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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

India November 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sorrow that I extend my sympathies on the 27th anniversary of the tragic events of 1984 that targeted Sikh men, women and children.

The New Democratic Party of Canada stands in solidarity with the Sikh community, demands justice for the survivors and an explanation for why and how this community was targeted by organized mobs.

The victims and survivors of 1984 cannot sit idly by waiting for the government to recognize their plight and frustration.

Rehabilitation support for the broken families, especially the trauma the widows and children experienced, must be prioritized. The negligence of the police must be examined. The truth and those guilty must be brought to justice. These are not demands. These are the obligations of a democratic government to its citizens.

Remembrance is the tie that binds us to our past as it guides us for the challenges of the future.

Lest we forget.

Business of Supply October 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on a lobby group that will lobby in different parts of the world. In fact, over the last number of years, $50 million has been spent on the government's lobby efforts to lobby this killer product, asbestos, and to have this product sold in other third world developing countries.

With regard to having some sort of warning, the Rotterdam Convention would basically list asbestos as a hazard. There would be some sort of warning to people handling this material, or to countries that are buying it, that this material has the ability to kill and that it has the ability to cause cancer.

Three times in the last five years the government has rejected that idea. That is shameful. This is not my Canada. I do not want to see my Canada export asbestos and not take a leadership role in protecting the lives of people.

Business of Supply October 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, there we go again with Conservatives back to their talking points.

This material is so toxic. We know that from facts from the World Health Organization, the Canadian Cancer Society, physicians, and from all the evidence. In all credible research that has been done, asbestos was shown to be toxic, carcinogenic and it kills people.

Yet, Conservatives are also starting to realize that this material is actually toxic because I have not actually heard them use the word “asbestos”. We are talking about asbestos. We are not talking about mining. They are talking about mining. We are talking about asbestos, the product that kills citizens across not only this nation but other parts of the world. We need to take a stand to protect the lives of people, not only in Canada but across the globe.

Business of Supply October 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Newton—North Delta.

Before I get into my speech, today is Halloween. Yesterday when I left home I talked to two of my children and asked them to let mom or grandma inspect any candy they bring home today before eating it. I urge all parents to check the candies that the goblins bring home and make sure it is safe before they allow their children to eat it. I also urge all Canadians to take care when driving tonight and to watch for the young goblins and trick-or-treaters.

Today I rise to speak to the NDP's motion on asbestos. The NDP has long called for an end to asbestos exports to third world countries. The motion calls for a ban on the use and export of all forms of asbestos and a just transition plan for asbestos-producing workers and communities.

The motion would ensure that older asbestos workers have a decent standard of living through their retirement. It also calls for an investment fund to support diversification of the economy in the asbestos-producing regions.

On my first day in the House, I arrived here with Conservative members, Liberal members and my NDP colleagues on one of the green buses that circulate on Parliament Hill. As soon as we entered the grounds, I noticed one of the buildings was covered in a building envelope. I asked my colleagues what was going on with the building. A number of them replied. Not only my NDP colleagues but also my Conservative colleagues offered insight into what was going on with the building.

The Parliament buildings have been undergoing extensive renovations over the years. Millions of dollars have been spent to renovate these buildings. When I asked my colleagues why the buildings were being renovated, they said it was to get rid of the asbestos which is a carcinogen and is harmful. They also said that asbestos is not used in Canada anymore because the product is bad and there are concerns. It was good to hear that I would be working in a healthy workplace and that I would not be exposed to harmful substances or materials on the Hill. It was helpful to find out that this product was being removed from the Parliament buildings.

I did some research after that. There are school buildings and other public buildings that have been cleaned. There are many projects where asbestos is being removed from buildings. Why is that? The facts indicate that it is a harmful product, but my Conservative colleagues do not believe in facts nor do they rely on any kind of science. Asbestos has been shown to be harmful. That is why it is being removed from the Parliament buildings, schools and other buildings across the country.

Asbestos is a product which has been proven to be harmful. It is a carcinogen. It causes disease. Many years ago the government took steps to ban its general use in buildings, and rightfully so. The million dollar question is, why are the Conservatives so bent on exporting it to third world countries? Why do they want to export death to the unsuspecting workers and the public in other countries?

