House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was richmond.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Steveston—Richmond East (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Trinity Western University May 20th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to stand today to pay special tribute to the recently opened Richmond campus of Trinity Western University.

As many know, Trinity Western University provides a high-quality, values-based education for its students, and I am pleased that TWU has chosen Richmond as its newest location. TWU Richmond kindly invited me to attend its grand opening last September and again in March for an official visit where Professor Calvin Townsend allowed me to teach his introduction to political thinking class. I would like to thank Professor Townsend for the kind opportunity.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Trinity Western University to Richmond and to extend to its faculty and students my best wishes for success.

Citizenship Act March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I was heartened to hear the member's comments on the balancing act between having folks come in with a knowledge of English and also making sure that those who are older are not prevented from being citizens, or prevented from even attempting to come to Canada. Under the previous Conservative government, my nonno and nonna could not become citizens because they only spoke Italian. I would like to hear the member's comments about how the new legislation would address that issue.

Religious Freedom February 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, January 30, I was honoured to attend an evening of education, conversation, and reflection at the Al-Zahraa Islamic Centre on No. 5 Road in East Richmond. No. 5 Road is affectionately known as Highway to Heaven where churches stand beside synagogues, mosques, and temples. The evening was an example of the values, beliefs, and religious tenets that unify all faiths.

This event was started five years ago by young people from the centre, an event created to communicate the beliefs and practices of the Islamic faith in an interactive and comprehensive way.

This year's theme, diversity in Islam, was designed to highlight and celebrate the differences, but also the unifying universal beliefs which manifest themselves in Islam and all religious faiths.

I am proud to salute the youth from my community for fostering this initiative and for creating an atmosphere of openness, dialogue, and unity for the good people of Steveston—Richmond East.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply January 25th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to stand in this House for the first time to discuss and debate the Speech from the Throne.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my nonno and nonna. Bless them. They are not here any longer.They took care of me. They raised me. They gave me values and principles that I hold dear. My mum and dad, Lorendo and Marguerita Peschisolido, came from a small town, Ceprano, just south of Rome. My mum worked at a drycleaner. My dad started out picking up stuff on streets, and they owned some stores and whatnot. They gave me everything, but while they were away working and doing business, my grandma and my grandad, my nonno and nonna, took care of me and in many ways I am here because of them.

In my riding of Steveston—Richmond East, I have many folks like my parents, grandparents, and I who come from a variety of parts of the world. I perhaps have the most diverse riding in all of Canada, be it ethnically or socioeconomically.

I am proud to be the MP for a riding like Steveston—Richmond East, which is home to people from all over the world, people of Chinese origin and people of English origin.

If a person or his or her parents or grandparents are originally from England, the Philippines or Punjab, we would probably find them in Steveston—Richmond East.

I am also blessed to have a riding that is very diverse economically. I have an airport just a bit north of my riding. I have a harbour. I have a port. The Speech from the Throne talked about reinstating the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, and that was done. For a place like Steveston—Richmond East, where we have the south and north arms of the Fraser River and a lot of boaters going out on the water, to have the security that there is now a Coast Guard station not that far is a good thing. We promised that during the campaign, it was in the Speech from the Throne, and it has been done.

I talked about my parents and my nonno and nonna. There are a lot of folks in Steveston—Richmond East who are waiting for their parents or for their spouses. We talked about changing and revamping our immigration system in the Speech from the Throne. We should not have a system where depending on where one is coming from in the world it takes four to nine years to bring one's parents and grandparents here or where one has to wait two years before putting in an application to ask for a spouse to come over. I do not know how I would have dealt with not having my mom and dad around, or my nonno and nonna. I do not think anyone should have to be in that situation. Therefore, the Speech from the Throne spoke to a commitment to doubling the funds, and the processing of family members. We need to do that. It is wrong for individuals to wait four to nine years to bring their parents and grandparents over.

I discussed a bit about the port and the airport in Steveston—Richmond East. One of the things that we talked about in the Speech from the Throne is the fancy word “co-operative federalism”. Basically, it means that we will be talking to one another. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to sit down with His Worship Malcolm Brodie. I have had the opportunity to sit down with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in British Columbia and to talk to the MLA for Steveston to discuss a variety of issues.

We also had the fancy word “stakeholders” in the Speech from the Throne. That basically means community groups and people. I have had the opportunity to go out and talk to a whole slew of folks.

