want to thank the Prime Minister for granting me this great honour, and I especially wish to thank the voters of Mississauga--Erindale for granting me the honour and privilege of serving them as their member of Parliament.

I would also like to thank my wife, Ruth, for her care and support, and my parents for instilling in me, at an early age, a respect for this great institution.

My colleague from Portage—Lisgar has spoken already about much of our governing agenda. I would like to add some thoughts.

In the broadest possible terms, Her Excellency's speech focused on a single key theme: protecting Canada's future.

We live in a time of challenge and change. This is true internationally, and it is most certainly true here at home.

Our government is mindful of the responsibility with which we have been entrusted. We will protect Canada's future. We will follow through.

Of course this begs the question of what it means to protect Canada's future. It means, first and foremost, protecting Canadians' personal financial security. This means taking action, in concert with our global allies and trading partners, to address the global credit crisis. The credit crunch is still causing hardship to too many current and potential homeowners, as well as to businesses looking to grow and expand. The Minister of Finance has already announced several steps to protect the finances of Canadians in these uncertain times, and I am sure my fellow members join me in looking forward to his upcoming economic update.

Protecting Canadians' personal financial security also means understanding the distress caused by the current turmoil in global stock markets, including Canada's own. This is a frustrating challenge, to be sure. Free markets, by their very nature, cannot be controlled by government policy. They are as much about psychology as they are about economics, but the impact of the roller-coaster ride on the markets is very real. These are people's personal pensions, their savings, and their RRSPs.

Turmoil on the markets is therefore not just a Bay Street concern; it is a Main Street concern, which is why we must reassure investors inside and outside Canada that our regulatory system, our monetary policy, and our overall financial balance sheets remain strong.

What we must not do is provide investors inside or outside Canada with as much as a whiff of panic. That is why we know that knee-jerk reactions to the latest economic headlines are the wrong way to go. That is why we maintain that Canada's financial sector is well managed, on a sound footing, and in far better shape than those of most other countries, an assessment that is shared internationally by groups ranging from the World Economic Forum to the IMF, and that is why we will continue to work with our allies and trading partners on a smart, coordinated, long-term and global response to this crisis, because it is impossible for any one country to stabilize its own markets when everywhere else there is turmoil.

Protecting Canada's future also means protecting Canada's economy, and that includes Canadian jobs, investment, and trade.

My own professional background happens to include international business and trade law. I have seen a lot of economic cycles over the years, and it is true that this situation currently before us is unlike anything we have seen. Some of the reactions, however, are predictable. In a time of economic instability, there is always a tendency by some to respond by proposing closed borders, restricting trade, and advocating protectionist measures.

Protectionist sentiment is an unfortunate and natural reaction to economic anxiety. It is unfortunate because protectionism ends up destroying jobs and reducing the standard of living of the very people it is supposed to help.

Our government will continue to support open trade. We will do so by continuing to seek out new trading opportunities, be it through pursuing cross-border opportunities with the incoming Obama administration in the United States or through pursuing new trade agreements in Europe, Asia, the Americas and elsewhere.

We will also continue to invest in the Atlantic and Pacific gateways and in vital border corridors, such as the Detroit River international crossing. This will increase trade, investment, and jobs on both coasts and in border towns as well as ensure that Canadian goods and services reach the markets of our trading partners. We will encourage economic development in the north by reducing the regulatory hurdles on the construction of pipelines so that northerners can see more real benefits from their natural riches.

Canadian workers facing transition can continue to count on our support. We will continue to look for new ways to support vital sectors of our economy, whether they be in manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, fisheries or mining, so Canadians can continue to compete and succeed on the world stage.

Protecting Canada's future also means protecting the environment.

I cannot put it more plainly than this: the environment is now an economic issue. We cannot separate the commitment to long term environmental sustainability with that of long term economic growth.

Our government remains firmly on course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and, as the Governor General informed us, we will set an objective that 90% of our electricity needs will be met by non-emitting sources by that date as well.

Where once Canadians found themselves adapting to a time of unprecedented high oil prices, today we find ourselves adapting to the new normal of a lower international price of oil. In some ways this is a benefit. Canadians who were shocked by high gas prices in recent months are now saving money each time they fill up at the pumps.

However, at the same time, given that much of our economy is dependent on the energy sector, these lower prices create certain economic challenges as well. Our government sees this as an opportunity to diversify the energy sector in our country and, in particular, an opportunity to continue to develop new, cleaner energy sources.

Protecting Canada's future also means protecting the health and safety of Canadians. Our government will continue to build on the successes of the last Parliament to ensure that our laws respect the victims, protect the innocent and hold the guilty accountable for their crimes.

Considering that the threat of global terrorism is still very real, we will also table a new national security statement that will clearly detail the steps we will take to ensure that Canadians are protected from terrorism and other serious global threats.

We will also continue modernizing our food and safety laws to ensure that Canadians can always have faith in the products on their store shelves. There will be new accountability, more oversight, more recall powers and increased penalties for those who put the health and safety of Canadians at risk.

Protecting Canada's future also means contributing to global security. Just as our financial security is linked to the global economy, Canada's physical security is linked to the stability and security of other nations around the world.

We will continue to protect Canada's borders, including our Arctic frontier. We will continue to promote the Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law on the world stage. Canada will not shirk its obligation to stand up for these human values and human rights because freedom, democracy and the rule of law are the pathway to a better, safer world.

We will continue to rebuild the Canadian Forces with the best possible equipment to protect our brave soldiers when they are in harm's way. While we will continue to engage in the international mission in Afghanistan, we will focus more of our attention on reconstruction and development, while preparing to end the military side of the mission in 2011.

Protecting Canada's future also means building stronger institutions and strengthening our representative democracy.

Politics is a competitive business. We all know that. However, when it comes to big national projects, projects that by nature and necessity transcend traditional, regional or partisan divides, we owe it to ourselves, our constituents and future generations to make government accountable and effective.

Now our government has introduced some positive reforms to our democratic institutions that we believe are examples of positive, non-partisan reforms.

Ensuring that the House better reflects the Canadian population or introducing democracy to the Senate are concepts on which all Canadians should be able to agree. We will continue to pursue these stronger, more democratic institutions, and we will welcome any cross-party support.

We will also continue to strengthen Confederation itself. As members know, it was just last week that the Prime Minister met with the premiers to discuss the current global economic instability. Canada works best when we all work together. We will continue to respect the jurisdiction of the provinces while ensuring that federal transfers are sufficient to ensure that all Canadians can count on world-class health, education and other services close to home.

Perhaps the most important institution of all is this House. In this chamber every Canadian is supposed to have a voice through their elected representatives. Canadians do not expect us to agree on everything, but they do want our voices, their elected voices, to be focused on solutions and not on divisive rancour.

I am proud to second this motion, and I throw my full support behind the Governor General's remarks. May we conduct this debate, and all of our debates, with the passion and vigour of our beliefs while at the same time respecting this House, respecting each other and respecting our common obligations to all Canadians.