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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was actually.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Don Valley East (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 38% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for such a succinct report on what we, as Canadians, are doing for Ebola, to control it, et cetera. Having visited my own local hospital, the North York General Hospital has set up laboratories that are available and are ready to take care of any Ebola issues, and units for isolating people if anything else like that happens.

How prepared does she think we are in Canada, particularly in the larger centres, to actually deal with the issue of Ebola entering our country?

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents of Don Valley East, today I pay tribute to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences next Einstein initiative, funded by our government through the International Development Research Centre. The goals of AIMS are to promote mathematics and science in Africa, to recruit and train talented students and teachers, and to build capacity for African initiatives in education, research, and technology.

Congratulations to AIMS for opening its fifth centre of training, research, and outreach in mathematical sciences in Tanzania this October. This centre joins others in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, and Cameroon. To date, they have graduated 731 alumni from 41 countries, and 30% were women. AIMS expects to graduate its one-thousandth scholar in 2015.

I invite all my colleagues to enjoy a reception and to hear the incredible story of AIMS in Africa, today at 5 p.m. in the Speaker's salon. I ask colleagues to join me in helping AIMS find the next Einstein in Africa.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question from my colleague. Clearly, in any agreement there are going to be disputes. There are interpretations of the text in a particular field or segment of the marketplace and clearly those differences need to be resolved. That is why every deal has a dispute settlement process. This one in particular, I believe, is one of the better dispute settlement processes, which allows disputes to be settled quicker than in some of the other agreements.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her comments on the agreement and I appreciate her support for the bill.

Certainly, there are provisions in the agreement to support the auto industry. They are mainly to do with the auto parts that are involved. This agreement would allow them to be manufactured in Canada, hopefully, at some point and benefit the workers here. Therefore, this is a positive statement in terms of Canada and Korea with regard to the auto industry.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while my colleague thinks this was put on a low priority, that is his perspective, not ours on this side.

We have been working diligently with the negotiators to make sure the deal was acceptable to us and beneficial for Canadians. All Canadians across every province of this country would benefit from this. The negotiations went on to achieve that, and that was the time it took to actually get it here to be ratified.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, if my colleague looked closely at the agreements between South Korea and the EU and the U.S., he would find that our agreement is in fact much better in terms of all the different aspects of the duties and implementation.

On the implementation, as my colleague said previously, these negotiations take time. At the same time, we have been negotiating with Europe as well as India and a number of other deals, and so this agreement took its place in priority to be completed.

We are here now, we are at the place where the agreement is ready. We just need to ratify it here and get on with it.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak today about the Canada-Korea free trade agreement, or CKFTA. This agreement is Canada's first FTA in Asia. It is a landmark agreement for Canada that would create thousands of jobs for hard-working Canadians.

The CKFTA also represents a watershed for the Canada-Korea bilateral relationship.

No government in Canada's history has been more committed to creating jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. Deepening Canada's trading relationships in dynamic and high-growth markets around the world, like South Korea, is key to these efforts.

Trade between Canada and South Korea is already significant, with two-way merchandise goods of just under $11 billion last year and two-way investment approaching $6 billion.

The agreement is expected to significantly boost bilateral commerce and, in turn, economic growth in both countries. On our side, the projection is that the CKFTA would increase Canada's GDP by $1.7 billion annually and our exports by about one-third over current levels. Those are significant numbers.

Most importantly, the Canada-Korea free trade agreement would restore a level playing field for Canadian companies in the South Korean market, where foreign competitors including the U.S. and the EU are already enjoying preferential access due to their respective FTAs with South Korea. For Canada this was a crucial consideration as we have seen our exports to South Korea fall sharply, particularly in the wake of the Korea-U.S. deal that was implemented in 2012.

The enhanced market access and regulatory commitments would be on par with the best treatment provided to any foreign companies, including from the U.S. and the EU.

Turning to investment, while Canada and South Korea enjoy a well-established relationship, there is considerable scope for expansion above current levels—about $5 billion in South Korean investment in Canada and $534 million in Canadian investment in South Korea.

Canada benefits from greater foreign direct investment. Canadian foreign direct investment in South Korea would improve our access to South Korean markets, technology, and expertise and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian firms in Asia.

Greater South Korean investment in Canada would stimulate economic growth and job creation here at home, providing new technologies and increased competition in the Canadian marketplace, ultimately benefiting Canadian consumers. In addition to financial services, which I mentioned, key sectors that stand to benefit from the agreement include automotive parts, transportation, and telecommunications.

