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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is products.

NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Points of Order March 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to apologize to all of my colleagues in the House for holding up a document, the 1997 Liberal platform. That is the wrong way to remind Canadians of the broken promises of the government.

I would like to seek unanimous consent to table the 1997 Liberal election campaign platform, which promised Canadians universal pharmacare.

Health March 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, “Many Canadians have limited prescription drug coverage, and 12% have no coverage at all. This situation is plainly inconsistent with the values upon which medicare is based. It is illogical to guarantee access to medical diagnosis, but not the treatment, nor does it make economic sense. Together with key partners, a new Liberal government will develop a national plan and timetable for introducing universal public coverage.”

What am I quoting? It is from the 1997 Liberal platform. Liberals failed Canadians then. Why should we believe them now?

Foreign Investment February 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the Chinese government took over insurance giant Anbang, citing serious corruption and incompetence. This is the same company that the Liberal government allowed to take over British Columbia's largest retirement home provider.

Decisions about the care of Canadian seniors are now being made offshore by a foreign government. When the Canada Health Act calls for public administration of our health care system, it does not mean from Beijing.

What is the Minister of Health doing to address this unacceptable situation?

Marijuana February 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, speaking of unfairness, the Liberals' medical cannabis tax is misconceived, damaging to public health, and unfair. Patients already pay sales tax on their medical cannabis, which is not eligible for reimbursement under most insurance plans. Now the current government wants to add an excise tax. Therefore, patients will be forced to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars each month for their medicine or choose a riskier option, like an opioid, because it is more affordable. That is perverse.

With budget 2018 upon us, will the Liberals listen to patients and scrap their medical cannabis tax?

Taxation February 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are well aware of the many unreasonable demands being made by the Trump administration at the NAFTA table. We now know that an astronomical increase in the duty-free exemption for U.S. exports is one of the items on Trump's wish list. This means one set of tax rules for tech giants and real damage to Canadian retailers.

My question is simple. Will the Liberals stand up for Canadian businesses or will they cave in to Donald Trump's threatening demands?

Canada Elections Act February 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I think we would do well to remember why we are having this debate. After this last election in 2015, all Canadians will remember the tawdry spectacle of the Prime Minister and Liberal cabinet ministers having events held for them in corporate boardrooms and law firms, where people were paying $1,500 to get special access to the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers. That is why we are here today.

This is the Liberals' tepid and weak response to that situation. We could drive a truck through the loopholes in this bill. Basically, it does not change cash for access. It enshrines cash for access. Now what someone has to do is just advertise the cash for access event in advance, but the loophole is that it only applies to events where it costs more than $200 to attend. Just charge $199 to attend and then hit them up for $1,000 once they are there, and there is no need to publish the names of anybody who is there.

At one time the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien, basically after the sponsorgate scandal, where it was shovelling millions of taxpayers' dollars to friends in the Liberal Party, had to bring in electoral finance rules. Those were good. That is where it banned union donations and corporate donations. At that time, it also boldly allowed public financing of elections with the per vote subsidy. The Harper government got rid of that.

Why does my hon. colleague not take a bold step and get rid of the private financing problem, so that we get rid of this tawdry spectacle of politicians having to beg people for money, and bring back the per vote subsidy that at one time the Liberals brought in? Why will the current government not have the—

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the hon. colleague mis-characterized my comments. I was not talking about rejecting the national housing strategy. In fact, I am glad to see the Liberals adopted one. The New Democrats have had one for a decade. Of course we are going to find politicians in B.C. welcoming federal dollars of any type after not having any federal dollars or presence. The question is whether there is enough.

I remember during the campaign when the New Democrats promised $15-a-day child care and we laid out our plan for how many billions of dollars we would spend. The Liberal Party attacked us by saying that was not ambitious enough because it was back loaded. Then of course here we are in 2018 and there has not been a single child care space created by the Liberal government since that time. The Liberals criticized ours for not being ambitious enough and then got into government and did nothing.

The issue of housing is this. Not a single co-op unit has been built in the country under the Liberal government. Not one. Where are the co-ops that have opened in Vancouver or British Columbia and have been funded by the government? I have not seen them. It is one thing to start the flow of money, but there is a housing crisis in the country. Crises require immediate action, not action 10 years from now.

I would like to see the government put its money where its mouth is. It is no longer good enough to just speak words. I want to see significant new investments of federal funding flowing now to provide relief to people in the GTA, Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, and communities all across the country to start building the kind of housing people can live in this year and next year, not 10 years from now.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Madam Speaker, there were two very important points mentioned. The first I would like to talk about how toxic it is to a democracy to have political parties that completely renegue on their campaign promises once elected. That creates a cynicism and distrust in government that goes far beyond just partisan purposes. It actually eats at the very fabric of our democracy.

There is a cost to our democracy when the Liberal government says that it will bring in caps on the stock option loophole, then says it will not do that; when it says it will bring in electoral reform, that 2015 will be the last election under first past the post, then says it will not do that.

It has been said in this place and elsewhere that the problem with Conservatives is that they do exactly what they say they are going to do, and the problem with Liberals is that they never do what they say they are going to do. Both those approaches need to be looked at in the House.

I want to talk about the second issue my colleague raises. Fundamentally, our tax system is based on an honour system. Our tax system is based on people who fill out their tax returns honestly and they declare all forms of income honestly. This is a very important feature of our country. If the citizens of our country feel that the system is rigged and that the wealthy are not paying their fair share, we could risk having a situation where poor working-class and middle-class people start not declaring their income honestly. Then we risk a real crisis. That happens in places like Greece and other countries, where there is a build up of a black market—

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I am really glad that my hon. colleague raised the issue of housing. I come from Vancouver, and I can tell members that there is a housing crisis in Vancouver. Words are cheap. Talk is cheap. To listen to my hon. colleague, things are going well, and the federal government is opening all these programs.

Come to Vancouver. What the member just described would be rejected by every single citizen who lives in the Lower Mainland. There are 2.2 million people who would say to that hon. member that he does not know what he is talking about. We have people in the city of Vancouver, in Burnaby, in Richmond, in North Vancouver, in Coquitlam, in Maple Ridge, and in Surrey who cannot buy a house anymore, because the average house costs $1.6 million. The average one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $1,500 to $2,500. We have generations of people who are leaving Vancouver because they cannot live there. We have employers every day who are saying that they cannot find workers to work in their enterprises because there is no place to house them. That is the reality in Vancouver.

For the hon. member to say to this House that the government is doing things about this and progress is being made, that absolutely is not the case. I think it is not the case in the GTA, either.

Come to Vancouver. I ask my hon. colleague to come to Vancouver to stand up in a public forum and tell the people of Vancouver how well the government is doing on housing. We will see what the response is.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2018

I hear a member say they did not do it. Any Canadian can read the Liberal platform.

The Liberals said they would bring in electoral reform. When the government of Brian Mulroney took CMHC out of the social housing field, the Liberals promised Canadians in their little red book in 1993 that they would restore that and then they broke that promise. They broke it in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2004, and 2006.

Here we are a generation later, and the federal government has been out of the social housing game for basically 25 years. The government's response is that it will get back into it, but the bulk of the money will flow in 2022.

It is time to put integrity back into politics. I am calling on the government to keep its promise and close this loophole.