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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

Customs Act September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly for his question.

I share my colleague's concerns and respect for the privacy components of this legislation and for the privacy of all Canadians, but this bill strikes the appropriate and fair balance between security and protection of privacy. I hope that this legislation, coupled with the other Criminal Code provisions, the protections under the charter, and the many laws we have in Canada to protect the privacy of Canadians, will work in conjunction to ensure that Canadian information collected under this bill, and under any regime in Canada, is protected and not misused by the current Canadian government or any other government.

I am happy my colleague raised these important concerns. However, these concerns are well addressed in this bill, in the legislation, and in the privacy regime that manages all interactions between private citizens and the Government of Canada and international governments. I am confident that this legislation upholds and addresses privacy concerns.

Customs Act September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in support of these legislative amendments proposed in Bill C-21, which would amend the Customs Act to enable the Canada Border Services Agency to collect exit information from all travellers leaving Canada.

We all understand the importance of collecting basic biographic information on people coming into Canada, such as who they are, where they are from, how long they are staying. That is just basic security, but there is also value in keeping track of travellers who are leaving Canada. In this regard, Canada is quite a bit outside the mainstream. In fact, we are laggards in this regard.

While most other countries collect basic information on everyone who enters and exits, Canada collects information on only a small subset of people who leave our country. This means that at any given moment we cannot say for sure who is in this country. We know that they came in, but we do not know where or when they left, or if they ever left.

Consider that right now with no means of identifying precisely who is exiting our country, we cannot know if dangerous individuals may be leaving Canada to escape justice. Nor for example do we know whether we are expending valuable immigration enforcement resources trying to track down someone who has been ordered to leave Canada when that person may well have already left the country on their own.

Not collecting exit information also limits our capacity to respond to Amber alerts or suspected abductions in a timely way, among other shortcomings. This is an obvious and unacceptable security gap and one that many of our international partners have already closed. We need to catch up.

Let me be clear. We are not talking about the collection of reams of personal information from people leaving Canada. We are talking about basic biographic information, the so-called tombstone data that appears on page 2 of everybody's passport, including name, date of birth, citizenship, gender, travel document type, document number, and the country that issued the document.

The only other information that would be collected would be the location and time of departure, and the flight number in the case of people leaving by air, in other words, the same information that people volunteer when they enter Canada or any other country. That is it. No new information would be collected. Notably, no biometric data, such as photographs or fingerprints, would be collected or exchanged as part of the entry-exit initiative and travellers will not notice a difference. That is important.

This is how it would work. For people crossing the Canada-U.S. border by land, border officers in the country they enter will simply send that passport information and departure details back to the country they just left. In this way, one country's entry is the other country's exit and vice versa. The exchange of information in the land mode would occur on a near real-time basis following a traveller's entry to either country, usually within 15 minutes.

The exchange would take place through an existing secure electronic channel between Canada and the U.S., the same system that is used to transfer information between Canada and the U.S. under the Nexus, FAST, and enhanced driver's licence programs currently in place.

For air travellers, no new exchange of information between countries would be required. The information would come directly from airline passenger manifests. To obtain an exit record in the air mode, for example, the CBSA would receive electronic passenger manifest details directly from air carriers, with information on passengers scheduled to depart Canada aboard outbound international flights.

This information would be received up to 72 hours prior to departure to facilitate the identification of known high-risk travellers attempting to leave Canada by air. This is a key point for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it would help Canadian authorities recognize when someone with links to violent extremist groups was preparing to leave the country and stop them from travelling abroad to participate in terrorist activity. In fact, Bill C-21 would help border officials deal with a number of threats they currently lack the tools to address.

The CBSA is our first line of defence against threats originating overseas. It uses a system called “lookout” to identify persons or shipments that may pose a threat to Canada. Lookouts are based on information in the CBSA's possession or that may come from sources, including the RCMP, CSIS, Immigration officials, and local or international law enforcement agents. While lookouts are effective for identifying inbound threats, the absence of exit information means that they are not effective for identifying outbound threats. However, Bill C-21 addresses that shortcoming.

In a global threat environment with dangerous individuals leaving or trying to leave peaceful, stable democracies to join extremist organizations, collecting reliable exit information has never been more vital to support Canada's national security. We must equip the Canada Border Services Agency with the statutory authority to collect the same information on outbound travellers that it does on inbound travellers.

With the passage of these legislative amendments, CBSA's lookout system would be strengthened, allowing the agency to notify partners if and when a known high-risk individual intends to leave or has just left Canada. This information would close the loop on an individual's travel history and fill a gap that has been exploited by people trying to evade the law.

As a final note, it is important to recognize the care that has been taken to ensure that this initiative is designed to respect and comply fully with Canada's privacy laws and obligations. The communication and collaboration between the CBSA and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and the design and implementation of the entry-exit initiative has been extensive, productive, and instructive in protecting privacy rights. The protection of those rights is paramount, and this bill would ensure that those rights are indeed protected. It is a shining example of the balance between security and privacy.

