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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was support.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for King—Vaughan (Ontario)

Lost her last election, in 2021, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Intergovernmental Relations May 15th, 2019

Madam Speaker, this is not the first time we have talked about this matter in the House. However, I would like to reiterate it in English.

The minister has made it clear that the transfer of administration from the federal tax system to Revenu Québec would have significant impacts on the human resources of the CRA. We need to think about the people, the people who work day after day at the CRA. Their work is essential to maintaining the integrity and fairness of our Canadian tax system.

We must take into account the potential impacts on more than 5,500 employees of the CRA who work in Quebec. These people work in 14 offices across the province, including the National Verification and Collections Centre in Shawinigan and the Jonquière Tax Centre. Let us not forget the vast majority of these jobs are permanent and well-paying. Jobs like these help stimulate the economy of various regions in Quebec.

Let us say that we would transfer the tax administration from the federal system to Quebec. Could Revenu Québec really absorb all of the people currently employed? I am taking the liberty to cast serious doubt on this. I will elaborate.

The Conservatives claim that there would be no job losses and that Revenu Québec could certainly hire a large number of people, especially all the people whose work relates directly to the administration of the income tax and benefit returns of Quebeckers. However, even a transfer of some personnel to Revenu Québec would leave many people out in the cold.

Premier Legault admitted it himself, that if the Government of Canada transferred its tax administration in Quebec to Revenu Québec, there would certainly be job losses. This would be a headache for these people and their families, which would perhaps have to move to another region or even another province. It would be a logistical headache since a game of musical chairs would have to be orchestrated in the field. As well, it would be a financial headache since all of that would not be without cost.

Also, let us not forget the potential impact it would have for Canadian taxpayers across the country.

Currently, the federal government, nine provinces and three territories have harmonized their definition of income and have a single tax return administrated by the federal government. This is the simplification and the savings for which Quebec is looking. Quebec has different definitions, different rules and different exemptions. For a single tax return in Quebec, a choice has to be made. Either Quebec adopts Canada's definitions or Canada adopts Quebec's definitions.

What are the Conservatives trying to achieve? What are their true intentions?

On May 6, a symposium took place, organized by academics from the Université de Sherbrooke. After a whole day of discussions, invited experts came to a strong conclusion that the issue was far more complex than it had been presented and proposed by the Conservatives. They concluded that if Quebec's aim for this proposal was to save money, then the advantage for Quebeckers would be to have one single tax return administered by the CRA, like in all other provinces in Canada.

Jewish Heritage Month May 13th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, last year, Bill S-232, sponsored by the member for York Centre, passed unanimously in the House and designated May as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month. By enacting this law, Parliament has provided Canada's Jewish community much-deserved recognition.

My riding of King—Vaughan is home to a vibrant and diverse Jewish community. Like Jews throughout Canada, the Jewish community in my riding has contributed immensely to growing a dynamic, successful and inclusive society.

In this disturbing period of rising anti-Semitism, it is right and just that all of us, whatever our faith, both recognize and celebrate the contributions Jews have made to Canada, but also work to support and defend our Jewish neighbours, friends and institution, not only this month but every month.

During Jewish Heritage Month, I want to pay particular attention to the good work undertaken by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee, both of which work hard to educate politicians, students and community leaders on the issues of importance to Israel, Canada and the Jewish people.

Let me conclude by wishing everyone, chodesh tov.

Ban on Shark Fin Importation and Exportation Act May 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking Senator Mike MacDonald, from Nova Scotia, for introducing this bill, Bill S-238, in the Senate and the many parliamentarians who have been involved in getting it to this second reading in the House.

There probably is no one here today who would not recoil in disgust if they saw, as I have, the photos of line after line of shark fins spread out to dry in the sun. The waste captured in just one photograph is immense. So too is the suffering these sharks endured, casually tossed back into the sea to die a cruel death. The capacity of man to view himself apart from nature, taking what he wants without thought as to the consequences or the impact on other species, is on display in these obscene photos of shark fins stacked for drying.

My riding of King—Vaughan is blessed with many wonderful features. However, we do not have an ocean. That does not stop my residents from caring about this issue. I have received many emails and letters demanding that we do something to better manage and protect ocean species and aquatic ecosystems and to stop shark finning.

