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

Business of Supply February 28th, 2012

Madam Speaker, he is absolutely correct. There are provisions in the Criminal Code that allow for the police, in emergency situations, to investigate or have arresting powers. However, this bill would infringe on the very rights and freedoms that we enjoy, the rights and freedoms of our forefathers and that Canadians have fought for. That is what is disturbing and why Canadians are upset.

Business of Supply February 28th, 2012

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak to the motion put forward by the member for Toronto Centre. The motion asks the House to recognize the fundamental rights of all Canadians to the freedoms of speech, communication and privacy and that there must be a clear affirmation on the need for these rights to be respected in all forms of communication and that the House recognize that the collection by government of personal information and data from Canadians relating to their online activities, without limits, rules, judicial oversight, constitutes a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms' protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Of course I will support the motion.

The motion asks to affirm the basic rights and freedoms of all Canadians as identified in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, it saddens me that the member for Toronto Centre was compelled to put forward a motion that asks us, the members of the House, to affirm what as legislators we should be protecting everyday, what should be the guiding principle of work everyday in the House. The member was compelled to introduce the motion because of the reckless and ill-conceived Bill C-30, a bill which contains a serious violation of the rights and freedoms of law-abiding Canadians.

When members stood in the House and asked the Minister of Public Safety to reconsider this reckless legislation, the minister said, “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers”. We are often warned that rights and freedoms are not permanent, that we only keep them if we stand up and fight for them. However, when members of the House stand up and fight to protect these rights when they are being threatened by their government, we are accused of being sympathetic to child pornographers.

I think many Canadians realized because of that moment, if they did not already, that the government was a different kind of government than we had seen before, a government that was not only willing to attack the basic rights and freedoms of Canadians, but would also bully and threaten, in the worst way, when it was questioned about this attack.

I support the motion, but I lament that the government has created the conditions, the situations where this kind of motion is necessary in the first place.

Canadians should pay very close attention to this, not only to the bill but to what appears to be a complete disregard for the basic principles of democracy, rights, freedoms and respect for free and fair electoral process. The Conservatives pled guilty to election fraud just a few months ago. Now we hear the Conservative campaign may have been involved in widespread voter suppression, yet more election fraud.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Terrebonne—Blainville.

Last Friday, I had a chance to attend a citizenship ceremony in my community of Surrey, British Columbia. It was a very special day for those attending their citizenship.

I, too, remember a special day for me about 20 years ago when I became a Canadian citizen. There were about 85 people, elderly, young, in all walks of life, and they came from about 20 different countries. Many of them told me that they came here for a better life. A number of them came from war-torn countries. Others came from lawless countries and some may have come from countries where there might be police brutality. Many had escaped these terrible situations to adopt Canada as their new country. I could see the pride in the eyes of the would-be new immigrants.

As a part of preparation for citizenship, the new Canadians learn about our Charter of Rights. It would be fair to say that most of them expect the government and the governing party of Canada to respect the Charter of Rights.

I had a chance to address the new citizens at the end of the ceremony and encouraged them to get involved in politics and the political process in Canada, if they were not already involved. I encouraged them to exercise their right to vote. I can only imagine what those new citizens feel when they see headlines about this new country they have worked so hard to become a citizen of saying that those rights and freedoms are under attack by the sitting government and that the governing party is already guilty of election fraud, perhaps even widespread voter suppression and, more seriously, election fraud.

In May, I was elected to represent the people of Surrey North in the House. I and all members of the House have been given a wonderful opportunity and a phenomenal responsibility. New Democrats are standing up to protect the basic rights and freedoms of Canadians and the serious erosion of privacy and expansion of unchecked surveillance powers contained in Bill C-30.

I challenge the members on the other side of the House to do what they know is right and reject Bill C-30. They should think about the responsibility they have and what our rights and freedoms mean and do what they know is right.

This motion also calls on the House to recognize the charter as paramount to any provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and for the Prime Minister to ensure that any legislation put forward by the government respects the provisions of the charter and its commitments to principles of due process, privacy and the presumption of innocence. Without the principles of due process, adequate judicial oversight, respect for privacy and the presumption of innocence, our judicial system and, ultimately, our democracy stops working.