There is no question that this bill would enhance the security of Canada and its allies. I urge my colleagues to support its swift passage and ensure that the women and men of the CBSA have the resources and tools they need to do their job of securing our border and facilitating the free flow of legitimate trade and travel.

Trade, of course, is important to Canadians. This bill would help facilitate trade between Canada, the U.S., and our other international partners. Bill C-21 is required and necessary to close a gap to make sure that Canada is in line with our international partners. It is a good piece of legislation that would do good work. I urge all members to support this bill.

Journalistic Sources Protection Act September 19th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak again on Bill S-231. I recall that the last time I spoke in the House, I think at second reading in May, my time was also truncated. Perhaps I will be able to say what I need to say in the short period of time we have.

This bill came to the House by way of its sponsorship by my good friend from Louis-Saint-Laurent in the other place. It is being debated here in the last few minutes of private members' business on our second day back after we have been in our constituencies for the summer. These facts should not belie the importance of this bill. This is a fundamental bill. This will fundamentally underline what we see as important to Canadians and as Canadians.

Fundamentally, this bill is about democracy. It has been said that democracy is the worst government, except for all of the other types. We need to hold what we have dear. We must cherish our democracy. Our democracy is not going to remain strong and robust if the good people in this place and throughout Canada stand idly by. Democracy, like all that we love and cherish, must always be nourished. It must always be improved. At its essence, this bill would improve our democracy.

Why is that so? It is for many reasons, but let me take the brief time I have to elaborate on one or two of them. I believe it was the British member of Parliament Lord Macaulay who first said that the media is the fourth pillar of democracy, after the executive, Parliament, and the judiciary. The media plays just as important a role. None of us here today would imagine that democracy could exist without Parliament. None of us here today could possibly fathom democracy without an effective judiciary. None of us here would even dare to dream of government or democracy existing without an executive answerable to Parliament.

I suggest that a robust media is as important as these other three branches of government. Without the protection of journalists and journalistic sources, there can be no free media. Make no mistake about it, that is how democracies die in this world: it is when journalists cannot do their job, cannot speak truth to the people who send us here, are afraid of the state, or fear for their safety and that of their families. This is what we are talking about here. We need to make no mistake about this.

Bill S-231, in its essence, is at the foundation of democracy. I urge every member to support it. It is a fantastic piece of legislation. It has been amended in committee. This is what we need to support. This bill highlights where democracy, the law, and journalism meet, all of which are important and fundamental principles of our free society.

Professionally, I am a lawyer, and I am entitled to privileges. Lawyer-client privilege is one of the most sacred tenets of our law. I could not possibly have done my job as a lawyer without my client having the full and utmost confidence in knowing that whatever they said to me, I could never tell another soul. That fosters truth. That is how people can be confident in this system and how they can be free to say what they need to say.

As a lawyer, I do not think that that privilege is any more important than the same privilege a journalist has they are speaking to their sources. How will the wrongs of the world be righted if good people do not have other people to speak to and explain the wrongs. Those journalists take those stories of woe, corruption, and fraud and bring them to the people. Without journalism, these stories do not see the light of day. Not only will these stories or the people who want to tell the stories potentially die, but I also suggest that democracy itself will die.

I for one will not stand by and let democracy die. I urge all members to support Bill S-231.

Statistics Act June 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I always appreciate the hon. member's interventions in the House, especially when he is particularly tired, as he is tonight. It is even more entertaining than usual.

Perhaps if he wants to look back at former prime ministers, he needs look no further than where his riding gets its name: Louis St. Laurent, one of the greatest prime ministers ever. I commend anyone to take a look at the statue in front of the Supreme Court when they have time to kill between now and when we go home for the summer.

Why does my hon. friend keep saying it was a success after 2011? Statistics Canada deemed it an absolute failure. It had to give warnings on the results: use the results at one's own peril because it could not guarantee their validity. How does he think that is a successful database for Statistics Canada to use? It did not work, it was a failure, and that is why we are here today. That is why one of the first things we did was reinstate the long-form census. We are improving it even more with Bill C-36.

I know when the member is not so tired, he will come around to his senses and support Bill C-36.

National Nursing Week May 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise today during National Nursing Week to congratulate an outstanding nurse from my riding, Alliah Over.

Alliah is the Canadian Nurses Association's theme contest winner for suggesting the new hashtag campaign #YESThisIsNursing. The campaign will run for two years and will highlight the broad and important roles that nurses play in all of our lives.

Alliah is a registered nurse, employed by York Region as a public health nurse. Congratulations, Alliah, and we thank her for her important contributions to Canadian nursing.

We thank all of the hard-working nurses in Newmarket—Aurora and across Canada for helping to make our country the wonderful place it is. Keep up the great work.

Journalistic Sources Protection Act May 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I know that my time is limited, but I want to comment on this bill emanating from the hard-working member for Louis-Saint-Laurent. We appreciate his efforts in getting this bill into this place from the other place.

This bill brings up a number of questions of law. I spent many years practising as a lawyer. The bill engages the charter under subsection 2(b) and under section 8, of course. Subsection 2(b) protects freedom of the press. Section 8 protects all Canadians from unreasonable search and seizure. It also engages the common law on a number of occasions.

