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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forestry.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Thunder Bay—Rainy River (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as has already been indicated, the NDP will be supporting the bill at third reading. I am glad to see that my friend from Kitchener—Conestoga is happy about that.

Vision Care for School-Age Children October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, October is Children's Vision Month.

It is estimated that nearly 25% of school-age children have vision problems. Despite the economic, social, and health care advances that have occurred in our society, many preschool and school-age children are not receiving adequate professional eye and vision care, and there is a cost to this as well.

Untreated vision problems can lead to learning at a slower rate than other children, frustration with learning, a negative self-image, behaviour and discipline problems, possible need for special education and related services, higher risk for school dropout, and lifelong disadvantages and underachievement.

Canada needs a nationally coordinated plan of action for vision health. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends establishing a comprehensive eye examination for every Canadian child prior to entering school and a national public education campaign for parents and health professionals on early detection.

I hope all members will join me in supporting these recommendations.

Veterans Affairs October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Veterans Affairs tabled a disappointing response to a unanimous report on the new veterans charter. We heard from 54 witnesses over 14 meetings, and our report had the unanimous support of all committee members, including Conservatives, yet the minister is rejecting this report and saying no to any recommendations that cost any money.

A good example is recommendation no. 5, which states, “That all veterans with service-related disabilities, and their families, be entitled to the same benefits and support....”, yet the minister disagreed with this recommendation. This is the same department that has let over $1 billion in veterans funding lapse since the Conservatives formed government.

With Conservatives poised to deploy Canadian Forces into a war zone, it is time for the Conservatives to stop focusing on photo ops and PR and start focusing on giving veterans the support they need.

Regional Economic Development September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Ring of Fire project is just one example of Conservatives failing Canadians in northern Ontario. Since the Conservatives have come to power, Canada has lost over 134,000 jobs in the forestry sector, 30,000 in northern Ontario alone. There is the Ring of Fire uncertainty, mill closures, wildly fluctuating gas and propane prices. I have a another simple question: When did the Conservatives stop caring about northern Ontario?

Regional Economic Development September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Ring of Fire development is on life support, and the Conservatives are nowhere to be found. It was almost two years ago that the Treasury Board minister, who became the self-appointed point man on the Ring of Fire, stated to a Thunder Bay audience, “we cannot afford to allow this development to stall and become mired in [paralysis]”.

Well, the question is simple: Why is the minister letting the Ring of Fire fail?

Labour September 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, “What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all”. Those are the immortal words of J.S. Woodsworth, and words we live by on this side of the House each and every day.

While the end of the Bombardier strike in Thunder Bay is something to be celebrated, the decision by the members of Unifor Local 1075 to go on strike, to stand firm during negotiations, and to hold out for a better deal was rooted in universal values that are held by most Canadians. Fairness, equality, and solidarity are all values we hold dear in this country.

We know that when times are tough, we should co-operate to make them better, and when times are good, we should share in this hard-won prosperity. We believe that in a competitive global marketplace, we are stronger standing together than on our own. These values were defended with great pride and effectiveness by the members of Unifor Local 1075 during this strike.

I congratulate all members of Unifor Local 1075 on their new collective agreement, and I would like them to know that on this side of the House we standing in solidarity with them.

New Democratic Party of Canada June 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have devoted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in an attempt to rebrand Canadian history in their own image. The Conservatives have failed. A government public opinion survey shows that Canadians regard some of the Prime Minister's least favourite people as the greatest Canadian heroes, people like Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare, of the NDP, and Jack Layton, a tireless worker on behalf of ordinary Canadians and the most proud New Democrat.

The minister responded by saying Canadians don't regard Tommy Douglas as a New Democrat.

What are Canada's greatest accomplishments as selected by Canadians? Medicare, peacekeeping, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, things consistently undermined and under attack by the Prime Minister.

Instead of spending millions trying to convince Canadians to adopt Conservative values, the government should heed the message of Canadians like Tommy Douglas and Jack Layton, proud New Democrats who truly embody great Canadian values.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act June 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, not being transparent in the bill, as with just about every other bill the Conservative government puts forward, is a hallmark, a trademark, of the current government. Even in the situation where the minister grants automatic citizenship, he does not have to provide a list. He does not have to name who these people are. He does not have to provide that kind of information.

There were 29 individuals who spoke on Bill C-24 in committee, and the vast majority, to varying degrees, were opposed to the bill. It has all kinds of problems.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act June 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I must apologize for wanting to take a little more time, but there is a lot to say about this bill.

The preface to the member's question was interesting. He is a member I have a lot of respect for. We work together and have had a number of chats. Why would the Conservatives introduce a bill that they know would be challenged? There is a provision to go to the appeal court and so forth. Why even introduce a bill that they know would be challenged in court? One of the things I mentioned is that there is a real possibility that this would be found unconstitutional and would go to higher courts to be appealed. It just does not make any sense.

I used that example in the question my friend had. However, there are situations in other countries where something could be considered aggravated assault but really was not. Perhaps that person was living in a country where he had to defend himself. There are so many instances, it just does not make any sense.

Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act June 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will forego some of the things we do like. I know I have a question or two from the other side. I would just ask the other side if someone is going to stand and explain to us how it is that his or her government feels that it is acceptable to bypass judicial due process in revoking citizenship. I would like someone to explain that to me.