House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament September 2016, as Conservative MP for Calgary Midnapore (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 67% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Finance February 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in a feat of completely unprecedented fiscal incompetence, the government has taken us from a surplus to a $10-billion deficit and now to a $30-billion deficit.

It is clear as day that the Liberals misled Canadians in the last election with their bogus fiscal promises.

My question is simple. Why did the Liberals hide the truth about their agenda to massively expand the cost of government, and to run huge and growing deficits?

The Economy February 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the Prime Minister made a very clear commitment that the deficit would not go over $10 billion. This week, the Liberals admitted that the deficit might hit $30 billion. The figure tripled in three months.

My question for the Prime Minister is simple. How will the Liberals reduce this significant deficit that is growing day by day without increasing taxes? Which taxes will they increase?

The Economy February 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, only the Prime Minister thinks that we are stepping up our fight by ending our combat mission. It makes no sense.

Neither did it make sense when the Prime Minister said that budgets balanced themselves. Now, we have broken through a $10 billion deficit commitment. Now we are hot on a trail of a $30 billion deficit, a completely wrecked campaign commitment.

Does thePrime Minister not understand that deficits now mean higher taxes in the future? Does he still believe that budgets balance themselves?

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member on her election. I would like to thank her sons, through her, for their service to our country. Of course men and women who join the Royal Canadian Air Force, the army, and the Royal Canadian Navy do so because they want to serve our country and they are prepared to serve when Canada's interests are at stake and when they are deployed.

However, quite honestly, I find the member's question somewhat confusing because the policy of the government which she supports, reflected in the motion before the House, actually elevates the risk for our military personnel.

There is no contention, I believe, that the air campaign is an extraordinarily low-risk campaign. There is no aerial threat to the operations of the RCAF, and the government proposes to continue most aerial operations, though the Polaris refuellers and the Aurora reconnaissance aircraft. However, the government proposes to increase the number of ground personnel that are situated close to the forward line of our own troops, which is clearly where there is an elevated degree of risk.

If the member is concerned about the level of risk in Canada's participation in the fight against ISIL, I cannot understand why she supports the motion.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member on his election. I would point out that I did not have the honour of being minister of defence during our mission in Afghanistan, a mission that was launched by previous Liberal government, under the premiership of the former prime minister, Paul Martin.

However, if he wants to talk about military-serving personnel, when I visited our Royal Canadian Air Force personnel at our two bases in Kuwait, every one of them, the pilots, the ground personnel, the junior and senior officers, all said that this was the mission of their lives, that this was why they joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, that this was why they donned the Canadian uniform. It was precisely to fight against a genocidal organization like this on behalf of Canada.

Does the member suggest that this party prefers war? Does he really believe that? Does he really believe that peacekeeping is the appropriate response to the genocidal terrorism of Daesh? That speaks volumes about the mentality in today's Liberal Party. It does not share the values of Canada's historic defence of human dignity.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands.

I am pleased to rise on this debate in part as the former minister of defence, to thank the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces for their brilliant service to this country in her defence, in the defence of human dignity against a genocidal terrorist organization which simply must be stopped.

Daesh is not a traditional political movement. It is an organization that is trying to eliminate all peoples, including the oldest Middle Eastern peoples, who do not share their ideas or their theology of violence and murder.

This is a death cult that seeks the complete destruction of all of those who do not share its distorted theology, its effort to create a caliphate, and to impose on the entire region, and perhaps the entire world in their distorted minds, a particularly violent iteration of 7th-century sharia law.

It is always important in this debate that we remind ourselves of the nature of this organization. This is where the position of the Liberal government has gone wrong. Quite simply, if we listen carefully to many of the statements of the right hon. Prime Minister, the hon. Minister of National Defence, and other members of the Liberal government, we will hear what I submit is a radical misunderstanding of the nature of threat that we face.

We heard in this place the bizarre suggestion by the Minister of Defence that the millenarian death cult of ISIL was somehow the creation of climate change. We recall the statement of the right hon. Prime Minister following the Boston bombing, which was motivated by the same kind of ideology and hatred. He suggested that somewhere there must be people who feel excluded. We have heard from Liberal MPs the suggestion that Daesh is just another manifestation of a reaction to western foreign policy, or an unequal distribution of wealth. All of these attributed motives indicate a radical misunderstanding of the nature of the threat that we face.

Let us be clear. Daesh does not seek a conventional political outcome. It does not seek a change in economic policy. It is not a reflection of climate. It is a death cult that is motivated by dystopian theology that seeks to impose a caliphate and to eliminate, in the most brutal fashion imaginable, all of those who stand in its way. This is why we, the civilized world, can have no quarter in, not opposing, but eliminating this threat.

Here is the challenge. As long as Daesh is seen by potential recruits, often young men who are seduced by its idea of a caliphate, as long as it is seen to be on the winning side of history, as long as it is seen to be the fulfillment of that Quranic prophecy, more and more will go to join Daesh. That is why we, the civilized world, must demonstrate that it is on the losing side of history, that it is not the realization of the prophecy of a caliphate but rather, just a bunch of murderous thugs, and incompetent ones at that.

