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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

Taxation May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are directing money into the pockets of moms and dads across the country. We have increased the universal child care benefit to almost $2,000 for kids under six and to $720 for kids six to 17.

We know the Liberals want to take that money away. That is why they do not want Canadians to know about it in the first place. The Liberal leader said, “...benefiting every single family isn't what is fair.” We believe it is fair to benefit every single family and we will make sure that families reap those benefits.

Petitions May 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition signed by hundreds of Calgarians calling for a change in the law around drunk driving in memory of my constituent Francis Pesa, who was struck by a drunk driver on January 1, 2014, and died a few days later.

The petitioners ask Parliament to recognize the devastation caused by drunk driving, to respond by changing the definition of impaired driving causing death to that of vehicular manslaughter, and to attach minimum sentences upon conviction.

Drunk driving is a serious problem and requires serious sentences in response.

Taxation April 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, now that the Prime Minister has balanced the federal budget, our government is working to help hard-working families balance theirs.

That is why we are expanding the universal child care benefit to make it available to every single Canadian family with a child. However, there are up to 200,000 families who may not get the money that is owed to them if they do not apply. Across Canada, this represents millions of dollars in unclaimed benefits.

Families who are not currently receiving the universal child care benefit, who have never received the benefit, or who have never applied for the Canada child tax benefit and still have children under 18 in their care must apply.

It is important that they do so quickly because the deadline is tomorrow to apply and receive the benefit in July. To sign up, please go to Canada.ca/taxsavings. This money is owed to 200,000 families, and our Conservative government is working very hard to make sure that they get it.

Canada-India Relations April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as a proud Indo-Canadian and as a member of the international trade committee, I was very encouraged by the positive results for Canadian businesses from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bilateral visit to Canada last week.

Not only were 16 commercial agreements worth over $1.6 billion and six significant initiatives between Canada and India finalized, both Prime Ministers also agreed to complete the road map to finalize a comprehensive economic partnership agreement by September 2015. This agreement will significantly expand trade between Canada and India.

On behalf of 1.2 million Indo-Canadians, I would like to thank Prime Minister Modi for his visit, and thank our Prime Minister for extending Canada's hospitality. I am proud of our Prime Minister's leadership in strengthening Canada's relationship with India, and opening trade opportunities in this growing market of over 1.2 billion people.

Canada-India Relations March 31st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as the co-chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group, I am very pleased to see the excitement in our Indo-Canadian community on the upcoming visit of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is the first bilateral visit by India's Prime Minister in 42 years. It bodes well for continued Canada-India relations, both great Commonwealth democracies, as we move forward in the 21st century world. I commend our Prime Minister for his leadership in Canada's growing relationship with India, and I anticipate positive outcomes from this visit.

To welcome Mr. Modi, the Indo-Canadian community is organizing a huge event in Toronto. I want to thank the chairman, Dr. Azad Kaushik, the co-chairs, Ramesh Chotai and Deepak Ruparel, and their entire team for organizing an outstanding event.

Finally, I would like to wish all Indo-Canadians and those who are celebrating a very happy Vaisakhi 2015.

Public Transportation March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has always considered the safety and security of Canadians a priority and it is a responsibility we take very seriously. This extends to those who keep our communities moving, our transit workers.

There are roughly 2,000 reported assaults on public transit employees every year in Canada. Many of these attacks occur while the vehicle is in motion, putting public safety at grave risk. This is unacceptable.

Could the minister tell the House how our government has taken a stand against such unacceptable behaviour?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what this bill has to do with arranged and other marriages.

The Liberal Party does not want to talk about protecting women and girls who are forced to be married under age or are forced to live in polygamous relations. On this side it is very different.

The Liberal Party leader refuses to admit that these practices are barbaric. He believes the term is too harsh. It is another example that the Liberal Party does not stand for what is right, and as usual, refuses to stand up for victims.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member is referring to those spouses who are sponsored and are still under the conditional permanent resident status. Our government has taken action to protect vulnerable Canadians, particularly women and girls, from early and forced marriages and other harmful cultural practices.

I would remind the member that through the information for sponsored spouses and partners, we advise immigrant women that those who are subject to conditional permanent residency and who are victims of abuse or neglect do not have to remain in abusive situations. A brochure, created by CIC, also informs them how to contact CIC and others and where they can find help.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as everyone knows, the NDP refuses to take any action. Since we formed government, some 30 or so bills have been passed. I wonder if the member supported any of those bills, such as the bills that addressed issues to deal with criminals and give victims the rights they deserve.

On the other hand, we are very clear on this side that we will not tolerate any spousal abuse, so-called honour killing, or other gender-based violence in Canadian society. It is also very clear that polygamy is not allowed and must not be allowed on Canadian soil.

This is what the bill is all about, whether it be polygamy, honour killing, or spousal abuse. We on this side strongly believe that spousal abuse should not be allowed and that there should be consequences.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak during the debate on Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.

