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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was question.

Last in Parliament February 2017, as Liberal MP for Markham—Thornhill (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the best potential future Canadians are international students. They are educated, they are relatively young, they speak English or French, and they know something about the country. We are in competition for their services with other countries.

That is why, yesterday, I announced changes in additional points for those students so that no less than 40% of our economic immigrants will in fact be international students.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this visa lift was brought about to strengthen our ties on a continental basis. It is well known that with the visa lifted there will be enhanced tourism traffic coming from Mexico, which will create many jobs and much income in the Canadian economy. We are monitoring the situation very closely, of course, but this project stands to bring major jobs and benefits to the country.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we do share the concerns of the people of Vegreville, but it has to be understood that the government inherited a completely broken immigration system, so our priority has to be to improve service, to reduce processing time, and to spend taxpayers' money wisely. In making the move from Vegreville to Edmonton, we are in fact increasing the total number of jobs in Alberta. All the employees in Vegreville, permanent and temporary, will be offered jobs in Edmonton. This is something that has to be done for efficiency—

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, my office has reached out to the mayor and to the member, and we are certainly helping to facilitate the transition in that all current employees will be guaranteed jobs in Edmonton. As I have said before, there will be a net increase in jobs in Alberta because this move will allow us to pursue our lines of business more effectively, meet rising demands, and provide better immigration services to all Canadians.

Questions on the Order Paper November 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a) of the question, the government is undertaking a comprehensive analysis with federal departments and agencies, analyzing relevant criteria set out in Canada’s visa policy framework. Canada launched visa dialogues with each of these countries in spring, 2016. The dialogues are bilateral processes to gather information related to pre-identified areas of concern or interest under Canada’s visa policy criteria. As a part of the dialogues, Canadian officials from IRCC, the Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP; and Global Affairs Canada, GAC, conducted a technical visit to Romania in June 2016, and Bulgaria in July 2016, to assess both countries against Canada’s visa policy criteria.

With regard to part (b), IRCC does not hold public consultations on matters of visa policy. Federal partners, namely GAC, Public Safety Canada, the CBSA, and the RCMP were consulted on the necessary elements of the technical visits conducted this summer, as well as the findings of the visit. As these discussions are a part of ongoing regular business, specific dates and locations cannot be provided.

In response to part (c), in both cases, Canada has undertaken a comprehensive analysis to vigorously assess the criteria set out in Canada’s visa policy framework, and has engaged extensively with Mexican, Romanian, and Bulgarian officials. Canada is building on existing collaboration with Mexico to implement specific mitigation measures prior to the visa lift date and to support a sustainable visa lift. While the approach may not be identical, Canada is working collaboratively with Romania and Bulgaria on the visa issue as evidenced by the launch of the visa dialogues. Romania and Bulgaria remain important partners for Canada, and Canada maintains its commitment to work towards the shared goal of visa-free travel for citizens of all European Union member states.

With regard to part (d), Canada’s visa policy criteria are applied universally. The criteria applied in the assessment of the Czech Republic’s readiness for a visa exemption were the same as those being currently applied to Romania and Bulgaria. Visa policy criteria cover a variety of aspects, including socio-economic conditions, migration trends, travel document integrity, border management, safety and security issues, human rights issues, and bilateral and multilateral issues.

With respect to the different circumstances and findings of visa policy assessments of the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Romania, in processing parliamentary returns, the government applies the Privacy Act and the principles set out in the Access to Information Act, and certain information has been withheld on the grounds that it may be injurious to the conduct of international affairs.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we are working with the stakeholders to ease the transition.

My staff has had a good conversation with the mayor. I would be happy to meet the member at any time.

The fact of the matter is there is a net increase in jobs in Alberta, but there is a strong case for this. We have a responsibility to spend taxpayers' money wisely, to improve the efficiency of the immigration department and reduce processing times.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we do regret the dislocation. We are working with staff to ensure that everybody who wishes to work in Edmonton has a job. The fundamental responsibility of the immigration department is to get good value for taxpayers' money, to offer good service to customers, to improve efficiency, to reduce processing times, and to create more jobs in Alberta. That is what we are doing.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship November 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we certainly regret the impact this has had on some members of the community. We are working with stakeholders to ensure that everyone currently employed in Vegreville will also have the chance to work in Edmonton. However, I can say that there was a strong business case to move the operation to Edmonton. This will result in better service, and it will result in net additional jobs for the province of Alberta.

Immigration October 31st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to subsection 94(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2016 annual report to Parliament on immigration.

Immigration October 31st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate my colleague the international trade minister