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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fish.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Port Moody—Coquitlam (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it truly has been an honour to serve.

I would like to thank the members for Courtenay—Alberni, Beaches—East York and Cariboo—Prince George for their very kind remarks. It has been a pleasure working with each of them. It has been a pleasure working with so many members across the aisle and in the House over the years. I think that is the important thing, how we make good public policy decisions by coming together and doing the hard work of listening and working together to find solutions for Canadians. That is what it is all about.

In my 10 years as a member of Parliament, I have felt very honoured to be in this place. We are among the few people who can get here and have debates like this to move good legislation that is for the betterment of the entire country. I would not change it for the world.

I am definitely looking forward to spending my next chapter in life with my wife, Lynda, and working on my passion, which is the Fraser.

I wish everyone here all the best going forward, either in the next Parliament or wherever life may take them.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I may have been a reluctant politician, but I quickly realized the importance of changing public policy. I have always believed that if we develop an ethic of care and stewardship for the planet and our environment, that ethic will naturally extend to all living things, including our neighbours.

I brought that approach to my 17 years of public service, 10 years federally and seven years locally, through six campaigns. This job is special, demanding but amazing.

I have had the good fortune to meet world leaders, national figures, celebrities and community heroes, like the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall, Alexandra Cousteau, Rob Stewart, Alex Trebek, Rick Hansen, David Suzuki, Sam Waterston and Kevin Estrada to name a few.

I have participated in some incredible events, from witnessing an exoneration ceremony of powerful Tsilhqot'in leaders drumming on the House of Commons floor to taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime Canada C3 trip to deliver homemade, all-natural garden-care products by students from Parkland Elementary School to the prime minister in 2010.

I have had some proud moments, like the passing of my motion calling on the government to recognize its sacred obligation to look after veterans and their families, which passed unanimously, to co-founding the all-party oceans caucus in 2012, which I hope will continue in the 43rd Parliament.

I have led effective campaigns, like banning the importation of shark fins to Canada, which hopefully will become law very soon; my wild salmon campaign, where Captain Kirk, William Shatner, joined me to save wild salmon by transitioning west coast salmon farms to closed containment; celebrating a win, seeing the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station finally reopen; and rewarding case work.

Here is just one example. Karin in my office worked hard for 10 years, my entire career as an MP, to reunite Kabondo with his wife Emmerence. They were separated during the Congo civil war in 1998. Emmerence moved to Canada and saved enough money from her cleaning job to visit the refugee camp where he was in 2014. Finally, in 2018, the family was reunited 20 years later in Canada. I thank Canada. There were sad cases, like the tragic circumstances of little Alan Kurdi and his Syrian family.

Through it all, it has been a team effort: my family, my wife Lynda, my parents Val and Cy, my brother Liam and all my relatives and close friends, like Doug Radies. I had my NDP team: from Dawn Black, the member who passed the torch to me, to leaders like Jack Layton, Nycole Turmel, Tom Mulcair and now the member for Burnaby South.

I want to mention my teammates, current and former: my roommate, the incredible member for Vancouver Kingsway, whose quick wit and sense of humour is matched only by his generosity; my seatmate, the unstoppable member for Edmonton Strathcona; the ever-talented member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley; the knowledgeable and so-connected member for Victoria; the inspiring, youthful member for Sherbrooke; the dean of our caucus, the member for Windsor West; and all my colleagues.

I also want to mention my good friends: the mayor of Vancouver, Kennedy Stewart; B.C. premier, John Horgan; my amigos, Malcolm Allen and Jack Harris; amazing formers like Megan Leslie, Libby Davies, Chris Charlton, Joe Comartin, Denise Savoie and Jean Crowder; and the incorrigible Pat Martin, who once had to leave his seat during a vote because of an underwear sale at the Bay. I still laugh at that today.

There was our dear friend, Paul Dewar. I want to mention my political heroes, John Cashore and Dave Driscoll, local champions like Diane Thorne and Selina Robinson, community heroes like Elaine Golds, Ruth Foster, Rod MacVicar, Natalie Thomas and Fred Soofi, and first nation leaders, Shawn Atleo, Bob Chamberlain and Grand Chief Stewart Philip.

I also want to mention Legion Branch 263 and Branch 119 and my amazing campaign team, Tania Jarzebiak, Cheryl Greenhalgh, Alex Ng, and Anne Ladouceur, and my hard-working executives. There are so many incredible volunteers. There is my wonderful staff, Karin Kreuzkamp, Roberta Webster, Nick Watts and Andrew Christie, and Brynn, Mark, Coree, Sophia, Melissa, Melanie, Matt, Nicole, Natasha, Noah and Dan.

