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 March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I know the answer to this question, and I also know the answer to some of the other questions posed earlier.

It was a Liberal government that actually raided the $50-billion unemployment insurance fund we had. That is one answer for the member from the third party.

Second, we have heard over and over in this House that the backbone of our economy is small businesses. They are the ones that generate eight out of 10 jobs. If there is anyone we need to help grow this economy to help Canadians, it is small businesses, whether it is by cutting tax rates or by clamping down on the merchant fees, which are exorbitant, charged by the friends of the current Conservative government.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to speak in the House on behalf of my constituents in Surrey North.

The motion in front of us is basically calling on the government to acknowledge the long-term decline in good-paying jobs in Canada, especially over the last 25 years, under both the Conservative government and the Liberal government. We need to take some concrete action. We in the NDP have a number of ideas, which I will be discussing. We would like the Conservatives to actually steal them from us and incorporate them in budget 2015, which hopefully will be coming very shortly from the government.

There was a report last week from one of the major banks. It talked about declining job quality in Canada. Canadians do not have to see a report from a bank to realize that quality, good-paying jobs have been declining over the last eight or nine years, especially under the Conservative government.

We have seen 400,000 manufacturing jobs disappear under this government. Those manufacturing jobs were the value-added jobs. When we talk about good-paying jobs, those are value-added jobs. If we take the trees out of the forest and just ship the logs, it is not going to create value-added jobs. Value added is something we do with that tree. We make it into lumber or other products. Value-added jobs are the ones that pay higher wages to workers. However, under this government, we have seen those jobs disappearing from coast to coast to coast.

There are 1.3 million Canadians out of work. It is a great opportunity for the government to actually do something for these unemployed Canadians to generate good-paying jobs to help them and their families. The jobs that have been created over the last eight or nine years, according to the study published last week, are not good-paying jobs. I know that Canadians know this. I know people in my constituency know this, because they come and talk to me and I go to talk to them.

Here is an opportunity to invest in our small businesses and invest in our communities to ensure that the future jobs that are created are good-paying jobs.

As I said, 400,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared, and 1.3 million Canadians are unemployed. A lot of the jobs that are being created now are part-time, low-paying jobs. That is not a good record. That is not how we would like to see Canada grow. We need to ensure that no one is left behind.

I have people in my constituency who work 40 hours a week, yet they are living below the poverty line. Minimum wage is very low in all the provinces. One of the things we would like to see is an increase in the minimum wage in federally regulated industries. We would like to see it raised to $15. Minimum wage in real terms has not increased since 1972. What the minimum wage was in 1972 is what it is today. There has been no real gain in the minimum wage.

On the other hand, tens of billions of dollars has been handed to wealthy corporations by the government, whether it is the oil companies or the big banks, yet there has not been that investment in our communities and our small businesses.

I am going to offer some real solutions that we will be providing to the government, if it would like to borrow them. Otherwise, later this year, we will have an election, and we are going to offer a clear alternative to this government for Canadians. We will form the government later in 2015 and will implement these very ideas that will help middle-class, hard-working families.

I know that they are laughing. I would like to see if they are still laughing after the election.

The Conservatives come up with great ideas, but the problem is that those great ideas only help the wealthiest. They came up with an income splitting plan. They say that they have a great family tax reduction scheme and will put money back into the pockets of everyday families. The problem is that those everyday families are the richest 15%. They are not giving the billions of dollars to the very people who need it. They are giving it to the top echelon, the 15%, the wealthiest people in this country.

Conservatives are coming up with some other schemes. They say that they are going to give $60 more for children aged six to 18. It is good to put some money in the pockets of parents and families. The problem is that real families actually want affordable child care. I have talked to hundreds of people, not only in my constituency but around the Lower Mainland and the greater Vancouver area. There are families that cannot afford child care. Some of the child care spaces, if they are available in the Lower Mainland, cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 per month, per child, for some sort of daycare or child care. According to my math, $60 would keep a child in daycare for two days. What are parents supposed to do the rest of the 28 days?

If we have affordable child care, women are able to get into the workforce and contribute to the workforce. It brings in additional revenue for the government when they are able to participate. That is another idea: an affordable child care program available to all families across this country to give families the flexibility to work and earn additional income.

To help our economic engine, small businesses, we would offer to decrease their corporate tax rate from 11% to 9%. Another idea is to create a tax credit to make it more affordable for business owners to invest in innovation, machinery, and equipment. I talked about the minimum wage.

Another opportunity for the government is to strengthen the pension plan, and the Conservatives have failed to do that.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that we did not need to increase the retirement age from 65 to 67, yet the government is increasing the retirement age. Again, when we form government after the next election, we will bring that back to age 65. I want Canadians to know that. Conservatives are not on their side. They are not only increasing the retirement age, but under the government's watch, the debt has gone up by $176 billion. Who is going to pay for that? It is our children. It is not responsible for parliamentarians to burden future generations with extra tax. That is not the way we should be doing things.

