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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

The Budget March 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, the Standing Committee on Health has been studying national pharmacare for a period of time. We have heard from a number of witnesses and a report will be forthcoming to the House in the near future.

However, that just goes part of the way. There is much to be done at the provincial and territorial level. Further consultation and discussion needs to take place to make sure that national pharmacare can be implemented in a way that is supported and is part of that great Canadian framework of collaboration between provinces, territories, and the federal government. That is why a national advisory council is required. It is additive to the work that the committee has done. When the committee's report is tabled, members will see that direction and strategies have been set on how to move forward with national pharmacare if the government so chooses. However, it would still need to work with the national advisory council.

That is why I am so excited to see it in the budget. It is a strong indication of the next steps to come toward moving all Canadians forward to the proper coverage of pharmacare. No Canadian should be denied access to prescription medicines because of affordability. This is our window of time to fix that.

The Budget March 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, to me it is about declining debt to GDP and that ratio. If we are increasing spending and raising GDP more than the cost of the deficit financing, then we are making a substantial investment in the Canadian economy and we are building capacity to repay that debt.

Canada has very strong fiscal fundamentals. We have been anchored by a low and now declining debt-to-GDP ratio, so our government can go forward with the confidence to make investments in our future that will strengthen and grow the middle class, lay a more solid foundation for the next generation of Canadians, and at the same time, increase the GDP by a greater amount than we are increasing the debt cost.

The Budget March 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Winnipeg Centre.

It is a great pleasure to rise to speak in support of budget 2018. The measures proposed in budget 2018 will have a substantial and positive impact on my riding of Oakville. I look forward to seeing the benefits roll out in my community next year and for the years to come.

Since coming to office, one of our government's highest priorities has been growing our economy. Now, with the highest growth rate in the G7, we are taking steps to ensure that all Canadians feel the benefit of Canada's economic growth. Budget 2018 presents a message of equality and growth for Canada that translates into smart investments for Oakville and Halton residents. This budget proposes targeted progressive projects that will build a more equal, competitive, and sustainable Canada.

In the months leading up to the budget, I had the opportunity to speak with many people in my riding, constituency organizations, residents, chambers of commerce members, and stakeholders, in Oakvillle about their concerns and priorities for the upcoming budget. While the stakeholders came from all backgrounds and perspectives, many common themes emerged through those discussions. Oakville's stakeholders voiced their support for investments in job creation and advanced manufacturing, investments in research and development, and government action to further promote gender equality and enhanced environmental protection.

Among the many exciting investments proposed in 2018, there were a few I would like to highlight that in particular relate to my riding of Oakville.

For many Canadians, being a parent and raising a family is the most important part of their lives. New families in Oakville rely on maternity and parental benefits for support during the critical period in early childhood when they need to take time off work to care for their children. Budget 2018 makes it easier for parents to share child care responsibilities through a new EI parental sharing benefit. This encourages both parents to take time off through a “use it or lose it” incentive of five additional weeks. This encourages greater equality when it comes to the challenge of sharing child care responsibility, and helps to distribute family and home duties between parents. I look forward to seeing Oakville families benefiting from this program.

Our government has always been clear that we need to do more to protect our natural environment. Our quality of life rests on the commitments we make to protect Canada's parks and other natural wild spaces, both today and for the future. That is why we have proposed $1.3 billion over five years to implement a number of key measures, including the creation of a joint $1 billion nature fund. This will be done in partnership with corporate, not-for-profit, provincial, territorial, indigenous, and other partners. The fund will make it possible to secure private lands and support efforts to protect species. The fund also proposes to establish a connected network of protected areas with our partners.

Another important aspect of the fund is that it will establish better rules for the review of major projects that will protect our natural environment and waterways. Oakville residents cherish our green spaces like Sixteen Mile Creek and Bronte Creek Provincial Park and want to make sure we are putting in protections to preserve them for future generations. These new measures will ensure just that.

When I was speaking with my constituents, a key priority was increasing available funding for research and development. There is an incredible amount of innovation happening in Canada. It is vital to support our research and development in order to grow our economy and remain competitive on the world stage. Through budget 2018, the government will provide a historic level of new funding in support of Canadian researchers. This package of research support was informed by the recommendations in Canada's fundamental science review. It is about more than just funding. It is about moving toward a modern research system defined by greater collaboration between disciplines and researchers from across the globe.

