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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was going.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Windsor—Tecumseh (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Points of Order June 9th, 2015

Before resuming debate, the Chair wishes to make a ruling on the motion by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on a point of order earlier today.

Having delivered a decision on the selection of report stage motions for Bill C-59, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 21, 2015 and other measures, the Chair would like to address the concerns raised by the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands concerning report stage motions Nos. 49 and 116, standing in her name on the notice paper.

I would like to thank the hon. member for having raised this matter, as well as the hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for his comments.

The member's main point of contention is that her proposed amendments could not have been presented before the deadline adopted by the Standing Committee on Finance because they flow directly from witness testimony that took place after the deadline passed.

As evidenced by first having written a detailed letter and now having raised the matter again in the form of a point of order, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands clearly feels that she was not provided an opportunity to have certain amendments considered by the committee. She feels this circumstance is exceptional, and on that basis, the House as a whole should decide whether Bill C-59 should be amended in the fashion she is proposing.

In deciding the matter I must be guided by our long-established practice in relation to the Chair’s authority to select report stage motions. A note to Standing Order 76.1(5) says:

The Speaker will not normally select for consideration any motion previously ruled out of order in committee [and] will normally only select motions that were not or could not be presented in committee.

At page 783, the authors of House of Commons Procedure and Practice set out the general principle with respect to the selection of report stage motions:

As a general principle, the Speaker seeks to forestall debate on the floor of the House which is simply a repetition of the debate in committee. [T]he Speaker will normally only select motions in amendment that could not have been presented in committee.

Both these excerpts point to an essential truth about report stage: mainly that it is not meant to be another opportunity for detailed consideration of the clauses of the bill. For this reason, the Chair rigorously limits the types of motions that could be considered at report stage. In so doing, the Chair rests on the presumption that a committee's clause-by-clause consideration provides ample opportunity to scrutinize the clauses of the bill and have amendments considered accordingly.

The Chair is not convinced by the argument that the rationale for selection of report stage motions can be rooted so exclusively in anyone's particular testimony and qualify as an exceptional circumstance that the Chair ought to consider.

While the Chair understands the member's specific argument about deadlines with respect to submissions of amendments for Bill C-59, I also know that committees have shown great flexibility in the past, not only about deadlines, but more generally in how they consider amendments in clause-by-clause. In fact, one such example of that flexibility is the very process that committees adopted, allowing members of non-recognized parties to have their amendments considered in committee.

I know the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is one of the more active members of this place when it comes to clause-by-clause. In this regard it would have helped establish for the Chair the degree to which it truly was impossible to have these amendments considered in committee. If she had pointed to demonstrable attempts to bring before the committee her amendments, her arguments might have been more persuasive.

As such, the Chair cannot agree with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands and finds that Motions Nos. 49 and 116 should not be selected on the basis of exceptional significance. I would like to thank the hon. member for having raised this matter.

Resuming debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Windsor Police Service Members June 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to bring to the attention of Canadians five Windsor police officers who bravely risked their own live to save eight citizens from imminent harm.

On May 5, my city's newest heroes sprang into action once they became aware of potential victims still inside a building ablaze and filled with black smoke. It did not matter that the home was derelict. It did not matter that it potentially had explosive hazards in it. All that mattered was their civic duty as professionals.

Chief of Windsor Police Services, AI Frederick, said it best:

l am extremely proud of the quick actions and bravery displayed by our patrol officers. Despite imminent risk, these officers rushed into a burning building and saved several members of our community.

I, along with my fellow citizens, salute Constable Bradley Snyder, Constable Jeffrey Dalpe, Constable Surjeet Gill, Constable Anthony Smith, and Constable Adam Spinarsky. May their names be forever enshrined in the annals of Windsor's finest and bravest.

Business of Supply May 13th, 2015

I would like to open this committee of the whole session by making a short statement on this evening's proceedings. Tonight's debate is being held pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(a), which provides for each of two sets of estimates selected by the Leader of the Opposition to be considered in committee of the whole for up to four hours.

Tonight will be a general debate on all of the votes related to Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The first round will begin with the official opposition, followed by the government and the Liberal Party. After that, we will follow the usual proportional rotation.

The debate is also held under the provisions of the order made earlier today, which allows parties to use each 15-minute slot for speeches or for questions and answers by one or more of their members.

In the case of speeches, members of the party to which the period is allotted may speak one after the other, though the time for speeches should not exceed 10 minutes. The Chair would appreciate it if the first member speaking in each slot would indicate how the time will be used, particularly if it is to be shared.

The order states that when the time is to be used for questions and answers, the Chair will expect that the minister's response will reflect approximately the time taken by the question. Furthermore, no quorum calls, dilatory motions, or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair. As is the case in any proceeding in committee of the whole, members need not be in their own seats to be recognized. Although members may speak more than once, the Chair will generally try to ensure that all members wishing to speak are heard before inviting members to speak again while respecting the proportional party rotations for speakers.

I want to indicate that in committee of the whole, ministers and members should be referred to by their title or riding name and, of course, all remarks should be addressed through the Chair. I ask for everyone's co-operation in upholding all established standards of decorum, parliamentary language and behaviour.

At the conclusion of tonight's debate, the committee will rise, the estimates related to Indian Affairs and Northern Development will be deemed reported and the House will adjourn immediately until tomorrow.

We may now begin tonight's session. The House in committee of the whole, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(a), the first appointed day, consideration in committee of the whole of all votes under Indian Affairs and Northern Development in the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.

The hon. member for Churchill.