I hope the Conservatives will borrow some of the ideas we have offered throughout the day and start working for Canadian families.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we often hear in this House that small businesses are the backbone of our economy and create eight out of every ten jobs, yet we have seen nothing over the last years from the current government that will help these very businesses make investments that will enhance their businesses and thus create more jobs.

I know elections are coming up later this year. I would like to ask my hon. colleague what the NDP would do after forming the next government to help small businesses.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I like the “culture of corporate negligence”. That is the very culture that the Conservative government has been trying to protect. Canadians expect better. They expect our government to stand on their side. The government has failed to protect taxpayers.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the hard-working member for Windsor West is absolutely right.

Who are the Conservatives trying to protect with the $1 billion liability? We all know it costs much more to clean up some of the messes created by oil spills. Conservatives have continued to protect their friends in the oil industry and are burdening future generations with the polluter costs.

We have been asking the Conservatives to ensure that the polluter pays. The very people who pollute the environment and who cause damage to the pristine environment around Canada should be the ones who pay. We should be taking preventative measures. This is something we need to invest in to ensure that these oil spills do not happen in the first place.

Time after time, whether it is on crime prevention or on taking preventative measures to ensure we have a solid network of secure pipelines, Conservatives have failed to invest. If we are going generate the natural wealth we have in this country, we need to ensure that we have secure, safe pipelines in place. Conservatives are not looking out for Canadian taxpayers. As usual, they are trying to protect their oil company friends.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as members know, it is a small step in the right direction.

We have been calling for this legislation for a long time. During the four years I have been here, the Conservatives have failed to see that the polluter must pay. They are more interested in protecting their friends in the oil industry than in actually protecting taxpayers.

This bill does not go far enough. We are hoping for some amendments to be brought in at the committee stage. I hope the Conservatives will accept those amendments to make the legislation better, to protect Canadians and not the oil companies.

At this second reading stage, I will be supporting this bill. However, it is on the condition that we will make this bill stronger so that Canadians are not left with the liability, that polluters are left with the liability. The polluters have to pay.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to rise in the House to speak on behalf of my constituents from Surrey North.

Bill C-46, An Act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act would amend the statutory liability regime for federally regulated pipelines in Canada. The bill includes absolute liability for all National Energy Board regulated pipelines, which means companies would be liable for costs and damages, irrespective of fault, up to $1 billion for major oil pipelines, pipelines that would have the capacity to transport at least 250,000 barrels a day. Companies would continue to have unlimited liability when they were at fault or negligent.

The bill is a much needed and long overdue first step toward a true polluter pays regime for pipelines in Canada. The official opposition, the NDP, has been calling on the government to bring in legislation so we have a true polluter pays system.

I think the Conservatives understand what polluter pays is, however they are reluctant to make it happen in Canada. Canadians understand what polluter pays means. Even my children understand what it means. Unfortunately the Conservatives have chosen not to understand its meaning to protect their friends in the oil companies, friends who are damaging the very environment of Canada.

I think Canadians understand what polluter pays means. As I pointed out, my children understand that if one makes a mess, then one cleans it up. It is not for the next generation to clean up that mess, and I will share a story of my children to demonstrate that.

I have two children, a son, Jaron, who is 8 years old, and daughter, Jessica, who is 18. My son is a typical eight year old. He makes a mess, whether it be with his toys, or paint or a lot of other stuff, as it is the case in every Canadian household. Children make messes at home. However, one afternoon there was a huge mess of toys in the livingroom. My wife asked Jaron to clean up the mess he had made from playing with his friends. He looked at her and then looked at my daughter and said that she would clean it up for him. Jessica looked at him and said, no. He had made the mess and he would have to clean it up. Jaron then went running to his mother and told her that his sister would not clean it up. His mom told him that it was his mess and that he would have to clear it up. He understood that. He knew it was his mess and he needed to clean it up.

This is a very basic concept. Whoever makes the mess must clean it up. Unfortunately if the Conservatives' friends in the oil industry make a mess, or if a pipeline erupts or is damaged, they do not expect the oil companies to clean it up. The Canadian taxpayers have to do that. How fair is that? If most Canadians understand the concept of polluter pays, why can the Conservatives not understand that? I think the Conservatives understand it, but they are trying to protect their friends in the oil industry and are putting the liability on Canadian taxpayers.

The bill before us is the first step with regard to the polluter pays, unfortunately the implementation of many of the proposed changes in Bill C-46 are left to the discretion of the National Energy Board and cabinet, or the details are left to regulations.

