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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was particular.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Etobicoke Centre (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Interparliamentary Delegations May 27th, 2019

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, five reports.

The first is entitled “Report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation regarding its participation in the pre-NATO Summit Conference”, held in Brussels, Belgium, July 11-12, 2018.

The second is entitled “Report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the 16th Summer Defence Conference”, held September 10-11, 2018, in Paris, France.

The third is entitled “Report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation regarding its participation at the Parliamentary Transatlantic Forum”, held in Washington, D.C., United States of America, December 10-12, 2018.

The fourth is entitled “Report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the Joint Meeting of the Defence and Security, Economics and Security, and Political Committees”, held February 18-20, 2019, in Brussels, Belgium.

The fifth is entitled “Report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the Standing Committee Meeting”, held in Zagreb, Croatia, March 29-31, 2019.

Presence in Gallery May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Having held consultations with all parties, I am rising to ask for the adoption of the following motion—

Crimea May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, 75 years ago, on May 18, 1944, the Crimean Tatars' sürgünlik was launched by Soviet dictator Stalin. All of Crimea's Tatars were forcibly transported 4,000 kilometres east into the inhospitable Central Asian Steppes. More than half died of suffocation, hunger and disease.

However, genocide was not enough. All traces of these people were to be erased. Crimean Tatar books were burned. Crimean Tatar towns and villages were renamed with Russian names. Muslim cemeteries and mosques were raised, all written references of these people was erased.

Today, we are honoured by the presence of the iconic Mustafa Dzemilev who spent 15 years in a Soviet gulag demanding his people's right of return, and today has again been banned from his ancestral homeland.

Let us draw on the wisdom of Raphael Lemkin and recognize May 18 as the Crimean Tatar genocide sürgünlik memorial day.

Criminal Code April 30th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill S-240, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs).

In 2007 at an airport in western Ukraine, I came across a gut-churning article on the front page of the local newspaper. The town's police officer had investigated the disappearance of orphans who, at age 17, were discharged from the care of the local orphanage. He had been worried that they were being trafficked into western Europe for sexual exploitation. What he discovered was much worse. These adolescents were sold to be trafficked for their organs, by the director of the orphanage.

In the following weeks, upon returning to Canada, a constituent made me aware of illegal clinics in India where poor farmers had their kidneys removed to pay off debts. Then the most barbaric example was brought to my attention. There were multi-million-dollar businesses run by the Chinese People's Liberation Army, which through its military hospitals had built an industrial-scale operation that removed, to order, body parts and organs of prisoners of conscience imprisoned in China's vast penal network.

This harrowing underground industry of trafficking in human organs and body parts, whether in the developing world or in totalitarian states, has commonalities. Those with power and wealth target and victimize the most vulnerable in their societies: orphans, destitute farmers, prisoners of conscience.

This depraved industry is a consequence of three global trends coinciding during the last decades: first, the development of medical technology allowing for the transplantation of virtually any body organ; second, an immense increase in global income disparities between the rich and powerful and the poor and vulnerable; and finally, easy and accessible transplantation tourism by wealthy westerners to clinics in the developing world.

I first addressed this modern-day horror in the House of Commons on February 2, 2008, when I introduced Bill C-500, an act to amend the Criminal Code with regard to trafficking and transplanting human organs and other body parts. Unfortunately, the legislation died on the Order Paper of the 39th Parliament, as did Bill C-381, which I introduced in the 40th Parliament, and Bill C-561, introduced by our colleague the Hon. Irwin Cotler in the 41st Parliament.

The horror of this industry hit home when, the very day after I first addressed this legislation in the House of Commons on February 3, 2008, the Toronto Star headlined an article “GTA home to 'Dr. Horror'”. Millionaire doctor Amit Kumar of Brampton was the mastermind behind an operation in India that implicated three hospitals, 10 pathology clinics and five diagnostic centres. This cabal had bought or forcibly removed and then trafficked to wealthy Indians and westerners the kidneys of approximately 500 destitute farmers and poor labourers in India.