Yet despite all the evidence that trade creates jobs, economic growth, and economic security for hard-working Canadian families, the NDP, together with its activist-group allies, is and always will be ideologically opposed to trade.

Just as bad are the Liberals who, during 13 years in power, took Canada virtually out of the game of trade negotiations, putting Canadian workers and businesses at severe risk of falling behind in this era of global markets. The last time the Liberals tried to talk seriously about trade, they campaigned to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The investment chapter of the CKFTA provides strong disciplines against discriminatory treatment as well as protection from expropriation and access to independent investor-state dispute settlement.

These and other provisions would put Canadian investors on a level playing field with their competitors in South Korea and provide investors from both countries with greater certainty and transparency and protection for their investments, while preserving the full right of governments to regulate in the public interest.

Canada has also maintained its ability to review foreign investments under the Investment Canada Act, and decisions made under the ICA could not be challenged under the agreement's dispute settlement provisions.

In the area of government procurement, now a $100 billion-plus market in South Korea, the FTA would give Canadian suppliers access to procurement by South Korean central government entities for contracts valued above $100,000. This would put Canadian suppliers on an equal footing with U.S. competitors and in a more advantageous position relative to key competitors like Japan and the EU.

Strong intellectual property rights provided for in this agreement would complement access to the South Korean market for Canadians who develop and market innovative and creative products. New protection for geographical indications “Canadian whiskey” and “Canadian rye whiskey” would secure the national brand recognition for Canadian distillers in the South Korean market.

The intellectual property outcomes would also be also covered by the FTA's dispute settlement procedure, which would give Canadian copyright, patent, and trademark owners an additional layer of protection in the South Korean market.

Our Conservative government understands the importance of trade to our economy. It represents one out of every five jobs in Canada and accounts for 64% of our country's annual income. We are proud of our record on trade because of the benefits trade brings to Canadians in all regions of our country and in all industries.

To put it simply, the Canada-Korea free trade agreement is a historic initiative that would strengthen our trade and investment ties across the Pacific, increase the prosperity of both countries, and result in job creation and enhanced opportunities for Canadian and Korean businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, as well as investors, workers, and consumers.

Canadian stakeholders from across Canada have called for the CKFTA to enter into force without delay to secure Canada's competitive position in the South Korean market. We must pass this legislation to implement the CKFTA so that Canadians can access the benefits and opportunities of this agreement as soon as possible.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the advice has already been posted and is available to all people. Clearly, the effect is going to be an economic one. It is a risk. There is no reason at all for travelling there except for essential business, because the risk of catching this and bringing it back to this country is higher if people do that. The advisories have been given for these countries. It will affect them economically and it would affect us economically as well if we were to have an Ebola outbreak here. That is clear.

In terms of the advice being given to passengers, I am not familiar with that part of it. From a Canadian perspective, I visited North York General Hospital just the other day and it already has Ebola facilities ready. They have tested two cases, which were not positive. Therefore, the infrastructure that we have in place in Canada is also ready for a potential outbreak of Ebola and I think we are in good hands.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, clearly we need a full understanding of how lacking some of these countries are in infrastructure and in being able to implement things in an instant, like in Canada. It is obviously a difficult situation. Some of the areas in West Africa are extremely remote and getting to the people, and putting things into action before they discover what the virus is, is very difficult. That is clearly why Canada has put a mobile unit in that area, so it can get a quick response in diagnosing this virus.

I think Canada is participating extremely well in supporting the eradication of that in the African countries.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to speak to the House about the tragic outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, and the steps the Government of Canada is taking to ensure Canadians here at home remain safe and protected.

The Ebola situation in West Africa has been devastating. My thoughts are with those who are affected by this. The Government of Canada is closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and working closely with our international partners to support the response and to help those who are suffering. Thankfully, we have learned that while Ebola outbreaks have generally had a case fatality rate of up to 90%, this particular outbreak has shown a survival rate of 47%.

While this current outbreak in West Africa has been ongoing since December 2013, Ebola first appeared in 1976. The House and all Canadians should be reassured that in all this time there has never been a case of Ebola in Canada. The risk to Canadians is very low. The outbreak continues to be confined to several countries in West Africa.

Even if a case of Ebola were to arrive in Canada, it would not be able to spread easily. There are a number of reasons for this.

