House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Surrey North (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Public Safety June 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, gang violence in my community is in a state of crisis. There have been over 36 shootings in Surrey since March. The Conservatives have to be pushed every step of the way, and yet fail to take action. They have resisted supplying more RCMP officers and critical investment in youth gang crime prevention programs.

Now the Minister of Public Safety says 20 new RCMP officers are on the ground, but reports say this is not true. Have the additional RCMP officers made it to Surrey yet, yes or no?

Public Safety June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have failed to put in place training that would allow those officers to be there.

My question is very simple. The member said that “deployment of the 20 members committed to Surrey is under way and that boots are already on the ground.” Are they under way to there? How many are actually in Surrey? Are there two, three, four?

Are there two members on the ground, three members on the ground in Surrey? How many are in Regina?

I am not asking how many people are on the way. How many are in Surrey right now?

Public Safety June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member talks in circles and does not answer the questions.

The 30 bills that the Conservatives brought in are not working in my community. The shootings are still happening.

The member said that I do not know how the training takes place. Let me remind her that I worked in a college that trained police for 15 years, so I know exactly how it works.

Do not blame this on those people in the corner, the Liberal Party, because you had 10 years to put this straight and have the training in place, and you failed to do that.

Public Safety June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise once again to call on the government to act now to address the violence that is taking place in my city of Surrey. Last weekend we had another two shootings, one on Friday night and another one on, I believe, Saturday night. Every week there are more shootings, and I have been standing in the House and asking the government what it has been doing and what its plans are.

People in my community are afraid. Mothers are afraid to let their kids play outside. I have a son who is eight years old, and my wife is very concerned about him playing outside on the street. This is simply not acceptable. People expect better from government, whether it is the federal government, provincial government, or city government. One of the primary responsibilities of a government is the security and safety of its citizens. That is not the case in my community right now.

The crime problem and shootings have reached a crisis level. I have stood in this House many times to ask the government to tell us what its plans are and what concrete action it is taking to ensure that we do not have any fatalities. We have already had one. We do not want innocent people or any young person killed.

I have stood in the House multiple times demanding that the government take action. Yes, the government came up with a big announcement in Surrey that it would deliver 100 officers and $3.5 million for the gang prevention program. It cut the funding for this program back in 2013. The funding was ongoing until 2013. Maybe the Conservatives forgot to renew it.

On the 100 officers the city has been asking for, the Conservatives finally said they would approve them and that they were on the way. Last week the Minister of Public Safety announced in the House that he has 20 boots going out to Surrey.

I want the government to confirm how many officers have actually gone to Surrey. How many boots are in Surrey? How many boots are being trained? When are they going to get there? Is it going to take one month? Is it going to take two months or three months?

The Minister of Public Safety said that the boots are on the ground in Surrey. I would like the parliamentary secretary to be very clear and tell me how many are on the ground, how many are in training, and how many are going to be dispatched, and I want a timeframe, because people in Surrey expect that. They are waiting to have some sort of help from the government to curb the violence that is taking place.

More RCMP officers alone is not going to resolve the issue. I put forward a motion in the House that calls for sustainable long-term funding for crime prevention and youth gang prevention programs that need to be ongoing, but the government has failed to have sustainable funding on an ongoing basis.

My questions are very simple. Where are those 100 RCMP officers? Are they on the ground, are they still in the air, are they still in Regina, or are the Conservatives just making this stuff up? This is not something to be fooled around with. This deals with public safety. This deals with gun violence in my community. Please answer those questions.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we should always support victims of such heinous crimes as forced marriages.

The problem is that the bill does not address the very issues my hon. colleagues have talked about. The bill does not address very the issues that need to be addressed. Witnesses came forward, expert witnesses and stakeholders, who are part of the community and worked in the community, yet the Conservatives failed to accept even one amendment to this bill. Even the Canadian Bar Association called this bill basically useless.

We need some concrete plans to address situations like those my hon. colleague talked about. Conservatives have failed to deliver for people who are forced into marriages, and this bill is not the solution.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, violence against women and children is a very serious issue that we need to address nationally. We need to address it in discussions with the provinces, the cities, and the communities. It is not something we can ignore.

There are 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women. We have been calling on the government to have an inquiry to find out what happened, yet it has refused to do that.

Twelve hundred women have gone missing or been murdered, but it is clear that the government has no agenda when it comes to protecting women and children. It is more interested in partisan politics and trying to score some cheap points to get re-elected. That is not going to happen. I can assure everyone that Canadians have seen the Conservatives work over the past years. They have failed to deliver. Men, women, and children have been victimized over and over, yet the government has failed to protect those very same individuals.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that is typical of the Liberals. They will say one thing and do another. On Bill C-51, they said they were for it although they were against it, but they were actually going to vote against it. It is the same thing with this bill. They were against it although they were for some of the things in it, but they are going to vote with the government. That party cannot take a stand.

Now that they are trailing in the polls, Liberals are trying to adopt some of the very policies that the NDP has offered over the last four or five years. Canadians realize that this is too little, too late for the little party over in the corner.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for LaSalle—Émard.

It is always an honour to rise in the House on behalf of my constituents of Surrey North to express my opposition to Bill S-7, an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act, and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other acts, or as the Conservatives have titled the bill, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.

Right from the start, with the title of the bill, it is evident that the intent of the legislation is only political. I have heard the concerns of many witnesses who have told us some of the measures were useless and would actually further marginalize victims. Following advice from these expert stakeholders, it is my obligation to stand firmly against Bill S-7.

