House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was things.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for London North Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House June 18th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for any confusion.

I am part of the Status of Women committee. I asked to be on it when I first became a member of Parliament a year and a half ago and it has been a tremendous experience for me to work with the committee and its members who sought to unanimously produce this report. It is a highly significant report and I appreciate it very much.

I am also hoping to share my time with the member for Québec, so I will make a few comments first.

As many people know, I have worked a lot overseas in various aspects and I have always found it incredible that through our CIDA programing and development funding we spent so much time in emphasizing that there has to be gender equality in those things we are attempting to do in expressing our image overseas. I am surprised that so far in Canada we have not been able to develop that kind of program here. That is why I really believe that the creation of a gender commissioner would help to lead us in that direction.

Successive governments have tried to move us in this direction and we have been trying, but it has been very difficult. It is a bit ironic if we maintain a position in which we ask people overseas who are seeking Canadian funding to implement programs in places like Africa and other places to consider gender equality in what they are doing and gender assessments and then we do not properly do that here.

It is wonderful that this committee has brought this forward unanimously. I congratulate all members of that committee.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights June 16th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, next month, one of the most accomplished individuals to serve this country overseas is leaving her post as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a job she has performed with distinction since 2004.

Madam Arbour's international career began in 1996 as the chief prosecutor of war crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and for the former Yugoslavia, in The Hague.

A justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and an advocate of justice around the world, Louise Arbour has served her country in the cause of human rights with courage and dedication.

Sadly, too many have remained silent on the accomplishments of this great Canadian.

Canada owes Madam Arbour a great debt of thanks.

We on this side of the House cannot let this occasion pass without comment. On behalf of the Liberal opposition and all Canadians, let me express congratulations and thanks to Madam Louise Arbour for a life of service to Canada and the world.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 28th, 2008

With regard to the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund within Infrastructure Canada and the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program within the Department of Transport: (a) what has been the total spending in the program since 2002; (b) how much of this total has been spent in each of the provinces in each year of the programs from 2002 to 2007, inclusive; and (c) what is the per capita amount of spending of these programs per province in each year of the programs from 2002 to 2007, inclusive?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 16th, 2008

With regard to the Tomorrow Starts Today program in the Department of Canadian Heritage: (a) what has been the total spending under the progam since 2001; (b) how much of this total has been spent in each of the provinces in each of the years 2001 to 2007, inclusive; and (c) what is the per capita amount of spending of this program per province in each of the years 2001 to 2007, inclusive?

CBC Radio May 1st, 2008

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the city of London, I am pleased to stand in support of the proposed expansion of the CBC Radio network in London to serve as the full regional station in southwestern Ontario.

As Canada's 10th largest centre, London is a dynamic community on the move with a solid direction for the future. We are the hub of southwestern Ontario in terms of the economy, education, health care, research and the arts.

Londoners are very fortunate to have the current CBC presence in town as a key component in generating public awareness of local and regional issues, yet there is so much more potential for CBC and our community to work together.

We look forward to the opportunity to serve as home to a full regional CBC station. We would embrace and support the many resulting benefits including economic stimulation, advocacy for the arts, educational partnerships, community dialogue and strengthened emergency planning.

I look forward to more discussion here in Parliament and in committee on this subject in the coming weeks.

World Malaria Day April 17th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, during the one minute I use to make this statement, two children will die of malaria. It is the leading killer of children in Africa. This mosquito-borne disease is also the leading cause of global poverty.

On World Malaria Day, we are calling attention to this devastating, but preventable, disease. Malaria lacks the profile of other global threats but it is more deadly. The sad thing is that malaria can be prevented.

The World Health Organization says the most effective measure to prevent malaria is as simple as a bed net that covers four family members.

I have fought malaria myself for the last 40 years. My three children have it and I have lost many good friends to it. I urge all of my colleagues in this House to just do a simple thing: buy a bed net for the people who suffer from malaria.

Sudan April 9th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, this month I had the opportunity to travel across the country and meet with many Canadians to discuss the crisis in Sudan. I was touched by the incredible response that was shown and by the tremendous spirit of activism that exists in this country.

The Darfur conflict has changed radically in the past year, and not for the better. Violence is again increasing, access for humanitarian agencies is decreasing, international peacekeeping is not yet effective, and a political settlement remains far off.

By stepping up to the plate, my colleagues and friends from Halifax, Winnipeg, Whitehorse, Surrey and Vancouver were able to bring this issue forward and, with the incredible support of the university students' group STAND, were able to educate, motivate and inspire people to get angry and to get involved.

To all those who attended and lent their ears and voices, I humbly say thanks. I look forward to more successful forums on this in the near future.

Citizenship and Immigration April 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, six months ago in this House members, including the immigration minister, rose and applauded the arrival of my two children from Darfur, and I appreciated it from everyone here. If this law were to go through, thousands of families like mine might never experience the joy of such a moment.

My children are in Ottawa today and for the sake of many like them, will the minister pull these proposals out of the larger bill and let it be debated fully in this House? There is too much at stake here in Canada. It is who we are. Let these families come, minister. Let them come.

Citizenship and Immigration April 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, this weekend in Montreal, I confirmed with a number of immigration lawyers who feel that Canada is about to make a serious mistake in rushing so quickly through the immigration bill. They need time to consider all the ramifications.

We send our soldiers to Afghanistan to fight, in part, to keep Afghan families together. Would the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration be willing to take the time necessary in this House to consider the serious implications of these changes and ensure that we practise at home what we paid such a dear price for overseas?

Health March 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to support the initiative of the member for Sarnia—Lambton. We sit on the same committee and she always brings out some pretty good arguments. I am glad to support this motion.

Currently, decorative contact lenses are unregulated and considered a cosmetic. Thus, consumers can purchase these lenses on the Internet or even in retail stores. Studies have proven that contact lenses that are improperly manufactured or used without appropriate medical supervision can cause serious eye infections and even loss of vision.

The gift of sight is not something that we can take for granted. Furthermore, I believe this motion is put forward as preventive medicine. Given the burdens on our current health care system, every prevention is key in the fight against many diseases, including those which affect our eyes.

In January 2005, American legislators raised a concern about eye problems that consumers had experienced due to poor labelling and packaging of non-corrective cosmetic lenses sold right over the counter. The legislation they put forward is similar to the motion put forward by the member for Sarnia—Lambton and seeks to reclassify non-corrective coloured contact lenses as medical devices and allows the FDA to regulate the sale of these contact lenses.

The American legislation passed in July 2005 and was signed into law in November of that year. The American Optometric Association has applauded the introduction of this federal legislation.

Eye care professionals here in Canada also agree that this is something whose time has come. They agree that there must be legislation for the federal regulation of contact lenses. In their opinion, both corrective and non-corrective contact lenses should be considered medical devices and should be regulated accordingly.

The physical and other characteristics of those lenses are identical to corrective power lenses. The only difference is refractive power. More importantly, the very real health consideration associated with improper fit and the wearing of these lenses applies equally to both cosmetic and zero power lenses.

The legislators in the United States saw the importance of this and reached consent on it in 2005. I think it is time for all of us here in Canada to realize the dangers to people with these things being sold over the counter or on the Internet.

I want to commend the member for Sarnia—Lambton for putting this motion forward and we in the Liberal Party will be supporting her initiative.