One thing we talked about was infrastructure spending. In the Speech from the Throne we talked about implementing that. Infrastructure spending will go to transit. There is a lot of folks in Steveston—Richmond East who want to get to work and do not want to drive. There are bottlenecks. In the campaign and in the Speech from the Throne, we do not dictate how we will use this infrastructure money for transit. I have had the opportunity to sit down with His Worship Malcolm Brodie and the councillors as well to talk about ideas on the best way to get rid of those bottlenecks.

I have had great conversations with the food bank, with Pathways and with other organizations to see how we can also use money from the infrastructure spending to get the economy going because we need to kick start our economy. We also talked about how we could help those who needed social housing, or who needed help with a bit more than just a roof over their heads, or who maybe needed a bit of help on some issues of abuse, alcohol or mental health problems.

That is the type of approach that this government will take. I look forward to spending at least another four years as the member of Parliament for Steveston—Richmond East, speaking to the good folks there and hearing what they would like to see moving forward.

The last thing I would like to talk about is the nature of Steveston—Richmond East. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan and some parts of the Bible, I believe that Steveston—Richmond East acts as a beacon to the world, a land of a wonderful light on a hill, although we are not on a hill but on an estuary. We have folks from everywhere. We have folks who have different faiths. We have No. 5 Road in Steveston—Richmond East. We call it “highway to heaven”, where we have churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, and where people from different faiths and backgrounds get together. Sometimes, the human condition is such that there is conflict. Our role, as members of Parliament, is to ensure that if we cannot eliminate the conflict at least we can manage it. I believe our co-operative federalism approach will be taken in dealing with the good people of Steveston—Richmond East.

Steveston-Richmond East Hero January 25th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to pay special tribute to Ken Brodie, a 73-year-old retired mailman and long-time Richmond resident.

On December 30, Ken Brodie showed exceptional courage as he selflessly intervened in a vicious dog attack. Ken was in his garden when he heard women's cries for help in the neighbouring schoolyard. He quickly jumped over his fence and ran to action, pulling the dog from one of the women. Unfortunately, during Ken's heroic efforts, he sustained injuries as well.

On behalf of the residents of Richmond, it gives me great pleasure to stand in this house to recognize Ken Brodie for his courage and outstanding bravery.

Chinese New Year February 4th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, Chinese New Year is an elaborate, colourful and joyous time when families and friends gather to celebrate over traditional new year foods and delicacies.

As the third largest ethnic group, with over one million Chinese Canadians, Chinese New Year has become a major celebration for many Canadians. Residents in my riding of Richmond, British Columbia invite all Canadians to join them in celebrating Chinese New Year with a national holiday across our land.

Please join me in wishing all Canadians a healthy, prosperous and successful Year of the Monkey.

Police and Peace Officers National Memorial Day September 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this weekend, thousands of police and peace officers will gather on Parliament Hill to honour colleagues who have died in the line of duty.

They meet annually to keep their memory alive and to ensure that the magnitude of their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

This year a young officer from Richmond, British Columbia will be honoured. Jimmy Ng was just 32 years old and a six year member of the RCMP when he was killed in the line of duty in a motor vehicle collision last September.

Jimmy was a well-respected and dedicated police officer. His fellow officers paid tribute to his memory last weekend outside the Richmond RCMP detachment by unveiling a plaque in his name and his honour. His colleagues fondly remembered him as an officer who “led by doing and showing” and exemplified the RCMP's core values of honesty, integrity and professionalism.

Jimmy is truly missed.

Encroachment upon Quebec Jurisdictions September 23rd, 2003

Madam Speaker, I wanted to take part in this debate on Motion No.394 put forward by the hon. member for Trois-Rivières for several reasons.

In a nutshell, this motion is to recognize Quebec as a nation. It states that, since Quebec did not sign the social union framework union of 1999, the Quebec government should therefore have, and I quote:

—the right to opt out of any federal initiative encroaching upon Quebec jurisdiction, with full financial compensation.

The hon. member's motion raises several questions I would be hard pressed to deal with in any degree of detail during the time allotted me. Still, I would like to touch on them and focus on those aspects that seem fundamental to me, that is, the concept of nation, as the Bloc Quebecois and my hon. colleague seem to understand it, the legitimate role played by the Canadian government in the social field, and the need for cooperation among partners in the Canadian federation.

First, let us agree that the Canadian social union is central to the life of the country. It refers not only to the wide variety of social programs available to Canadians from coast to coast, but also and more importantly to the underlying common values of compassion, generosity and solidarity. it is an essential and incontrovertible component of the Canadian identity.