Bill C-46 leaves considerable leeway for politically motivated decisions and backroom arrangements between operators and the National Energy Board, a regulator that lacks credibility on the pipeline front. We are therefore left with uncertainty as to whether the bill goes far enough.

I come from British Columbia, and we have seen the opposition to the northern gateway pipeline. We know the mess that the National Energy Board has created where legitimate people were not allowed to testify or make their presentations in front of the NEB. The Conservatives have put in so many roadblocks to have a fair process. If we are going to have pipelines, there has to be a clear process in place to ensure that all of the considerations are taken before a decision is made.

The Conservatives have made a mockery of the process, and they have gutted the very environmental regulations that are supposed to protect not only our environment but also our resource sectors in this country. They have failed to take a leadership role to show that some of these projects are viable and that we take into consideration the environmental regulations and guidelines to ensure we have projects protected. Again, the polluter pay system is something that is not foreign to the Conservatives; they choose to be on the side of the oil companies instead of Canadian taxpayers.

Bill C-46, as a first step, makes some important improvements to Canada's liability regime, but the lack of certainty about the degree to which polluters would be required to pay undermines these improvements and leaves uncertainty as to whether the taxpayer would still be on the hook for cleanup costs when $1 billion in fault or negligence cannot be proven.

The amount of $1 billion is a drop in the bucket when it comes to a major oil spill. We have seen oil spills cost much more than $1 billion. There needs to be more to ensure that Canadian taxpayers are not left holding the bag that Conservatives are passing on from their friends in the oil companies to the taxpayers. That is not fair. Canadians expect parliamentarians to ensure that liability stays with the polluter, not with the taxpayer.

When it comes to profits, the oil companies will gladly make sure that they take those profits, and Conservatives actually help the oil companies. If they lose money, that loss is nationalized on the backs of the taxpayers. People in my constituency clearly would not want that to happen. I have talked to many people in my constituency who want a system where we ensure that liability stays with the polluter and not with taxpayers.

I have a minute left, and I could go on in this subject because it is very much a concern to people in my constituency. Basically, there is no doubt that Canada's natural resources are a tremendous blessing and the energy sector is a driving force of our economy. The NDP vision for leveraging those resources to create wealth and prosperity does not sacrifice social or environmental sustainability.

The vision of the official opposition can be summed up in three key principles: first, sustainability, to make sure that polluters pay for pollution they create instead of leaving costs to the next generation; second, partnerships, to make sure that communities, provinces, and first nations all benefit from resource development, and that we create value-added, middle-class, high-paying jobs in Canada; and third, long-term prosperity, to leverage Canada's natural wealth to invest in modern, clean energy technologies that will keep Canada on the cutting edge of energy development and ensure affordable rates into the future.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the finance minister's speech on this particular bill. I want to share a couple of stories from my communities and to ask a question of the Minister of Finance.

I have had two dangerous offenders released into the community. One of them, a sex offender, sadly ended up murdering a very young girl. The second offender who was released last month, James Conway, was actually dropped into the community with several conditions to monitor him in the community. The conditions were similar to those put onto the first sex offender I mentioned. James Conway was arrested after nine days of roaming around the community. Thankfully, he was arrested successfully.

I have heard from the community. Once these individuals are released into the community, there is a lack of funding and monitoring of them.

Since we have the Minister of Finance here, I want to ask him this. Does he have additional funding to monitor these individuals? We had a program called circles of support and accountability. That funding has been cut by the current government. The government also promised more RCMP support for the communities, but that has not been delivered.

My community, my mayors, and my constituents are asking the government and Minister of Finance whether there will be additional funding for the programs that monitor these monsters in our communities.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are always open to new legislation and having proper scrutiny of the legislation that is brought to the House.

What we have seen from the Conservatives is that any sort of positive addition, whether it is in witness testimony or amendments from the official opposition to prop up the bill and ensure that its intention is kept, is turned down. Experts say that we need the amendments that we have introduced. What we have seen time after time is those amendments being turned down by the Conservatives.

I know that the Conservatives do not believe in facts. They do not believe in expert testimony. They do not believe in consulting the very stakeholders who are going to be affected by this.

I will support this bill if the Conservatives take into consideration the number of amendments that we will introduce and the amendments that experts will bring to committee.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, a question has been asked of the Conservatives, and they have been dodging and ducking it. Why have “culture” in the title of the bill? They are saying it is not culture based, so why do the Conservatives have “culture” in the title of the bill?

On this side of the House, we believe that violence against women is gender-based, and we should be looking at ways to protect our women across the country. However, the Conservatives are somehow linking it to a particular cultural group, as if it has been imported here by a different culture.

The very problem we need to address is violence against women. That runs across cultures. It is a part of Canadian society, and we need to take steps to protect women.