I want to mention those who helped me and working people, Jim Sinclair, Mark Hancock, Paul Moist, Ivan Limpright, Tom Dusfresne, John Baile, Geoff Devilin, Keegan Gordon, Marcel Marsolais and Kenny Neuman.

There is our team in the lobby, Rob and Jeremy, Christian, Anthony, Chuck, Audrey, Dominic and the whole gang.

There is my Rivershed Society of B.C. family and all the ENGOs that do such amazing work across our country. There are Oceana, HSI, PSF, DSF, WWF, West Coast Environmental Law and the scientific heroes like Dr. Kristi Miller-Saunders, Alex Morton and Brian Riddell.

I say to the Prime Minister, I welcome him to paddle the Fraser with me any time. I say to the member for Beauséjour, get well soon. It has been a pleasure working with him. I want to mention my oceans caucus co-chairs, the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, and you, Mr. Speaker, the member for Simcoe North, true gentlemen.

There is the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, with whom I traded many a verbal joust. By the way, you still owe me, my friend. There is the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the parliamentary secretary. I enjoyed working with them and their staff. There is the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to whom I say, a swim any time.

I say to the leader of the Green Party, good job on Bill S-203. I want to acknowledge Senator MacDonald for working together to save sharks.

I thank all the security guards for keeping us safe, especially during the 2014 shooting in Centre Block. I say a special shout-out and thank you to Sergeant-at-Arms Pat McDonell and former sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers.

I say thank you to the clerks, pages, interpreters, committee staff, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, mail room staff, custodians and maintenance team.

Finally, to all those who are running again, I wish them the best of luck. May the 43rd Parliament come together to make Canada an even better place to live, work and raise a family. Please, please work hard to transition our country as fast as possible to a low-carbon future. Be bold. Make tough decisions. Co-operate. Put us on a path to a sustainable future.

I will be working to heal and protect the Fraser watershed, one of the most biologically diverse watersheds in North America and one of the most magnificent areas in all of Canada. To the next MP for Port Moody—Coquitlam, Bonita Zarrillo, I wish the best of luck. I look forward to seeing her here in the House of Commons.

Hych'ka O'Siem.

Member for Port Moody—Coquitlam June 7th, 2019

Madam Speaker, it has been an honour to serve. My political career began long before I was first elected.

In 1995, I swam the 1,400-kilometre length of the Fraser River to draw attention to the issues impacting the health of the watershed. That swim changed my life and started me on a path that led me here.

In 2002, I was elected to Coquitlam City Council.

In 2009, thanks to NDP Leader Jack Layton, I was elected a member of Parliament.

Now I am returning to the work that brought me here in the first place. The Fraser watershed initiative is a multi-year campaign to heal and protect the entire watershed, one-quarter of British Columbia, bringing together first nations, local governments, NGOs and others.

While I am excited about getting back to work on the Fraser, I cannot leave this place without saying thanks to my NDP colleagues, friends, staff, volunteers, family, and especially my wife Lynda.

I thank the MPs whom I have worked with over the years, from all parties, as well as the guards, the clerks and all the staff on the Hill.

I also want to thank the people of Port Moody, Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra. It has truly been an honour to serve.

The Environment May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague, the member for Abbotsford. He has pointed out that the government is dramatically failing on meeting its Paris accord climate change targets, and we certainly agree. He mentioned environmental organizations, like the Pembina Institute, and he quoted Dr. David Suzuki.

Therefore, why are the hon. member and his Conservative senators blocking Bill C-48, the west coast tanker ban, from becoming law? Why are the Conservatives saying one thing but doing another? Could he explain that?

Petitions May 16th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition to the House of Commons from petitioners mainly from New Westminster—Burnaby in Vancouver, who join thousands of Canadians, calling on the Government of Canada to abandon the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Their concern is that the Trans Mountain pipeline was purchased from Kinder Morgan, a Texas-based oil company, for $4.5 billion, which puts all Canadians at risk to a plethora of environmental risks, including an increase in the daily amount of oil produced by the pipeline, which would drastically increase greenhouse gases in Canada. The real cost to taxpayers purchasing the pipeline and carrying out the related expansion could be as much as $12 billion, which could be better used for pharmacare, child care and housing projects across Canada.

The petitioners therefore call on the Government of Canada to reverse its decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline and respect the rights of first nations, indigenous and Métis communities to self-governance and free, prior and informed consent and to abandon any and all plans to continue the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Petitions May 9th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from Elizabeth Fry Society advocates, who support the call to ensure that all children benefit from special protection measures and assistance in ensuring the rights of highly mobile children, recognizing Canada's obligation as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Many children are excluded from receiving the Canada child benefit and the children's special allowances.