I have been sitting here since this morning and I have not heard a satisfactory response. The Conservatives will tell us a lot of other stuff, which I will talk about.

Canada is the only developed country that exports asbestos to other countries. In fact, most of the European Union, over 50 countries, have banned the use of asbestos. Most of the developed world has banned the use of asbestos. What do we do? We export this product which is known to be harmful, which causes cancer, which kills people. I have seen emails from people who say that it sucks the life out of people. Yet we export tonnes and tonnes to third world countries where not only are workers exposed to it, but who knows where this material ends up. The general public in those countries may be exposed to asbestos as well.

Generally speaking, the workers do not have any training on its, as the Conservatives would say, safe controlled use. In fact, no studies have been done to show that asbestos can be used in a safe and controlled manner. That type of use is not supported by facts. My friends across the aisle, the Conservatives, would have us believe, and will say over and over again, that asbestos can be used in a safe and controlled manner. I think the Canadian public knows better. Canadians know when someone is not stating the facts. I have been sitting here this morning and the Conservatives keep saying that, but it is absolutely not true.

There are many concerns regarding health and safety. Asbestos has been banned in Canada. It is used on a limited basis in certain products. It was interesting to read about what asbestos does. All asbestos materials break down into fibres so tiny they cannot be seen. People would not know whether they are breathing in asbestos. All of it breaks down into tiny particles which people cannot see with their eyes. In places where asbestos is present people could breathe it in and contract a disease that could eventually kill them.

There are various estimates as to how many people are killed by asbestos material. The World Health Organization estimates that anywhere from 90,000 to 100,000 people die each year from this particular disease.

The Conservatives will claim that chrysotile asbestos is safe if it is used in a controlled manner. That is not supported by facts. The Conservatives will also tell us that the mining industry is a provincial jurisdiction. However, exports are governed by the federal government, so we can certainly ban the export of this material, the export of death to third world countries. This is a matter of human rights. We want to ensure Canada's reputation is kept intact and that we remain leaders in safeguarding the health not only of Canadians, but of citizens around the globe.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police October 26th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, with weeks left it shows how out of touch Conservatives are with reality. Conservatives are asking British Columbians to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to the federal government for rejecting its unfair HST and now Conservatives are threatening to pull the police off our streets.

The province and municipalities are ready and willing to talk, so when will the government stop playing games with our public safety and start listening to British Columbians?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police October 26th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as RCMP contract talks resume this week, Conservatives continue to bring more threats than ideas to the negotiating table. The province and municipalities have said they are ready to negotiate in good faith in order to keep B.C. families safe. They are asking the government to be serious and constructive.

When will the minister stop using the public safety of British Columbians as a bargaining chip?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that everyone on both sides of the House understands that small businesses drive the economy and create over 50% of the jobs. Yet we have the Conservative government proposing to tax small businesses in the new year with the payroll tax. How would this affect small businesses in his riding?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's speech on Bill C-13 was very thoughtful. We have talked about small businesses being the economic engine that drives our economy and creates jobs. We know for a fact that the Conservatives are going to tax small businesses through the payroll tax.

Would my colleague comment on how it will hurt small businesses in her constituency and whether taxing small businesses is a good idea?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that somebody from the Conservative side realizes it is small businesses that create jobs. They are the economic engine for our country.

What really puzzles me is, if the Conservatives are to tax small businesses in the new year, how does that help small businesses? They are saying that they want to create jobs and provide a small tax credit to small businesses, but yet they are taxing small businesses. How would that help create jobs for Canadians?

Keeping Canada's Economy and Jobs Growing Act October 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, we have seen over the years the large giveaways to large corporations and money being taken from the small businesses which will be facing a payroll tax in the new year. I am glad the member brought that up because that is what the Conservatives believe in. They believe in taking money away from small businesses and families, taxing them, and giving it to their friends. Frankly, that is not fair.

I have talked with a number of small businesses in my constituency. They are already hurting. They were hurt by the government when it introduced the HST. That hurt our construction industry quite a bit. We are barely recovering from that. That is where small business is hurting. Clearly, the Conservatives are bent on giving away billions more dollars to large corporations.

We have a corporate tax rate that is one of the lowest in the G7 and G20. We are competitive. We do not need to give more money away to large corporations.