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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was appreciate.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Newmarket—Aurora (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to thank the member for an important contribution to the debate in the House on the budget. I wonder if she can elaborate for the members what sort of benefits she is going to see in her riding for her constituents and how important this budget would be for them.

Citizenship Act March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I wonder what his experiences in the election campaign were like and what he thinks about the hundreds of thousands of Canadians with dual citizenship who will be affected by Bill C-24.

I talked to Americans, people from Europe, and a lot of people from the Middle East in my riding who felt, to be honest, let down by the government. They wonder why they are a different class of citizen than Canadians born here. They think this bill only affects one person, but it does not. It affects millions of Canadians who have dual citizenship, and they feel slighted by this act.

When I knocked on doors during the election campaign, I heard many people say that they could not believe a government would do this to its own citizens. I wonder if his experiences were similar in his riding during the election campaign.

Citizenship Act March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in response to the parliamentary secretary's important question, I would say that on this side of the House, we do not pretend to have a monopoly of concern for immigration or the diversity of ridings. As Canadians, we all think that becoming a Canadian citizen is an important and integral step for immigrants and newcomers to Canada.

As I mentioned, we have all been to citizenship ceremonies in our role as a members of Parliament and these are very moving ceremonies. To look into people's eyes who are becoming Canadian citizens and to see their beaming pride, I think is perhaps akin to becoming a parent for the first time. That is what we sense when we see them. It is a monumental step in their lives.

Anything we can do to facilitate that, to make it more efficient, is better for newcomers and better for Canada, because we want immigrants and we want new Canadians to contribute to Canadian society as soon possible. They are more than willing to do so when they are Canadian citizens and are fully integrated into our society. So it is an important step. Moreover, like many of my colleagues, I have a diverse riding in Newmarket—Aurora, and that the diversity continues to grow.

I am a third generation Canadian, but my grandparents came from Ukraine on my dad's side. My mom's mom came from Ireland and my mom's dad came to Upper Canada 250 years ago, after the American Revolution.

We can all appreciate the importance of being integrated into a community, to feel that it matters what we do and that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Becoming a Canadian citizen is a great step in newcomers' lives and it is important that we make it as easy as possible for these wonderful Canadians who will contribute to Canadian society for years to come.

Citizenship Act March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as a lawyer, I am of course supportive of the charter and agree that it is an important facet of our life and our legislative process in Canada, and it needs always to be taken into consideration when we deliberate legislation in this chamber. I agree.

If members recall, the CBA spoke out and was highly critical of BillC-24, for many reasons. Part of it was that it got rid of the Federal Court of Appeal being able to hear appeals under the revocation of citizenship.

So, our new bill, our new act, would be in line with charter values, would be constitutionally sound, and has been vetted. I appreciate the member raising this question because it is important, as we deliberate, that we ensure that all legislation in this House is aligned with charter values. I am a proponent of that. I thank the member for that question.

Citizenship Act March 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in the House to the important changes, proposed by the government, relating to the Citizenship Act. These changes would go a long way to encourage immigrants to take the path to full membership and permanent belonging in Canadian society.

Obtaining Canadian citizenship more quickly would ensure the best transition possible for newcomers into Canada. Immigrants who become Canadian citizens tend to achieve more economic success. That is good for all Canadians. The proposed legislative change would allow greater flexibility for applicants to meet citizenship requirements, thereby also helping to foster a sense of belonging and connection to Canada.

Overall, the changes would make an impact in three major areas of concern. First, the changes would remove portions of the act that were implemented in 2015, which clearly created two-tiered citizenship. Second, the changes would provide a higher degree of flexibility for applicants to meet requirements for citizenship. Third, the changes would further enhance the integrity of the citizenship program.

Today, I want to address the proposed changes that would give people applying to become Canadians greater flexibility to meet these requirements. These changes would allow immigrants to achieve citizenship faster, which is a goal worth pursuing. The rationale behind the proposed changes lies in the government's goal to encourage immigrants to more fully integrate into Canadian society and to help them build successful lives in Canada.

I want to look at one specific change among several that the government is proposing. It concerns the ability of prospective citizens to count the time they spend in Canada before they become permanent residents toward meeting the citizenship requirements. In the legislation that received royal assent in 2014, this ability was removed. Our government simply wants to restore it.

Under the new proposal, time spent in Canada as a temporary resident or a protected person prior to becoming a permanent resident would count toward meeting the physical presence requirement. The Citizenship Act would be amended to allow each day that a person was physically present as a temporary resident or protected person to be counted as a half-day toward meeting the physical presence requirement for citizenship, up to a maximum of 365 days. Moreover, every day that a person was physically present in Canada as a permanent resident would count as one day of physical presence for citizenship. This means that an applicant could accumulate up to 365 days as a temporary resident or as a protected person. They could accumulate the remaining required 730 days as a permanent resident to meet the 1,095 days of physical presence required to become a citizen.

