- His favourite word was sikh.
Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Bramalea—Gore—Malton (Ontario)
Lost his last election, in 2011, with 28% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Citizenship and Immigration November 18th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, the current government must finally stand up for Canadians and against those who increasingly use fraudulent marriages as a safe immigration passport to Canada.
The government should close loopholes in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, ensuring the marriage-based system is strengthened and fraudulent marriages are eliminated altogether.
When will the government assume its responsibility and ensure that Canada is not soft on immigration system abuse?
Citizenship and Immigration November 18th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, the high rates of temporary visitor visa refusals is preventing many of my constituents and other Canadians from inviting family and friends for occasions such as weddings, funerals and other special events, even when many of them had visited Canada under the previous government.
When will the minister stop this unfairness and reform the visitor visa system to assist Canadian families in times of compassion?
Citizenship and Immigration November 5th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, this government must establish stronger measures to protect Canadians against people who use a fraudulent marriage as a safe immigration passport to our country.
I have repeatedly asked the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to take action in cases when fraud was perpetrated against the Canadian immigration system, including the ones affecting many victims in my constituency.
To prevent future cases in which marriages with Canadian citizens are entered into for the purposes of obtaining permanent residence status, I call upon the government to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to strengthen the conditional immigration marriage-based system.
Furthermore, the government should establish a period of three to five years of probation for marriage-based immigrants, including a requirement that couples have been living together and intend to continue living together in the future.
Moreover, the government should restrict the finalization of each citizenship application until the probation period is complete and there has been no criminal activity or offences under the immigration act.
I strongly urge the government to take concrete action to stop marriage fraud and protect its victims.
Immigration October 29th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, since 2006 the refusal rate for temporary resident visa applicants wishing to come to Canada as members of the visitor class has been too high.
Every single week I hear from constituents whose close relatives and friends are denied entry to our country for important events such as weddings and funerals, even when they had previously been welcomed to Canada numerous times under the previous government.
Therefore, many of my constituents are advocating for a visa bond system, so that immigration officers could give applicants or sponsors the chance to provide a financial guarantee in borderline visitor visa cases. This would help many applicants visit Canada to share in important milestones with family and friends. My constituents would like the government to implement this bond system as soon as possible.
The government claims to champion family values, yet in too many of these cases, no compassion or concern is shown.
Religious Freedom June 9th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, in June 1984, the most holy place of the Sikh religion, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and many other Sikh places of worship were dishonoured. Thousands of innocent children, women and men who were there to mark a holy day were killed.
In November 1984, an anti-Sikh pogrom of violence, rapes and killings took place in New Delhi and many other Indian cities, resulting in the deaths of thousands more.
In June 1985, Air India flight 182 was blown up in mid-air and over 300 people died.
I strongly urge the Indian and Canadian governments to take all reasonable measures to ensure that justice prevails for innocent victims' families. Both countries should work together to ensure that such tragedies never happen again.
I would invite all my colleagues to take a moment to reflect upon the many innocent lives lost in 1984 and 1985.
Airport Security April 28th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, at a time when airport security is of particular concern for the safety of Canadian passengers, the federal government has slashed funding for airport policing.
The federal government has claimed to have made security a priority, but at the same time it has eliminated the entire $15 million funding that allows Canada's eight major airports, including Mississauga's Pearson International Airport, to hire police officers to patrol the terminals.
Since federal regulations require armed police presence in our airports, it appears that the cost will be passed on to the passengers. This is more bad news for travellers who have already been hit by the government's decision in February to increase security fees by about 50% to pay for passenger and luggage screening.
I urge the government to reduce the financial burden that it is downloading on to the passengers and to stop putting air travellers at risk.
Youth Employment March 26th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, the current unemployment rate among young Canadians is 16%, double the national average.
The real needs of youth living in Bramalea—Gore—Malton and across the country are not being addressed. The youth are worried about finding full-time and summer jobs, and about gaining the work experience needed to ensure their future employment. They are worried about being able to pay their tuition fees and achieve their dream of completing higher education.
The government can create jobs by giving employers greater incentives to hire our country's future workforce. This government needs to act now and show real progress in reducing the worst youth unemployment rate in a generation.
Mr. Speaker, I urge the government to listen to the citizens of our country and make the commitments necessary so that new Canadians have the chance to perform in positions that reflect their skills and qualifications.
Important inefficiencies exist in the system, as recently reported by CBC television on March 5. Foreign trained doctors and other health care workers, such as the U.K.-origin pharmacist featured on the CBC show, who have passed their exams but cannot find work in Canada, are leaving our country in search of work opportunities that reflect their capabilities. This brain drain is unacceptable.
The Conservative government must start taking the foreign credential issue more seriously as our country cannot achieve its full potential while, at the same time, leaving new Canadians behind.
Mr. Speaker, on March 5, I asked the government when would it deliver on its long overdue and limited foreign credentials promise to new Canadians. Instead of fully answering my question, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism only mentioned half measures, thus displaying the Conservative government's inadequate level of dedication to helping newcomers succeed in Canada.
In a time when the lack of foreign credentials recognition is costing our country over $2.6 billion per year in lost productivity alone, the federal government's recent announcement for the expansion of existing overseas orientation services constitutes an insufficient commitment to addressing the needs of both new Canadians and our economy as a whole.
The federal agency responsible for the assessment and recognition of credentials does not receive the funding required to effectively meet the purpose for which it was initially envisioned and has been downgraded to a referral office that does little more than direct new Canadians to provincial offices, where the real work of foreign credentials recognition is undertaken.
As a legacy of the Liberal Party's commitment to new Canadians, our country continues to be the destination of choice for important talent from around the world. However, a recent Statistics Canada report highlights that, under the Conservative government, Canadians who received their education and training overseas are overrepresented in the poverty, unemployment and underemployment rates of our country.
Additionally, the Globe and Mail reported last week that “Canadian immigrants, even those highly skilled and educated, suffer from an income gap that is unacceptably wide and slow to close” and that more needs to be done in the area of foreign credentials definition.
There are numerous examples of significant inefficiencies in the system. A family that moved as permanent residents from India to the city of Brampton, in Ontario, includes the father who used to be an IT specialist and is now a dishwasher in a restaurant, as well as a son who used to work as a doctor and now delivers pizza as he cannot afford the large fees associated with upgrading his degree and cannot find other work.
The Liberal Party's round table discussions with citizens, during the Conservatives' parliament prorogation, suggest that now is the time to move beyond the government's piecemeal and lengthy approach with respect to foreign credentials recognition. Now is the time to work Canadian and overseas educational institutions, provinces and territories and the appropriate regulatory bodies to develop bridging courses in those target countries where we have opened up offices and allocated resources so upgrading can begin before new Canadians arrive here. Now is the time to expand retraining, upgrading and language programs for new Canadians who are already in Canada.
Why is the government not ensuring that the foreign credentials barriers for all new Canadians are removed in a more comprehensive manner sooner rather than later?
Government Advertising March 17th, 2010
Mr. Speaker, the government is engaging in the inappropriate abuse of taxpayers' money as it spends hundreds of millions of dollars to fund its economic action plan partisan ads.
Government advertising should concentrate on informing members of the public about actions it can take or of program changes that directly affect them. The public has no pressing need to be reminded of the economic action plan on TV, radio and newspapers, including in ethnic media.
The Conservative government should stop promoting itself in publicly funded ads in an attempt to gain voter support. It must stop wasting taxpayers' money in advertising its economic action plan.