I ask members on the other side to seriously consider not only supporting this motion but understanding the gravity of the threat to our rights and freedoms contained in Bill C-30. I also ask them to consider the responsibilities they have as legislators and as members of a governing party that has shown a very serious lack of respect for not only our rights and freedoms but also our democracy. We should not have to stand in the House and speak to this motion but here we are today because of the actions of the government. Canadians deserve better.

Business of Supply February 28th, 2012

Madam Speaker, the Minister of Public Safety pointed out that the bill was moving laws into the 21st century. I think that Canadians would disagree with him. In fact, it is moving backward to not only cold war but the Communist state, the totalitarian states that we earlier had.

The minister correctly pointed out that the government had reduced the list of identifiers from 11 to 6. However, in a sneaky way, it has included a part in the bill that includes a regulatory power permitting Governor-in-Council to add even more kinds of information that could be accessed without a warrant. Section 64 of the act covers that. Are there additional identifiers that will be added later on?

Business of Supply February 28th, 2012

Madam Speaker, like a lot of Canadians, I am also appalled at the introduction of the Bill C-30 by the Conservatives. It would treat law-abiding citizens like criminals, and that is wrong.

I am fairly new to the House but I have done a bit of research. I found out that this lawful access bill was introduced by the Liberals not only in 2005, but again in 2007. What has changed in this legislation that the Liberals are now opposing it? Why are they flip-flopping on this? What are the reasons?

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has asked the government over and over again not to abolish the gun registry. I listened to the leaders who are in charge of protecting our communities and making them safer. These are experts who have pleaded with Conservatives over the years not to abolish it because it saves lives. It helps police do their job. We need to provide those tools to the agencies that are making our communities safer.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have been in the House all day today listening to our Conservative colleagues talk about abolishing the gun registry. I said earlier that there is no logic to their whole argument around abolishing the gun registry. In fact, they are going around in circles trying to generate some facts that are not there.

To answer my colleague's question, there have been four murders in my community over the last month. Illegal guns were used in those murders. I am very concerned about guns in the community, the ones floating around without being registered.

I urge my colleagues not to abolish the gun registry. We need to keep our communities safe and the way to do that is to register guns and know where they are at all times.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, here we go again, the Conservatives confusing the facts. Jack Layton and the NDP have always wanted to work with the Conservatives to fix the gun registry once and for all.

Let us work together. Let us take into consideration the concerns of rural Canadians, hunters and urban Canadians. Let us work together and fix those loopholes. That is what New Democrats have been proposing for many years. Unfortunately the Conservatives are not listening.

Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act February 7th, 2012

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-19, a bill that if passed will mean the abolishment of the long gun registry.

As the opposition critic for public safety and as the representative for a community where gang and gun-related violence is a reality, where there have been four murders in the last month alone, I am fiercely opposed to the bill.

Abolishing the long gun registry is a mistake and I fear the impact this mistake will have on public safety.

The most saddening part about the government's motivation to kill the registry is that it is entirely political. It has nothing to do with public safety. Instead, it has to do with a reckless Conservative agenda on crime that will cripple our criminal justice system and cost taxpayers billions of dollars, all just to divide Canadians and score some cheap points along the way. It has nothing to do with the facts, but, sadly, facts are rarely a concern with the government, especially when it comes to public safety.

Last week in the Senate committee hearing on Bill C-10, the omnibus crime bill, the Minister of Public Safety told senators to ignore the facts when it came to public safety. He said, “I don't know if the statistics demonstrate that crime is down...I'm focused on danger”.

His statement, which seems completely absurd to most Canadians, pretty much summarizes the government's approach on crime. Its plan, as far as I can see, is to scare Canadians and then spend billions of dollars on policies that will not make our communities any safer, all the while convincing us that all of this somehow makes it tough.