When we look at all that has marked the building and shaping of our social union, we are struck by how this great and noble endeavour adapted to the times.

Following the constitutional amendment providing for the establishment of a national unemployment insurance program in 1940 and the passage of the appropriate legislation by the House of Commons the following year, Saskatchewan introduced a hospital insurance program in 1947, followed, two years later, by Alberta and British Columbia.

In 1957, the federal government offered to share costs with any province which introduced similar programs. In 1961, Saskatchewan innovated again, with universal healthcare. A few years later, the other provinces signed on to a program jointly funded by the federal government.

Over the course of the next few decades, other programs were introduced, which had a direct impact on the enviable quality of life enjoyed by all Canadians, including Quebeckers. By the end of 1990, the governments in our federation undertook to update Canada's social union by making it more efficient and tailored to the realities of the new century.

The motion before us does not refer to the need for closer cooperation between the countries' governments. It proposes that the House of Commons acknowledge Quebec as a nation. It is less about determining whether Quebec is a nation than it is about determining how we can work together, with all our partners in the federation, including Quebec, to improve our country and the policies in place, to better respond to the needs and aspirations of the Canadian public, including Quebeckers.

Numerous definitions can be given to the concept of nation, and we have heard a few. However, that is not the issue that Quebeckers want to see their governments spending their energy on and investing their efforts in. Quebeckers want to see their leaders work together and not get into semantics or, worse, break up a country that works well and one they have every reason to be proud of.

The motion mentions that the Government of Quebec is not a signatory to the social union framework. Allow me to describe the context in which the negotiations for this 1999 agreement were held. The negotiations took place during a first ministers' meeting that was held on December 11 and 12, 1997, at the end of which the heads of government expressed their will to work together in the many areas that were considered a priority by all the partners of the federation and by Canadians. The social union was at the heart of these discussions.

Unfortunately, the Government of Quebec at the time decided not to be a party to the federal-provincial initiative for social policies. It was not until later, in 1998, that Quebec finally tried to take part in the negotiations.

The purpose of this motion is not to find a mechanism for improving social policies. The Bloc's objectives in this House are completely different, and this motion is more than enough to remind us of that.

This motion seeks only to paint a picture of Quebec as not being well served by the Canadian federation. It neglects to mention the considerable independence the provinces have within the country. Over the years, numerous arrangements, notably of an administrative nature, were made to allow the provinces to assume their full role within our federation. Quebec was not excluded from this movement.

Both levels of government are better able to agree because they both have a real desire, a political will, to reinforce the federation for the benefit of all. This desire must, however, come from both sides and not just ours. The Quebec government has lacked this desire since September 1994. This desire to cooperate, with respect for each other's jurisdiction, appeared with the election of Jean Charest as Premier of Quebec.

Not that intergovernmental relations between Quebec and federal government will be completely harmonious. Such differences are normal in a political system such as ours. Their resolution will require constructive, fruitful discussions based on the common good. Such differences will highlight our shared desire to build a future in keeping with our expectations and dreams.

This motion illustrates two different ideas of Canada's social union. The Bloc continues to talk about the right to opt out with full financial compensation. The governments in our federation have proposed a new vision. This vision is working, and the framework agreement of February 4, 1999, has implemented it. It has led to the creation of a new model of federal-provincial cooperation, the “race for the top” model. This model will first lead governments to agree on priorities and objectives.

This model proposes a flexible approach based on cooperation, and it reinforces the ability of governments to work together to achieve shared goals. It promotes consensus-building, innovation and experimentation, with consideration for diverse needs. This model has already been put to the test, and we can all be proud of it.

I am fully convinced that Quebeckers, like other Canadians, want to join this collaborative effort, and that all of us will be better off as a result.

Homelessness September 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize the valuable contribution the national homelessness initiative has made to my riding of Richmond. Through this initiative, the government provided Chimo Crisis Services with $697,000 to help build a transition house for needy families. The homelessness initiative also provided $390,000 for a non-profit family housing development in Richmond.

Based on the success of the initiative and the continuing need to support homelessness people, the Government of Canada has renewed the national homeless initiative for an additional three years with a $405 million investment.

The continuation of the initiative will help communities, such as Richmond, to continue their efforts to reduce homelessness and to focus on longer term solutions, such as transitional and supportive housing.

