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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was heard.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Oakville (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 49% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by Canadians who request that the federal, provincial and territorial governments work together to deliver a publicly funded and financially sustainable drug plan that would cover all medically necessary prescription drugs for all Canadians. The current patchwork of providing prescription drugs to Canadians is neither adequate nor sustainable. Canadians should not be denied access to essential medicines because they cannot afford them.

Petitions June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions today.

The first is signed by Canadians requesting that Parliament collaborate with all provincial and territorial governments to reduce climate change through putting a price on pollution. The petitioners support the adoption of a price on carbon as the focal point of a Canadian climate action plan and urge the implementation of carbon reduction strategies from around the world.

Community Volunteer June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to recognize an extraordinary woman who has been an incredible force in my community of Oakville. Fiona Fraser has been active throughout her life in charitable causes. She co-led a grassroots effort that saved the pediatrics department at her local hospital, served on the Bronte District Advisory Committee to shape the Bronte Outer Harbour, led Habitat for Humanity's campaign for property and has been an active member of the United Way for over a decade.

A member of the Oakville Federal Liberal Association, Fiona is a tireless fundraiser, events organizer and volunteer coordinator. She has directed successful campaigns municipally, provincially and federally. Fiona led the team through my nomination, was my campaign manager in 2015 and has served as my director of operations ever since.

I am so grateful for Fiona's incredible energy, huge support and wise counsel. I am delighted that Fiona has joined me in Ottawa today so I can thank her.

Members Not Seeking Re-Election to the 43rd Parliament June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to present a retiring statement.

It has been an honour to represent the residents of the riding of Oakville and to have served as a member of the 42nd Parliament. I want to begin by thanking the residents of Oakville for this opportunity.

It has been fascinating to be part of our democratic legislative process and to have worked beside, and sometimes against, other parliamentarians as we have debated and sought the best path forward for Canada. I have never gotten over the sense of responsibility that overcomes members as we walk up to the Parliament building, enter the door and take our seats in the chamber. I have also never gotten over the feeling of gratitude I have for the residents of Oakville for entrusting this responsibility to me.

I am proud of what our government has accomplished over this term. From renegotiating NAFTA, to supporting middle class families, to fighting climate change, to lifting 825,000 Canadians out of poverty and stimulating the creation of over one million new jobs, the government is making real and positive change in the lives of Canadians.

I entered this role with a focused set of priorities. I want to reflect on those briefly tonight, but I also want to talk about the unexpected things that have happened to me over the past years that have enriched my understanding of my community and, surprisingly, of my family.

When I was elected, at the top of my list was working to protect the Canadian health system. It was an honour to be asked by the Prime Minister to serve as the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health and to speak on her behalf with Canadians and in the House of Commons. I was delighted to be part of the Standing Committee on Health. We issued numerous reports and recommendations on issues affecting the health of Canadians.

Another big priority for me was my concern that coverage of essential medicines is not part of our universal health care model. Canadians should not be denied access to essential medicines because they cannot afford them. I was part of the standing committee that issued a clear recommendation that universal, single-payer coverage is critical to ensuring that all Canadians have equal access to essential drug therapy. I was overjoyed to see provisions in the 2018 budget to appoint a council to study the implementation of national pharmacare and to see provisions in the 2019 budget to create a Canadian drug agency and to take steps toward the development of a national formulary.

I was honoured to chair the all-party health research caucus, which worked with Research Canada to profile in Ottawa the amazing health research that is happening across Canada.

Besides health, I was focused on jobs and ensuring that the government was creating the right conditions for success in the advanced manufacturing industry. In Oakville, Ford Canada is the largest employer. I was honoured to have chaired the Liberal auto caucus and to have fought hard for appropriate funding to stimulate innovation in the sector, including in zero emission vehicles and autonomous operations.

As vice-chair of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association, I participated in and once led a mission to promote trade between Canada and the EU.

Finally, with the leadership of Andrew Quinn, my executive assistant, I was happy to see our motion, Motion No. 168, protecting net neutrality in Canada, receive unanimous support in the House. To Andrew, I say, “Velociraptor.”

These are the things I set out to accomplish when I was elected, and I am happy with those achievements. However, what about the unexpected experience that I did not anticipate?

Here on the Hill, in the House, I have been struck by the integrity of all parliamentarians in representing their ridings and speaking passionately about their beliefs and aspirations for the future of Canada. Likewise, I have been impressed by the breadth and scope of committee work. This activity is invisible to most Canadians, yet I learned that it is at committee where most non-partisan discussions are held to amend legislation and make thoughtful recommendations to government. I will miss the collegiality and the give and take with my fellow parliamentarians.

Some of the most unexpected experiences and learning happened in the riding of Oakville.

