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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was values.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for South Surrey—White Rock (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Cultural Unity June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, we Canadians are generally accepting and tolerant people. We celebrate our multicultural and pluralistic society, we value our diversity and we live in relative harmony with many different traditions, religions and cultures.

Throughout the world, most people, like us, care about the same things. They care about family, friends and their communities and they care about having a better life for themselves and for those they care about, whether it is better physically, emotionally or spiritually. By recognizing this sameness, we recognize a value that unites us.

While multiculturalism and pluralism tend to emphasize our differences, we can celebrate our sameness from our diverse traditions, religions and cultural beliefs, and that sameness can help us to understand our complex, difficult and sometimes disparate world from our common aspirations, a place not of differences but a place of connections and hope.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, if the option is that we are not going to have a press at all, I think that is our fear. We need the local press to be there so that we have that voice.

There are certainly lots of things that are subsidized across democracies to ensure that they do not become totalitarian. We need to ensure that and have an arm's-length process to put that in place. That is exactly what we are doing.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the heritage committee has been discussing this exact issue, and there may well be recommendations with respect to that.

We understand, depending on what metrics one chooses to believe, that the numbers for things like YouTube and Facebook advertising are in the billions of dollars, if we were to introduce ways of capturing some of that revenue by taxing them rather than allowing them to function independently.

That is clearly something we are looking at and something we will be bringing forward at the appropriate time.

Business of Supply June 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean for sharing his time with me. It has been a delight to sit here this afternoon and listen to the debate and the profound, sometimes heated, disagreements about values and the same heated disagreements about the process. It has been interesting to follow.

As I reflect on the small newspapers in my community, three of them have not survived over the past number of years. The one that has survived has survived with layoffs, with the volume inserts increasing. They are about an inch thick in some cases, with advertisements from places like Walmart and Home Depot and a myriad of others. They still report on local issues, service clubs, community events, local sports, cultural events and fundraisers, and they connect and inform the community in an important way. I think we all agree that they are an important part of our communities. That is something we share throughout the House.

How did we get to the point we are at today? I was interested to find that in the United States, in 1949, they introduced something called the fairness doctrine. It had two basic elements. It required people to devote some of their air time and some of their print time to controversial matters of public interest and to ensure that contrasting views regarding those matters were evident. It required those to be present in each instance.

The main agenda of the doctrine was to ensure that viewers and readers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints, consistent with the things we talk about in the House and that we talk about in democracies. As John Stuart Mill said, one may understand one's position perfectly well, but unless one understands the opposite position equally well, one is not informed enough to make a decision between the two. That is important to look at with respect to the doctrine. That doctrine was taken out of the U.S. in 2011, but the principles are still looked at by a number of media outlets.

Here we have had a number of reports done. The Public Policy Forum, on January 2017, published “The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age”. It looks at the digital age, the type of change that is taking place and its impact, particularly in small communities across our country. Subsequent to that, the heritage committee, in June 2017, issued a report entitled “Disruption: Change and Churning in Canada's Media Landscape”.

All these reports have obliquely, if not directly, called on government to take action to protect the connection of local communities and to protect the notion of what we need to see. We do not want to see one newspaper for the world. We do not want to see Sirius radio reporting on the whole world. We want the focus on our communities, where we live and where we connect.

Reference has been made to the fact that 41 dailies and 235 weeklies have closed over the past few years. Some 10,000 positions have been lost. That is 31% of jobs in the field.

I was interested to read recently a report by the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project. It found that 95% of newspaper endorsements in the 2011 election were for Harper. That was every daily in Canada that endorsed a party, except the Toronto Star, which endorsed the NDP that year. That was roughly three times Harper's standing in the opinion polls at the time, Carleton University Professor Dwayne Winseck wrote in his report.

In the 2015 election, things were not quite as monolithic, but 71% of all newspaper endorsements still went to Harper, and 17 of 23 newspapers that endorsed a candidate endorsed the Tories.

As we look at the debate today, it almost seems that there is identity-based decision-making taking place. We are in agreement that we want there to be no biases or favouritism and that we want total transparency on the issues coming from government and presented by the media. I agree that it is essential that our democracy rely upon the respect and independence of journalists.

I have no doubt that a proper balance of perspectives would be achieved with the composition of the panel. As I have said, there are biases on both sides and assumptions on both sides. Each of us has our biases and ways of proving that what we believe to be true is true.

