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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was sector.

Last in Parliament December 2022, as Liberal MP for Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2021, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget April 25th, 2022

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question and the values that underpin it. This budget, as we heard from the member for Davenport just recently, and from other members, is actually almost dominated in some of its sections by the understanding that affordable housing is a basic value and that for too long now across various governments of different stripes we have not met the need of supply and the need of affordability.

We have to do a better job because without affordable housing it is nearly impossible for Canadians and their families to thrive. It is a priority that ought to become an even more major one.

The Budget April 25th, 2022

Madam Speaker, I would be very happy to have a conversation with my hon. colleague about this issue and how he anticipates it will affect his own constituents and farming families throughout the Prairies. I have an open mind to engage in that conversation and to have conversations with my colleague to make sure that we can end up in a place both of us would find comfortable.

The Budget April 25th, 2022

Madam Speaker, it is by working with producers. I had the opportunity to roam the Prairies, however virtually, during the last two years and I have spent an awful lot of time chatting with younger farmers. They have a very refined sense of the future of farming, particularly on the Prairies.

They are leading in their understanding of sustainability. They have an understanding of the new technologies that are emerging. They are prepared to work with governments and regulators. I found the conversations with the producers, particularly in Saskatchewan, to be enlightening, and to tell the truth, inspiring.

The Budget April 25th, 2022

Madam Speaker, I will begin with just a short personal comment that tomorrow will be the 34th anniversary of my first election to the Manitoba legislature. My colleague for Winnipeg North will remember very well that exciting night, and I only make the point to remind my colleagues in the House that I have been around for a while and have seen a lot of budgets. I counted them last night as I was getting ready for today. I think that I have seen something like 80 provincial and federal budgets over an adult lifetime. They are all different, but what they share is that they capture a moment in time and a reflection of the financial state of the province, or of the nation, at the moment.

What does this moment in time look like? It looks unlike any other, because we have come through a pandemic that has changed the lives of our citizens and the very fabric of the country.

What have we learned? We have learned that governments work best when they work together. That was true during the first months of the pandemic, and Canadians benefited from it. We have also learned that following medical advice is the best guidepost, but the advice shifts with changing circumstances, so decision-makers need to be nimble. Governments had to move quickly, which is not in their DNA, but we did because the need was so great. We also know that the sky is not the limit and that the time to change gears is now.

The role of government and its responsibility to act in the public interest were widely accepted by Canadians. It is not about me: it is about us, but what I do can affect all of us.

We know that reconciliation with indigenous peoples is a leading priority of our government. Last week, a proud moment occurred during a gifting ceremony, when the governor of the Hudson's Bay Company handed the ownership of the historic Bay building in downtown Winnipeg to the Southern Chiefs' Organization.

The federal government has committed $65 million, and the province of Manitoba has pledged $35 million, so that when it is complete this historic site will be the new seat for the Southern Chiefs' Organization, which represents more than 81,000 people from 34 Anishinabe and Dakota nations. It will offer 300 affordable housing units with spaces for gathering and for business. This is reconciliation in action, because everyone is acting together toward a common goal. This is an inspiring project.

What are the essentials for living a full life? They are affordable housing to rent or to own; affordable child care from trained and caring professionals; access to a well-run health care system; and protecting and nurturing our natural environment, which has become the preoccupation of this generation of young people, as it should.

Each of these aspirations, and there are so many more, needs investments that draw on the nation's wealth. Sometimes the lead comes from governments, federal, provincial or municipal, and sometimes the lead comes from the private sector. Governments distribute wealth, but the private sector creates it.

Finding that balance is what distinguishes political parties. I have always been comfortable with my party, because it appreciates the relationship between social and economic policy that reflects the Canadian sensibility of being pragmatic, yet principled, and rooted in the goals of fair opportunity and reward for initiative. That favours a fair tax regime, an equitable distribution of public resources and a collective commitment to the shared values of a healthy and vibrant democracy. Budget 2022 recognizes this.

However, this noble ambition cannot come to fruition if there is not the national will to make it happen, and in a country such as ours, which is so diverse and spread out across a continent, and with citizens whose backgrounds are as varied as all the world's peoples, the challenges are daunting, but we have largely succeeded because we are bound together by values stronger than the forces that would divide us.

The budget reinforces the vital relationship between and among governments and community leadership.

