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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is actually.

NDP MP for Windsor West (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code May 29th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting. With regard to my previous bill, it was on the $8 billion to $10 billion annually going to organized crime and offshore companies, many of them with nefarious backgrounds, that could have actually gone to the government's revenue stream. That was per year.

It is important for tourism, but it is also important to fight against organized crime, which is connected to marijuana. It would have given us the revenue that is necessary. As previously mentioned by the member, with regard to my municipal experience, things used to get downloaded. That came from the Conservative Harris government, in terms of the lingo that was used, the “downloading” that took place from the provincial to the municipal level.

That is what we have here. I think it is very valid that they have raised financial costs related to it. That is why I am talking about the fact that the shame here, and the difficulty about all of the things that are taking place, is that the government could have had a revenue stream, or it currently does have a revenue stream, to take all those concerns away. Why not take them off the table? That would be the simple thing to do.

Criminal Code May 29th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I would argue that consultation is actually hearing from people and then acting on it and providing legislation that reflects that. It would be similar to an inclusive process that takes place.

We have not heard the government talk about what it is doing in the border communities. Specifically, who did the government talk to at the U.S. administration, on a federal level, a state level, and a municipal level? We have not heard about any of that.

We have heard the Minister of Public Safety say it is an ongoing process. That is not consultation. That is not enough for the public. It is actually a shame. It is sad. We have to deal with this situation. The reality is that the public deserves answers, open accountability, and consultation, which also means listening.

Criminal Code May 29th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am glad to join the debate today on Bill C-46, an act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. This deals with the decriminalizing and legalization of marijuana in our society.

The issue facing us today is rather ironic for me. Legalization of marijuana is comparable in many respects to a bill I brought before the House of Commons on single-event sports betting. It was about the legalization of something that the public wanted, and the cost of the criminality element to it was very robust. I still get the comparisons to this issue from people who are lobbying to legalize single-event sports betting activities in Canada. My bill was defeated by the Liberals, primarily the Prime Minister and his cabinet.

Therefore, when this passes, people will be able to legally consume cannabis, but they still will be unable to bet on single-event sports. That is around a $10 billion a year of loss that goes to primarily organized crime. Those funds could have been diverted to health care, education, as well gaming addiction and other things related to it.

I say this now because I have seen some of this work develop and specifically why this did not even get moved to a committee. There clearly was a design by the Prime Minister, his cabinet, and his parliamentary cabal to keep that from going to committee for their own purposes, and there are some very debatable reasons for that.

However, I want to focus on this bill. It would move to the legalization of a consumable product, being a drug, which has consequential, sociological, and social elements that will frame our society around the use of it. In particular, we are talking about drug-impaired driving. Since 1925, it has been illegal to have drugs in one's system and to drive a motorized vehicle. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is the largest killer of Canadians under a criminal offence for murder, and we have not yet found the proper repertoire of responses to it.

Listening to the debate today, the Liberals have not really participated much. This is a common thing that happens here. I would invite all those viewing to visit an independent site called “”. People can actually track their members' participation. Many members just sit here and do not participate on a regular basis. People can even look at the volume of what they have chosen to intervene on and what they have chosen not to intervene on.

I have listened with intent to some of the concerns raised by the Conservatives. They relate to some of the practical problems we have with the identification of those who are intoxicated or under the influence of a drug while driving. There is the difficulty that science has right now. There is the expansion of police powers, which are very much challenged under the environment of some of the issues we have had such as racial profiling and a number of different civil liberty issues that have taken place, not only with regard to the police, but also with regard to other different types of services provided by public institutions, which are paid for by all.

One of the concerns raised by the Conservatives was the cost of this, which is legitimate to raise. However, it is rather unfortunate that it has been a discussion point in this. It is to the embarrassment and shame of the government. It should have put this to rest immediately.

When we consider the cost in terms of human death related to this and the mere fact of the gross amounts of profit that the government gets from alcohol sales and consumption, and now of drug consumption, it is nothing short of shameful for the Liberals to come into this debate and not do that appropriately by taking care of those costs and ending that right away. If not, I know as a former councillor and many others also know that they will offload these issues onto an inappropriate tax base to deal with them.

