House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Scarborough Southwest (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Education February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on February 6, I was delighted to welcome over a hundred students and teachers from St. Maria Goretti Catholic School during their visit to Parliament Hill. I had the distinct privilege of bringing them into this chamber, the very heart of our democracy and their Parliament. I hope they found the visit inspiring.

Their organizing teacher, Mr. Rawle Biran, who has organized trips to Ottawa with his students for the past decade, will be retiring at the end of this year. Mr. Biran is a teacher who strives to enshrine in his young students a sense of their civic duties, their rights, and their responsibilities.

I believe it is important to recognize the contributions of Mr. Biran and teachers like him, in the education and development of our young citizens. They often work long hours, with little recognition, to ensure that future generations are well-equipped to succeed in our evolving world.

I call upon all to applaud Mr. Rawle Biran and teachers like him for their years of service and to express our best wishes to them when they take their well-deserved retirements at the end of the school year.

Points of Order February 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, certainly if anyone was offended by anything I might have shouted out in the House, I sincerely apologize. It is very difficult to keep a cool head when the Conservatives continuously boast about a million more Canadians being—

Canadian Flag February 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on February 15, 1965, for the last time, the Canadian Red Ensign bearing the Union Jack and the shield of the Royal Arms of Canada was lowered. Then, on the stroke of noon, our maple leaf was raised for the first time.

Words spoken then still ring true today, “The flag is the symbol of the nation's unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief or opinion”.

It flutters above government buildings, businesses, schools, homes, diplomatic missions and our Parliament. It is worn on the uniforms of our proud armed forces, who defend our Canadian values and our future.

Symbolizing peace and acceptance, our flag is respected the world over. Let it forever be a beacon of hope and a symbol to us, as Canadians, to strive for greatness.

On February 15, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag. May it continue to fly over our great nation strong and free.

Opposition Motion—Job Creation February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member is right. There is a lot of rhetoric here. The rubber meets the road when one votes. The part that those members keep forgetting to mention is that all of the policies we voted against were part of omnibus budget bills. They were a part of bills that contained some really erroneous and terrible things for Canadians, whether it was degrading environmental protections, cuts to assistance and to services on which Canadians rely or cuts to veterans services.

The member talked about how the rate of unemployment in his neck of the woods was low, but my area of Scarborough is a totally different story. Our unemployment rates are the highest we have ever had. The manufacturing sector in my riding in particular has been absolutely eviscerated. I am speaking of an area called the Golden Mile, which over many years has lost a GM van plant, Alcan, Thermos and Eaton's. General Electric used to be there as were John Inglis and Frigidaire. The auto manufacturing sector has also lost opportunities because of the Conservative government with the Ford engine. GM is pulling out of Oshawa again.

Conservative policies have led to more unemployed Canadians now than there were before the recession, at 1.3 million. Half of all employed people in Toronto are in precarious positions and half of the unemployed cannot even get EI.

Why do the Conservatives not start fixing things by supporting today's motion, which endorses good public policy?

Pipeline Safety Act January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her response for the Conservative member. It is nice to see the Conservatives seem to finally be remembering that there is a manufacturing sector in Canada. For many years it was one of the leaders of our economy and certainly could be again with the right kinds of decisions made. However, unfortunately the government chose to pick one resource, one part of the country and one part of our economy to the exclusion of everything else, putting all of our economic eggs in one basket, in a boom-or-bust basket to boot.

I also want to thank the member for bringing up U.S. Steel Canada Inc. in her riding. Changes to the Investment Canada Act would certainly improve what happened there.

The member talked about confidence and certainty. Businesses, like Canadians, need to have confidence and certainty in order to make investments and the right decisions that will bring well-paying jobs to Canada.

It is interesting that we are dealing with liabilities now, when the actual regulation of pipelines and the safety and security of them is a complete and total mess. The government eviscerated the navigable waters act, which prevented many improvements from happening when future pipelines would cross rivers, streams and bodies of water, in some cases not even requiring stop valves on either side of the river.

Would this bill perhaps not be putting the cart before the horse, where we need to fix the regulations so we can have certainty before we can figure out what kind of problems we will have?

Maybe the member can comment on any of the great number of things I just brought up.

New Democratic Party of Canada December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, under the Conservative government, Canada has lost over 400,000 jobs. Employment growth has been less than 1%. Youth unemployment is at 13%, and yet all they gave us this year were more omnibus bills, more shutting down of debate, and more ethical scandals. The Prime Minister will not even meet with provincial leaders.

That is why more and more Canadians are counting on the NDP to take on the Conservatives every single day. We fought for fair elections, even when the Liberals were ready to fold. We fought against the Conservatives on the war in Iraq. Day in and day out, we held them to account on corruption, on their job-killing policies, and on their mistreatment of our veterans.

Better days lie ahead. We are only one election away from change, with an experienced leader who will fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage and $15 a day child care.

This new year, let us resolve to toss these Conservatives to the curb.

Demetrios Diplaros December 9th, 2014

Mr Speaker, last Friday I had the honour and the privilege of attending a rededication ceremony in my riding at Corvette Junior Public School.

The ceremony was held to honour the memory of Private Demetrios Diplaros, a member of the 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment, who was killed in Afghanistan by an lED shortly after his 24th birthday on December 5, 2008. Private Diplaros was a former student at Corvette Junior Public School, and a special plaque will now hang in his honour in the school's hallways. This plaque will help to ensure that future generations never forget this brave young man and his sacrifice on our behalf.

I want to thank Kathleen and Jerry for raising such a brave young man. He personified the very best qualities Canadians have to offer. I also want to thank the Royal Canadian Legion Oakridge Branch 73 and the members of the Toronto Police Services 41 Division for organizing and hosting this important event.

Our women and men in uniform stand always ready to defend us. I will always remain committed to improving services for veterans and to making Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will follow up on my colleague's question, because the parliamentary secretary never actually answered the question about whether the Conservatives thought it was a good idea to be spending a half a billion dollars to create 800 jobs.

The more important question is this. Why did the Department of Finance not do its own research into the benefits of that program, and left it to the lobbyists to decide for it?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have a fairly simple question, because the issue of pay-to-pay has certainly come up. The New Democrats have been pushing for the elimination of pay-to-pay for years, so this is actually one small element that we like.

However, the Conservatives have gone and given the banks an exemption to this policy, and they have not explained yet why. I wonder if the member would perhaps be able to explain why the Conservatives decided to give the banks a free ride with respect to the ability to charge people to receive paper bills.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for that great speech. He brought up some very good points.

I was banging my head against the desk about the fact that the government did not actually look into the numbers with respect to the EI holiday. It simply relied on the group that was lobbying it to make the change to provide all the statistics. It is just mind-boggling that the government would do that.

I wanted to bring up the issue of pay to pay, which is near and dear to many of my constituents, people who are on fixed incomes and who are being charged $2, $3, and $4 just to get their paper bills. It is great to see the government finally moving on this. Of course, the NDP, especially with the work of the member for Davenport, has been trying to convince the government to make this change for almost three years now. However, why would the government slip in an exemption for the banks? It makes absolutely no sense that the government would say that it is going to cut this practice out but is going to let the banks do it.

I just want to ask my colleague if maybe he has some ideas about why the government might have done that.