This issue was brought to my attention not only by my residents but by my son, who has recently graduated with a marine biology degree from Dalhousie. It seems that I am talking about marine ecosystems wherever I go, and the talk often is not uplifting. However, being aware of this destruction and being revolted by specific acts like shark finning is not enough. We collectively have to act when we can and where we can to create a better world.

Others more knowledgeable than I am can speak to the crucial role top predators play in maintaining ecological balance. Others will surely raise that some species of sharks or some populations of sharks are in dangerous decline. Those are important matters to consider, but rather than those issues, I would like to take my time to consider how shark finning sits discordantly with a couple of important Canadian values and traditions.

First is the characteristically Canadian value of being prudent with our resources, including wildlife resources, and avoiding overuse or wasteful practices. We do not always get the balance right, but we aspire to. When Canadians have harmed our environment, most often it has been due to inadequate knowledge or understanding rather than wanton disregard or blind destruction driven by greed. Shark finning, it seems to me, not only is incompatible with Canadian values but is incredibly wasteful.

Second is the role Canada has always played as a middle power, punching above our weight and helping to make a better world beyond our borders.

Opponents of Bill S-238 have said that the bill is unnecessary, that Canada, as a condition of granting fishing licenses, has already long prohibited the finning of sharks in Canadian waters. On this point, let me begin by noting that sharks do not know where our boundaries are. In the vast ocean, sharks swim back and forth from protected to unprotected waters on any given day, so any law preventing sharks from being finned in Canada's exclusive economic zone does not prevent this abhorrent practice from taking place. Therefore, Bill S-238 is not about protecting sharks within Canadian waters. It is about protecting sharks outside of Canadian waters from being caught and finned to service a demand created by people within Canada willing to import these shark fins for human consumption.

As others have noted, Canada currently is a significant and growing market for shark fins imported from abroad, with about 170,000 kilograms of shark fins imported annually. Canada is a small country, population-wise, but as a major shark fin importer, we have a huge negative impact on the health of the world's sharks. The hypocrisy of protecting sharks in Canadian waters from this wasteful and cruel fishing practice, only to import shark fins harvested in this same manner from elsewhere, is not consistent with our values, especially for a nation that prides itself on environmental leadership.

Nevertheless, arguments against a total ban on shark fin imports have been raised based on Canada's international trade obligations. The potential legal issue is whether the legislation provides a satisfactory distinction between fins obtained sustainably and those obtained via the cruel and wasteful practice of finning. The difference, it seems to me, is whether the whole shark is used or whether just the fins are used. These issues are not unresolvable and have been addressed in the bill and likely are resolvable through further regulation.

Surely there are some species of shark in such endangered states that no imports should be allowed for conservation reasons, whether the entire shark has been harvested and used or just the fins.

For species of shark with demonstrably healthy populations, a rigorous track-and-trace system could be employed to demonstrate that the fins were derived from a shark sustainably harvested and used in its totality rather than just the fins. Of course, the onus of providing adequate tracking and tracing should rest with the importer of such fins.

Moving forward, it seems it is finally time to take action regarding this abhorrent and wasteful practice of shark finning. Given the devastation being experienced in the world's oceans and the collapse of many of the world's largest fish species, we need to ensure sustainable fishing practices are in place to protect our ocean ecosystems and our apex ocean species.

I look forward to seeing this bill move through the process quickly and getting the bill passed as soon as possible.

Asian Heritage Month May 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, today begins Asian Heritage Month in Canada. This provides an opportunity for everyone to learn about the history of Canada's Asian immigrants and their descendants and to celebrate their many contributions to our country. This includes the growing Asian community in my riding of King—Vaughan and in York Region.

One such celebration is the Taste of Asia Festival, organized by the City of Markham, the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham and the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada and supported by many organizations and businesses. Over 180,000 people attended last year and enjoyed cultural performers, culinary artists and artisans.

One cannot speak of the festival without mentioning Dr. Ken Ng, a family physician, a community leader, chairman of the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham and the founder and chairman of the Taste of Asia Festival.

I invite people to come and tickle their taste buds and meet Dr. Ng and his wonderful wife, Emily, tonight at the Taste of Asia reception in Room 7-52 at 131 Queen Street from 5 p.m. to 7p.m.

