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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was military.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Pickering—Scarborough East (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 38% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our Canadian Armed Forces stopped ISIL's capability to advance further and helped the Iraqi forces to hold their ground and to be able to regroup and fight the evil of ISIL.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I understand that my colleague was in the military and served for a couple of years. What my colleague should understand is to be able to deliver humanitarian and other aid, we need to create a safe and secure environment. The Kurds are fighting their enemy and we are supporting them.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, when my colleague said the special forces are there for training purposes, that is by the rules of engagement, and that is very clear. They cannot do anything else but what is mandated for them to do. My colleague must know this also.

When they are speaking about the special forces, which are training, they are training, not doing anything else. As we know, accidents can happen in the military. My profession when I was in the military is not without danger. However, I can assure the House, what we are telling Canadians is the truth, that they are for training and to assist.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this motion. As a veteran from the war in Afghanistan against the evil of the Taliban and al Qaeda, I consider it my sacred duty to raise my voice in this debate and warn that ISIL must be stopped before it causes any more destruction and claims any more innocent lives.

Let me speak to something that seems to have been lost to so many in this debate. ISIL has called for brutal attacks on Canadians, specifically Canadian civilians. Through its propaganda network, it has already inspired attacks here on Canadian soil. Within the last year, we have buried Canadian soldiers who died on Canadian soil. One of them was mere steps from this place.

Countering ISIL is a debate that concerns each of us here. This is something that in and of itself is beyond the scope of a humanitarian mission. I urge all members in this place to support the motion in order for Canada to extend its commitment to the multinational coalition supporting the Government of Iraq in its fight against the so-called Islamic State.

We have heard much about Canada's role in Iraq, its mission and the capabilities being brought to bear by the Canadian Armed Forces. It is the result of their work that ISIL is being pushed back. ISIL is now on the defensive in nearly 25% of the areas that it previously held. While ISIL made rapid advances last year, it is now on the defensive. In fact, ISIL has not made any territorial advancement in months as the direct result of the air strikes being carried out by the Royal Canadian Air Force and coalition allies.

In northern Iraq, the Iraqi forces are gradually taking back ground east of Mosul. In western Iraq, the city of Al-Baghdadi has been reclaimed by Iraqi forces, and they are working toward regaining control of Fallujah. In central Iraq, coalition air strikes have degraded ISIL's ability to conduct operations in those areas, and contribute to the gains made by Iraqi forces. These air strikes are saving lives.

Here is what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had to say about air strikes:

These air strikes and military operation which was done at the request of the government of Iraq was able to help the United Nations and other actors to ... save a lot of human lives.

He also said it is clear that Islamic State militants are “a threat to international peace and security, as has already been declared by the Security Council”.

What ISIL is carrying out is a complete assault on human dignity. The atrocities that it wages are beyond reprehensible. Its actions and values are those of complete savages. This is genocidal terrorist organization. It has explicitly stated its desire for genocide. It disproportionately targets ethnic and religious minorities with its sheer brutality.

Moreover, this is an organization that seethes with hatred for women in particular. It is estimated that 7,000 Yazidi women and girls are being kept as sex slaves by ISIL. These reports are numerous and they are troubling. Young women are captured and distributed as objects among ISIL fighters.

A recent report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights contains countless reports of abduction, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against women and children. The report cites several ISIL sex slaves who have escaped, including one who said that the guards raped her three times a day for three days. The UN report also contained an account of an 8- or 9-year old girl being raped openly in the hall by ISIL members in a Tal Afar school, where ISIL reportedly kept more than 100 small children. Many of the women enslaved by ISIL, according to the UN report, are forcibly married to ISIL fighters or sold as slaves in auctions. They are subjected to sexual and gender-based violence.

This is a brand of hatred that they want to export to Canada. This is what they are advocating for. These are the sickening values they champion, for which they will murder, for which they will behead. They have called for attacks in Canada on Canadians, which makes it very much our fight.

Through the terror network, ISIL has been able to obtain weaponry and heavy artillery. They use these heavy weapons to stake claim to a swathe of land across Iraq and into Syria within which they carry out their atrocities. They cannot be allowed to have a safe haven in Syria to carry out these atrocities freely without fear of repercussions.