I was invited as the member of Parliament to tour many businesses. I had no idea of the diversity of manufacturing enterprises in the riding. Do members know that every time people land at the Ottawa airport, it is highly likely that the landing gear that drops down and safely puts them on the tarmac was manufactured and assembled in Oakville? Every time a person buys a glazed donut product or fruit-filled product at Tim Hortons anywhere across Canada, the glaze and filling came from Oakville.

The restoration of the Pickering and Bruce nuclear plants was dependent on parts from Oakville. The raw products for Crisco, Becel margarine and other famous edible oil products are refined in Oakville. Of course, we also have the Ford assembly plant, which assembles over 270,000 vehicles a year and supports a rich ecosystem of parts manufacturers.

I move on now from learnings about the diversity of industry to learnings about the diversity of faith.

I am a long-time member of the United Church, and I was honoured to be invited and warmly welcomed at mosques, the synagogue, the temple, the gurdwara and the many churches of my community. I learned first-hand that although religious observances are different, people are drawn to their houses of worship for the same reasons: to seek a closer relationship with a sacred, holy spirit; to ask for atonement and reconciliation; to be part of a community of faith; and to unite their families in long traditions of religious celebration.

Then there is Sheridan College, a world-class education facility right in my backyard, producing Academy Award winners in animation and acting as a crucible to develop world-renowned artistic shows like Come From Away. What an amazing opportunity we have as MPs, and what a luxury to be introduced to so many aspects of our home community and to have those shared with us so openly. I wish everyone had that opportunity.

I mentioned learnings about my family. My wife's family members are refugees. They fled Poland in the early 1980's, when my wife was about 12 years old. They sought refuge in Austria for about six months and then received permanent refuge in Canada. My wife's younger sister married a Vietnamese gentleman who, along with his family, was likewise a refugee, so when I sit down to eat supper with my wife's family, I am the only non-refugee at the table, yet they do not think of themselves as refugees. They are Canadians who are hard at work building their families, running businesses, and in my wife's case, being a school board trustee.

While I have long known my wife's background, it was not until I met with refugee families from Syria and elsewhere in the world in Oakville that I fully realized the hardship and challenges the parents were facing: language barriers; unemployment; separation from family, loved ones and networks; and learning new cultures.

I want to say a huge thanks to Barbara and Waldemar Krasowski for having the courage to leave their homeland and for persevering through these challenges to seek a better opportunity for their children. Through them, I thanks to all the refugee and immigrant parents who have known these challenges and shown such incredible courage and sacrifice. I hope they all know the successes that my wife's family has enjoyed.

ln closing, I would like to say thanks and acknowledge the tremendous contributions made by my staff: Fiona Fraser, director of operations; Andrew Quinn, executive assistant; Nancy Buchan-Terrell; Valerie Campbell; Hannah Wieler; Lori Weston; and Mala Sharma. They have provided superb support not only to me but, more importantly, to the community we served over these past four years. I could not have done any of this without their tireless work. Most have been with me and supported me from the very beginning; way back when I sought the Liberal nomination. I thank each of them so much for their support and steadfastness.

I also thank the Oakville Federal Liberal Association, under the capable leadership of Alan Johnston, and the hundreds of volunteers who worked with me during the 2015 campaign.

Finally, the real burden of a parliamentarian's job falls hardest on our families, those who are closest to us and whom we love the most. We are absent from home while in Ottawa and often absent from family activity and being with family during constituency weeks. I hope every member is blessed with family members as supportive as mine, and I thank them for their unwavering support. My family includes my loving and lovely wife, Joanna Oliver; my fabulous children, Rachel, whom I congratulate on the new job; Alexander, whom I congratulate on his film; and William, whom I look forward to hanging with; my inspirational mother, Ellice Oliver; and my sister and brother, Heather and Richard Oliver. Sadly, we lost my father, Peter Oliver, during this Parliament, but we remember him through his long-time friend Annie Chandler.

It has been said that families are the compass that guides us, our inspiration to reach great heights and our comfort when we falter. My family is my blessing. I thank each of them from the bottom of my heart for their ongoing love and encouragement.

Criminal Records Act April 8th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, as the laws for cannabis have changed in Canada, it is only right that people with simple possession charges have them removed, which the bill would do. It would allow a pardon and waive both the fees and the waiting period.

There is one area on which I want to challenge the hon. member. The NDP and the member for Victoria seem to want the process to be automatic rather than requiring applications. The member may not be aware that records across Canada are kept in different ways in many jurisdictions. often in boxes in courthouse basements. Therefore, a proactive automatic process could take years for all those simple possession charges to be found and reversed. An application-based process would get people their pardons much faster.

Why does the NDP favour an approach that will make people wait possibly for years for their records to be cleared when this bill would offer a much faster route for them?

Lunar New Year February 8th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, this week marked the beginning of the spring festival or lunar new year. I am pleased to join with the many Canadians who are celebrating the lunar new year, which offers a great occasion to acknowledge the important role of Chinese-Canadian communities in my riding of Oakville and across the country. From coast to coast to coast, Chinese Canadians are helping build a stronger, more inclusive Canada.

