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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was technology.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Don Valley North (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Statistics Act January 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I just mentioned that we would give independence to the chief statistician. We will also reduce the size of the board. We are bringing in more experts and giving them pay, so they become more dedicated in terms of time, energy and the quality of the decisions.

Statistics Act January 30th, 2017

That is exactly the purpose of Bill C-36, Mr. Speaker. In this society, where there is such a high pace, data is so critical, and we have to make decisions based on the accuracy of data and in a timely manner. This is why we have given the chief statistician the authority and have made the position very independent. We even introduced a fixed five-year term for the chief statistician so he could work independently, based on the evidence and the studies, and not under the influence of other political tendencies.

Statistics Act January 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-36 would introduce the requirement that the new council's work be done in a transparent manner. It would also require that the council make public an annual report on the state of the national statistical system.

The new council's membership would also be much smaller and more focused compared with that of the existing council. The council would consist of a chairperson and up to nine additional members who would be appointed by the Governor in Council to hold office during pleasure. The chief statistician would also be a member of the council.

Unlike members of the current council, all members would be paid. The pay level would be fixed by the Governor in Council. Members would also be entitled to be paid any reasonable travel and living expenses incurred while absent from their ordinary places of residence to perform their duties under this act.

Given the reduced number of members compared with the current council, there would not be any additional costs associated with the new council.

Establishing the new Canadian statistics advisory council in the Statistics Act, as proposed under Bill C-36, would be beneficial in at least three ways.

First, it would strengthen the accountability of Statistics Canada, which would balance the increased independence secured under other suggested legislative changes.

Second, it would increase the transparency of the council's work, thereby increasing its own accountability in addition to that of the minister and the chief statistician.

Third, it would publish an annual report on the state of the statistical system, including the quality, relevance, accessibility, and timeliness of the data it would produce. This is particularly important given the critical role statistics play in evidence-based decision-making.

The statistical information produced by government must be high-quality and responsive to stakeholder needs. Otherwise, it will not be trusted, nor will it be used. Businesses, governments, non-profit organizations, the research community, and the public rely on the integrity and accuracy of this data.

Statistical information helps us better understand ourselves, our past, and our future by providing information on our economic, demographic, social, and environmental situation. As such, it is essential that statistical information be impartial, reliable, relevant, accessible, and timely. In essence, it must be of the highest possible quality.

The new Canadian statistics advisory council would play an essential role in ensuring that Canada's statistical system continues to be one of the best in the world.

This government is committed to ensuring that its decisions are evidence-based and reflective of the needs of businesses, institutions, non-profit organizations, and Canadians.

To meet this commitment, we need quality data. That is why we reinstated the mandatory long-form census, and that is why Bill C-36 is so important.

Together, the legislative amendments proposed to strengthen Statistics Canada's independence will ensure that Canadians can rely on and trust in the official statistics produced.

Spring Festival January 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I believe many parliamentarians have been participating in Spring Festival celebrations in ridings across Canada with their families and friends. It is the most important celebration of the year for many Asian Canadians. That is thanks to the passage of my Spring Festival motion last June. The Government of Canada now proclaims the first day of every Lunar Year as the beginning of the 15-day Spring Festival.

To celebrate the Spring Festival on the Hill, the Canada-China Legislative Association is hosting a reception tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31, at 4:00 p.m. in room 160-S in Centre Block. It is my pleasure to invite all my colleagues to attend.

Happy Chinese New Year.

Statistics Act January 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-36, an act to amend the Statistics Act.

As we know, the bill aims to strengthen Statistics Canada's independence. To achieve this, the bill introduces three key legislative amendments. The first would assign authorities for decisions on statistical matters and operations directly to the chief statistician. This amendment would ensure decisions of a technical statistical nature would be based strictly on professional considerations.

The second key amendment would change the appointment of the chief statistician from one of “at the pleasure” to one of “during good behaviour” for a term of five years, with the possibility of reappointment. This would protect the chief statistician from being potentially dismissed for unfair and unjust reasons.

The third key amendment, which I would like to spend a bit more time on today, is the creation of a new Canadian statistics advisory council to replace the existing National Statistics Council. This new council would be created to increase transparency and ensure that Canada's statistical system would continue to meet the needs of Canadians.

The National Statistics Council has been a useful consultative body. Established in 1985, it is a non-legislated consultative body, with a mandate to advise the chief statistician in setting priorities and rationalizing Statistics Canada programs. It currently consists of 35 to 40 experts who serve in the public interest without pay. This council has made important contributions to the work of Statistics Canada, including helping to revise and update the Statistics Act. However, its mandate, structure, and composition have not evolved to match the changing nature and demands of the statistical system under Statistics Canada.

I am splitting my time, Mr. Speaker, with the member for Winnipeg North.

The new council's mandate would be to advise both the minister and the chief statistician on any matters either of them may refer to it. Its focus would be on the overall quality of the national statistical system, including the relevance, accuracy, accessibility, and timeliness of data it produces.

Unlike the current council's work, which is not in legislation or mandated to be done transparently, Bill C-36 introduces the requirements that the new council's work be done in a transparent manner. It also requires that the council make public an annual report on the state of the national statistics system.

Petitions December 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present an e-petition signed by more than 500 citizens, residents of Canada, many of whom live in my riding of Don Valley North.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to conduct a study on equal access to both official languages training services for international students and graduates and on co-operative program policies that encourage and allow more qualified international students to gain work experience in the public sector to maximize the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce and to contribute to a multicultural society.

Science October 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, last month, the minister of science announced a significant investment of $900 million to 13 post-secondary institutions, through the Canada first research excellence fund. The minister noted that the fund invests in areas and pressing issues where Canada's post-secondary institutions can become global leaders. Can the minister provide the House with examples of pressing issues the fund might focus on in order to make our country stronger?

Spring Festival June 17th, 2016

Madam Speaker, my Spring Festival motion was passed on June 1. Therefore, beginning in spring 2017, the Government of Canada will proclaim the first day of the Lunar Year as the beginning of the 15-day Spring Festival.

I thank all my colleagues, including the Minister of Canadian Heritage, for their unanimous support. Now we can really make a difference, something solid.

I would invite each of my colleagues to do something special in his or her own riding to celebrate Spring Festival 2017. If members organize or participate in a Spring Festival celebration, I can assure them that it will be well received by all Canadians, including Asian Canadians.

Next year marks Canada's 150th anniversary. Let us make it a great year for everyone. Let us spring into action.

Spring Festival June 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I just need 10 seconds.

I would just take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues for their support. I will remember this.

Spring Festival June 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I fully agree with the comments made by my hon. colleague. It is something big for us. The spring festival is not just one celebration. We are remembering the contributions made by Chinese Canadians over 100 years.

I would suggest that other big communities probably have similar things to share with Canadians. Canada is a beautiful country. We welcome people from all over the world to join our country. At the same time, we welcome people to bring the best of their culture and traditions to our country and make our country more colourful.