This is why a humanitarian response, and if the official opposition members were to get their way, the only response, is not enough on its own.

Canada is punching above its weight in terms of humanitarian response. We are the world's sixth-largest donor for humanitarian aid to Syria, and we are the fifth-largest for Iraq. In fact, through our aid efforts, Canada has provided food for 1.7 million people in Iraq, and 1.26 million people in Iraq have received and relief supplies.

Over 500,000 children have received education opportunities. We are countering ISIL through our humanitarian efforts also, but this alone does not stop the brutal savagery of ISIL. That is why our approach to countering ISIL is both humanitarian and military. We are facing the threat head on and also doing everything in our power to provide help to their victims who desperately need it.

This is not an either/or scenario. In fact, we cannot protect Canada by failing to acknowledge these threats, turning our backs and simply continuing to provide aid to those affected by ISIL's growth and expansion. ISIL must be degraded to the point where they no longer represent a threat to Canada. They are a direct threat not only to regional and international security, but a threat to the very security of Canadians right here at home. Through our military response, through the work of the brave men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force, we are facing these threats head on and pulling our weight internationally. As Canadians, we have a moral obligation to our fellow men and women facing the onslaught of ISIL today, and a duty to protect Canadians from ISIL, who have declared war on us.

There is no splendid isolation in a troubled world, and that is why I encourage the opposition to vote in favour of this mission extension. Let us do the right thing. Let us get the job done.

Veterans March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government is keeping our pledge to strengthen support for Canada's veterans and their families.

Recently, the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced changes that will ensure the earning loss benefit is calculated in the same way for reserve force veterans as it is for regular force veterans.

This is about respect for reservists. This is also about families, as the families of our reserves will have the confidence of knowing they too will benefit in the event of their reserve veteran being seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.

Canada's reserves form a crucial component of our armed forces and served our country proudly in Afghanistan. Our Conservative government knows this change is just the right thing to do.

Business of Supply March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the presentation of my colleague and I would like a point of clarification. The member mentioned that California and New York banned microbeads. Is she sure about that?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are in a great country, a democratic country, and enjoy our freedoms and liberties. Unfortunately, some actions by people who live in our beautiful country are not in line with our history, our country and our democracy.

It is very important not to hide behind the words of barbarians, and there are barbarians in our country. We should look forward, develop legislation to replace outdate legislation, and implement it so we can evolve in the future and not go back to the past.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are not hiding behind words. I want to reiterate that the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act demonstrates that Canada's openness and generosity does not extend to early and forced marriage, polygamy, or other types of barbaric cultural practices.

Canada will not tolerate any type of violence against women nor girls, including spousal abuse, violence in the name of so-called honour, or other, mostly gender-based violence.

Those who are guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada's criminal law.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to participate in the second reading debate of Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.

I am sure that everyone in the House agrees that all people in Canada have the right to be free from violence and to reach their full potential. It is a sad reality, however, that there are people in Canada, principally women and girls, who are subjected to forced or early marriage. Prior to or within these marriages, the victims experience various forms of violence, and because of these marriages they are hindered in their ability to fully and successfully participate in our free and democratic society.

I would like to take this opportunity to focus my remarks today on the specific issues of early and forced marriage. An early marriage is a marriage that takes place before one or both individuals involved have reached the minimum legal age of marriage. International studies have shown that a girl married at an early age can face domestic servitude, as well as sexual and domestic violence. Girls are predominately the victims of child marriage, increasing the risk of violence and creating a significant barrier to achieving gender equality, as they are regularly forced to disrupt or abandon their education.

A forced marriage is considered to be a marriage that takes place without the free and enlightened consent of one or both individuals involved. As with early marriages, forced marriages are predominately perpetrated by the victim's own family members. The consequences of a forced marriage are numerous, including repeated sexual violence and possible physical assault and domestic servitude. We have seen tragic cases in Canada and around the world where individuals who have refused to enter into a marriage against their will, or who have left their forced marriage, have been brutally assaulted and even murdered by their family members.

