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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Richmond Hill (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Return January 31st, 2011

With regard to the government’s efforts to lobby support for its proposed purchase of F-35 fighter jets for use by the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces: (a) what are the details of all government promotion and communications efforts pertaining to this purchase, including Ministerial and Prime Ministerial travel expenditures relating to these efforts, as well as travel expenses of other government officials or representatives and members of the Canadian Forces who have been dispatched across the country to discuss this issue with private individuals or organizations (i) between January 1, 2010 and May 26, 2010, (ii) between May 27, 2010 and July 15, 2010, (iii) since July 16, 2010; and (b) how many person-hours have officials and officers from the Canadian Forces dedicated to promoting and communicating this purchase since July 16, 2010?

Foreign Affairs December 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, for two years this government has done nothing while Canadian resident, Saeed Malekpour, has languished in Iran's notorious Evin prison. It did nothing when he was kidnapped and thrown into jail, nothing when he was forced to confess under torture, and nothing when he was sentenced to death.

The Prime Minister's Office and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have voiced concerns about other detainees who have done nothing in terms of connections to this country, while Mr. Malekpour has received barely a passing mention by the parliamentary secretary.

Is this government actually prepared to do anything to save the life of Mr. Malekpour?

Petitions December 7th, 2010

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the pleasure to present a petition in support of a national housing strategy from constituents of my riding and the surrounding areas.

The petitioners call for an increased federal role in housing through investments, not for profit housing, housing for the homeless, access to housing for those with different needs, including seniors and persons with disabilities, and sustainable and environmentally sound design standards.

The petitioners would like the government to create a national housing strategy as soon as possible.

Interparliamentary Delegations December 7th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-China Legislative Association and the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation in the 18th annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum held in the Republic of Singapore January 17-22, 2010.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns December 6th, 2010

With regard to the recent request by the Department of National Defence for bids for new fire trucks: (a) how many companies bid; (b) how many of these companies were from Canada; (c) what was the winning bid; and (d) why wasn’t a longer tendering period used for such a large procurement?

Questions on the Order Paper December 6th, 2010

With regard to efforts to have Richmond Hill’s David Dunlop Observatory declared a National Heritage Site: (a) what are the details of every memo given to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Canadian Heritage regarding this topic; (b) what are the titles and subjects of all memos and reports Canadian Heritage has pertaining to this file; and (c) what are the titles and subjects of all memos and reports the Department of Finance has pertaining to this file?

Business of Supply November 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question is a good one, because the issue that we need to be dealing with, and I notice that the Prime Minister the other week actually commented on it, is the issue of corruption. Therefore, direct aid to the Afghan government is not acceptable. We do it through other channels. But the point clearly is that we have to build capacity for the Government of Afghanistan to be able to spend money, but also to be transparent and accountable on how that money is spent, because corruption still is the elephant in the room.

That is the one that really we have not tackled, and President Karzai has been reluctant but finally seems to have come to the conclusion that he cannot have it both ways. He has to respond to this issue. We have to weed out corruption at the highest levels, down to the village level.

There was a time not too long ago when the police officers were not even paid. The money went to their superiors, who basically pocketed most of it. That is an important issue, and again, in terms of capacity, we as a government need to be working with our friends and allies to address that type of issue.

Business of Supply November 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that in that trip consistently we heard about the fact that the men and women in the forces are making a difference, development workers were making a difference, and that the Afghans really appreciated the approach of Canadians in terms of consultations with village elders and the work with children.

The fact is that Canadians are making a significant difference and they are doing that because of the type of approach they are taking. In fact, the Americans in particular congratulated us and they say they are learning about how to respond in many of those circumstances because of what Canada is doing.

Again, the extension in this case of a non-combat role for training with development and diplomacy simply adds to the successes that Canada has had on the ground in Afghanistan.

Business of Supply November 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I know my hon. colleague, who was a former mayor, and an excellent mayor at that, of the beautiful city of Moncton, New Brunswick, understands, as I do, the importance of capacity-building at the village level. It is the capacity-building at the village level that is absolutely fundamental.

A country cannot be built from the top down. It must be built from the ground up. Organizations, such as the FCM, and the aid people who we have talked to in the United States know that getting trained engineers, planners and people in the agricultural sector on the ground to help that capacity-building is absolutely critical.

We continue to encourage the government in that area because that is one area of development that is important. It works hand in hand with aid workers because if they do not have security, particularly in local towns and villages where they need to do the kinds of things that my friend wass talking about, then they will not be able to build the capacity for governance.

Business of Supply November 25th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, before question period, I was talking about the valuable contribution that Canadian soldiers and Canadian aid workers have made to Afghanistan.

In this discussion with regard to post-2011, we have talked about the 3-Ds. One of the aspects the government has mentioned is investigating the future of Afghan children and youth through development. I cannot think of anyone in the House who would not be supportive of that initiative. I cannot think of anyone in the House who would oppose the issue of advancing security, the rule of law and human rights, something with which we have helped the ministry of justice in Afghanistan. The rule of law and human rights are absolutely fundamental and are things that we certainly support on this side of the House.

On promoting regional diplomacy, the government has not been very effective in this area. We have called for a special envoy for Afghanistan, for the region, to deal with the situation, not just in Afghanistan, Pakistan, et cetera. We encourage the government to do that. That is one component that the government has failed to respond to effectively. We think it is absolutely critical to promote regional diplomacy because the solutions in Afghanistan also lie in Islamabad, Tehran, New Delhi and in other capitals in the region. The only way to deal with that, we believe very strongly on this side of the House, is through a special envoy.

On helping deliver humanitarian assistance, I cannot see anyone in the House who would oppose that position. That is something that we believe is very important and is part of this issue. However, we cannot do these things unless we have a secure Afghanistan. Therefore, the training aspects are very important, but again, alongside the diplomacy and the development.

We are living in a fictionalized world if we believe somehow that we can have those other things without security. Regarding Canada's contributions, having seen it on three different occasions, I know that the men and women are making a difference. We believe it and we believe that this kind of initiative is important,not only for Afghanistan and for the region but also for the security of Canadians at home.

We encourage that but we would also like more details on the specifics of this training aspect. We also want to encourage the government to look at a regional envoy, which we believe for Afghanistan is extremely important, and that will help in the future not only of that country but for ourselves as well.