The petitioners therefore call on the government to ensure that all children receive, without discrimination in any form, benefit from special protection measures and assistance.

I want to thank the Elizabeth Fry for its good work and for drawing the attention of the House to this petition.

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to first thank Senator Mike MacDonald for introducing the legislation and for his passion and hard work in getting it through the Senate.

I would also like to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, the member for Oakville North—Burlington, who mentioned Rob Stewart and the legacy, as parliamentarians, that we could leave if we passed the legislation. She is right on the money; that is the case.

I have worked on introducing this issue. I introduced legislation in 2012 and 2013, when it went to a vote in a previous administration. It failed by five votes.

Since 2013, over half a billion sharks have died. Sharks around the world cannot wait for another election or another Parliament for legislation to go through. Many members on both sides of the aisle in this debate have raised excellent facts, presented good information, have talked about the endangered sharks and about the fact that there are not sustainable shark fin fisheries around the world. There may be some sustainable shark fisheries, including in Canada, but a sustainable shark fin fishery does not exist. In fact, organized crime plays a role in driving the shark fin fishery around the world.

Canada can take a lead role by passing the legislation. I implore the members of the House to vote in favour, to pass this legislation, to get it to committee and through committee as fast as possible so it has a chance to get back for third reading in the House. Even that is going to be very close, given the timeline we are up against in mid-June.

I appreciate the members who have spoken in support of this. I appreciate that their passion, like mine, is to get this through the House. We need to act now. Let us vote in favour of getting it to committee. Let us pass the legislation and leave a legacy for sharks and healthy oceans and do the right thing on the world stage for Canada.

Shark Finning April 2nd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, sharks play a critical role in maintaining ocean health, but, shockingly, nearly a billion have been slaughtered since 2011.

Canadians expect us to be part of the solution to protect them, to ensure their survival. Bill S-238, important legislation, would do just that: prohibit the import and export of shark fins into and out of Canada.

The bill is similar to my 2013 private member's bill, which had the support of the Liberal caucus but was defeated by only five votes. If we fast forward to 2019, the Liberals have enough votes to ensure swift passage of this important bill, However, in typical say one thing and do another Liberal fashion, government members are dragging out debate and hinting the bill needs amendments. Shame on them. Those stall tactics will ensure that Bill S-238 will not pass before the House rises this June.

Sharks and our ocean ecosystems that depend on them cannot wait another election. The government has an opportunity to do the right thing here. Let us pass this bill, end this destructive practice and move forward on restoring ocean health.

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

Mr. Speaker, when I first got to this place, it was a big concern that Canada, as an ocean nation, paid a lot of attention to our fishery but did not pay as much attention to the health of our oceans. I thought it was very important, especially back in 2012, when I read a United Nations report on the state of the world's oceans that said that our top predators, globally, in all oceans, were plummeting, including sharks.

Sharks play a key role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. There are many threats facing the ocean. A changing climate, which is impacting the oceans at a tremendous rate, is also a big part of the problem.

One of the things we need to do as a nation is play a leadership role. Banning the importation of shark fins is a way Canada can play a stewardship role and send a clear message to other countries that this is the right thing to do. It can encourage other countries, such as our neighbour to the south and the European Union, to also ban the importation of shark fins so that we can see those shark populations come back and flourish and we can have a healthy fishery and healthy oceans. I think Canada wants to see this.

I will say that 81% of Canadians, in a poll done a number of years ago, wanted to see the practice of shark finning banned. There is tremendous support across the country from individuals and organizations that want to see this practice stopped. They want to see shark populations return to a healthy balance in our ecosystem.

Canada has an opportunity. We have to act now. The government needs to act before the summer, before the House rises in June, by fast-tracking this legislation to the fisheries committee so that we can get this legislation passed and enshrined before October 21.

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

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question. Over the years, municipalities have wanted to see action happen across the country. They could not wait for federal, provincial or territorial jurisdictions to move, so they have acted. They have been frustrated over the years, because if we have a patchwork quilt of legislation in different municipalities, business can just move from one municipality to avoid legislation in that municipality, for instance Toronto, and operate, for instance, in Oakville. Certainly I heard from consultations back in 2012, before I introduced the bill in the House, that this was a concern.

What I heard from even restauranteurs and industry was that they wanted a definitive response, a definitive bill, that would level the playing field. A national ban would level the playing field. It would help municipalities and provinces that want to do the right thing. A ban on importing would assist them in dealing with shark conservation and would end this practice and put a stop to it.