There is something called privilege under the Canada Evidence Act and under common law in Canada. There is a specific privilege, journalistic source privilege, that is engaged from time to time. It is meant to protect journalists and to protect their sources, because without unfettered access to these sources, journalists could not do their jobs. Subsection 2(b) of the charter would therefore be undermined, freedom of the press would be prejudiced, and our democracy would suffer.

I think everyone in this House agrees that a robust and free press is a fundamental pillar of a democratic society. We would be hard pressed to find any member who does not agree with that. That is why this bill is an important one, which the House should give due consideration to, considering all the consequences. It puts it in the proper legal framework as well as in the sense of a social framework.

We have heard many members speak eloquently about how journalism has changed, how media has changed, and how people are getting their news from other sources. I do not disagree with that at all. That is quite apparent.

Something that has not changed, something that is almost immutable, is that journalists, especially investigative journalists, need to have the proper tools to do their jobs. Whether their stories are written in the print media, spoken on the radio or on television, or frankly, are on their own blogs on the Internet or on their social media pages, when journalists rely on sources to get their stories, generally speaking those sources ought to be protected.

I mentioned the common law before. This has been known as the Wigmore test. It has been considered by the Supreme Court. There is a significant threshold that needs to be met.

Journalistic source privilege is assessed on a case-by-case basis, but it is not something that should be taken lightly.

When the House considers this private member's bill, it would serve us well if we gave some consideration to how the law exists now. I think our analysis must be this: does the law need to be improved? Frankly, I am not in a position to come to a conclusion just yet. I appreciate the time to consider this bill.

The Wigmore test, as it is known, and it was determined by the Supreme Court in R. v. Gruenke, requires that:

(1) the communications must originate in a confidence that they will not be disclosed; (2) this element of confidentiality must be essential to the full and satisfactory maintenance of the relation between the parties; (3) the relation must be one which in the opinion of the community ought to be sedulously...

That is a great old word that means diligently, deliberately, and consciously.


Fourth is that the public interest served by protecting the identity of the source in the particular case must outweigh the public interest in getting at the truth.

I think we have to remember number four. In essence, journalistic privilege is meant to serve the public interest, and we need to keep that in mind when we consider whether to support this bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, this budget clearly expands on our government's ambitious plan. It continues help for the middle class, it has great support for veterans, and it strengthens our health care system. What I find particularly important is the increased family leave and the flexible benefits for parents. Being a father of two young children myself, the importance of this measure speaks volumes about where this government is heading and the compassion this government has for families and the middle class.

I wonder if the Minister of Finance can comment on why it is important to get these measures, and the other key features in the implementation act, before a committee so we can make this the law of the land and families can benefit from the measures in Bill C-44 that will actually help Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw to the member's attention the comments of his own chamber of commerce, which said that the skills innovation investment in this budget was very welcome, and that the Liberals are doing great things to get adults back to school, and investing in education and retraining. It is important to invest in retraining and training, as I am sure members will agree. Indeed, this is an innovation budget.

The member for Brantford—Brant mentioned that he is concerned his grandchildren will have to pay for these investments. In fact, his grandchildren will see the benefit of these investments when there are jobs. There is a study that shows that 65% of children who are born this year will work in jobs that do not even exist today. Those are the investments we are making.

After the member for Brantford—Brant and I are long gone from this planet, our children and grandchildren will thrive because of these investments. They will have jobs that will support the future and will keep Canada and Canadians strong forever. It is because of these investments today that his grandchildren and my children and grandchildren will flourish.

Could the member comment on that?

Canada Post May 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as our government and millions of Canadians prepare to celebrate our great country's 150th anniversary, Canada Post is no exception.

Canada Post is joining in the celebrations by issuing 10 stamps marking unforgettable moments in Canada's history.

Today, at 3:30 p.m., Canada Post will unveil its next stamp.

This stamp will celebrate one of Canada's most significant modern-day moments, one that occurred right here on Parliament Hill just over 35 years ago.

I invite, you, Mr. Speaker, and all members to “charter” some time today and join their colleagues on the front steps of Centre Block at 3:30 p.m. to participate in this historic unveiling.

Art Ross Trophy Winner April 11th, 2017

Mr Speaker, I proudly rise today to bring national attention to Newmarket's newest hero, Connor McDavid. In only his second year in the NHL, he is already the captain of the Edmonton Oilers, and he led the league in scoring with 30 goals and 70 assists. His 100 points this season captured him the Art Ross Trophy. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest hockey players in the world today.

Connor played minor hockey in both Newmarket and Aurora and with our local AAA team, the York Simcoe Express. He has never forgotten his roots. In fact, last year, he was skating in Newmarket at the training rink while the tykes were practising at the same time. He allowed a group of six-year-olds to watch him practice. The wide-eyed enthusiasm was amazing. My son was one of those boys. He will never forget being that close to greatness.

Connor also supports Newmarket's drive for a community outdoor arena and has been instrumental in the fundraising. Ten young players will win the chance to skate with Connor this year.

On behalf of everyone in Newmarket Aurora, I want to congratulate Connor and his parents, Brian and Kelly--