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

Fairness at the Pumps Act May 12th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the thing that stood out in my mind as the member was speaking was that Bill C-14 allows the industry to police itself. That is kind of scary for me, given what is going on at the pumps.

A year and a half ago we were paying almost double per barrel what is being charged now and the prices at the pump were about $1.00 or $1.01. The prices now are about $1.00 or $1.01 and the price per barrel is half the price what it was.

There has to be some regulation. If we are allowing the companies to police themselves, God knows what is going to happen tomorrow. Could the member elaborate on that for us?

Business of Supply May 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the member for Malpeque served proudly as the minister of agriculture. He knew his parameters. He knew his guidelines. There was never any suspicion regarding anybody who saw him. Were there mistakes made? To err is human, to forgive divine, but we will not forgive what is going on in the party across the aisle today.

Business of Supply May 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend makes a good recommendation. I cannot answer yea or nay at this stage because it needs to be given some thought.

What I can tell him is that any former member of Parliament wears that pin with pride for serving our country for however many years. I do not believe that privilege, service or history should ever be taken away. If that pin reflects that, then that person should be able to wear it.

I also believe that the current rules and those that existed previously do not apply today given what Rahim Jaffer did. Who knows what is going to happen three or five years down the road?

That is why my hon. colleague from St. John's South—Mount Pearl came forward with today's motion. It makes sense given what happened. If all these so-called future lobbyists know the rules of the game and do not follow them, they should be reprimanded.

Business of Supply May 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I say to the new member of Parliament that I served as a parliamentary secretary to the minister of industry, and I can tell him how strict we were when people came to see us and the distance we kept from them.

The adscam scandal did occur. We were the ones who called the inquiry. We were the ones who opened the books. We were the ones who gave Mr. Justice Gomery latitude. We asked him to get to the bottom of it. Canadians, unfortunately, were being misled. Mr. Justice Gomery told us and the Conservatives before committee, “I helped bring down the Liberals. I gave you recommendations which you tossed out the door. Shame on you”. They should follow Justice Gomery's recommendations.

Business of Supply May 4th, 2010

Attempted murder, thank you, I stand corrected, but it is also premeditated, because Rahim Jaffer's plan was premeditated after he lost the election. I apologize and I thank the member for correcting me. It was attempted murder.

I want to get into their defence which is the supposedly $49 million from adscam. We did the right thing as a party. We opened the books for Judge Gomery, because had then Prime Minister Martin not given the directive to open the books, that commission of judicial inquiry would never have happened. That is what we are asking the Conservative Party to do every now and then, to totally open the books, but it does not want to. We must tell Canadians.

The inquiry was front and centre. Canadians had the opportunity to tune in any time they wanted. At the end of the day, they caught the culprits. They caught the people who stole the money. Did we fine them? Of course we did. Did they go before the court? Of course they did. Did they pay restitution? Of course they did. Was any Liberal member of Parliament charged? No.

The Conservatives are standing here in the House of Commons misleading Canadians. They are being intellectually dishonest with their comments to justify their wrongdoing. They are trying to justify that it is okay for one of their people, in this case Rahim Jaffer and God knows how many others, according to the newspapers, to waltz around in a circle. The media talks about conflict of interest guidelines and Rahim Jaffer waltzing into several ministers' offices, pitching his business plans, et cetera. This went on for months and months. It was illegal. How do the Conservatives justify it? They justify it by saying that he never got any money.

When the Minister of Finance was handing out contracts that were for more than $25,000 and needed to be tendered, he came back and said that they did not know and they would not do it again. That was from a senior minister who served as a finance minister in the provincial government of Ontario. Shame on him. He knew the rules. We all knew the rules. Then the Conservatives turn it around and say they will not give somebody a $100,000 contract. They break it down to $24,980, and that way there does not have to be a tender.

The veil of deception in the government is unbelievable. I tell my good friends over there that Canadians are catching on. Canadians are waking up. That is why this properly thought out motion by the Liberal member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl is before us. That member has been right on in this file. When she asks tough questions, the Conservatives try to corner her. She is trying to do the right thing for this time. This did not happen three years ago. Otherwise she would have told us. It happened now, and I thank her personally for bringing the motion forward.