My friends do not believe in facts, but I will give some to them anyway. Here are some facts about the long gun registry, which the minister and his colleagues on that side of the House are ignoring.

On average, one in three women killed by their husbands are shot and 88% of those women are killed with legally owned rifles and shotguns. Since the introduction of the gun registry, gun-related spousal homicides are down 50%.

Rifles and shotguns are the guns most often used in suicides, particularly those involving youth. These have decreased by 64% in nine years, from 329 in 1995 to 121 in 2005, with no evidence of substitution with other methods.

Long guns have killed 10 out of 13 police officers in the past 10 years. That comes from the 2010 RCMP evaluation of the Canadian firearms program.

The Conservatives are also ignoring the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which has told them many times that the registry saves the lives of officers and that cancelling it would hinder their ability to solve crimes.

The Conservatives are ignoring the RCMP that has consistently defended its usefulness as an investigative tool.

The Conservatives are ignoring victims' groups that have spoken out in support of the gun registry. We heard from many victims' groups in committee.

The registry is not perfect. That is why New Democrats have been saying for many years that we need to find a way to address the problems with the gun registry, while strengthening gun controls in our country.

Our position is clear. We want to see the legitimate concerns of rural Canadians and aboriginals addressed, while ensuring that police officers have the tools they need to keep our communities safer. We want to bring Canadians together and find solutions, instead of playing games with wedge politics like the Conservatives are doing.

The NDP put forward a number of suggestions to address problems with the registry, while maintaining its value as a public safety tool, but the Conservatives refused to consider those solutions. Not only are they going to end the gun registry, but just to prove a juvenile point, the government is also going to destroy the existing gun registry data.

The money has already been spent. We have heard about it. It was $2 billion that my friends spent over the years to gather this information. It makes no sense to simply destroy it if there are police officers and provinces that want to use it to enhance public safety. Destroying existing information in the registry will not bring back the money that has already been spent. Why is the government going to effectively burn billions of dollars worth of data that Canadian taxpayers have already paid for when the provinces and the police are telling us that the data has a public safety value?

It does not make sense to me. What makes sense to me is to fix the registry so it works for all Canadians, rural Canadians, aboriginals and urban Canadians. What makes sense to me is to give the police the tools they need. What makes sense to me is to adopt improvements that New Democrats have proposed to strengthen the gun registry. What makes sense to me is to ensure that semi-automatic weapons, like the Ruger Mini-14, used by Anders Breivik in the recent Norway shootings and by Marc Lépine at the Montreal massacre in 1989, cannot be classified the same way as hunting and sporting shooting guns, to close loopholes around firearms importation that have led to guns ending up on the black market. What makes sense to me is to stop gun violence in the country using every possible tool that we have. What makes sense is to save lives.

Like Jack Layton said, “stopping gun violence has been a priority” for rural and urban Canadians. There is no good reason why we should not be able to sit down with goodwill and open minds. There is no good reason why we should not be able to build solutions that bring us together. There is no good reason why we cannot rise above the political games, fix the registry and make Canada a safer place for everyone: my family, the families of the members and families across our country.

I urge my Conservative colleagues to vote against the bill so they can work with the NDP to fix this so we have safer communities.

Pensions February 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Prime Minister casually announced cuts to the old age security while in Switzerland. He did not mention it in the last election, and he certainly did not consult Canadians.

People in my community and across this country are worried about the Prime Minister's attack on retirement security. They do not trust the government with their future. First, it wants to gamble away pensions on an insecure pooled investment scheme. Now it is making drastic changes to the OAS.

Why does the Prime Minister not have the decency to ask Canadians what they think?

Seniors have built this country with hard work. They deserve to live with dignity in their retirement. Canadians work hard and play by the rules. The government is shortchanging hard-working Canadians with its reckless dismantling of the OAS so that it can pay for fighter jets, corporate giveaways and prisons.

Ending the Long-gun Registry Act February 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have been hearing from the Conservatives rhetoric that does not make sense at all. We have heard from chiefs of police and many others from across the country and they do not want to abolish the gun registry. I wonder if the member could comment on that.