User Fees Act September 18th, 2003

Madam Speaker, let me begin by acknowledging the efforts and the hard work of our colleague, the member for Etobicoke North, aimed at improving the management of user charging.

The government also shares his desire to improve the fee setting process. It is in that spirit that in August the President of the Treasury Board announced the revised external charging policy and this policy is now in effect. I believe it addresses many of the concerns raised by my hon. colleague. I am confident that a policy based approach is more effective than passing Bill C-212 into law. For those reasons I join with the government in not supporting Bill C-212.

The government demonstrated its commitment to make improvements to external charging when it launched its review of the policy. The government consulted with stakeholders in industry associations and firms which pay federal user charges. The government heard from members of Parliament and in particular, members of the Standing Committee on Finance.

The review found that stakeholders, generally, expressed support for the policy's underlying principles of equity and fairness. However, the review did raise a number of important issues, concerns that need a resolution. And the government has indeed responded with a revised policy.

The revised policy builds on this solid foundation to meet the concerns raised during the review, concerns like the key elements of our colleague's bill.

For instance, the revised policy strongly reinforces the link between fees and service performance. Now departments through stakeholder consultations must establish service standards and the action to be taken if these standards are not met.

Another example is the revised policy requires departments to communicate more clearly their dispute management processes and make them available to stakeholders.

In the review, the call of parliamentarians for more complete reporting on external charging was heard loudly and clearly and the impact on the policy is clear. Under the revised policy, departments will now annually report in much greater detail on cost, revenue and performance information to Parliament, and to the public as well, through the public accounts, annual departmental performance reports and annual reports on plans and priorities.

These major improvements taken together with the other revisions demonstrate that retaining a policy based approach has many advantages over Bill C-212.

It should also be noted that the bill and the policy are in many ways in sync, in terms of their underlying objectives of improving accountability, transparency and service delivery. But there are, however, important functional and operational differences.

The policy is more compatible with existing accountabilities in that it is consistent with the notion of ministerial responsibility, namely that ministers are responsible for the fees and charges emanating from their departments. It respects the existing roles of cabinet committees and it strengthens reporting to parliament through existing vehicles, notably the public accounts, departmental performance reports and reports on plans and priorities.

Via this reporting, the role of members of Parliament and committees is also strengthened. Committees can and should call for the departmental officials or ministers and stakeholders alike to question them on the charging activities of their departments.

I believe that this approach, while maintaining the gist of our colleague's bill, is a more balanced one. Bill C-212's perspective appears to be based on the issues known to affect a relatively low number of regulatory programs.

Bill C-212's provisions would remove flexibility and incur additional costs and workload in all programs with charges, not simply the ones that have been the focus of stakeholder concerns. For example, it suggests that every department establish an independent dispute management process, when in fact the policy review indicated that most departments were handling disputes to the satisfaction of their stakeholders.

Bill C-212 also contains explicit consequences for departments that miss their service standards. The revised policy shares this concern with service commitments and departmental performance but its approach is proactive, not punitive, and focuses on consultation and reporting on achievement. It requires consultation on feasible options that can be taken if standards cannot be met. This openly recognizes that a one size fits all consequence, like the fee rebate envisioned by the bill, may not be the best response in all cases.

If paying users are right in saying that service improvement is the key issue, as I believe they are, then we must examine each case on its own merits and find solutions that fit the specific circumstances case by case.

Rebates will not provide a useful signal for a program where funding constraints have an impact on service. They will simply reduce funding and increase red tape.

In that light fee rebates are not a consequence only for the department but for the stakeholder too because they want to see the service improved, not worsened by a focus on disputes, conflict and punishment.

Bill C-212 in general will overhaul authorities and accountabilities as we presently understand them in Parliament but its consequences are not clear and are potentially negative in nature.

For example, it does not define, but appears to fully endorse, the concept of independent dispute resolution.This needs to be fleshed out or we risk undermining the principle of ministerial accountability with no clear vision of how responsible decision making is to occur. The policy by comparison provides greater clarity, as it recognizes a role for independent advisory panels in providing recommendations to ministers.

By passing the bill into law, paying users would be able to take their disputes to court thus potentially giving Canada's judiciary the final say on external charging practices. Bill C-212 would effectively reduce Parliament's role rather than strengthen it.

It is for these reasons, with all due respect to the hard work and solid approach taken by our colleague from Etobicoke North that I feel strongly that Canadians are better served by working within our existing policy based approach.