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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was early.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for York Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Economy May 28th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it seems that when the Prime Minister was telling us last fall that everything was fine, it was not. The recession was deeper. People were spending less and more people were out of work. Fewer taxes were being collected and the deficit was soaring.

The Prime Minister knew Canadians expected their prime minister to do something, but doing something on EI or infrastructure stimulus would cost money, so he announced, as if he were doing something, then did not do anything to get himself off his financial hook, even if it meant millions of Canadians had to dangle on it.

Why?

Employment Insurance May 6th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, that is not the point. It is not what the government does, it is what the dimensions of the problem require it to do. Over 400,000 more Canadians are unemployed.

The government is stuck with its own bad lines, “We are doing this, doing that”. It is not about what it finds convenient to do, it is what needs to be done.

As distasteful as the Prime Minister finds government action, as distasteful as he finds EI, it is not about him. It is about all Canadians. When will the government create a national 360 standard?

Employment Insurance May 6th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, in a recession it is harder to keep a job and it takes longer to get one. In a recession, Woodstock, Ontario is no better off than Bridgewater, Nova Scotia or Red Deer, Alberta. Recession is an equal opportunity unemployer.

When will the minister create a national 360 standard?

Corporate Accountability of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries Act April 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the members for Scarborough—Guildwood and Dartmouth—Cole Harbour have already spoken very eloquently to this question, as have others I will just add a few brief comments from my own perspective.

Once we lived in a disconnected world, protected by distance, geography, oceans, mountains and deserts. Once governments and corporations could do anything they wanted, wherever they wanted to do it without any real consequences. That is no longer the case.

Now we live in a very connected world. Economic problems do not respect borders or distance nor do greenhouse gases, disease or security. What we do in one place as governments and corporations affects all of us at home in our place. That is the reality of the global world in which we live.

As to the impact of corporations on international relations, let us look at the history of the last 50 years, at the last century and more in Central America, South America, Africa and the Middle East and at what some companies have left behind. As the member for Ottawa South has said, they have left tailings and environment degradation, but some companies have also left a resentment toward the home countries of those companies that many years and decades later still define the relationship between those two countries, still define the understandings that those citizens have of those foreign countries.

Those are immense consequences for all of us, not just the companies, to deal with. It is those realities that are behind the need for Bill C-300.

About two years ago, I was in Sudan and Darfur and, like everyone else, I was haunted by Darfur. I tried to imagine what possible resolution there might be to its ongoing tragedy. What was so clear and so frustrating was the capacity of a country, Sudan, and its president, no matter the vehemence of world opinion, to do what it wanted to do if it wanted to do it with no real transforming consequences, to bog down, to distract with false hope, to wear out the patience, whatever, to do what it wanted to do.

Every governmental representative I spoke with from Canada and from other countries and every NGO said the same thing, that they were having no real impact on changing President Bashir's direction.

Only one country and one company could have an impact if they choose to do something and that country was China and the company was the state company of China Petroleum. Almost 80% of Sudan's GDP came from oil and the great majority of its oil goes to China Petroleum.

With China and China Petroleum's ongoing support, despite other sanctions and despite being charged by the International Criminal Court, Bashir knows he can continue on. What will be the results for Africa, for the world and for China's future in Africa? There are consequences of our global and corporate actions halfway around the world, and big consequences for the future.

One other thing I heard again and again in Sudan and Darfur was, “Where's Canada?” Beyond the aid offered, where was the voice, the diplomatic voice with those of many other nations that was needed to help bring this situation toward a human resolution?

What I kept hearing was that Canada had no idea how influential it was, that we had no history as a colonizer, no history of intervening or imposing on other nations, militarily or economically, and that we had no real history of exploiting and taking advantage of local governments and local populations. They trust us and know they can work with us. They know our reputation and it is a well-earned reputation. Our reputation is precious and it matters. It matters now and it will matter in the future.

In this global world, nobody is really the big guy. Even the United States, with all of its power, economically and militarily, nobody is truly that big and that powerful in a global world.

Our challenge for the future, even more than economic, environmental or security, is the challenge of getting along, and that means working with others and talking, listening, negotiating and compromising. That means trusting and being trusted.

That is our history and our instinct. That is our reputation and we cannot put it at risk. What Canadian companies do outside our borders matters. It matters to Canadians and it matters to the world, which is why Bill C-300 matters.

Child Care March 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that when the same questions were asked of child care providers in Halifax, Dartmouth, Fredericton and Saanich on the number of new spaces, they also said, “None”? When asked the number of better spaces and the number of parents who, with this extra money, had withdrawn their kids and were now staying at home, they said, “None” and “None. Zero”.

All across the country it is the same. Is the minister aware of just how wrong her information is?

Child Care March 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the assumption of the House is that members speak the truth.

I assume that the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development has not been informed, for example, that child care providers in Napanee, Ontario, when asked the number of new spaces opened locally because of her taxable $100-a-month cheques, said, “None”, when asked the number of better spaces, they said, “None”, when asked the number of parents who, with this money, have withdrawn their kids from child care because they can now afford to stay at home, they said, “None. Zero”.

Is the minister aware of just how wrong her information is?

Child Care March 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that the average child care tuition in Canada is $8,000 a year and the average university tuition is less than $5,000? Is she aware that parents can better afford the cost of university for their kids because, being older, both are more likely to be in the workplace?

Is she aware that there are scholarships, bursaries and loans for university but almost nothing for child care? Is she aware that 20-year-old university kids can work part-time jobs but not many 3-year-old kids can?

Is she aware that her taxable $100 a month has almost no impact on child care?

Child Care March 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the assumption of the House is that members speak the truth. So even though the minister of HRSD continually gives the House wrong information, I assume she is just not aware that for example the so-called child care money her government sends to the provinces under the Canada social transfer does not actually have to be spent on child care. The number of spaces it creates is not known because the provinces do not have to keep track, because they do not have to spend it on child care. If it were known, it would be tens of thousands less than the 60,000 she claims.

Is the minister aware just how wrong her information is?

Child Care February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it is the Prime Minister's self-proclaimed political genius: give the public what it wants even if it does not get it. Reality is not the program itself, it is the announcement. But then for the Prime Minister this pesky economic crisis ruined everything. Now program money actually needs to be spent. People need services. Because of our budget amendment, the Prime Minister now has to report that he is actually doing what he said he would do.

The Leader of the Opposition realized that somebody--somebody--has to act like a prime minister. For three years, why has the Prime Minister not?

Child Care February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister stands and answers leaders' questions on every subject but child care. Why?

I would also like to suggest that the Minister of Human Resources leave her office, go into a child care centre and ask parents. Then she would find out that the impact on child care of her government's programs has been zero. Not a little bit, zero.

This is another example of the Prime Minister's attitude on government programs. Programs? Who really knows whether a program's money is in place or whether it is for next year or the year after, and the public has been the loser. When will the Prime Minister act like a prime minister?