However, the west is not just implicated in this industry by those among us willing to profit from the illegal removal of body organs, the “Dr. Horrors” among us. The profits feeding this evil are provided by those facing debilitating terminal illnesses, those among us made desperate by the severe lack of organ donations in Canada and other countries, those among us willing to not ask questions as to how and from where the human organs that extend their lives come from, and willing not to ask whether the donors were willing, willing not to ask whether donors' health and often lives were sacrificed and their organs stolen and exchanged for money.

This is why I supported what I consider to be a complementary sister motion, Motion No. 189 on organ and tissue donation. Organ donation can address this shortfall of organs for transplantation in Canada, and it is why legislation that addresses the trafficking and transplanting of organs must be passed.

My original draft legislation from 2008 has served as a template for similar legislation in Poland and Belgium. It is time for Canada to take action. Canadians must not be implicated in this depraved, evil industry that sees the wealthy and desperate in the west monetize, pay for the organs and body parts of the most vulnerable in the developing world: orphans, destitute farmers and prisoners of conscience.

Eleven years after I first tabled legislation to deal with the trafficking in human organs, I am heartened that legislation to combat this horror, to combat this modern form of cannibalism will finally be enacted by this 42nd Parliament.

Petitions April 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am pleased to present nine petitions, with hundreds of signatures, all of which address the horror of the abhorrent and illegal harvesting of organs, as documented by the independent Matas and Kilgour investigation. To put a stop to the barbaric practice of harvesting and trafficking in human organs and body parts, the petitioners urge Parliament to adopt Bill C-350 and Bill S-240. These bills are based on Bill C-500 and Bill C-381, which I first introduced in 2008 and 2009, and Bill C-561, introduced by former justice minister Irwin Cotler in 2013. This legislation would make it illegal to obtain organs or body parts from unwilling donors or as part of a financial transaction.

Petitions April 10th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the second petition raises a concern about international trafficking in human organs obtained from victims without their consent. This international trade has been documented in Bloody Harvest, a report issued by human rights lawyer David Matas and former Liberal cabinet minister David Kilgour.

In an effort to stop this disturbing trade, the petitioners, 200 of them, urge Parliament to adopt Bill C-350 and Bill S-240, which would make it illegal to acquire organs or body parts from unwilling donors as part of a financial transaction.

Petitions April 10th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to present two petitions, the first signed by 36 constituents in my riding of Etobicoke Centre.

The petitions are gravely concerned about the ongoing systematic persecution of the Uyghurs and other ethnic Turkic groups by the Government of China. These human rights violations have included mass arbitrary arrests, imprisonment in detention and re-education camps, torture, disappearances and the obstruction of contact with family members of Uyghurs living abroad, including in Canada.

The petitioners pray and request that the House consider all available options to put a stop to this ethnic and religious persecution, and they urge China to fully respect its international human rights obligations.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization April 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In the post-World War II wasteland of Europe, the continent's weak democracies faced an existentialist threat from a military superpower with an expansionist Communist ideology and more battle-hardened divisions than all of western Europe combined.

In the postwar period, Louis St. Laurent and Lester B. Pearson determinedly advocated for a defensive transatlantic security organization which would ally countries with shared democratic values. In April of 1949, 12 countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty.

With the fall of the Iron Curtain, NATO established the principle of an expanding shield behind which nascent democracies would find security. Today, 29 countries are NATO members and 21 aspire to membership.

May NATO's defensive shield continue to expand, and in the words of Pearson, “promote the economic well-being of peoples to achieve social justice...on the side of peace and progress.”

Interparliamentary Delegations March 20th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, three reports.

The first is entitled “Report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation respecting its participation in the Joint Meeting of the Defence and Security, Economics and Security, and Political Committees”, Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association, held in Brussels, Belgium, February 19 to 21, 2018.

The second is entitled “Report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation regarding its participation in the Standing Committee Meeting”, Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association, held in Vilnius, Lithuania, March 23 and 24, 2018.

The third is entitled “Report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the 2018 Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly”, held May 25 to 28, 2018, in Warsaw, Poland.

National Defence March 18th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in 2017, we extended our military training mission in Ukraine, Operation Unifier, until 2019. Since then, 200 Canadian Armed Forces members have trained close to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers, and Canada has been advising the country on NATO standard defence reforms.

Can the Minister of National Defence update the House on how our government is standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in the face of Russian military aggression?