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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is things.

NDP MP for Windsor West (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Aerospace Industry October 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in 2007, after NDP pressure, the previous Conservative government blocked the foreign takeover of Canadian satellite maker MDA. The sale was rejected to stop U.S. control of sensitive technology and information, but now the company has shifted to the U.S. control, under the Liberals' noses, without their making a difference right now.

Just last week, the minister was actually musing about further weakening Canada's foreign takeover laws. Will the minister investigate to ensure that Canadian laws are being enforced, and will the Liberals close loopholes that threaten Canadian companies and investment by Canadians?

Jim Prentice October 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I stand in this chamber today to express, on behalf of all New Democrats, our deep sorrow after learning of the tragic loss of our former colleague and friend, Jim Prentice.

Jim was an exemplary member of Parliament. He was thorough and highly competent in his preparation and measured and articulate in debate. His true strength was working with all members of the House.

I had the opportunity to experience first hand his professionalism. We all know in the House that his sincerity and conviction were beyond reproach. He carried himself with a dignity and honour that all hon. members would do well to emulate.

I want to offer our deep condolences to Jim's family and friends, particularly his wife, Karen, and daughters Christina, Cassia, and Kate. We thank them for sharing him with us. Canada is a better place for his service with us.

Standing Orders and Procedure October 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, really quickly, with regard to the debate today, it is about the efficient use of time for me. Having raised two children since being here in Parliament, with one now becoming a teenager, it is the issue of having time well used.

Could the member expand on how electronic voting could maybe help? If we miss flights because of our inefficient voting system, it can leave us stranded in airports for two, four, six, or eight hours at a time, or even sometimes the next day. That situation could potentially be improved so we could actually get home to our constituents and our loved ones.

Dairy Industry October 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I think the question that has to be raised for Canadians at this point in time is whether a smart phone or mobile device is really an essential service to them and their families. With that, how can they afford it in their daily lives? How can they count on the reliability of the product and the service?

Our phones today are mobile devices. There are moments where we get calls about emergencies. There are moments where we will call out during emergency situations. Many Canadians do banking online. Many Canadians use the device to communicate, learn, and do educational and other projects for school. There are many ways that the phone has been integrated into our overall life.

Canadians have to ask themselves whether or not we need stronger government policies to ensure that this really is an essential service, such that it is going to require a greater hand on the lever to make sure consumers are protected and well serviced at a fair and appropriate price, and that privacy is protected. With all these device elements caught up in one entire situation, it is about time that consumers came first in terms of price and also in terms of rights.

Dairy Industry October 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to continue debate with regard to the important issue of telecommunications in Canada. In particular, I raise concerns about concentration, competition, jobs, and consumers, as basically 90% of our telecommunications industry is dominated by three major players.

One concern I raised was Manitoba Telecom Services being bought up by BCE, which was a venture worth approximately $4 billion.

One thing we are worried about in this situation is how it could reduce competition and affect services and prices for consumers. We have seen in the past that competition has decreased prices. We are worried about this situation allowing an increase in prices.

Right now, nearly 70% of Canadians have smart phones. We have been moving to smart phones and wireless technology and away from land lines. This is a significant cultural shift for this country. The top activities on mobile devices are texting, done by 93% of users; taking photos and videos, done by 91% of users; browsing the Internet, done by 82% of users; calendar functionality, used by 77% of users; and applications, used by 77% of users.

What we need is competition and reliable service.

There are issues that significantly affect us and our families day to day.

I ask the minister a simple question: How is the takeover by BCE going to improve competition not only in Manitoba but in the rest of Canada, given that the smart phone or mobile device is so essential to our daily activities?

Business of Supply September 29th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, what it can do is add value for other types of human rights issues. They are connected in different ways. Some are intended, such as when arms are sold to organizations and countries that have nefarious practices. Some inadvertently come into effect through regime change and other types of activities that lead to the weapons finding a second or third home.

This committee could add some substantial value. The United Kingdom, another Commonwealth partner, is looking at this. We could actually set best practices on selling manufactured weapons from Canada.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the member tried to make light of my bill on sports betting. I will leave it at that.

Women and children are affected by this legislation. These little jokes about the situation are not helpful to the debate. They certainly apply directly to the manner in this House.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we cannot improve Parliament and bring up new situations by going back.

Let us apply that logic. I would say to the parliamentary secretary, because he represents the Prime Minister on multiple occasions, that his Prime Minister said that Canada must “stop arms sales to regimes that flout democracy such as Saudi Arabia”.

When times change, we need to change.

With the bombing and the destruction, and for the women and children who are involved, it has gotten even worse. I am not burying my head in the sand. It is time the member did the same.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again to talk about our NDP motion, which I am quite proud of in the sense that it would bring accountability on a very important issue.

One thing I have learned, representing Windsor West, is that social justice is part of our DNA. Where we live, we were originally a francophone settlement, It was aboriginal prior to that, then francophone, then British. We have also lived through a number of things that have marked us, such as the Underground Railroad, where people came to freedom. People who were slaves in the United States came to our shores in Windsor West to find freedom and justice.