It is in diminishing and eventually destroying the organization, and in the long run its affiliated organizations around the world, that we can stop the flow of new recruits, new energy resources, and prestige to that organization.

That is why the previous government in consultation with all of our allies, including the sovereign Republic of Iraq, the United States, and all of our traditional allies, decided upon a multi-faceted strategy to counter and ultimately destroy Daesh.

I find the current government's claim a bit puzzling.

That is why we invested. I find it puzzling that the current government claims to have invented the idea of a multi-faceted strategy to counter Daesh, including development and diplomacy.

The previous Conservative government was the fifth-largest donor of humanitarian assistance for victims of Daesh in Iraq and the region. The previous government welcomed nearly 25,000 Iraqi refugees. The current government, on the other hand, has closed the door to these refugees with its current policy. The previous government engaged all of the partners on the diplomatic front.

I was in Baghdad with the former prime minister to meet Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi. We were in Erbil, in northern Iraq, to meet Barzani and the leaders of the Kurdish regional government. That is why we organized the summit for the most important partners in the military campaign against Daesh last year in Quebec City. I think it is disgusting that Canada was not included in the same meeting this year.

That means the former Conservative government had a comprehensive strategy: humanitarian, diplomatic, for refugees and military. All of our partners called on Canada to contribute to the air campaign. I am very proud, and we should all be proud of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force, who flew over 2,000 sorties since the beginning of the mission and conducted more than 200 air strikes.

Our men and women in the RCAF have successfully hit over 200 ISIS targets, degrading that organization, eliminating equipment, reducing its personnel and its power to inflict genocide on the innocent people of that region. Let us all express our gratitude to them.

However, the government has invented endless, often contradictory, and typically incoherent rationale for its policy of retreat from the combat element of this campaign. By the way, the Minister of National Defence and the Prime Minister do not even seem to be able to answer the question to whether the mission they propose in the motion constitutes a combat mission. Of course, it does not, as clarified by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Vance, yesterday.

Let me be clear about this. The rationale is simple, crass, and political. When the previous Conservative government proposed to participate in the international air campaign against Daesh, the current Prime Minister, then leader of the third party, said infamously that the only reason for this was that the former prime minister wanted to “...whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are”. This was a juvenile, puerile, immature reflection on the most serious security question the House had faced in a very long time.

It was a political calculation in a competition with our passivist friends in the NDP not to participate in that mission. It was criticized by former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, by former Liberal leader Bob Rae, by former ministers like Ujjal Dosanjh, Jean Lapierre, and so many others who understood that the Liberal Party used to represent a spirit of responsible internationalism, that we never stood by idly when others were in the fight against evil, particularly of a genocidal nature.

The government suggests that an air campaign is not sufficient to defeat Daesh. Of course, it is not. Nor is a ground campaign led by the Iraqis sufficient to defeat Daesh. However, both are necessary. Both elements are necessary but not sufficient. This is why we will oppose this motion. Canada should have a strategy that operates at all levels, including at the level of combat, and it is not in keeping with the best values and traditions of our country to abandon the fight as the government is doing.

Business of Supply February 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, to say that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is not anti-Zionist is absolute nonsense. This movement believes that Israel does not have the right to exist as a Jewish state, with a Jewish identity.

I find it appalling that a provincial ally of the Bloc Québécois, Amir Khadir, the co-president of Québec solidaire, a party that unfortunately has some NDPers among its members, organizes a protest every weekend in front of Le Marcheur, a shoe store on Saint-Denis Street, because the store sells a product made in Israel.

By the way, MNA Amir Khadir's constituent is a Jew, a Canadian Jew. I find it appalling that a Canadian politician is organizing the boycott of a store in his own riding because it sells goods made by Jewish men and women. If that is not anti-Semitic, I do not know the meaning of the term.

Business of Supply February 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, as our own Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism and as the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism have all said, criticism of individual policies of any Israeli government does not and cannot constitute anti-Semitism. However, when a double standard is applied, when such criticism is solely and singularly focused on the only Jewish state in the world, when such organizations are obsessed with condemning, de-legitimizing, and marginalizing the only Jewish country in the world and when they do not direct similar criticism about policies to other governments with manifestly worse human rights records, there we see the clear evidence of a double standard. There we see the anti-Semitism of treating Israel as a collective Jew.

Business of Supply February 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as I am rising for the first time in this place since the last general election, I would like to begin by thanking my constituents in Calgary Midnapore who have given me the great honour of representing them for the seventh time in this place, previously in the constituency of Calgary Southeast, many of whose members I now represent in the new electoral district of Calgary Midnapore.

As well, I would like to congratulate you on your re-election and re-nomination to the august post of Deputy Speaker. I would also like to congratulate the member who preceded me, the member for Edmonton West, on his thoughtful remarks.

The motion now before the House states:

That, given Canada and Israel share a long history of friendship as well as economic and diplomatic relations, the House reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad.

One reason that today's motion is so important is that the BDS movement represents a new wave of anti-Semitism, the most pernicious form of hatred in the history of humanity.