For a law created from a federal standpoint, there should be no debate whatsoever about those costs. We should be getting on with it given the fact that we have such human tragedy associated with this, but we are debating whether it costs $20 a swab or 2¢ a Breathalyzer. It is absolutely shameful that we would change laws and have that debate when the government is receiving significant revenue from current sales of alcohol and other types of prohibited substances, and now drug sales. It is absolutely shameful. It is a black mark on the government for taking this process forward, and it becomes a distraction of what is so important, which is the change to our society with this new drug being legalized in our country. It is extremely unfortunate.

The Liberals always have money for their friends. They always have money for their pet projects. They always have money for the shiny objects they find to chase after, but they never have money when it really counts. It is a scapegoat to have the provinces or the municipalities to have to pick up the slack. They are are clear that it is okay; it is all right. I would tell the councillors, the mayors, the provincial representatives, and the premiers that it is all on them, because the decision rests right here. The buck stops right here in terms of the potential from revenue source and the amount of money that is already capitalized by the federal government's taxation of those products that are currently legal that have some conditions on them.

We have serious issues to deal with. For example, what are the levels of drug influence? Then we have a positive in this bill, which I like, which is making the penalties for drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol stronger. It is interesting because, given the severity of alcohol and drinking and driving under the influence, the Liberals have only just matched other transportation-related death issues. They did not choose to take it to a higher level. They did not choose to do anything else with it. They chose to put it in line where it should have been from day one.

Gone are the days, and they should have never existed, when we passively allowed being under the influence. It was “Oh, it was just a few drinks and it was just an occasion.” No, the serious consequences of that should have always been the case. There was a cultural shift, just like we are going to have a cultural shift with this.

With that, we have to look at the consultations that have taken place. What I worry about and why I talked about the levels and the cost related to this is that it relates to regulations being in place, not legislation, to allow unelected people to set even the lowest and the highest level of bars for the testing, the failing of the testing, and the consequences of the testing. Why would we kick the buck there? I have no idea. It does not make any sense in terms of responsibility.

I represent a border community, and the consultation elements have not been there. The Minister of Public Safety has no answers for consultation with the United States, for example. They have not consulted with the municipalities. For example, if a truck driver happens to be around people who are smoking marijuana and gets it on his or her clothes and in the cab, what is going to be the cost of crossing the border and having the detection in the United States go off?

What is the cost for just-in-time delivery trucks for the auto sector? What is the cost for agricultural trucks? What is the cost of putting all that on our roads to create delays of other goods and services?

There is no answer, which is rather unfortunate because it was all ready to be done, had they simply asked.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, there is no question about the cost of borrowing. One has to look at why one is borrowing and what one is going to get in return. Similar to my constituents, the member's constituents will be very hard pressed to understand why some of these expenditures have taken place and at what cost. There are many policies of the Conservatives and Liberals with regard to manufacturing that I differ with. I believe in a sectoral strategy, which has been done in South Korea's automotive industry. We can look at what has been taking place in Germany, the United States, and Mexico. They have identified auto manufacturing as a specific strategy to actually set targets and numbers. Similarly, to reduce our debt, we have to set the targets, look at the benchmarks, and evaluate them. One of the key elements is to try to make sure there is going to be accountability for those things.

I could go on all day about the infrastructure bank alone and ask for unanimous consent to do so, but the lack of accountability will be its Achilles' heel because we will not be able to see what the value for money will be at the end of the day.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is a great example of what has taken place in terms of the challenges we face. The problems of the Ontario Liberal Wynne government and the federal government are quite specific when we look at training. In my area, there is manufacturing and tool and die mould-making. The policies of the Liberals and their lack of support to keep a middle class working and functioning includes the offloading of training and education expenses onto students and young people to such a level that when they go into the workplace or get training, be it college or university, it has resulted in students paying for their education well beyond what their career could gain them once they actually complete their education.

It is a challenge to get workers into tool and die mould-making, which is actually getting a resurgence in my area, because the cost of their education is so high and burdensome that it intimidates them. Employers and the government need to do more to make sure students are not entirely burdened by this landslide of debt and prevented from actually entering the workforce.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-44, the budget implementation legislation.

It is important to acknowledge that time allocation has been moved by the government on this bill. When the Liberals were in this section of the House of Commons, they screamed from the highest rooftops that this was undemocratic. They are moving closure at a record pace, even more than was done under the Harper administration, and that is unfortunate.

For the practical person who is watching the debate at home, this means some members will not have a chance to talk about how the budget will impact them, their ridings, and the country in general. Time allocation is done for expediency.

