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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was budget.

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 October 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we committed to the words of the Conservative motion. I would have thought that might be enough for one day for the member. We are working very hard. We have just come back from a mission in the region to determine how many and from where and over what time period we will be welcoming more Yazidis to Canada. We have committed to do this and it will be done.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we certainly did not waste time when we brought 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in the space of four months. The hon. member should know it is not easy to bring the Yazidis here from the places where they are, but my department has sent an expedition out to the terrain and we are committed to bring them in within, as the motion says, 120 days or less.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his commitment on this issue. We have already welcomed more than 30,000 Syrian refugees and it has always been our intent to welcome additional Yazidis as well. I know there is no one more in favour of welcoming Yazidis than the members on this side of the House. So it is my pleasure to say that I will be recommending that Liberals vote in favour of the opposition motion.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, nothing makes me prouder than the fact that we brought, in 2016, three or four times more refugees than the Conservatives did. In four short months, we brought in 25,000 Syrian refugees. I, as a Canadian, am very proud of that accomplishment. In addition, we will work to bring in Yazidis and others who have been oppressed by Daesh in the years going forward.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 20th, 2016

What I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is that one cannot guarantee a precise date when a war—

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, we made strong attempts to find an agreement with the opposition members. In the end, they would not agree to our position.

My position is that we will do everything we can to work in this area, but to guarantee a certain number by a certain date is not possible when we consider the war—

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, far from not living up to our obligations, a group of officials from my department just returned yesterday from a visit to Iraq to the region, and it was there that they interviewed Syrian refugees. In addition, they consulted with UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration to determine the best way to bring over Yazidis and others who have been hurt by ISIL.

Therefore, we are doing everything we can, but the member would understand that with a war going on in Mosul, it is not the easiest region—

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, far from ignoring them, we are acutely conscious of the tragic situation facing the Yazidis. It was to that end that we had discussions throughout the day with the Conservative Party with the view to finding a motion that all of us could support, because in my view, this issue is such that it should go beyond partisan issues and we should be able to agree. In the end, no agreement was reached, but that does not diminish our concern and our determination to act on this issue.

Business of Supply October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question.

I used to be the defence minister. I do not agree that a military solution is never needed. For example, during the Second World War, a military solution was needed. I could give many other examples.

We held direct consultations on the ground in Iraq. My staff just got back to Canada. I have had discussions with the German government about issues related to immigration and refugees in general. In my opinion, Angela Merkel is a hero because she welcomed over one million refugees into Germany.

Maybe she was a little bit ahead of her people, but it was a great humanitarian act.

Business of Supply October 20th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question, and I assure him there is no distinction between my position and that of my parliamentary secretary.

I am proud of the fact that from the beginning of our becoming the government and the Syrian refugee project, we have stated consistently and repeatedly that our position is to accept the most vulnerable people. Irrespective of religion, of community, of other characteristics, we will accept the most vulnerable people. We have lived by that commitment from the beginning and we retain that commitment today.

In terms of how we decide who are the most vulnerable in terms of the government-assisted refugees from Syria, we receive the names from the United Nations, UNHCR. It identifies those who are the most vulnerable and we take those names and choose from among those people. I can assure the member those people truly are vulnerable. We know now that they speak almost no English or French and often they do not have much education so it is some work to equip them for success in Canada, but we have achieved our objective in terms of receiving those who were truly vulnerable. It is the United Nations that decides the criteria. The member may recall that one of the criteria was gay men because in that part of the world they are particularly persecuted and therefore vulnerable.