This year, we celebrate the Year of the Pig, an animal symbolizing wealth and good fortune. During this time of new beginnings, I encourage everyone to reflect on the successes of the past year and look toward new opportunities.

Over the past week, I have joined in the celebrations with the Oakville Chinese network Society, the Oakville Jiu-Jiu Senior Association, and I wish the best of luck to the Halton Region Chinese Canadian Association for its gala tomorrow evening. I look forward to celebrating with the Oakville Chinese Residents Association later this weekend.

I wish everyone a year filled with peace, happiness, good health and great prosperity.

Gong hey fat choy. Gong xi fa cai

World Cancer Day February 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, each year, on February 4, Canadians come together to recognize World Cancer Day, an international day of awareness. Take a moment to look around this chamber. Imagine half of us hearing the words, “You have cancer.” On any given day, 565 Canadians will hear those words. One in two Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. The magnitude of this is staggering for individuals and their families.

We need to help those facing cancer live their lives more fully and see life beyond the diagnosis. To do this, we must expand access to credible cancer information and ensure that support services like those offered by the Canadian Cancer Society are available from coast to coast to coast so that nobody faces cancer alone.

I would like to thank Lynne Hudson and all her colleagues at the Canadian Cancer Society for everything they do to support Canadians in the fight to eradicate cancer and to enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer.

Opioid Crisis in Canada December 10th, 2018

Mr. Chair, my colleague made reference to decriminalization as a potential strategy here. We have talked about that a bit tonight, and I just want to emphasize some of the points that were made earlier.

First of all, decriminalization would not ensure a safe supply of drugs. It means if one is found with drugs, that person will not be criminalized but would not be given a safe supply. It would not move people to treatment. Some of the feedback from Portugal is that it was not a silver bullet.

I did want to mention that the government has moved forward with expanding access to opioid substitution therapies, which is an important part of moving people off opioid dependency. We have expanded access to methadone and to opioid replacement therapies like diacetylmorphine, which is a pharmaceutical grade of heroin.

Steps have been taken to make sure that these kinds of drugs are available for safe and effective treatment for people who are working on their opioid dependency.

Violence Against Women November 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, gender-based violence is a serious issue in Canada. We need all Canadians to work together to end it. Violence against women will not stop if boys and men are not included in the conversation and do not become part of the solution.

Men and boys in my riding of Oakville slipped on a pair of hot pink heels and walked through Oakville's downtown for Hope in High Heels. This raises funds for Halton Women's Place and the work its members do, providing a safe haven for women and children in crisis and providing education to build a future without abuse. I am so thankful for their important service to our community.

Gender-based violence can be ended in our lifetime. Karina, Pam and I are challenging all our male colleagues here in the House to join us after question period, to walk the talk at Hope in High Heels on the Hill. We have a pair of pink heels for everyone who wants to support ending violence against women. I will see them on the steps, or the rotunda if it is raining.

Questions on the Order Paper November 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), on June 19, the Minister of Health sent a letter to manufacturers and distributors of opioids requesting that they respond to the opioid crisis by immediately suspending any and all marketing and advertising of opioids to health care professionals on a voluntary basis. Furthermore, on August 17, Health Canada sent additional call to action letters to the pharmaceutical industry and organizations in Canada.

With regard to part (b), 88 letters were sent out on June 19, and 14 letters were sent out on August 17, totalling 102 letters sent to pharmaceutical companies and industry organizations in Canada. A list of these companies and organizations and the letters were made public on September 5, and are available at www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/problematic-prescription-drug-use/opioids/responding-canada-opioid-crisis/industry-response.html.

With regard to parts (c) and (e), as of September 27, 31 responses from pharmaceutical companies and two responses from industry groups were received. The Response to the Call on the Pharmaceutical Industry to Voluntarily Suspend Marketing and Advertising of Opioids web page will continue to be updated as more responses are received.

A summary of companies that received a letter and the correspondence received by Health Canada is available at www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/problematic-prescription-drug-use/opioids/responding-canada-opioid-crisis/industry-response.html.

With regard to (d), copies of the correspondence may be requested at www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/problematic-prescription-drug-use/opioids/responding-canada-opioid-crisis/industry-response.html.

Six respondents committed to suspending promotional and advertising activities; 24 respondents reported they do not distribute opioids, or do not market or promote opioids in Canada; one respondent stated it only markets opioid products to treat opioid use disorder; and two responses from industry groups indicated support for the government’s efforts to address the opioid crisis and expressed an interest in collaborating going forward.

With regard to (f), further to the voluntary call to action letters, Health Canada has created a dedicated compliance and enforcement team to proactively monitor opioid marketing in order to identify and take action against inappropriate marketing.