Budget 2018 is making an investment of nearly $4 billion to support the next generation of Canadian researchers creating advancements in a wide range of fields. The Canadian Institutes for Health Research will be receiving $354.7 million over five years to support advancements like new technology to diagnose disease earlier, or new medicines to treat patients.

As the chair of the health research caucus, I have had the opportunity to hear first-hand from many Canadian researchers who have been worried about their job security and the future of their research projects. They will benefit immensely from this new funding. As someone who used to review grants on a CIHR review board, it was often challenging to deny projects that we knew would be of benefit to Canada because of limited funding. This funding is a much-needed shot in the arm for Canadian researchers and our research institutions.

We are also looking to increase support for collaborative innovation projects involving businesses, colleges, and polytechnics, such as Sheridan College in my riding, by proposing $140 million over five years through the college and community innovation program.

As the member of Parliament for Oakville, home to Ford Canada, and as chair of the Liberal auto caucus, I also want to highlight how budget 2018 will support the automotive industry in Canada.

Driven by the operations of five global automotive manufacturers and over 660 diverse automotive suppliers, the automotive industry is Canada's largest source of manufacturing exports and trade. As part of our pre-budget submission, the auto caucus called for continued investments in this sector. Canada's auto sector and advanced manufacturing will benefit from the $1.26-billion strategic innovation fund, which will offer both repayable and non-repayable contributions to firms of all sizes across all of Canada. Budget 2018 is giving this vital industry more opportunity to invest in Canada, driving economic growth and job creation in the advanced manufacturing sector in Ontario.

I cannot speak in support of budget 2018 without recognizing the effort and consideration that has been taken throughout its proposals to address gender inequality issues in Canada.

Budget 2018 offers more ways to ensure the equal and full participation of women in Canada's economy. We are changing parental leave benefits, as I previously outlined, to help mothers transition more easily back to the workforce. We are taking pay equity seriously by implementing historic proactive pay equity legislation so that Canadians receive equal pay for equal work. We are making unprecedented investments in women in business through establishing the women entrepreneurship strategy in a $1.65-billion investment over three years through the Business Development Bank and Export Development Canada.

We are expanding Canada's strategy to address gender-based violence, providing funding to projects, including preventing violence in teen dating and supporting rape crisis and sexual assault centres. Also proposed is $1.8 million in funding for programs that engage men and boys on the importance of gender equality and speaking against violence against women. Events like our local Halton Women's Place Hope in High Heels, which I was pleased to co-host and bring to Parliament Hill last November, raise awareness on this issue. These are initiatives I believe are necessary and will make a significant impact on our country's future. I have said many times, violence against women is a male problem, and the solution must include men and boys. I am so proud to stand here as part of a government that has not only taken gender issues seriously, but is providing meaningful and thoughtful ways to address those challenges.

I would now like to speak about a topic included in the budget that is near and dear to my heart. It is a priority in my riding of Oakville and across Canada. A highlight of the budget is the creation of the national advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare. As many of my constituents and colleagues in the House know, this is one of the main reasons I decided to enter federal politics. We are the only country in the world with a national health care system that does not also have a national pharmacare program. When one in four Canadians cannot afford to fill or finish a prescription, something must be done. When a single mother of two has to choose between medication for a sick child or food on the table, something must be done. When a senior on a fixed income cannot refill a required medication, or when our nation's young adults cannot afford medications for chronic illnesses, like insulin for diabetes, something must be done.

This is an issue I have been advocating for since I was elected. One of the first things I did after the election was work to initiate a study into a national pharmacare program by the Standing Committee on Health. We have heard from 99 witnesses in order to prepare an in-depth report to Parliament on what a program could look like and how it could be implemented. I look forward to the report being tabled in the House in the near future. The national advisory council is the next step to achieving this goal. I am beyond proud that our government has commissioned the council to further investigate how this should be implemented, and I will continue to work both in Ottawa and at home in Oakville to further the health of Canadians.

As we can see, budget 2018 is supporting targeted, progressive projects that will build a more equal, competitive, and sustainable Canada. I am proud to support these initiatives, and I look forward to seeing the benefits roll out in Oakville and across our great country.

Affordable Housing February 2nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I begin by extending a warm welcome to Ottawa to William and Joanna Oliver.

