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Track Don

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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

Federal Sustainable Development Act May 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I think I speak for the broad majority of Canadians when I assert in the House that Canadians want sustainable development. We want to have a strong economy and we want to do it in a way that protects our environment for the long term.

One of the ways we measure that is by whether Canada is meeting its obligations for greenhouse gas emissions and carbon emissions as set out in the Paris accord. I was disappointed to see the Liberal government adopt the previous Conservative government's unambitious climate change targets. Apparently we are not even meeting those targets. Our greenhouse gas emissions are not on a trajectory where we will achieve those targets. The Prime Minister went to Paris and signed on to more onerous targets through the Paris accord, and we are nowhere near meeting those targets.

If Canada is not on target to meet our present greenhouse gas emissions targets and we are not on target to meet the Paris accord targets, could my hon. colleague explain why his government is pushing for an expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the country, which would no doubt make hitting those targets even harder?

Federal Sustainable Development Act May 24th, 2018

Madam Speaker, one of the most disappointing aspects of the government on the environment file is that when it came to power, it adopted the Stephen Harper climate change targets, and then the Prime Minister went to Paris and signed the Paris accord commitments. We are not on track as a country even to meet the weak targets the Stephen Harper government met, never mind the targets of the Paris accord, which obligates Canada to meet a 30% reduction over 2005.

I am wondering if my hon. colleague could comment on where Canada is at in terms of actually meeting Canada's climate change commitments, which, after all, are the basis for sustainable development.

Marijuana May 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians rely on medical cannabis as a key part of their health care treatment. However, unlike prescription drugs, patients have to pay sales tax on medical cannabis and it is not eligible for reimbursement under most health insurance plans. Now, the Liberals are imposing an additional excise tax that will further impair access to the medicine people need. This is unfair to patients and it is damaging to public health. Will the Liberals do the right thing and withdraw this ill-advised tax on medicine?

Foreign Affairs May 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Karabakh movement, a monumental event for the global Armenian community. In 1991, the people of Artsakh declared independence from the Soviet Union and their aspiration for a Nagorno-Karabakh republic. The region's residents, primarily ethnically Armenian, then held a referendum in which 82% of all voters participated, and 99% voted for independence. Unfortunately, war then broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Despite a 1994 ceasefire, long-term peace and a durable political solution have been absent. Since 2016, innocent lives have been lost on an almost daily basis.

This House must affirm our commitment to the protection and human rights of civilians and call on all parties to strictly adhere to the terms of the ceasefire. More fundamentally, we call on the Canadian government to work for a just solution to this conflict, one that conforms with international law and is built on the inalienable right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination.

Elections Modernization Act May 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, while I agree with my hon. colleague that identification of a voter at a polling place is important in an election, I would disagree with him on the restricted forms he would use. He would restrict himself to a piece of paper, whereas the process of vouching for someone, where one voter actually signs an affidavit and identifies another person and vouches for that person's identity I think is an equally valid form of identification that his previous government withdrew from the possibilities. That disenfranchised certain people who did not have access to traditional forms of identification.

My question is about the prohibition against broadcasting election results before the polls close. Since 1938, this country has allowed that to happen, and it is based on the premise that voters in one part of the country should not be able to cast a ballot already knowing the result of the election. It is like holding an election yesterday and going to the polls today. I am just wondering if the member has any comments on that. Does he agree with me that those of us in the west, British Columbia in particular, have a right to cast our ballots before we know the result of the election?

Elections Modernization Act May 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague on a very thoughtful speech and agree with him 100% that regardless of what my colleagues in the Conservative Party say, every Canadian knows why former prime minister Harper called an excessively long election campaign. He was pressing his advantage as the party that had the most money to spend. He was using the bully pulpit of the bank account to try to gain an advantage in our democracy by spending more money than the other parties had. That was the only reason we had a historically long election campaign. I congratulate the government on closing that gap. We have minimum election campaign periods, so it only stands to reason that we should have maximum ones as well.