First, most of the measures in the bill do not actually achieve anything at all. They only duplicate existing laws, and the few measures that Bill S-7 does introduce could actually have negative consequences that defeat the very purpose it claims to have, which is to protect women.

Violence against women and children is unacceptable. Much work needs to be done in Canada to prevent and combat these crimes. However, we have to listen to the recommendations of experts, stakeholders, and victims, who are on the ground dealing with these situations on a daily basis and are familiar with our Criminal Code and immigration act, for an appropriate response that offers an actual solution to this very serious problem.

We listened to many witnesses express their concerns with the purpose of the bill and state that it would in fact worsen problems for women. However, Conservatives are not listening.

Lawyer Deepa Mattoo, from the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario stated:

Bill S-7 lacks the understanding of the complex issues of violence faced by women and children and does not achieve the goal that the government desires to achieve with this.

Dr. Naila Butt, from the Social Services Network also stated that:

Criminalization of forced marriage, without the much needed institutional support for victims, would only further alienate and harm those facing forced marriage and gender-based violence, with the added insult of being stigmatized that they come from barbaric cultures.

These are individuals who work at the ground level. They are familiar with what is going on in the community; they are the very stakeholders, the ones who work with the victims. Conservatives are once again ignoring the opinion of experts, stakeholders, and victims in order to benefit their political agenda.

I have said this before and I will say it again. If the Conservatives really want to tackle the issue of violence against women, how about they finally launch an inquiry into Canada's missing and murdered indigenous women? As of 2010, there have been 1,200 known cases of missing or murdered indigenous women in Canada. The statistics are absolutely shocking, yet the Prime Minister actually stated that this issue, and I quote him, “... it isn't really high on our radar...”. That is shameful.

The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs did not even have the decency to stand up during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The government has literally failed to stand up for women's rights.

Conservatives like to pretend and brag they are tough on crime, but they are continuing to fail to protect Canadians by introducing political bills that offer empty solutions and are only put in place to benefit the Conservative agenda, like this bill. I know when the Conservatives pretend to be tough on crime. I know when they brag about being tough on crime.

There have been 30 shootings in my riding over the last number of months. That shows that whatever they have been doing for the last 10 years is not working in my community. We have been asking for police officers over a number of months, but the Conservatives cannot come up with concrete plans to even bring them into our city.

Violence against women remains a systematic, widespread issue in Canada. It is appalling but unfortunately not surprising that the Conservatives would want to politicize such a serious issue as gender-based violence.

We in Surrey are familiar with the current government's political tactics. The Conservatives like to sensationalize issues, but then they fail to provide any real solutions. For example, they have been saying that they will fix the crime problem in my community since they formed government. However, we have yet to see any real commitments or concrete solutions for my city. We see a lot of talk coming from these guys, but no action. It is clear that the current government is not committed to lowering crime in my community, just as it is not committed to tackling forced and underage marriages.

It is obvious that its intentions are not to combat gender-based violence. It will not even listen to the experts when it comes to something as effortless as changing the short title of this bill. The title of this bill, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act, was of major concern to many of the witnesses we heard from at the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, since it invokes racist stereotypes and further marginalizes minority groups. The title insinuates that all cultural practices are barbaric and reinforces prejudice against certain cultural groups by targeting racial minorities for practices that are in fact found in Canadian society at large and not only in these communities.

We put forth amendments to change not only the short title but also other aspects of the bill. However, all of our proposed amendments were rejected by the Conservative majority. A shock factor name will not help combat violence against women. Instead it sensationalizes the issue, and, as some witnesses suggested, it could force perpetrators to further isolate potential victims from resources.

As we were told at committee, this bill could also have serious unintended consequences that should not be ignored. For example, UNICEF expressed concerns that the bill would impose criminal sanctions against minors who attend, celebrate, or help organize a forced marriage, effectively impacting their future with a criminal record. This bill would re-victimize women and children who are at risk of violence by imposing criminal sanctions on them rather than protecting them from predators. The penalties would include criminalization and deportation, so some women and children would not want to come forward to report forced marriages.

If the Conservatives really have the interests of victims at heart, they would listen to the experts, the stakeholders, and the victims. They would conduct proper consultations before adopting measures that might harm the very people they are claiming to protect.

Canada needs a national plan to end violence against women and to protect women within our immigration system. However, the intention of this bill is only political. Its intent is not to protect women. Bill S-7 is yet another example of the current government's abuse of power to make useless pieces of legislation that only sensationalize an issue and discriminate against a part of the population in order to further its political agenda.

When will the government start listening to Canadians and come out with legislation that actually addresses Canadian issues? I will answer that question. The Conservatives will not have time to do that. They have had 10 years, and Canadians have had enough. They are tired.

We will have a new government on October 19 of this year. The NDP government will clean up a lot of the messes that the current government has made over the last 10 years. We will ensure that we come up with plans to protect our women and children. The Conservatives have failed to do that over the past 10 years, and it is time for them to go.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 15th, 2015

With regard to the remarks made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in the House of Commons on April 29, 2015 regarding spending on crime prevention in Surrey: (a) what is the itemized annual amount for the spending; (b) which departments were involved in the spending and with what amounts; (c) which components are grants or contributions; and (d) what is the government's definition of crime prevention?

Pubic Safety June 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last night there was yet another shooting in Surrey near a busy restaurant patio. People are terrified and parents are afraid to let their children play outside. My community needs to know that the federal government is doing everything it can to stop the violence.

However, the Conservatives are not even providing answers to their questions. Therefore, will the minister finally please tell us the timeline for the proposed 100 RCMP officers?