House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was citizenship.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Calgary Northeast (Alberta)

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

Statements in the House

Interparliamentary Delegations June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of reports to table today.

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to this House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association respecting its election observation mission to Exeter, Glasgow East, Watford, and Wirral West, United Kingdom, from May 2 to 10, 2015.

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I also have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association regarding its participation at the workshop on parliamentary codes of conduct, held in Melbourne, Australia, from April 8 to 10, 2015.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will cite a couple of quotes and then I will ask a question.

On November 18, 2014, a victim herself, Aruna Papp, said, in committee:

I commend the government for its leadership in taking a stand on a very difficult issue and for defending the human rights of vulnerable women unable to speak for themselves.

On November 26, 2014, Taima Al-Jayoush, a Montreal-based human rights lawyer, said that when we describe a crime as barbaric, we are simply calling it what it is. No one should identify with it except the ones who have committed such a crime. It is not directed at any certain community.

My question for the Minister of Status of Women is this: when she meets with groups and individuals in her role as minister, what is the feedback she receives on this particular bill?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where to start. The 13 dark lost years of the Liberal regime created a mess in immigration. There were backlogs.

Of course, there is plenty of legislation that is very important. We have to deal with all of it, and we are still dealing with it, and we intend to deal with a lot more.

In those 13 years, as I said, immigration was made so messy that there was a backlog of more than 800,000 people.

When my colleague talks about family reunification, I would ask him to do some research. This is the government that broke the record of the last 50 years to bring the maximum number of immigrants in one year. This is the government that introduced the super visa for parents and grandparents. This visa is issued for 10 years to parents and grandparents and they can stay here for longer periods. They can come and go back, and come and go back.

That is what the government has done. I agree with the member that there is a lot of work to be done, and a lot more will be done.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government's intention is to make sure that young people and children, women and girls in this case, are educated about there being clear laws and protections. There is no intention to separate the parents and the children here.

The zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act would send a very clear message to those coming to Canada that forced marriages, honour-based violence, or any other form of harm through cultural practices are unacceptable in Canada.

Let me share what another victim said at committee. Lee Marsh was a victim of underage forced marriage, so she has experience with this. I commend her bravery for coming out in public to share what she went through. On April 23, she said:

If I had known that what my mother was doing was against the law, I might have felt more able to say no. It would have given me an out to say, “But you can't do this. It's against the law.”

That is why it is very important that a law is in place, so that young people are aware of it and they can stand up and tell their own parents or other relatives that it is against the law and they should not do it.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act. Before I do that, I would like to inform the House that I will be splitting my time with the member for Mississauga South.

The amendments contained in Bill S-7 would improve protection and support for individuals at risk, especially women and girls, including in the following ways: establishing a new national minimum age for marriage at 16 years; codifying the existing legal requirement for free and enlightened consent for marriage; codifying the requirement of ending an existing marriage prior to entering a new one; criminalizing certain conduct related to underage and forced marriage ceremonies, including the act of removing the child from Canada for the purpose of such marriage ceremonies; creating specific preventive court ordered peace bond when there are grounds to fear that someone is at risk of underage or forced marriage; and ensuring that the defence of provocation would not apply in so-called honour killings and many spousal homicides.

In my speech today I would like to focus on the measures in Bill S-7, which would require a minimum age for marriage, free and informed consent to marry and dissolution of prior marriages before new marriages.

I will start by highlighting the fact that there is currently no national minimum age for marriage in Canada. We therefore need to modernize and clarify marriage legislation applicable across Canada.

This area of law is very confusing to many people because they assume that a minimum age for marriage already exists.

Setting the absolute minimum age for marriage is a matter of federal jurisdiction, however, there is currently only one piece of federal legislation with a minimum marriage age and it only applies in Quebec. The Federal Law—Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1, which reconciles Quebec's unique civil law at the provincial level with common law at the federal level, sets age 16 as the minimum age for marriage in Quebec.

For the other common law provinces, the case law is extremely old in this regard, which causes some confusion. In general, the common law is interpreted as age 14 for boys and age 12 for girls.

Setting a national minimum age of 16 years old for marriage would establish a consistent standard across the country and would make it clear that Canada would not permit underage marriage.

I would also like to clarify that the national absolute minimum age for marriage is a separate legal concept from the provincial jurisdiction to legislate on minimum age pertaining to the conditions of celebration of a marriage. Existing territorial and provincial marriage law will continue to contain protections for children between the new minimum age for marriage and the age of majority, usually set by the province or territory at age 18 or 19.

In the exceptional circumstances in which a child under the age of majority is mature enough to marry, these provincial and territorial laws currently require parental consent, and in some instances also the consent of a judge, to ensure that the child fully understands the legal consequences of marriage.