My question is about the financing of elections. It is my view that democracy is a fundamental matter of public importance and that our democracy should be publicly financed, not privately financed. I know that when Jean Chr├ętien brought in what I thought was incredibly wise electoral reform in this country, giving Canada the best system in the world, we had a per-vote subsidy. The Conservatives removed that per-vote subsidy, and that damaged the public financing of our system.

Does the member agree that there is a case to be made to restore the per-vote subsidy on the supposition that the rebate is to pay for the election just had, but the per-vote subsidy is to allow parties to be funded for the elections to follow? Does he agree that it is a wise move, and could he explain why it is not part of this electoral reform bill?

Elections Modernization Act May 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in the 2015 election, I was out, as all my colleagues were on election day, getting voters to the polls. It was 6:30 p.m. in Vancouver, and the polls still had another half hour to go. I was standing at the doorstep of a house and through the living room window, I could see the television. Peter Mansbridge was on The National, and he had called a majority Liberal government. That broadcast to voters in British Columbia, while the polls were still open, the results of the election. The reason that was legal was because the previous Harper government, in 2012, eliminated a law that was put in place in 1938, which had governed every election since then. The law prohibited the early broadcast of election results so people would not know the results of the election prior to the polls closing. By the way, that prohibition was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada as being constitutional.

All of us in the House know that it completely skews the results for people in one part of the country to know the results of the election while the polls are still open. This was backed up by empirical evidence on the ground where people told me and other candidates that when they turned over the ballot boxes, they could see a clear difference in the way people voted within the last half hour of the balloting.

Why has my hon. colleague's government not restore the ban on broadcasting the election results when it clearly has a corrosive and biassing impact on elections and is so bias against voters in British Columbia and the west?

Marijuana May 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, we are just weeks away from the Liberals' July 1 deadline for legalizing cannabis and Canadians are left with serious questions. The Liberals cannot explain what Canadians can expect at the U.S. border. They risk being barred from entry for life for participating in a legal act.

The AFN says the government has failed to respect first nations sovereignty or ensure the meaningful participation of indigenous communities in the cannabis market.

With time running out, when will the Liberals provide real solutions to these critical issues?

Committees of the House May 10th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank and congratulate my hon. colleague from Vancouver East for a passionate, brilliant, and long-overdue proposal that ought to be supported by every member of this House.

Canadians would be shocked to know that we still have embedded in our official immigration law a provision that is so discriminatory, so outmoded, so stereotypical, that no modern democracy that exists in a pluralistic society could possibly justify it. That is a section of our Immigration Act that says that when people come to Canada, work, and fulfill their obligations under a program such the temporary foreign worker program, and then seek to sponsor their families, they and all of their family members can all be rejected if one of the family members has a certain condition, such as Down syndrome, deafness, or an intellectual disability. Underpinning that is the outmoded notion that these people are somehow a burden. People with Down syndrome, people who are deaf, and people with intellectual deficits are not burdens. These people have every ability to be fine citizens and contributing members of our society.

This typically arises when a live-in caregiver comes here. Does the member agree that we could perhaps have a system whereby caregivers are allowed to bring their spouses and children with them when they first come here so that families can be left intact? We could get rid of this outmoded system under which they are separated from their families, only to find two, three, four, five, or six years later that they and their families are no longer admissible to Canada after doing everything they were obligated to do under this system. Would she agree with that policy?

Health May 10th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, over 10,000 Canadians have died from opioid overdoses since the crisis began, a death toll that continues to mount. U.S. federal and state governments have taken strong action against opioid manufacturers, securing criminal convictions for improper marketing and recovering over $700 million in compensation for damages, yet this government has failed to even investigate or pursue compensation for the massive public cost of these dangerous products and the harm caused to Canadian families. Why have the Liberals failed to launch an investigation or pursue compensation as the U.S. has done?