Let us all kick off Asian Heritage Month together tonight.

Black History Month March 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in February we recognize and celebrate the rich history of black Canadians, and in my riding of King—Vaughan, we have much to celebrate.

I want to express my gratitude to VACA and TACCA, for supporting and strengthening our communities and showcasing our black leaders. This past weekend, we had our Black History Month celebration at Vaughan City Hall and again I am inspired by the artists and speeches. The women showcased at the event were exceptional.

This leads me to another important day, March 8, International Women's Day, to recognize the important contributions women have made and are making to our country and around the world. Let me combine the two by highlighting an artist featured at our Black History Month celebration, Nadine Williams, who is here today. She is a poet, author and educator. At the event, she read one of her powerful poems, Rooted, which ends with “We belong. We are strong. We are rooted. We are free to grow. We are home.”

This is a vision all Canadians can share.

Men's Health February 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize one of my constituents in King—Vaughan, a former school principal and a father of five. He is known as the ultimate hockey dad, despite knowing nothing about the sport when he first moved to Canada from Jamaica in the 1970s, because Karl Subban and his wife Maria raised three sons, P.K., Malcolm and Jordan, who were all drafted into the NHL.

Indeed, Mr. Subban was so focused on helping his children, including two daughters, succeed that he sometimes overlooked his own health. At the age of 40, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This health scare and his own journey to become healthier were important factors in his decision to become a voice for men's health, and he was recognized in 2018 as a Canadian Men's Health Foundation champion.

Through a new awareness campaign, Don't Change Much, the foundation is inspiring men and their families to lead healthier lives using lifestyle programs to encourage small changes that will have a big impact on their health. Let us all remember to inspire our dads to take small steps to improve men's health. In fact, they do not have to change much.

Remembrance Day November 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the eighth annual poppy campaign by Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada, supporting the Royal Canadian Legion under the banner “Muslims for Remembrance Day”. This nationwide campaign is a demonstration of Ahmadiyya Muslim support and respect for our veterans and troops and for all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep Canada strong and free.

Ahmadis are assisting the Royal Canadian Legion in distributing poppies and collecting donations. On November 9, at the beautiful Baitul Islam Mosque in my riding and at chapters all across Canada, Ahmadiyya Muslim communities will come together for a ceremony of remembrance. Members of the Ahmadiyya community have expressed to me how important it is to remember the brave soldiers who fought for our freedom and for those still fighting for peace around the world, especially on this very special 100th anniversary of the armistice.

I would like to thank the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in my riding and all across Canada for its support of our troops and veterans and for its commitment to never forget.

Lest we forget.

Petitions October 2nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition calling on the House of Commons to pass legislation to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, or CEPA for short, without delay. It was initiated by Kerry Mueller from Waterloo, Ontario, and the petitioners are calling for stronger protections from toxic exposures, enforceable national air quality standards and the recognition of a basic right to a healthy environment.

The petition is signed by more than 11,000 people from every province and territory in Canada, and is one of the biggest e-petitions on environment protection to date. The petition reinforces the key recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to strengthen and modernize CEPA and to demonstrate its broad public support for prioritizing legislative action on these important issues.

In June, after this petition was launched, the government committed to reforming CEPA, agreeing with many of the committee's recommendations, and I look forward to seeing much progress on modernizing CEPA in the near future.

National Seniors Day October 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, today is National Seniors Day, a day when Canadians are invited to celebrate the older adults in their lives.

Here on the Hill, our Minister of Seniors has organized a series of round tables to enable stakeholders to discuss seniors issues and explore ways to ensure that federal government programs and services respond to Canada's aging population.

Our nation's seniors have created the framework for our country's success and have helped build the open, diverse and compassionate society we all enjoy today. With the number of seniors projected to reach 10 million by 2036, it is vital that we support their needs. By investing in seniors, we are investing in the well-being and prosperity of Canada.

I would like to invite all those in the House to attend the National Seniors Day reception tonight from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in room 216, Centre Block, with refreshments provided by CARP, the Canadian Association of Retired People.

Let us all celebrate our seniors today and every day.

Committees of the House June 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, titled “Better Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future”.

I wish to thank all the members of the committee and all the witnesses for the hard work in putting this together.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.