House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was billion.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Scarborough Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I think there is no question that every member in this honourable House and everyone throughout the country supports our men and women in uniform. However, when we ask some questions, the last thing we want to hear is that we do not support our military. I hope I will not get this back, given the question I am going to ask.

The minister is a dear friend. The current chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence, which I had the honour of chairing, is here. I heard first-hand the good work and the difficulty that our men and women had gone through over the past several years. However, we have an obligation when we come to the House to also ask questions on behalf of our constituents and the taxpayers. They are asking us what happened, saying that six or eight months ago Gadhafi was part of the club. They really do not know what happened. They ask what is going on with respect to Bahrain and why we are not going in there or other areas.

The minister was kind enough to talk about the conflict in former Yugoslavia that brought about Kosovo.

Canadians are asking these types of question. You might not have the answer right now, but I just thought I would pass on to you the type of discussions going on out there. I know what we are doing is right, though.

Business of Supply February 8th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I listened very carefully to the member from Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar. There are a couple of things to keep in mind.

She talked about Canadians not believing us, for example, about lowering taxes. I will give the member two examples.

First, the government says that it wants to lower taxes. When the Liberals were in government, the employers told us that we should lower EI premiums and they would hire. Instead of lowering them, the Conservative government has increased them to $13 billion. Is that an increase or a decrease?

The Conservatives said that they lowered the lowest income tax personal bracket. When the Liberals were in government, we had it at 15%. The Conservatives came in and increased it to 15.5%. Now they have lowered it to 15%. Is that an increase or a decrease?

The highest tax increase in Canadian history was the income trust at 31%. How dare the Conservatives do that?

Business of Supply February 8th, 2011

Madam Speaker, the member from Edmonton—Leduc and the member from Burlington earlier both said that the Conservative government had lowered the lowest personal tax bracket to 15%.

I want to clarify for the record, and if it is challenged we can go back and see it, but the lowest bracket was in our last budget, a Liberal budget, at 15%. The Conservatives then came in with their first budget and raised it to 15.5%. Now the Conservatives stand up and say that they lowered it. If I am wrong, they can stand and say so. If I am right, we should look at the record for clarification for Canadians.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act November 30th, 2010

Why don't you challenge me?

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act November 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the NDP member said in his opening statement that he was going to address the viewing public. He asked why the Liberals continue to allow the government to survive. No matter what, he wants us to defeat the government. That is not a new statement. They wanted us to do that right after the last election.

The member says he wants to be responsible to Canadian taxpayers, that he does not want to waste money. Canadians have repeatedly told us that we must work together. We could not afford an election a year and a half ago. An election would cost over $500,000,000, in these trying and challenging times. Canadians are asking us to try to work things out. The NDP is saying it wants us to defeat the government, that it does not matter.

We do not disagree with what the member said about the airport tax and the cost.

Does my colleague think there would be some benefit if we defeated the government? What would the outcome be? Everybody is predicting that if an election were held now we would have another minority government, whether it be Liberal or Conservative.

I will tell the member, once and for all, we did not defeat the government because we chose to be responsible and we listened to Canadians. We do not believe that wasting more than half a billion dollars would get a different result. With the NDP, it is easy come, easy go. Maybe last night's election is a reflection of Canadians' distrust of the NDP.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act November 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that before China, Germany, the U.K. and other countries showed the light, the Liberal government made record investments in R and D. Genome is one example but there are many others.

I remember discussing the aerospace act in the House when John Manley was the parliamentary secretary. We made the right investments. We invested in the Canadarm, and the list goes on. We were ahead of the game.

I gave examples in my speech of China, Australia and the United States. The United States, although burdened with high debt and deficits, made those investments but not the Conservative government, as was pointed out by professionals. I quoted a gentleman who said that all this does is keep the lights on. We have failed in this area. When other nations are investing in new jobs and jobs of the future, they are doing the right thing and we should look to them as examples.

I do not use scare tactics. I am only talking to the pages simply because it is their future and their country, but--

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act November 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of my hon. friend, English was my first language when I grew up in downtown Toronto on Walton Street and Greek became my second language later.

The member is right. The Conservatives are revisionists. They do brag. However, by using their own statistics I will point out how wrong they are.

The Conservatives did make an investment in debt retirement when they first took over. They plunked the surplus down on debt reduction. They inherited a $501 billion debt from us and they brought it down to $460 billion. According to their own graft, by 2014-15 that debt will have grown to $622.1 billion. It will actually be higher with the most recent figures. In other words, the Conservatives will have added $120 billion to the debt in a short period of time. That is unheard of. They are burdening not just today's youth but tomorrow's future as well. I point to our House of Commons pages because this debt will be on their backs more so than on ours.

I just pointed out that the Conservatives inherited balanced books. However, as of next year, we will have a $100 billion deficit, and amount unheard of. What can the Conservatives be proud of? They have nothing to be proud of.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act November 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I was asked a question and I had to respond.

The first coalition in Canadian government was that of the NDP agreeing with the Conservatives to overthrow the government.

Now I will get back to this. That is why we had the NDP amendment, the budget, which allocated almost $1.-something billion to housing, to post-secondary education, to seniors, et cetera.

What can I say?

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act November 30th, 2010

Sure. The NDP agreed to be in a coalition with the Conservatives to overthrow the government. That was the first coalition.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act November 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I have three sensitive spots. One is for our seniors, another is for our veterans and our men and women in uniform, and the other one is for our youth. For those of us in between, we will somehow found our way.

That is why I often talk about the obligation we have to our seniors. I will touch on the other two areas later. I did not hear a lot of complaints, and I do not mean this in a biased way, when the Liberals were in government for almost 11, 12 years. We used to hear complaints but we were making the right investments.

As we managed to turn the economy around, we invested, and I call it an investment rather than an obligation, in our seniors. Housing was a great investment. Contracts were signed.

Just before we lost the government 2006 for various reasons, and the member knows what I am talking about, I believe—