Our politics and political discourse are under great stress. In this chamber, some members shout and some members resort to personal attacks. False accusations are made, and name-calling can be mean-spirited and destructive. We can and should do better than that. The people we represent expect more from their parliamentarians, and they deserve it. If we play to the few who encourage division and clamour, and whose comfort zone is in deception and division, then we are not leading, we are succumbing.

Our national values are reflected in our foreign policy, and now, as we battle the Russian dictator, Canada's integral role in the NATO alliance is more important than ever before. More than 120,000 Manitobans are of Ukrainian descent, including two of my grandchildren. This is personal for many of us. This budget recognizes Canada's increasing obligation to secure our defence capability and be an important part of the international effort to stop wanton aggression.

I have been immersed in the social and economic development of the Prairies as a member of Parliament and as a minister. This budget acknowledges the critical contribution that prairie resources, natural and human, have made and continue to make to the Canadian economy. The new realities of the energy world and the growing importance of value-added agriculture, the life sciences, water management and artificial intelligence advances are only a few examples where the Prairies lead the nation and the world.

Whatever images or stereotypes people may have about Albertan, Saskatchewan or Manitoban dwellers, they are wrong. Stereotypes are obstacles to progress. Do colleagues know that Dr. Michael Houghton, who works at the University of Alberta, is a Nobel prize laureate for his work on hepatitis C? Do they know that Saskatchewan is the province that trades most with the rest of the world? Do they know that its advanced research and production of sources of protein is exactly what the world needs and wants? Do they know that we are not only feeding the world, but also powering it too, and that canola crops are food and energy?

We always have to keep a close eye on the national balance sheet, the bottom line. This budget does that with prudent investments, modest stimulus, incentives for private sector investment and an abiding confidence in the Canadian population to adapt to changing circumstances. Our young people are facing a different world and a more challenging future than many of us in this chamber confronted at their age, but they will adapt. They will take full advantage of our colleges and universities to equip themselves with the tools to compete in the dynamic international marketplace.

We are at a critical moment in our country's history. Our challenges are many and our abilities are impressive. We are on the road to reconciliation with indigenous peoples. Our public finances allow us to invest in people and ideas. Our values position us to take an honoured place among the nations of the world.

We live in a great country. We will build from strength to strength.

Committees of the House April 25th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, entitled “A Path Forward: Reducing Gun and Gang Violence in Canada”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Petitions April 8th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition on behalf of residents of Winnipeg South Centre who are outraged at the Russian Federation's unlawful and unprovoked war against the people of Ukraine.

Ukrainians are living with the gravest humanitarian and displacement crisis within Europe since the Second World War. My constituents and all Canadians are witnessing scenes they once hoped had been relegated to the past.

The petitioners would like Ukrainian refugees to find safety and security in Canada, and are asking for this to be made possible by lifting all visa requirements and granting visa-free travel to Ukrainians.

École River Heights School March 24th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, the grade 7 and 8 students at École River Heights School wrote to me asking for support in assisting Ukrainian refugees to find safe harbour in Canada quickly. All 449 students at the school signed the letter and it was hand delivered to my office.

I visited students at the school to hear more about how they feel about the conflict, the role of economic sanctions, humanitarian aid and how Canada will help Ukraine rebuild after the war. Their questions and comments reveal the depth of intelligence and thoughtfulness reflective of what I know to be true about young people: They are insightful and passionate and want to talk about topics that are challenging, complex and even unsettling.

I left the students with this message. I said to get engaged and to take their ambitions and aspirations as citizens and members of family and community and put them to work for our nation. They are our future and our future is bright.

Building a Green Prairie Economy Act March 4th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, because my hon. friend spent most of his adult life trying to wrap his arms around water—let us just imagine that for a minute—he knows the jurisdictions that are inherent in the Lake Winnipeg issue.

I think the jurisdictions include four provinces and a number of states and an international border. What is required in trying to make sense of all of those interests is to have a common goal, and the common goal is to clean up that water. I know that my colleague will play an integral part in making sure that is a success.

Building a Green Prairie Economy Act March 4th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, although I stayed in Winnipeg, and I want that to be made clear, the best way to talk to people is to be respectful of their point of view, even if it is different from one's own.

What this bill seeks to do is reach out as broadly as the region itself in order to find those areas where we can find agreement and alignment. When we do that and as we are successful in defining that alignment, we really will change the world.

Building a Green Prairie Economy Act March 4th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I wish I had that authority. We do our best. We make an argument, we bring people to our argument and then we hope that others in a position of influence will buy the argument. What this bill does require is the reporting back to Parliament. That is what is different about this, and that is where I find hope.