Bill C-44 is being called an omnibus bill. The omnibus approach is a lazy style of governing. The government does not have to move legislation through the proper parliamentary process and procedure in order to get it done. In layman's terms, it basically means the government is putting all kinds of things into one giant box and then shoving them out the door versus going through things individually and ensuring legislation is done properly. Over 30 pieces of legislation would be affected by the bill. This is not like setting up a household budget. This is about making strategic decisions with respect to the rules of how legislation goes through the House of Commons.

It is important for people to understand the necessary and proper planning process for certain legislation. Things will end up in the courts and will cost taxpayers more money. Things will not get the necessary review they need. Issues involving businesses, consumers, the environment will all be impacted by Bill C-44, because the Liberals are, quite frankly, lazy, and that is unfortunate.

Since the Liberals took office, their record shows that committees have been underutilized. That is because very little legislation has come to the House. Plenty of people and organizations want to provide input, but this denies them that opportunity to change things.

I want to talk about a couple of things in the budget bill that relates to issues on which I have been working. They are important not only to my constituents but to all taxpayers across the country.

Manufacturing is one of the issues on which I want to focus. Manufacturing in the United States and other countries around the world is seen as a key sector for national interests. An argument has been made for the national security of a nation state to have solid manufacturing in that country.

The Liberal government's approach to manufacturing has not been a healthy one. The Prime Minister went through southern Ontario. He singled out manufacturing in London, saying it was past what should be done and that we needed to find different ways. No one has ever argued against innovation and change. No one has ever argued against adding supplementary elements to our economy. However, we have always had to fight for manufacturing and we have seen great success from that fight. Our national coffers have been filed by the wealth from manufacturing over the last number of decades. To this day, manufacturing is over 10% of our GDP relating to what we can bring in as income.

On top of that, we have revenue from taxation that comes in from employees who work in the manufacturing sector as well as the taxes that come in from benefits in other types of support systems, which help people to have a decent job, to send their kids to college or university, to invest in a small business, or to get additional training for the future.

For nearly a decade, I have fought in this place for the automotive sector to be singled out for a specific manufacturing strategy, which has been done by most industrial states. The automotive sector is losing out in this budget by the mere fact that it is lumped in with other types of manufacturing or other types of initiatives, including agrifood. Both of these sectors deserve their own strategies.

Agrifood is another sector that relates to national security when we look at food safety, food management and economic development by having stability. Agrifood deserves its own separate strategy.

Manufacturing and auto, in particular, is lumped in again as opposed to a separate auto innovation fund designed specifically to meet some of the exciting challenges and opportunities in the automotive industry.

Before NAFTA, Canada was number two in the world in auto assembly and manufacturing. In fact, before we signed onto the free trade agreement with the United States, we had been very successful through a negotiated agreement called the Auto Pact. Assembly and manufacturing in Canada was at unprecedented levels because we tapped into the skill set of employees. We also exported automobiles to many parts of the world, but predominantly to the United States. We created quite a system of wealth, education, training, expertise, industrial development, and innovation that was critical.

With NAFTA, our Auto Pact agreement was challenged, and we lost it. At that time, the Liberals did not even bother to take us to a secondary challenge at the WTO. The government abandoned it. It is quite shocking in the sense that almost every other country will always fight to the end for something. Not only did the Liberals sign an agreement that killed our dominance in that industry, but they simply gave up. We have a historical problem with the Liberal Party.

The budget shifts away from a special $500 million fund. Then the auto parts manufacturing fund is being lumped together with other elements. To be fair, the government has increased the overall amount of money going into that fund, but it is very small compared to our competitors to the south, Mexico and other places in the world. However, it did go up somewhat. The problem is that the types of different qualifications of that fund have been opened up, instead of having a special designated fund with over $500 million for innovation, especially when we look at autonomous vehicles, hybrids and electric vehicles. Canada has not a had a greenfield, a brand new auto plant manufacturing development, in over 15 years, so there are significant challenges to begin with.

With all those things put together, we have abandoned that type of approach. I will still champion and continue to fight for auto manufacturing jobs and benefits, especially right now. Canadians want that. Canadians want to work in a stable employment environment that has decent wages for the amount of effort, education, and training they put into it. They would have benefits so they could live their lives and ensure that if they had health issues, they would be paid. They would have a value-added industry with a connection to personal relationships, the fact that they could take pride in the work they did and contribute to the overall economy. They would have accountability. Last year, so many workers did not come home safely from their job. Some children were left without fathers and mothers because of industrial accidents. In the past, jobs in the auto sector had some accountability and a working relationship to improve those things.