Bill S-7 also proposes to amend the Civil Marriage Act to codify the requirement of free and enlightened consent to marry and codifying the requirement for the dissolution of any previous marriage.

At the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, we had the opportunity to hear from numerous witnesses. Lawyer Kathryn Marshall explained why it was important that we codify the national minimum age. She told the committee that the common law was very open to interpretation and that our government was taking an important step by codifying the legal requirements. We also heard from a lot of witnesses.

The committee had the opportunity to listen to victims of such marriages, victims like Aruna Papp, whose name has already been mentioned in previous comments and speeches. She said:

I commend the government for its leadership in taking a stand on a very difficult issue and for defending the human rights of vulnerable women who are unable to speak for themselves. I'm thrilled to support this bill.

There are numerous others. We talked with lawyer Kathryn Marshall on April 23. She said:

With the passage of this bill, Canada will be joining other nations that have taken a strong stance against forced and child marriage by making it illegal. It is important this law include criminal consequences for people who organize, participate in, pressure, and facilitate child marriage and marriage without consent. It is often the pressure from family and community that is forcing these young women and girls to engage in these marriages.

I have been a member of the committee for some time. I mentioned the peace bond in my previous comment to a question asked by my colleague from the NDP. The legal requirement that any previous marriage must be dissolved prior to a new marriage would now apply nationally to all Canadian residents. Also, family members and others would be subject to prosecution where they actively and knowingly participate in a forced or early marriage ceremony by transporting unwilling or underage daughters to the ceremony or acting as a legal witness. A person who knowingly performs a forced marriage or early marriage ceremony, would also be subject to prosecution.

Our government is taking strong steps to ensure no young woman or girl is a victim of early or forced marriage. I heard a couple of previous speakers from the NDP. There was a lot of misinformation. I honestly wish that on sensitive issues like this, we would all work together, instead of making out that government bills are all part of the Conservative agenda, but even if it is part of the Conservative agenda, what is wrong with getting a good agenda out and helping Canadians?

I urge all my colleagues from all parties to please support the bill. Let us protect those who need protection.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the previous question, when my colleague from the NDP asked if we would be forcing parents to be deported, et cetera. I want to clarify something on that.

There is a measure in this bill that where there are reasonable grounds to believe a person will specifically aid or participate in the forced or early marriage ceremony involving someone else, for example, a child, or will take a young person out of Canada for the purpose of a forced or early marriage ceremony abroad, that individual could be brought to the court and ordered to enter into a peace bond. That provision is there.

Therefore, to fearmonger, saying that the parents will be deported, is not the right approach.

Coming back to that, my colleague talked about some representation from Muslims Facing Tomorrow appearing before the status of women committee. Let me this share with her. On May 5, Raheel Raza from Muslims Facing Tomorrow said, in our immigration committee, of which I am a member:

The fact that the bill uses the word “barbaric” is extremely important because the abuse that is perpetuated against women under the banner of honour-based violence is nothing less than barbaric. Therefore, my organization totally supports the bill in its intent to eradicate barbaric practices.

I would like to hear from my colleague on that.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 12th, 2015

With regard to government funding in the riding of Calgary Northeast, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusively: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group, broken down by (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency providing the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline of the press release?

Member for Calgary Northeast June 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank the residents of Calgary Northeast for giving me the honour of representing them for the past seven years. I also want to thank my parliamentary colleagues who are not seeking re-election for their public service.

Throughout this time our Conservative government has accomplished a great number of things, like lowering taxes, balancing the budget, opening new markets, strengthening the immigration system, protecting the value of Canadian citizenship by stripping it from convicted terrorists, investing in infrastructure, expanding the universal child care benefit, and the list goes on.

However, it would not be possible without the feedback, support, passion and dedication from community leaders and members.

As the Conservative candidate for the new riding of Calgary Skyview, I look forward to receiving the continued support from the community in upcoming election and I will definitely miss my brother from a different mother.

Citizenship and Immigration June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Calgary Northeast and constituents across Canada were pleased to see regulations concerning citizenship revocation come into force.

We all know that Canadian citizenship is incredibly valuable and incredibly valued by people all across the world.

Would the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration please explain to the House how these new regulations will protect the safety and security of Canadians from those who would seek to harm us?

National Defence June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we all know that the genocidal death cult ISIS has declared war on Canada and specifically called for attacks on Canadians. Instead of addressing ISIS as the cause of their suffering, the leader of the Liberal Party wants to send blankets to its victims. This problem will not go away if we simply sit on the sidelines.

On behalf of my constituents of Calgary Northeast, I want to say thanks to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. Just yesterday, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck an ISIS fighting position south of Haditha in Iraq. On Tuesday, two other CF-18 Hornets struck two ISIS fight positions near Mosul. These strikes are part of our continued mission to degrade lSIS until it no longer represents a threat to Canada.