The organizations that will appoint the members of the panel are operating at arm's length from government. All three reports I referred to have called upon government to act, and we are doing it in that fashion.

We are talking about professionals. We are talking about their expertise and their knowledge for the benefit of the news industry. The best thing government can do is leave the panel to do its work and report back in due time, and that is what is going to happen.

The motion before us suggests that journalists may be able to be bought. It assumes that workers should not be involved in their own decisions, which is contrary to everything we say in terms of the policy development we are working with in government. I disagree with that. A bankrupt press, which is entirely possible if we do not do this, is not a free press. It is no press at all.

I encourage members of the House to stand up for a free press and for a well functioning democracy and to stand up against the motion we have before us.

The Environment May 13th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations recently released its report on biodiversity. The headlines read, “Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’”; “One million species face extinction”; and “How to fix nature to avoid human misery”. Innumerable scientific studies have documented the human cost of climate change, yet many people and parties, even in this House, remain stuck in denial, with no plan to save nature and thus humanity. Will the parliamentary secretary please give us specifics with respect to the action that is being taken by our government to protect nature and thus humankind?

Natural Resources April 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, throughout our national dialogue on the country's energy future, generation energy, Canadians have told us that inclusiveness is a foundational principle of success, and across this great country, stakeholders who have contributed have made it clear that the time to act is right now. Indeed, putting gender equality at the heart of a global transition to a clean energy future is the key to achieving success.

Would the Minister of Natural Resources please update this House on the initiatives that have been taken to ensure that progress towards equality for women in the clean energy sector by 2030 is successful?

Cliff Annable March 18th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, on March 5, our community lost a great advocate and a friend. Cliff Annable was a White Rock city councillor, the executive director of the chamber of commerce, a Rotarian and a volunteer on many committees and boards. He was recently honoured as a citizen of the peninsula in recognition of the many contributions he has made.

He was a role model and mentor for many young people, and he was a proud, doting husband, father and grandfather. He was a tireless passionate voice in and for our community. He loved people and was always interested in their lives and in sharing their stories. He made our lives more interesting, more fun and more meaningful.

He will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Questions on the Order Paper February 22nd, 2019

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wish to apologize for going some 20 seconds over during my S.O. 31 when I was speaking yesterday.

I also want to apologize to the people of my community because I did not finish that sentence, which was, “Our gratitude and thanks to Adele Yu, Cici Liang, Moti Bali and so many volunteers for the leadership and vision they provided and contributed to Canadian values and celebrating what it is to be Canadian.”

I wanted to add that and extend my apologies.

Multiculturalism February 21st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, wherever we go in this world, we will find most people care about the same things. They care about family, friends and community. They care about getting ahead, whether it be economically, socially, emotionally or spiritually.

In Canada, we proudly celebrate that sameness through different cultural beliefs, traditions and religions. We celebrate our diversity of perspectives and our common values. That is our Canada. In South Surrey—White Rock we are fortunate to have so many wonderful people working to make our community ever more welcoming and ever more grounded in those common values.

The vision of the Chinese Village Club is to connect people in order to provide a bridge of multiculturalism, a bridge that contributes value and understanding for all. The Surrey—White Rock Political Engagement Society's mission is to provide an understanding of Canadian democracy to assist Chinese Canadians to embrace and enhance Canada's multicultural identity and way of life.

Our community's multicultural festival of lights fosters support for the growth of multicultural understanding. It has presented the traditions of over 18 different cultures—

Greater Vancouver Gogos December 10th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, they tell the story of a frail 90-year-old grandmother trudging down a mountainside in search of water, pain and despair etched upon her face, and her 19 grandchildren trailing behind her.

They are responding to the devastating impact of AIDS in Africa, to the grandparents who now care for their grandchildren, many grandmothers and many more children.

Last month I had the privilege of being the master of ceremonies at the Greater Vancouver Gogos fundraiser. Gogo means grandmother and they are part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which supports Grandmothers in Africa.

These Canadian grandmothers and "grandothers" have, over their 10-year history, made a difference in the lives of so many. The Greater Vancouver Gogos has raised over $2.4 million to support community projects that support African grandmothers. The gogos are changing lives and they are saving lives. They are Canadian humanitarians making a profound difference in our world.

I congratulate and thank Barbara Thomas and the gogos, great Canadians making our world more caring and more liveable.