I believe this issue of selling military arms across the globe and ramping up those sales is something we should have at least a lens of Parliament on. That is all this motion is about. It would not make anything different, aside from the fact that we would get greater public accountability. For heaven's sake, would it not make sense for the world right now to examine arms sales as we are sending them out into the world? Would it not make sense, given the fact that we are faced with constant terrorism, and manufactured weapons, vehicles, and munitions are ending up in the hands of others? It is a simple thing that can be done and that makes sense for a lot of reasons.

We heard that Canada is back. That is exactly what the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister said that Canada should “stop arms sales to regimes that flout democracy such as Saudi Arabia”. He said that in The London Free Press.

Not only do we get a continuation of the Conservative policy of basically duck and weave on accountability on this but we get an enhanced flavour from the Prime Minister trying to say that Canada is back. That means something different, which is that they are going to continue the policy. Canada is back doing the same things it has done before, and that is unfortunate.

All we are calling for is a parliamentary committee to examine this. That is important, because then the workers, business people, traders, and domestic and international procurement people would come to committee. When they come to a committee, their testimony has to be accurate. It cannot be a lie or they would be perjuring themselves and there would be significant consequences.

One of the things I argued about when I was on city council back in the day was why we continued to do business with people who had bad records or criminal records. I am not saying that this is the case in this situation, but what we would do is find out about the records. If we found out that arms sales from Canada were directly or indirectly going to another destination, we would have some accountability and maybe some best practices and could lead in the world.

Right now we are ramping up arms sales in the Middle East. Given the state of the Middle East, would it not make sense to at least take a pause? Given the horrific scenes we see day in and day out, and given that we have had decades of conflict affecting civilians and children in a cycle of violence and that we have to deal with the consequences back here when they come for freedom, safety, and democracy, would it not make sense that Parliament do its job? Parliament should do its job, and anyone saying anything different is abdicating responsibility and basically turning a blind eye. That is often a worse situation than just turning their backs, because they are leaving people in and are growing the problem. It is passive aggressive behaviour.

It is time we fix this. This motion would do just that. It would bring accountability for Canadians on the weaponization of the world.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise on such an important motion. I thank my colleague for putting it forward. A lot hard work and thought went into this substantive motion. It is an important issue. It has several aspects showing that this is a serious issue for our country that needs to set an example, especially after our government has been saying, “Canada is back”. I suppose what we are showing here is that Canada is back, in continuing arms sales in an unaccounted way.

What I also find really difficult about the situation is why would we abdicate our responsibility for products and goods once we sell them by saying, “It's not our fault, but because the receiving country sold them to somebody else”, or “they decided not to follow the rule of law or the order that has been made before”.

However, let us look at the reality. Some of the countries that have Canadian-made weapons do not even have proper relationships with Canada. These weapons are ending up in other jurisdictions. Some are sold directly to nations where we have an embassy and other types of connections and so forth. But after their use, perhaps in a second life, sometimes what we are debating is the first life cycle. This is the first life, but in the second life cycle and the third life cycle, they can end up abroad. We would have to look no further than proxy wars like that in Yemen where we have these situations.

All we are calling for is having accountability back in the chamber so that all Canadians will have a connection to the products and services that are exported outside our country and will have their say in that, by having representatives who are informed about that. It goes to committee. When witnesses are called to committee, if they lie or make up information that is not truthful and knowingly present it to committee, that is perjury. There is an accountability measure in the committee system, more than just public shame and public opinion. That is law.

I think that is the fairest thing to do when some of our customers then use our machines, our materials, to do things that were not supposed to be done.

The reason I mentioned asbestos earlier is that, quite literally, Canada was exporting death with asbestos. Pat Martin, a former member of Parliament, spent more than a decade working on this issue, raising it, bringing up the fact that men, women, and children were often dealing with asbestos without having the proper safety requirements for this, a product that is now illegal in Canada, but which it was okay for others to use, in that once it was out the door, “Don't worry about it. We're all done with it”.

How can we say this on such an important issue when we know our customer base is growing in region where there is significant conflict and war and, in fact, where regimes are often using tactics that include the use of weapons against their civilian populations? Are we supposed to abdicate our responsibility for that?

I believe that if we do the right thing and have that accountability, it will increase the responsibility of our customer base and also improve our chances of making sure that other illegal arms are not dispersed to countries and other jurisdictions.

In fact, we are not the only country doing this. The United Kingdom, for example, is going through the same process. Why does it matter? It matters because their public money is often involved in this. So, they have a right have a say in that.

When we look at some of the programs that we are assisting arms manufacturers with, they include research and development, supports for exporting and, thanks to the previous governments, a series of tax cuts that have gone unaccountable, in terms of where that money went. Often, much of that money left Canada anyway, but the reality of the matter is that Canadians have a vested interested financially and ethically, in social justice terms, to have that accountability in this chamber. There is no better place to do it.