Battle of Ypres April 22nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, 100 years ago this month, Canadian soldiers bravely fought in the second battle of Ypres. They distinguished themselves by their courage and tenacity in the face of unspeakable horrors, including the world's first poison gas attack. While other forces bled and fled, the Canadians held the line against all odds. It proved to be the beginning of their ascent into their recognized status as the pre-eminent fighting force in Flanders. More than 6,500 Canadians were killed, wounded, or captured during the two battles, including many brave men from the Essex Scottish Regiment.

The sacrifices of our veterans did not end in the trenches of France. Many came back to their homes debilitated, wounded in mind and spirit, yet in spite of their limitations, they still contributed to building our great country. They overcame the odds against them to become valued members of society.

The guns have long been silent since they won the war. We know all the heroes are gone now, but we still recognize them as our greatest generation. Even 100 years later, honours still come their way, including most recently from Queen Elizabeth II, at Canada House in London.

We will remember them.

Frank Chauvin March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to pay tribute to Frank Chauvin, a retired police officer and an extraordinary Canadian. Some of his many awards recognize his greatness, such as the Order of Canada, the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship, the Windsor Police Services Gordon Preston Memorial Award, and the United States Department Certificate of Appreciation Award.

However, his true greatness was his unlimited capacity for love and charity, from his work with aboriginal Canadians through Madonna House to his lifelong commitment to the children of Haiti through the Foyer des Filles de Dieu orphanage and health clinic to shipping humanitarian aid around the globe. Last year alone, 369 containers were sent to 17 countries.

His faith was always his touchstone and moral compass. He literally saved thousands of lives in both body and spirit. Windsor has prided itself on its citizens' charitable giving. Frank was our most brilliant light in that regard.

Our deepest condolences go to his wife Lorraine, his 10 children, 22 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. He will be missed.

Events of October 22, 2014, in Ottawa December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations between the parties and I believe that if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, at the conclusion of Oral Questions on Thursday, December 11, 2014, the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole in order to thank the Security personnel of the House of Commons for the professionalism demonstrated on October 22nd, that the Speaker be permitted to preside over the Committee of the Whole and make remarks on behalf of the House; and, when the proceedings of the Committee have concluded approximately 10 minutes later, the Committee shall rise and the House shall resume its business.

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month November 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remind the House that November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. I want all of us to applaud the important ongoing work done by the National Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation in raising public awareness and in supporting vital research efforts to end the scourge of Canada's most lethal of cancers.

Pancreatic cancer claims 4,300 Canadian lives every year. Sadly, its mortality rate is three out of four, with a five-year survival rate of only 6%. In spite of these tragic statistics, pancreatic cancer research receives less than 1% of all cancer research dollars.

One of the truly devastating aspects of this disease is that fewer than 15% of patients are diagnosed early enough to save lives. We need to tell all Canadians, especially our families and friends, that early detection saves lives.

I urge all members to support the good work of the foundation by raising awareness in their ridings. We can become advocates for more significant and sustained government investment in research to find an early detection test and more effective treatment methodologies.

Alistair MacLeod May 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last month we lost a great Canadian writer, Alistair MacLeod. Although he was known primarily as a master of the short story, he won critical acclaim for his masterpiece, No Great Mischief, one of Canada's greatest novels.

An Order of Canada recipient and winner of the prestigious 2001 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, his contribution to Canada's literary lexicon was profound. Of equal measure was his passion for educating Canada's youth. Legions of students loved his creative writing classes during his three decades at the University of Windsor. A generation of talented writers graduated imbued with his love of language, his use of metaphor, the importance he placed on creating unforgettable characters, and his passion for the land and its resilient inhabitants. He was their inspiration. He was approachable, dedicated to their education, and willing to give them fatherly advice on how to become great writers.

My favourite line from No Great Mischief truly captured Alistair when he said, “All of us are better when we're loved”.

On behalf of my constituents, members of Parliament and all Canadians, we extend our sincerest condolences to his wife Anita, his six children, and his large extended family. Our loss of Alistair will be deeply felt by all.

Black History Month February 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today in celebration of Black History Month. It allows us to commemorate the significant contributions of African-Canadian men and women throughout the history of Canada.

An example is Fountain Thurman, an American-born slave who settled in New Canaan, in Essex county, Ontario. In spite of the great danger that black soldiers faced, being captured by American forces and either summarily executed or returned to slavery, he fought in the War of 1812, in hopes of creating a better life for himself and his family in our country. His dreams mirrored the dreams of so many Canadians, one of freedom, optimism, and hope.

Mr. Thurman's legacy lives on through the generations of his descendants who, to this day, live on in Windsor and in Essex county.

On behalf of my constituents, and all Canadians, we are most grateful for the sacrifices that Mr. Thurman and countless other black soldiers made to protect the freedoms and liberties of our land. Their contributions played a pivotal role in moulding the Canadian fabric, and they must never be forgotten.

Pancreatic Cancer November 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the House that November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. I want all of us to applaud the important, ongoing work done by the national Pancreatic Cancer Canada foundation in raising public awareness and supporting vital research efforts to end the scourge of Canada's most lethal of cancers.

Pancreatic cancer claims 4,300 Canadian lives every year. Sadly, its mortality rate is three out of four, with a five-year survival rate of only 6%. In spite of these tragic statistics, pancreatic cancer research receives less than 1% of all cancer research dollars. One of the truly devastating aspects of this disease is that less than 15% of patients are diagnosed early enough to save lives.

I lost my older brother to this dreadful disease. Even today, my family is haunted by the thought that early detection might have saved his life.

I urge all members to support the good work of the foundation by raising awareness in their ridings. We can support fundraising activities by marshalling our friends and family members. We can become advocates for more significant and sustained governmental investment in research.

The final message that I want to leave with the House today is this. Early detection can save lives.