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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is regard.

Conservative MP for Flamborough—Glanbrook (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 6th, 2017

With regard to the call for proposals for government funding through Natural Resource Canada's Energy Innovation Program allocated for Clean Energy Innovation that closed October 31, 2016: (a) what criteria were used to select approved projects; (b) what projects received funding, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) type of project, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received; (c) what projects have been selected to receive funding in the future, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) type of project, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received; and (d) for each project identified in (b) and (c), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

Canadian Heritage October 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, something as significant as our Holocaust memorial in our nation's capital, which recognizes the catastrophic annihilation of six million Jews along with countless others, should be maintained year-round. The Liberals need to understand that this is necessary to demonstrate our commitment to remembering those whose lives were viciously snuffed out by the Nazis in the Holocaust, as well as our dedication to “never again”.

When will the minister just say yes and keep this hallowed landmark open year-round?

Criminal Code October 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I could address a number of things, like what I read this morning. The medical officer of Colorado said that one of the reasons Colorado had diminished negative aspects to its legalization was that prior to the legalization, it had a broad, expansive education program that went across the entire state. He also mentioned the legal age for marijuana in Colorado was 21. That is much different than here. It is three years earlier. There are also the negative effects on the brains of youth. Also, it certainly does not have a provision where someone 12 to 18 years old can have 10 grams in his or her possession.

With those things in mind, the member for Winnipeg Centre, a member of the government party, said that two-thirds of all fatalities could be traced back to alcohol consumption. Therefore, why would the Liberals rush something through that will only exacerbate fatalities in motor vehicle accidents?

Canadian Heritage October 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, many people worked hard for years to establish the National Holocaust Monument, including the Hon. Tim Uppal. Last week, the Prime Minister inaugurated it with a plaque of his own. However, his plaque fails to mention anti-Semitism or the Jewish people by name.

How could the Prime Minister permit such a glaring omission of reference to anti-Semitism and the fact that the millions of men, women, and children who were murdered were overwhelmingly Jewish? If we are going to stamp out hatred toward Jews, it is important to get history right.

Will the Prime Minister commit to correcting this profoundly obvious omission?

Community Gatherings in Flamborough—Glanbrook September 29th, 2017

Madam Speaker, in this the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canada, we celebrate the values that built this country and made it strong. I was very mindful of this at a few recent community gatherings in Flamborough—Glanbrook that honoured our history and looked to our future as a nation.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the 115th anniversary of the Rockton Women's Institute. The village of Rockton is the kind of place that embodies the values of community, duty, honour, and freedom that we celebrate at Canada's 150th. What is more, the event took place at the Beverly Township Hall. Its heritage legacy and the local history on display illustrated these values being handed down from generation to generation.

In a similar vein, I also attended the grand openings of the Grace Christian School in Millgrove and the Bellstone Christian School in Glanbrook. In both cases, hundreds of enthusiastic students and their parents celebrated the rights and freedoms to a faith-based education in Canada, recognizing the duty that education gives all of us to be good contributing members of our society. From what I saw throughout the riding, the future indeed looks bright for Canada past our 150th year.

Situation in Myanmar September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her work on the subcommittee as well as for the question.

Obviously there are a number of options we have that would have to be negotiated by the United Nations. I mentioned a protective force. Certainly if we did not have the capability of deploying a force that big, then certainly it should be a force that would allow humanitarian aid to get through. That would be a gauntlet-style force to make sure the supply lines can get through with not only food but also medicines and proper facilities for people to live in. Right now that is not happening.

Many of these people, as we heard in previous testimony from another colleague, are not concerned about the Burmese military killing them; they are going to starve to death anyway.

Situation in Myanmar September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his kind words. It has been an honour to serve with him on the Subcommittee on International Human Rights and to work as partners to try to bring about real change.

I am grateful for the question, because the discussion needs to happen at the Security Council. I think that the United Nations forces are very amenable to this kind of service, to being there as a protective force. The military does not answer to the government of Burma. They really take their own direction.

As I mentioned before, racism is endemic in Burma. The only way to end that is to make sure that there is protection for minorities—not just the Rohingya, but the broader minorities, although the Rohingya are the ones who are severely persecuted right now—and to demand that the Burmese government get to the table and negotiate a lasting peace for all of these minorities.