Anti-Semitism is the most durable and pernicious form of hatred in human history. That is why we, as parliamentarians in this liberal democracy, are called upon to reject and condemn these manifestations of the new anti-Semitism.

We are all familiar with what is sometimes called the old anti-Semitism, traditional anti-Semitism, which was sadly expressed through much of European history against the Jewish people and led to pogroms and ultimately created the ideological backdrop for the Shoah, the Nazi attempt to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth.

Sadly, in recent decades and years, we have seen the development of a new form of anti-Semitism, which often takes the form of a kind of ideological fusion between movements of the extreme left and Islamist movements that seek, together, to obliterate the Jewish democratic State of Israel as a representation of what some call the “collective Jew”.

This is not the first time that our House has taken up these issues and, indeed, I am pleased to say that I played some small role in helping to bring together parliamentarians internationally to Ottawa through the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. We hosted a gathering of parliamentarians from some 54 countries in 2010 to grapple with these questions.

Further to that, an all-party panel was created, the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, which held exhaustive hearings across the country and here in Ottawa for the better part of two years, of which the member formerly of Lanark—Carleton and the former Liberal member Mario Silva were co-chairs. I would like to commend them for their work and recommend the report they submitted to the House in 2010 as an essential reference point for the reality of anti-Semitism and, in particular, its expression in the boycott, divestment, and sanction campaign.

One of the questions that this motion begs is this. What is anti-Semitism? The Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism produced the Ottawa protocol, which I was pleased to endorse as a minister of citizenship, immigration, and multiculturalism on behalf of the Government of Canada. We were, parenthetically, the first and only executive branch of a government in the world to have done so.

That report adopted the working definition of anti-Semitism that has been proposed by bodies in the European Union that have studied the phenomenon of the new anti-Semitism.

This comes from the EUMC and has been adopted by our own parliamentarians in the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism. Let me quote in part its definition of anti-Semitism:

Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:...

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour).

Applying double standards by requiring of it behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation....

Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

The ICCA and the Canadian equivalent went on to say that: “Criticism of Israel is not [in and of itself] antisemitic, and saying so is wrong”.

Indeed, if criticism of Israel were anti-Semitic, then there would be anti-Semitism expressed in the Israeli Knesset every single day in that pluralistic democracy.

This I say to my friends in the NDP who have reservations about this motion. Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic and saying so is wrong, but singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium, let alone denying its right to exist or seeking its destruction, is discriminatory and hateful, and not saying so is dishonest.

Through this motion hopefully we can collectively say that singling Israel out for selective condemnation and opprobrium and denying its right to exist, or seeking its destruction, is discriminatory and hateful and is a virulent expression of the new anti-Semitism.

How do we see this manifested? Sadly, in many of our university campuses it is expressed in the so-called Israel apartheid week. The member for Edmonton West talked about people getting shouted down on campus if they dare to defend the democratic nature of that Jewish state.

I have travelled campuses across the country to encourage Jewish students and other allies and supporters of the democratic State of Israel, and I have been harassed physically, shouted down, and rendered unable to speak against Israel apartheid week at Canadian university campuses.

It is not just deplorable to find passionate, neo-Marxist undergrads, who perhaps do not know better, being whipped into a frenzy in their hatred for the Jewish state, but it is deplorable to see tenured professors at too many of our academic institutions encouraging and inciting this form of collective anti-Semitism through, in part, the academic boycott movement. That is why I am proud to say that, in the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism report of 2010, recommendation 9 reads:

The Inquiry Panel agrees with the conclusion of the UK Inquiry that “calls to boycott contact with academics working in Israel are an assault on academic freedom and intellectual exchange.”

My time is drawing short, so let me say how important action is, not just symbols such as this condemnatory motion before us today. The previous government, of which I was proud to be a member, took the position that we must reflect a zero tolerance approach toward expressions of anti-Semitism, in part by removing public funding from organizations that give voice to such sentiments that support the BDS movement.

That is why, as minister of citizenship and immigration, I removed government funding from Palestine House in Mississauga and from the Canadian Arab Federation, which had been, under the previous government, receiving settlement funding to integrate newcomers but whose leading members had repeatedly given expression to the most vile anti-Semitic sentiments, including support for the BDS movement. I sincerely hope that the new government does not revert to funding such organizations. I think there has been some ambiguity about that.

Finally, for those who are interested in practical individual ways that they can demonstrate their solidarity for one of the great underdogs of history, the Jewish state, which rose out of the ashes of the Shoah as the final refuge and home of the Jewish people, whenever we see a boycott against Israeli products, we should launch our own “buycott”. That is what I have done.

Le Marcheur is a shop on Saint-Denis, in Montreal. That is where Amir Khadir started a boycott. I go to that store to buy my shoes. When there was a boycott against Sodastream, that was the first time I bought Sodastream products. One way for average Canadians to reject this campaign of hate is to do the opposite and support Israeli producers in their efforts to create a prosperous, free, and democratic society.

Points of Order February 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer was totally incoherent, so there is nothing to apologize for.

I would encourage the minister to explain why this government--