Our government takes the safety and well-being of Canadians, particularly children, very seriously. It is firmly committed to protecting vulnerable Canadians from all types of violence and to holding perpetrators accountable for their acts. The zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act proposes important legislative measures to better prevent Canadians from being victimized by early or forced marriage. Changes to the Civil Marriage Act would set a new national minimum age for marriage at 16 years. It would formally entrench in federal law the existing requirements that each party to a marriage enter into it with their free and enlightened consent, and that any previous marriage must be officially dissolved before a new marriage is entered into.

There is currently no national minimum age below which a marriage is legally invalid. Under the Constitution, setting an absolute minimum age for marriage is a matter of federal jurisdiction, yet, apart from federal legislation that sets a minimum age of 16 years for marriages in Quebec, the minimum age elsewhere in Canada is set out in the common law or court decisions. Remarkably, this old common law sets the minimum age at 14 years for boys and 12 for girls. It is time that we modernize and set in legislation an absolute national minimum age of 16 years for marriages in Canada.

Many have questioned why this bill proposes an absolute minimum age of 16 years as opposed to 18 years. The short answer is that there are exceptional circumstances where a mature minor wishes to marry and has already engaged in a significant commitment with their partner, for instance, where they have a child in common. This approach is also consistent with the majority of like-minded countries that also have 16 years as an absolute minimum age for marriage, and 18 as the free age for marriage without any additional requirements for consent. Between the age of 16 years and the age of majority, either 18 or 19, depending on the jurisdiction, the provincial and territorial marriage acts provide additional safeguards to help protect young people from marriages that are not in their best interest.

Bill S-7 proposes an amendment to the Criminal Code so that it would be a criminal offence for anyone to solemnize a marriage, whether they have legal authority to do so or not, who does so knowing that one of the parties being married is under the age of 16 years or is marrying against their will. This is a pretty strong deterrent, and it would send a clear message that solemnizing this marriage is not only illegal under civil law but it is also a crime.

To complement the underage marriage offences, Bill S-7 also amends the provisions in the Criminal Code that set out the minimum age for sexual activity. As members will recall, in 2008 this government increased the minimum age of consent to sexual activities from 14 years to 16 years, with exceptions for those who are close in age and where the parties were married. Because there was no national minimum age of marriage at the time, the exception for married couples was retained.

I am proud to say that Bill S-7 will change that. Once this legislation is in force, it will be illegal to marry a person under the age of 16, which corresponds to the age of consent for sexual activity. There will no longer be a need for an exception where the victim is below the age of 16 and married to the accused.

The bill would also amend the Criminal Code to make clear that anyone who actively participates in a marriage ceremony with full knowledge that one or both of the participants is under the age of 16 or is marrying against their will may be criminally liable. This will not apply to a person who is merely present at the ceremony, even if they know that a party to the marriage does not consent. In order to trigger the criminal offence, the individual must play an active role in ensuring that the ceremony takes place while knowing that it involves a child under the age of 16 or a person who is being forced to marry against their will.

Moreover, there have been cases of Canadian children being taken abroad to be married at an early age and forced into a marriage. This is simply unacceptable. The bill would make it a crime for anyone to remove a child who is ordinarily resident in Canada from the country with the intent that the child be subjected to an underage or forced marriage abroad.

Finally, the bill would introduce a new peace bond in the Criminal Code, which would be available where there are reasonable grounds to fear that an underage or forced marriage will occur. The new peace bond would permit a court to impose conditions precluding the defendant from making arrangements related to the marriage of a potential victim, requiring him or her to surrender travel documents, and preventing him or her from leaving the country with a potential victim.

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration travelled across Canada, conducting round tables with various cultural communities, and participants told him that early and forced marriage is still a harsh reality in this country. While the opposition refuse to support this legislation, our government is taking a stand and making it clear: forced marriage, honour-based violence, or any other form of harmful cultural practices are unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Canada.

In closing, the bill would provide individuals, communities, and criminal justice system authorities with the tools that are needed to tackle these issues. I encourage all members of the House to support Bill S-7.

Public Safety March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned of a very troubling terrorist plot. An Islamic State-inspired extremist had plans to bomb the United States consulate in Toronto, as well as other buildings in the financial district. My constituents are very concerned that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies.

Could the Minister of Public Safety please update this House on measures that the government is taking to keep Canadians safe?