For the Rohingya, we must make sure they repeal the legislation that leaves them stateless and begin the process of re-identifying them and giving them proper credentials so that they can participate as any democratic citizen would in a free state.

Situation in Myanmar September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, at the outset I would like to thank my colleagues on the subcommittee for national human rights who have been seized with the issues in Burma, particularly the Rohingya, since 2012, as well as my colleague from Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, who was the former chair. He was actually the chair when we produced our first report in regard to Burma, or Myanmar.

For decades the military has ruled Burma and has sought to make the entire population ethnically, homogenously Burman, with Buddhism being the official state religion. Although there was room for optimism with the words that were coming out of Burma, some initial actions, along with favourable election results—in particular, the election of the honorary Canadian citizen Aung San Suu Kyi—there is sufficient evidence now that this may well be a well-orchestrated plan to get the western world on side, along with the accompanying dollars, without ever establishing an international standard of human rights or, for that matter, a real democracy.

I take exception to the government's response to our June 2016 report, entitled “Sentenced to a Slow Demise: The Plight of Myanmar's Rohingya Minority”. The notion that Burma has changed significantly is profoundly overly optimistic and flawed at best, and at worst it is purposely out of touch.

I will go farther. Without assigning blame to anyone specifically, I believe we were blinded by our optimism, our western hopes and dreams for the Burmese people, and did not see the very evident signs that the mechanisms were either put in place or kept in place to ensure that the ruling military class, along with its many supporters in the Rangoon Buddhist communities, would be the ones that profited from an image of a new democratization.

However, these benefits would never extend out to the broader population of the Kachin, the Chin, the Shan, the Wa, the Konkang, the Karen, the Karenni, the Kayan, or the Mon, all of which, it should be noted, have fought for their aspirations of autonomy within Burma and have a history of armed conflict against the Burmese state since 1948. Not so with the Rakhine and the Rohingya, with whom there is little history of armed conflict.

To my previous point, let us look at the evidence.

Many political prisoners still have no complete amnesty, as they were released under a statute that makes them susceptible to rearrest.

The military answers to no civilian authority, and the police continue to act much the same way, with unjustified detentions and with corruption running rampant.

The judiciary is still one of the most corrupt institutions in Burma and still gives jail sentences to citizens who show public dissent toward the government.

Extrajudicial killings, even for those close to the government, are also part of today's Burma. Human rights defenders are under constant threat in Burma. On January 29, 2017, Ko Ni, a Muslim lawyer known for his stance in favour of religious tolerance and a legal adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi, was assassinated on his way out of Rangoon airport.

Most Burmese minorities are not allowed to form political parties, and in the case of the Rohingya, they cannot even independently run for office.

Racism is rampant, systemic, and institutional, with only ethnic Burmans enjoying a modicum of rights and freedoms, which exist primarily in the capital of Rangoon.

Little to no effort has been made to have a free and fairly represented parliament. Instead, the constitution still holds that 25% of seats must be set aside for the military, virtually assuring that remnants from the former repressive regime always hold ultimate power. Such a structure ensures that there never will be a civilian democratic government.

There has been no move to correct any history of persecution of minorities. No peace talks have taken place to assure a lasting, durable peace amongst any of the minorities I listed above. Since 1962, statutory and administrative measures have continually eroded the rights of, in particular, the Muslim population, and there has been no attempt to repeal the abhorrent legislation that has left the Rohingya as the largest stateless group of individuals on the globe, sanctioning them to a continual state of poverty, uncertainty, and persecution.

Not only has this persecution continued against Burmese minorities, but in the case of the Rohingya it has reached the stage of ethnic cleansing. Such credible organizations such as Fortify Rights has said that it sees evidence on the ground that would support that the crime of genocide is taking place.

They are being persecuted so severely through violence, torture, rape, and murder that hundreds of thousands have fled to nearby Bangladesh.