I rise today to recognize an amazing initiative in my riding of Oakville called the Tiny Homes program. This collaboration between the Centre for Skills Development and Training, and the Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar is designed to provide valuable skills training, while also addressing the unique challenges of accessible, safe, and affordable housing for Canada's indigenous communities.

This Rotary Club has been a long-time advocate for affordable housing in Oakville, and has now established an innovative way to use the centre's training program. Before this initiative, students would build mock houses that would be sent to the landfill at the end of each course. This program is a win for the environment, a win for workers, and a win for Canada's indigenous communities.

I am so honoured to be a representative for Oakville, people whose creativity, compassion, and collaboration make me proud to be their member of Parliament.

Tobacco and Vaping Products Act January 30th, 2018

Madam Speaker, 115,000 people a year become daily smokers. About 82% of them start smoking at or before the age of 18, so about 100,000 Canadians each year begin to become addicted to nicotine. That is a big challenge for us. Whether they ingest the nicotine by smoking or by vaping, and smoking is clearly the worse of those two by a margin, nicotine itself, particularly when people are addicted to it and having increasing quantities, is an unhealthy substance to be ingesting.

I thought it would be helpful if my hon. colleague would again remind the House what the steps are in Bill S-5 that would regulate vaping and reduce the attraction of this particular way of ingesting nicotine for our young Canadians.

Frank Philbrook December 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today to remember a former member of Parliament for my riding, Dr. Frank Philbrook. Frank served in the 30th Parliament of Canada from 1974 to 1979, under the right hon. Pierre Trudeau. He was wholeheartedly devoted to serving the residents of Oakville and Halton and used his experience as a physician both in Canada and abroad to serve Canadians.

Having served on many parliamentary committees, including external affairs and national defence; justice and legal affairs; and health, welfare and social affairs, it is clear that Frank was a hard-working and dedicated member of this place. Frank was the beloved husband of Midge for 62 years, father of three daughters, and grandfather to five.

I would like to thank Frank for his service to Oakville, this place, and to all Canadians. My thoughts are with his loved ones. Rest in peace, Frank.

Violence Against Women November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, violence against women and children will not stop if men are not included in the conversation and made part of the solution. Every year, men in my riding of Oakville participate in the Hope in High Heels walk, marching through downtown Oakville in pink high heels to support the work of Halton Women's Place. I would like to thank the people at Halton Women's Place for the great work they do in Oakville and in Halton, providing a safe haven for women and children in crisis and providing education to build a future without abuse in families.

This afternoon, I am co-hosting Hope in High Heels on the Hill in support of the fight against gender-based violence. I extend a challenge to all of my male colleagues to join me immediately after question period to take a walk to help end the violence. If my colleagues do not have their own high heels, do not worry. We have a pair outside for everyone. I will see them on the steps.

Cannabis Act November 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the biggest sound bite I can give from the expert testimony from Washington and Colorado is that they have moved organized crime out of the business. Close to 80%, 70% to 80%, of the product sold now in those states is done through licensed control distribution methods, as we are proposing here in Canada, and organized crime is being pushed out. The advice we are taking in this bill follows exactly that advice, and I think it is the right course of action to get organized crime out of our neighbourhoods.

Cannabis Act November 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, at the provincial level there is the bill, which looks to the province to regulate distribution and retailing of the product. However, if a province or territory is not ready at the time the bill comes into force, as I said in my remarks, in those provinces or territories Canadians will be able to procure directly from licensed manufacturers through online systems and receive products confidentially by post. That is exactly the model we use across Canada today for medical marijuana.

The government campaigned on this in 2015. The task force travelled for six months, and their recommendations have been out for at least a year. The draft legislation has been before the provinces and territories for some period of time now. Some of the provinces and territories are already responding and making good progress on this, and others are still working through the situation. There will be a legally available retail distribution model available at the federal level if a province or territory is not ready when the bill comes into effect.

Cannabis Act November 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for her excellent work on the health committee as well.

We heard very clearly from other jurisdictions such as Colorado and Washington that tried to introduce legalized cannabis and edibles at the same time, that it had been a major mistake for them. They highly recommended we go slowly with edibles. There is a whole other set of laws, regulations, and requirements around the safe production of edible products. The best advice we had from experts was to move forward with legalization in slow, steady steps, and add the edibles at a later date when we are ready. We really were following the best advice from the experts we heard from at committee.