Who could benefit from this credit? Temporary residents, such as international students, would be one group. Foreign workers would benefit as well. Also, parents and grandparents in Canada with valid temporary resident status could apply this credited time to their citizenship application. In addition, protected persons, those whom Canada has accepted as convention refugees, who went on to become permanent residents could also apply this time in Canada toward the physical presence requirements. This is about recognizing that immigrants often begin building an attachment to Canada before they become permanent residents.

These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments. As the minister said earlier, allowing time spent residing in Canada before becoming a permanent resident to count toward citizenship requirements would be received favourably, especially by post-secondary students who come to this country to study and want to stay here and build their careers here and continue contributing to Canada. The Prime Minister has also asked the minister and his cabinet colleagues to reinstate the credit given to international students for time they spend in Canada before becoming permanent residents, and to eliminate the provision that requires citizenship applicants to intend to continue to reside in Canada if granted citizenship.

The reasons the government has for repealing some of the recent changes to the Citizenship Act are simple. We are committed to a Canada that is both diverse and inclusive. It is easy to take diversity for granted in a country like Canada. We have raised children who think nothing of hearing five or six different languages spoken on the playground or at school.

One-fifth of Canadians were born elsewhere. They chose to immigrate to Canada. More than half the citizens of Toronto were born outside of our country.

Against this backdrop, the importance of diversity can sometimes be taken for granted. There is no doubt we are a better country, a stronger country, a more successful country, because of this diversity. Canadians are proud of our country and proud of our values.

We welcome immigrants, we help them settle, we help them integrate, and we help them succeed. This is our history, it is our present, and it is our future. We encourage all immigrants to take the path of full membership in Canadian society. One of the strongest pillars for a successful integration into Canadian life is achieving citizenship.

I am sure, as members of Parliament, we have all been at citizenship ceremonies and we can all attest to how moving these functions can be. It is an important step in the life of immigrants.

The success of our immigrants is our success as a strong and united country. The strength of our new Canadians is what makes us all stronger.

I urge every member of this House to consider supporting Bill C-6.

Coldest Night of the Year Fundraiser February 25th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, today I want to bring attention to an event that took place in Newmarket—Aurora this past Saturday.

Newmarket's Inn From the Cold, a local organization that serves people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness, held its annual Coldest Night of the Year walk. On this night, local residents and volunteers walk for the homeless, hungry, and hurting in our community.

I was proud to play a small role in the event this past Saturday by taking part in the walk with a great team. This annual walk impacts hundreds of lives in a positive way, helping many Canadians who are struggling.

This year, I am proud to announce that Newmarket's Coldest Night of the Year walk raised over $63,000, almost double the original goal of $35,000. Newmarket ranked in the top 10 of all of Canada.

I want to thank the spectacular team of volunteers who dedicated their time to organizing, fundraising, and walking the walk for an excellent cause. They serve as a prime example of the fantastic people and organizations found in Newmarket-Aurora.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 24th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for that contribution to the debate today. He was pleased to discuss the voices that are not heard in this House and how all members have to respect their ridings and the voices from the ridings.

I would like to know what this member has to say about the 58% of his riding who did not vote for him and voted for a party that believed in pulling the air strikes back from fighting ISIL.

Canada Labour Code February 16th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Kitchener—Conestoga for his contributions to today's debate. I found the history somewhat revisionist and I want to understand what he thinks.

He likes to say that private members' bills are a good way of doing public policy and are great for democracy. How many of these private members' bills, including Bill C-525, were totally in line with the ideology of the government of the day?

We all know that this private member's bill got through because the former PMO wanted it to get through. The Senate did not want it to get through, but the former PMO wanted it to get through.

It is a bit rich to say that these independent private members' bills somehow float out there and become law because that is how democracy works in the House. We all know that it became law because the former PMO wanted it to become law. How do you reconcile that with your position?

Canada Labour Code February 16th, 2016

Madam Speaker, accountability is already there. Again, this is not a real argument. The accountability mechanisms in Bill C-377 go above and beyond anything that is reasonably necessary. I wonder why he thinks union members should have more accountability than members of Parliament when it comes to reporting their expenses.

As for a free vote, whether this is a free vote or not, I am happy to vote for Bill C-4. I welcome all the members opposite to have a free vote and join me in supporting Bill C-4 and helping unions prosper in our great economy.

Canada Labour Code February 16th, 2016

Through you, Madam Speaker, perhaps the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent failed to recognize that was an attack on the unions. In any event, it was an attack on the unions. That was what it was. The constitutionality of it was not considered properly.