I will read testimony that was given just days ago to the subcommittee for human rights. I would like to warn my colleagues that this is very graphic testimony. This is the testimony of Ahmed Ramadan. Although Mr. Smith did give you some description of how bad it is there, I wanted to share with everyone testimony that was submitted to the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal that is ongoing right now in Malaysia on this situation in Myanmar. This is one of the testimonies that was submitted. It is very graphic, but I want to show how serious, how bad, how horrifying the situation really is. The witness interviewed states:

My sister had just given birth in her house when the Myanmar soldiers came into the village. We all ran away, but my sister couldn't. I returned and found the dead bodies of my sister and her baby. They had taken off her clothes and cut into her vagina. They had cut off her breasts and put the dead baby on her chest. The baby had been stomped to death. Its stomach had burst open and its intestines had come out. They had put the breasts next to each other on the pillow beside her. She was lying in her bed. They had stuck a rifle in her vagina.

Next I would like to read from a document from the UNHCR, quoting a statement by seven special rapporteurs in regard to Myanmar. It states:

“There have been credible allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses committed against the Rohingya, including extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force, torture and ill-treatment, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced displacement, as well as the burning and destruction of over 200 Rohingya villages and tens of thousands of homes,” the experts said.

“We understand that State Counsellor Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi in her diplomatic briefing on 19 September had encouraged the international community to learn along with the Myanmar Government the possible reasons behind the current exodus from Myanmar to Bangladesh,” the experts said, noting that about 430,000 people had reportedly crossed into Bangladesh in the past few weeks.

The experts stressed: “No one chooses, especially not in the hundreds of thousands, to leave their homes and ancestral land, no matter how poor the conditions, to flee to a strange land to live under plastic sheets and in dire circumstances except in life-threatening situations. Despite violence allegedly perpetrated by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the whole Rohingya population should not have to pay the price.”

By the way, I really think that is a sham of a piece of evidence.

Finally, I am going to skip down the report because of time. The rapporteurs say:

“UN member states need to go beyond statements and start taking concrete action to stop the military and security forces from accomplishing their so-called ‘unfinished business’ of getting rid of the Rohingya minority from Rakhine State,” the experts concluded.

I would like to finish with this: all I am asking is for the Government of Canada to do exactly what the rapporteurs are saying and take action. Stop this violence right now. We have the capability, we have the political capital we have invested in Myanmar, and we should take every action, including threatening to cut off money.

By the way, there was a statement made earlier than no government-to-government money was made. Forty-two million dollars was given to the Burmese government in order to build democratic institutions. That should stop, and we should make it clear. Even in regard to the humanitarian aid, right now we are not allowed to deliver it. We need to make sure that any money that we put toward humanitarian aid is allowed to be spent to support the Rohingya needs, not only in Myanmar but also in Bangladesh.

God bless Canada and God bless Burma.

Anti-Semitism September 25th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, last week, Jewish people gathered with loved ones to celebrate their blessings during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. To all Canadians of Jewish heritage and descent, a belated Shana Tova.

This is a time not just for celebration, but also for reflection as Yom Kippur approaches. As I join in that reflection, I am troubled by the raft of aggressive acts of anti-Semitism that took place over the summer months. B.C., Manitoba, Quebec, and Ontario were home to hateful verbal attacks, graffiti on playgrounds and bike paths, social media threats, and anti-Semitic literature campaigns.

Anti-Semitism exists. It is on the rise. I ask all Canadians to be vigilant to combat it.

Tonight, all parliamentarians are invited to celebrate the high holidays and share in this reflection on Parliament Hill with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. Together we can and must stand in solidarity against the rise of anti-Semitism.

Lara Sweet September 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, tragically, this past summer we lost our beautiful daughter Lara at age 23. To members on both sides of the House who sent emails, cards, and flowers and attended the visitation and celebration of her life, please know that the thoughtfulness and support were a great comfort to Almut and I at a time of deep grief. On behalf the entire Sweet family, a very sincere “thank you” to the entire House.

Lara's struggle with mental health began at birth and continued until she left this Earth for a new life in heaven. In spite of her own battle, Lara reached out to an extraordinary number of young people with love, hope, and even resources, though her means were minimal. In doing so, Lara reframed my thinking on whether someone has to have it all together to assist others. Lara was the essence of the wounded healer.

I ask all in the chamber to be mindful of those who struggle with mental health. I encourage the government to continue to adequately fund the Canadian Mental Health Commission, and all Canadians to use its tools in time of need. I encourage everyone to be generous to the Canadian Mental Health Association and others who are deeply committed to the fight for mental wholeness.

To Lara, who will be greatly missed by all of us. God bless you.