I close by saying that Canadians are seeing beyond the veil of deception and the secrecy of those people. We cannot get information. Come judgment day, Canadians will judge them accordingly.

Business of Supply May 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who just spoke a minute ago asked where the Liberals were during the last three or four years. I would just remind him that in the last three or four years we were not in government. In the last three or four years we did not have Rahim Jaffergate. In the last three or four years nothing like this occurred so that we could bring in this motion, for example, or this suggestion.

Legislation develops as our country changes and society changes. Things happen and we address them. If there is higher crime, we bring in legislation to address it. I am puzzled today because I know the Conservative government introduced certain pieces of legislation to address crime and justice issues. I and my party thought they were good pieces of legislation to help our country and protect our society and we supported them.

I want to read into the record the motion from my Liberal colleague from St. John's South—Mount Pearl, which reads:

That, given the apparent loophole--

And the key word here is “loophole”. We just simply discovered that there is a loophole, something that we did not know two, three or four years ago.

--in the Lobbying Act which excludes Parliamentary Secretaries from the list of “designated public officer holders”, the House calls on the government to take all necessary steps to immediately close this loophole and thus require Parliamentary Secretaries to comply fully with the Lobbying Act, in the same manner as Ministers are currently required to do.

There was a friendly amendment from my Liberal colleague from Beauséjour. He spoke in question period and clearly outlined that when anybody approaches any minister or any parliamentary secretary with a proposal, that it is a violation of the act. The Conservatives' justification is that they were asking but they did not receive money.

I have always believed that Canadians are rather smart people and they will be able to read through this. While they were checking around to see what moneys were available, they submitted their proposals and they are saying that they did not receive any money. That is because the proposal, supposedly, so far, has not been accepted. They justified it that way.

What would have happened if the proposal, hypothetically, moved forward? What would have happened if one of the many proposals that were put forward by Mr. Rahim Jaffer was accepted? Then they would say, “Put the brakes on. Let me go register and then I will come back”.

Canadians will not buy that and they do not buy that. If the Conservatives believe they represent the people, they should be checking with their constituents. Canadians are not buying that. As I said earlier today, it is like when people go to rob a bank and there is no money in the vault, would the cops come in and say to the robbers that because there was no money they can leave?

We talk about premeditated activities. Premeditated murder is an example. If somebody is charged with premeditated murder, what does that mean? That means that somebody is making an attempt to do it. They did not murder the guy so that is okay, they can get off because they did not murder him.

Business of Supply May 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I quickly remind the member for Yorkton—Melville that the only coalition that succeeded was the Reform Party, the NDP and the Bloc coalition to overthrow the governing party of Paul Martin.

When I listen to the member for Ajax—Pickering, I hear that the government operates under a veil of secrecy. I heard members speak earlier on why they would not support the motion. They spoke about the adscam and money that was stolen. They justified their decision because no money was paid out. Some time ago the Prime Minister received some lobbyists at his house. He justified it because it did not work out.

Rahim Jaffer, as the papers say, was waltzing from minister to minister. The justification is no money was paid out. If somebody attempts to rob a bank, but there was no money to steal, does that mean it is okay? Does mean we do not charge that person for intent? We do not charge people for their interest in robbing. Does that justify it?

Business of Supply May 4th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the hon. member for Barrie explaining what the legislation now does, which is fine and we all appreciate that. However, he also said that because the previous government had a loose piece of legislation, his government brought in measures to tighten up that legislation.

There seems to have been a loophole that has been identified and this motion that was brought forward by the Liberal Party says that we need to tighten it.

If the member, the Prime Minister and the so-called Conservative Party, although sometimes I call it the Reform Party, believe in what they say, then they should be supporting this proposal from the Liberals which identifies a loophole as a result of the Rahim Jaffergate and we need to correct it. Will they support it, yes or no? I would ask that they tell Canadians.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 19th, 2010

With regard to the Community Adjustment Fund: (a) what projects are being funded; (b) in what federal electoral district is each project located; (c) who applied for the funding for each project; and (d) what is the exact amount of money allocated to each project?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 19th, 2010

With regard to the Recreational Infrastructure Canada Fund: (a) what projects are being funded; (b) in what federal electoral district is each project located; (c) who applied for the funding for each project; and (d) what is the exact amount of money allocated to each project?