House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was elections.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Toronto—Danforth (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the cogency with which he argued for the need for this committee or a similar process and for the analogy of the pre-budgetary hearings in the finance committee. That was particularly appropriate.

One Parliament does not have to think of itself as ending all study of an issue. We could end this in July, as it is proposed in the motion. Perhaps the committee could be mostly made up of MPs who have announced that they are not going to be running in the next election, which would give them more time.

The report could even take the form of something rough, such as an interim report, and then go to government, since ultimately we would need some kind of legislative response or a decision on legislation. Government could be working on it while the rest of us are doing other things to prepare for an October event that we all know about. That way, when the new House came back, things would be ready to pick up. It is not as if the two Parliaments have to be completely separate from each other.

I wonder if my colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood would like to comment on the possibility of putting these two parliamentary processes together. When we come back, we may well want to see government legislation at an early stage, after first reading as opposed to after second reading, and continue the process in that way.

Democratic Reform February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the unfair elections act is running into trouble in the courts, just as we knew it would and as expert testimony predicted. Provisions of this act are so problematic that two leading organizations are ready to ask for an injunction. There are sections of the unfair elections act that clearly infringe on charter rights.

Did the minister honestly believe that his flawed bill would go ahead without serious and expensive court challenges?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the importance of the legislation should speak to the need for us to be able to debate it and not to cut off debate.

I could not believe the disdain coming from the government House leader when he effectively said that one of his goals here was to cut off “tub-thumping” speeches. I have already spent dozens of hours reading and analyzing Bill C-51. I come from a background where I know a lot about security law. I will likely not get to speak to this bill. My constituents, and Canadians in general, will not have the benefit of the time I have spent on this and the knowledge I bring to the House in this area. That is a complete travesty and an affront to democracy.

A further affront that I see is that the government House leader is taking these questions, not the minister, who should be here to defend the bill. We all know, and we have already seen, that he does not even understand his own bill. It has been a travesty, listening to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, whose bill this is, when it is as clear as day that they do not know their own bill. Personally, I doubt that the minister has even read the entirety of his bill.

The time has come to speak up for what the government is doing to our democracy. It is not just one more affront in one more bill, it is undermining our entire parliamentary democracy on one of the most important bills to come before the House in the three years since I have been here.

Petitions February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to stand and present a petition of several hundred signatures to make sure that Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency do not approve a request for the genetically modified non-browning apple. This petition has been signed by many people in my riding under the leadership of the Big Carrot in Toronto—Danforth, which continues to lead the way in my riding for awareness of the problems of genetically modified products.

Committees of the House February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague whether he would like to comment on the fact that while this report, as I am glad to see, does mention that while rape is a weapon of war, clearly from time immemorial, almost, until the present, and is mostly a crime in which women and girls are the victims, we are becoming more and more aware of men and boys being the victims of rape in war as well.

I am wondering whether he would comment on my view that while this remains a hugely gendered crime and while it is still violence committed by men and the mindset of men dominating women that lead to rape by men—whether it is of girls, women, men, or boys—nonetheless we are going to have to get our minds around the fact that while focusing on women and girls, we cannot lose sight of the fact that men and boys are sometimes large-scale victims as well.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 18th, 2015

There's nothing in the bill about that.

Petitions February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I also rise to present a petition in support of my colleague's climate change accountability act, Bill C-619, the debate on which will start tomorrow. Signatures have been collected by Sharon Howarth from Toronto—Danforth.

I would like to note that the bill, if implemented, would lead the way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050. It is an act this country and the world desperately needs.

The Maple Leaf Forever February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in 1867, school principal Alexander Muir, living in what is now Toronto-Danforth's Leslieville, is said to have been inspired to write the poem The Maple Leaf Forever after a leaf fell onto his shoulder from a maple tree.

The great tree that legend says inspired that poem, later to become a song, was felled by lightning in 2013. However, it lives on through dozens of woodworking projects coordinated by the city of Toronto, including the new flag pole beside the Speaker's chair.

This song celebrating British war victories accelerated the spread of the maple leaf symbol to English-speaking Canada from its origins as a patriotic emblem in early 1800s Quebec, helping pave the way for the adoption of the single maple leaf as our flag's symbol of Canadian unity.

The song's lyrics have evolved as Canada has evolved. The most recent version was the winner of a CBC contest in 1997 to rewrite the song into something more inclusive, unifying and inspiring for a 21st century Canada.

Allow me to end by reading some lines from Vladimir Radian's 1997 lyrics:

Protect the weak, defend your rights,
And build this land together,
Above which shine the Northern Lights,
And the Maple Leaf forever!

Petitions February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from several hundred people from the greater Toronto area calling for support for Bill C-356, an act respecting a National Strategy for Dementia, which has been introduced by our colleague, the member for Nickel Belt.

Democratic Reform February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps spinning this new bill as somehow being about preventing fraudulent voting from abroad. We have seen this movie before. The reality is that the minister is creating new obstacles and new hoops to jump through that would make it exceptionally difficult for all Canadians abroad to vote in our elections, for no reason at all.

Can the minister provide a single scrap of evidence that Canadians voting from abroad are engaging in any form of cheating whatsoever?