House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was respect.

Last in Parliament June 2013, as Liberal MP for Toronto Centre (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Ethics May 27th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, will the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Ms. Dawson, have the authority to investigate the conduct of Senator Tkachuk and Senator Stewart Olsen, and the orders they received from the Prime Minister's Office? Is that the case? This is ridiculous.

We have an ethics committee that is accepting an investigation from Ms. Dawson. It makes absolutely no sense from a natural justice perspective. It makes no sense at all.

Ethics May 27th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the minister just gave a profoundly incorrect answer. The report was drafted, the report was accepted in principle on May 7. The report was changed by the Conservative majority on the steering committee on May 8 and those changes were then added to on May 9 when it went to the full committee. It was said clearly on the floor of the Senate that the Liberals did not accept the report as it was then put forward by the Conservative majority. Those are the facts. Why are the same people who cooked up the report now standing in judgment on themselves? It is absolutely preposterous.

Ethics May 27th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the minister who is answering today. Both Senator Stewart Olsen and Senator Tkachuk were members of the committee that changed the wording of the report with respect to Senator Duffy. They changed it somewhere between May 7, May 8 and May 9 when the final draft was put out, which was a Conservative draft and not a draft adopted by the whole committee.

I would like to ask the minister under what rules of natural justice are the people who actually changed the report on Senator Duffy now allowed to stand and judge their own behaviour with respect to what they did?

Situation in Syria May 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the early exchange that the member for Nanaimo—Alberni had with the member for Saint-Lambert, I wonder if the member would not agree with me that there is a difference between refugee claims, treating refugees and dealing with the refugee issue, and accelerating Canada's dealing with the immigration claims of those people who are seeking reconciliation with their families.

We have been arguing for a clear policy in the office in Beirut as well as in Amman that would allow those offices to deal on an accelerated basis with people who wish to be reconciled with their families in Canada and to make sure those claims are dealt with on an expedited basis because they are living in a refugee camp.

I hope the member would understand the difference between what we are asking for and what he is saying in terms of the broad issue of resettling all the refugees. I think everyone agrees that we do not resettle all the refugees until we can figure out whether there is a political solution available in Syria. However, that is different from the people who have a connection with Canada and with Canadians and whose claims are not being treated right now on an expedited basis.

Situation in Syria May 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I hope the member will forgive me for asking my question in English, because I want to quote the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is in contrast to the quote by my colleague from the Conservative Party, who just spoke.

I was sitting in the House tonight when the Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “Whatever we are doing, it is not enough”. He then went on to say that we will do more.

I would ask my colleague from Saint-Lambert if she agrees with the Minister of Foreign Affairs when he used those words.

Situation in Syria May 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I detect a certain tension in the government's position. On the one hand, the government's position would appear to be that Assad must go, but on the other hand, we are not sure what is going to replace him so we are not sure how or when he should go. I wonder if the member could perhaps clarify the government's position with respect to the position of President Assad.

Situation in Syria May 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, a number of other countries have used NGOs effectively to provide assistance inside Syria. Canada seems to have been very reluctant to do that. I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could comment on that.

Certainly, the perception of members of the community here in Canada is that their efforts to provide assistance directly to people inside Syria have gone ahead, but the Government of Canada has been reluctant to provide support for those efforts. Could the parliamentary secretary comment on that?

Situation in Syria May 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could tell us, given the fact that our mission in Damascus is now closed, what exactly our capacities are in terms of monitoring what is taking place in Syria, as well as monitoring what is taking place in the areas around Syria where the refugees are coming? What is our capacity on the ground right now through the agencies of the Government of Canada?

Situation in Syria May 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, everyone surely shares the feelings, emotions and thoughts of the member for Ahuntsic, who has just spoken.

For the moment, no one in this House, on the New Democrat, Liberal or government sides, is suggesting that the military solution is preferable or that it is the Canadian government's role to arm any group whatsoever.

The minister has spoken in the past few days about the importance of knowing what the opposition is in Syria and where the Salafist, terrorist and extremist elements are. The member is therefore entirely right in saying that the situation is complex. However, that complexity must not become an excuse for inaction. That is the problem we now face.

Situation in Syria May 7th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, we have to explore every avenue. Mr. Brahimi is on the ground. He is trying to find some grounds for political consensus. It is fair to say that like everyone who has tried this approach, he is facing a tremendous challenge, and it is not easy. There are Canadian citizens who are involved in helping Mr. Brahimi in trying to find solutions. It is not at all easy for us to do. As Canadians, we have to encourage every possible avenue of success.

I regret as much as every other member of the House that we did not gain a seat on the Security Council, but in the last 50 years there have been many years when we have not been on the Security Council and have been able to play a constructive role. We need to continue to look at what we can do and how we can participate more effectively in those efforts.