First, Ebola spreads in the community through direct contact with infected bodily fluids. The scientific evidence shows that Ebola is not airborne and cannot be transmitted through casual contact. The Ebola virus does not spread like a common cold or influenza or even like SARS. Furthermore, it cannot be spread by a person who is not showing any symptoms.

Second, the situation and environmental context in West Africa is radically different from that in Canada. Our hospitals in Canada have sophisticated infection control systems and procedures in place that are designed to limit the spread of infection, protect the health care workers and provide the best possible care for patients. In contrast, the West African countries that are affected have limited resources to respond to a prolonged outbreak, especially in rural areas. In the health care infrastructure, greatly in the countries and communities affected, there is a lack of personal protective equipment and, tragically, outbreak control strategies have been met with distrust due to fear and misinformation.

Despite the fact that the risk to Canadians is very low, the Government of Canada remains vigilant and is taking concerted action to ensure Canadians continue to be protected against the Ebola virus. This includes maintaining our preparedness to detect, investigate and mange people with Ebola virus in the unlikely event that a case were to appear in Canada. We are well prepared.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to the outbreak. As well, public health notices have been issued for Nigeria and Senegal recommending that travellers take special precautions.

For those who must travel, I must reiterate that the risks remain low. To date, there has not been one confirmed Ebola case contracted on an airplane anywhere in the world. Furthermore, there are no direct flights between Canada and the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, further reducing the risk to the rest of the Canadian public.

The government is ensuring that Canadian travellers know how to protect themselves and what they need to do if they begin to experience symptoms of illness. It is recommended that those travelling in affected areas monitor their health carefully and seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms that could be associated with Ebola within three weeks of returning.

Canada is well prepared to identify and manage ill travellers. The Quarantine Act is administered by the Public Health Agency of Canada 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at all points of entry into Canada. Technical guidance and protocol have been shared with provinces and territories and with the transportation sector to detect and manage suspected cases of Ebola infection. Front-line staff have been trained to screen international travellers arriving in Canada for communicable diseases and to refer any traveller suspected of being ill to quarantine officers. Under the Quarantine Act, officers have the authority to implement the appropriate public health measures to ensure public safety.

From there, a strong network of laboratories stands at the ready to detect and respond quickly in the unlikely event that a case of Ebola arrives in Canada.

While maintaining our domestic vigilance, the Government of Canada is also involved in an international early warning system that detects reports of outbreaks and emergencies from around the world. The Government of Canada is keeping frequent contact with the WHO and other international partners and authorities responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Some Canadians were unnerved to hear the media reports over the past few weeks of suspected cases of Ebola in Canada from people who had travelled to West Africa. In every case, the individuals suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus were identified, isolated, investigated by the public health authorities and tested for the Ebola virus by the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

While each case turned out to be negative, these cases tested our responsive capability and demonstrated to Canadians that we were ready to respond and that our systems were working. We have learned from our experiences with SARS and the H1N1 influenza pandemic, and we are applying those learnings to how we prepare for future outbreaks.

Canada should be proud of its world-class researchers and science capacity. It was our very own scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory who developed an experimental vaccine for the Ebola virus. The Government of Canada has offered a donation of 800 to 1,000 doses of this experimental vaccine to the WHO. We are committed to supporting the efforts of our international partners to control the Ebola outbreak, and we hope that the experimental vaccine will help to address this global crisis.

Canada is keeping a small supply of the experimental vaccine to conduct research and clinical trials on safety and efficacy. We will also keep some doses in the unlikely event that it is needed in Canada. At the same time, Canada continues to work with our international partners to explore the significant legal and ethical issues on the use of experimental vaccines and therapies in humans. The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with Health Canada to develop the Canadian protocol for this compassionate use of the vaccine.

Canada should also be proud of our humanitarian support to address the spread of Ebola in West Africa, including significant funding and the deployment of Canadian experts to assist on the ground.

While the situation and the media reports from West Africa are quite dire, I want to reiterate that the risk to Canadians is very low. There has never been a case of Ebola in Canada. The Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person, and it cannot be transmitted by casual contact. The Government of Canada is already taking action and will continue to take action to prepare and protect Canadians against the Ebola virus and other infectious disease threats.

I would like to close by extending my heartfelt condolences to those affected in West Africa and by encouraging Canadians to support international relief organizations working in this area.