We have lost out on those types of opportunities because of a lack of industrial strategy. Canadians are asking for that. They want to be part of a greater communal effort to improve their quality of life and to raise the quality of life for the middle class. The budget fails in many respects because it has abandoned the strategies necessary to that.

When we look at the watering down that is taking place on this one specific element I have talked about in terms of the auto manufacturing issues, it is a missed opportunity given the industrial development and advances environmentally and economically in the industry, and because of that, I cannot support this budget.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship May 8th, 2017

Madam Speaker, what I am concerned about and will be looking forward to is further work to stop an accident from taking place, which we know could potentially happen. There appear to be some issues still pending with regard to refugees in terms of clarity, because if they are a refugee settled into the Windsor region, there are not the support services necessary there. That is an issue. Also, the interpretation of the border service agencies in the United States could put people at risk in this process.

National Nurses Week is coming up. That is very important. I noted in my precursor that we have a surplus of educated people, in many respects, which the United States draws upon to work in the United States, to save lives every single day. I remind them of that when I am in Washington. The nurses in our region, not only on the American side but on the Canadian side, have made a strong well-being for the living conditions we have.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship May 8th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I rose in this House with regard to issues on the Canada-U.S. border related to the provision of services for Canadians with permanent resident status or landed immigrant status. The Trump initiative would actually set out a ban that would prevent these individuals from entering the United States.

Why this is pertinent, for those who are not from my area, is that the Windsor-Detroit region has a significant portion of the trade between Canada and the Untied States. In fact, 35% of Canada's daily trade with the United States takes place within two kilometres of the border. As well, about 10,000 health care professionals per day cross into the United States to provide services in their hospital system.

We also rely on emergency services in the United States. If we want to travel up the highway, it could take up to two hours to get to London facilities. When we have premature babies, women with high-risk pregnancies, or children who have some type of health emergency, it is often quicker to get them to the Detroit region. It also applies to adults.

In fact, one of the first cases we dealt with related to this problem was an ambulance carrying a patient who was actually having a heart attack and was going across the Canada-U.S. border to get to medical treatment. It was delayed at the border from getting to medical treatment, literally a kilometre away. It was not because the proper process had not taken place but was because of documentation. That problem was fixed, and a protocol was put in place.

The Trump initiative has turned things upside down, so to speak. We had a number of different questions from our hospitals related to ensuring that children in life-and-death situations or mothers with high-risk pregnancies would be allowed to get into the United States. That is important, because the victims of these policies could be anyone, from a refugee to someone with permanent resident status.

Let us look at it in terms of the two groups. Refugees are those Canada has allowed to come into Canada. They have gone through the proper security process and screening. They are predominantly women and some children who might need medical attention right away.

With regard to refugees' contributions to Canada, we just have to look at our governor generals or out in the world. Albert Einstein was a refugee. These individuals can go on and have gone on to do tremendous things.

Permanent residents, who are also under suspicion and may not be allowed into the United States, also have an issue. They have gone through our vetting or immigration process and are just waiting for the test to be applied to them. Again, we are talking about individuals who are either women who are pregnant or children who are vulnerable because of medical conditions.

The question was about sorting this out. At the time, the minister indicated that they had protocols in place. The fact is that I was in constant discussions with border people and protocol people from the hospitals, and there was no certainty.

I would like an update. On the border we do not have much of a choice. Again, these are life-and-death situations we are talking about. These are people who have been vetted through the entire system, and once again, they are extremely vulnerable women and children.

Business of Supply May 8th, 2017

Madam Speaker, we heard a lot about procurement and Super Hornets, but today's notice of motion is a confidence motion that the House has lost confidence in the minister and his abilities to carry out his responsibilities on behalf of the government, since on multiple occasions the minister misrepresented his military service and provided misleading information to the House.

I listened to the minister speaking here, and there were three versions of descriptions the minister has claimed his role and responsibilities have been. There are three different interpretations from the minister himself, one being that he claimed a key role as an intelligence officer. The second was he talked about being a reservist, working on capacity-building for Afghan police. The third version was that he was an architect of Operation Medusa. What I would like to know from the hon. member is if it is the first, second, or third.

Business of Supply May 8th, 2017

Madam Speaker, on a point of order, just so it is not confusing for the public, for the official record, it is Madam Speaker. I know Mr. Speaker is continually referred to, but it is Madam Speaker.