To begin, I would like to offer a bit of context. Five years ago, the Government of Canada introduced a new citizenship guide called Discover Canada, which is used by prospective new Canadians to learn about Canadian citizenship and to prepare for their mandatory citizenship test.

Since its introduction, the guide has proven to be popular not only with newcomers to Canada but also with many Canadians interested in learning about the rights and responsibilities that come with being a citizen of our great country.

One of the important points made explicit to all readers of Discover Canada is that men and women are equal under Canadian law. The guide states that:

Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, “honour killings,” female genital mutilation...or other gender-based violence.

Although the equality of men and women is not only the law but a fundamental Canadian value, unfortunately violence against women and girls continues to affect tens of thousands of Canadians each year. Barbaric cultural practices still exist as a reality for many Canadian women. The effects on victims are devastating and far-reaching, and they impact our children, homes, and communities.

In the most recent Speech from the Throne, the Prime Minister unambiguously committed to taking concrete steps to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in Canada. Bill S-7 is exactly such a step, and its passage will meet the throne speech commitment by helping to ensure that barbaric cultural practices, including underage and forced marriage, do not occur on Canadian soil.

If and when implemented, the measures in this bill would improve protection and support for vulnerable immigrants, especially women and girls, and indeed all Canadians in a number of different ways. They would render permanent and temporary residents inadmissible for practising polygamy in Canada. They would strengthen Canadian marriage laws by establishing a new national minimum age for marriage of 16 years old and by codifying the existing legal requirements for free and enlightened consent for marriage and for ending an existing marriage prior to entering another.

They would criminalize certain conduct related to underage and forced marriage ceremonies, including the act of removing a child from Canada for the purpose of such marriages. They would help protect potential victims of underage or forced marriages by creating a new specific court-ordered peace bond if there are grounds to fear someone would commit an offence in this area. They would ensure that the defence of provocation would not apply in so-called honour killings and many spousal homicides.

All of these proposed amendments are practical and effective measures that would strengthen the protection of vulnerable individuals in Canada and help address the problems stemming from harmful cultural practices.

In my remaining time, I would like to elaborate on some of these measures. I will start with those that address the practice of polygamy.

While it is against the law in Canada to practise polygamy or to enter into a polygamous union and while that ban has been upheld as constitutional, such is not the case everywhere in the world. Indeed, some newcomers to Canada come from countries where polygamy is legal and culturally acceptable.

To complement existing criminal law and prevent polygamy on Canadian soil within the immigration context, Bill S-7 would create a new inadmissibility in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for anyone practising polygamy in Canada. This would enhance existing immigration tools to render both temporary and permanent residents inadmissible for practising polygamy in Canada, regardless of whether there is a criminal conviction or misrepresentation.

I will now turn my attention to measures in Bill S-7 that would address the problem of early and forced marriage by amending the Civil Marriage Act.

It may surprise some to know that Canada has no national minimum age for marriage. It is only in federal law, applicable in Quebec, that the minimum age is set at 16 years old. In other parts of Canada common law applies, and as such, the minimum age is 14 for boys and 12 for girls, although historically it went as low as age seven. Bill S-7 would set a national minimum age of 16 years old for marriage, which would make it clear that underage marriage is unacceptable in Canada and will not be tolerated.

Other amendments to the Civil Marriage Act proposed in Bill S-7 would codify the requirement that those getting married give their free and enlightened consent to the marriage and would codify the requirement for the dissolution of any previous marriage.

Bill S-7 would also help prevent forced or underage marriage by amending the Criminal Code to criminalize actions that are deliberately taken for the purpose of helping such marriages occur and would create a new peace bond that would give courts the power to impose specific conditions on an individual when there are reasonable grounds to fear that a forced marriage or a marriage under the age 16 would otherwise occur.

Finally, measures in Bill S-7 would also amend the Criminal Code to address honour killings as well as other spousal homicides so that lawful conduct by a victim can no longer be legally considered as a provocation that reduces the seriousness of the murder. This would not only prevent the defence of provocation from being raised in cases of honour killings but would also bring our criminal law in line with Canadian values, which hold people responsible for their murderous rage even where they were verbally insulted or otherwise had their feelings hurt by some lawful conduct of the victim before the killing.

The opposition to this bill is unfounded. The NDP member for Parkdale—High Park suggested that the government give more resources to front-line agencies. Is the member opposite even aware that since 2006, under this government, settlement funding has been tripled from below $200 million to almost $600 million?

In fact, in the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, we heard settlement organizations ask us to give them more tools to help with so-called honour-based violence. It is clear that while the NDP refuses to take any action, our government is taking steps to ensure that so-called honour-based violence does not continue on Canadian soil.

The Liberal Party refuses to even admit that these practices are barbaric. The leader of the Liberal Party believes that the title is too harsh. Here is another example of the Liberal Party not standing up for what is right. As usual, it refuses to stand up for victims.

The zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act is an important piece of legislation that would send a clear message to individuals coming to this country that harmful and violent traditions are unacceptable in Canada.

I hope all hon. members will support this bill at second reading.