House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

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

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Quarantine Act October 22nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to address my honourable colleagues concerning the Quarantine Act, Bill C-12.

As members of Parliament, we all have a particular interest in the renewal of our health protection legislation that the government has just undertaken. As was mentioned, Bill C-12 would replace the current Quarantine Act, one of Canada's oldest pieces of legislation. It has remained largely unchanged since the Quarantine Act came into effect in 1872.

I am very proud, and I commend the Minister of State for Public Health for moving quickly with the recommendations of Dr. David Naylor from the University of Toronto. I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank all front line workers from the cities and also the provincial and federal government front line workers. They all worked together during a very difficult time of SARS.

I also want to share my experience, not just as a member of Parliament but as a Toronto city councillor, at that time, representing the same area of Davenport. Toronto went through a very difficult time with SARS. Our hospitality industry was greatly affected by SARS. Many individuals throughout the world assumed that the city of Toronto was under quarantine. We were getting calls from people all over the place asking if they could leave their houses, or take the train or go to shopping centres. There was a certain hysteria created through the images that were not connected to the reality of what was happening in our city.

There was no question that we were living in difficult times and there was a certain sense of fear. Luckily, the people of Toronto had the good sense to go out and continue on with their lives. We would also like to offer our congratulations to those individuals as well. It was a very difficult time, and our front line staff did extremely well. Our medical officer of health, Sheela Basrur, is now the Ontario medical officer of health.

We at the federal level have done the same thing with the initiative of wanting to protect the public. We also have appointed a chief public health officer for Canada. I want to congratulate the government for moving quickly with that recommendation. It is very important legislation. All of us can be proud of the work we do here as parliamentarians.

I want to mention a quote from the minister for public health. She states, “Infectious diseases move like wildfire across the planet today”. That is very true. As we know, we are a mobile society. People pick up and leave. They travel to other countries. We have to be aware that there is a new reality in place that was not there when the act came into being in 1872. This is the new reality for Canada and throughout the world.

The new act will help ensure Canadians are better protected against the import of dangerous communicable diseases by: requiring carriers to report all instances of illnesses and death on board before arrival in Canada; requiring travellers to report on arrival to screening officers or quarantine officers if they have a communicable disease or have been in contact with such a person, the method used is screening technologies at Canadian ports of entry; and requiring those travellers arriving in Canada who are suspected of having a dangerous communicable disease to undergo an initial health assessment and a medical examination if necessary.

I want to let the Canadian public know that these changes to the legislation conform with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As with other Canadian laws, the charter always applies. However, special protections are provided in the bill, such as the right to an interpreter, the right to have a medical examination conducted by a medical practitioner of a traveller's choice, the right to be informed of all decisions, the right to regular medical examinations during detention and the right to have detentions reviewed.

That is the way we in Canada protect ourselves, but also we protect our fundamental rights and principles. We do not want to live in a society of fear. We understand the importance of public health and we want to protect Canadians. At the same time, we want to give them the assurance that we will not suspend the charter. We are protected with the charter and we are protected with this legislation.

An updated Quarantine Act will address the urgent issues with respect to the spread of communicable disease. It is also the first step in a series of legislative initiatives that will establish a comprehensive framework for public health, including the creation of a public health agency and new Canada protection legislation.

Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation October 22nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, in 1998 the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation was created by an act of Parliament. The objective of the foundation was to assist Canadians to meet the challenges posed by an economy that is changing ever more quickly.

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation provides, among other things, financial assistance to students to assist them as they pursue post-secondary education.

I am very pleased to recognize two constituents in my riding of Davenport who have been named as millennium excellence award laureates for the year 2004. On behalf of the residents of Davenport, I am pleased to congratulate Vera Bieber and Julia Popova on their receipt of the Canada millennium scholarship award.

The millennium excellence award is recognized across Canada as one of the most prestigious national scholarships.

In being chosen for the award, laureates have to be successful in a nationwide competition that recognizes achievement in four key areas: academics, community service, leadership and innovation.

The people of Davenport are justifiably proud of Vera and Julia, and I am pleased to extend to them the best wishes on behalf of their community.

Wood Tree Co-operative October 14th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, today I ask the House to join with me in congratulating the Wood Tree Co-operative in my riding of Davenport.

Wood Tree Co-operative is a non-profit acquisition rehab co-op whose members have worked for the past 30 years to provide housing for low to moderate income persons.

The co-op is comprised of a variety of homes ranging from semi-detached houses to five-plexes. The Wood Tree Co-operative recently celebrated the opening of its latest project at 39 Norman Avenue in my riding of Davenport.

It replaced an existing building with a five-plex facility in which private contractors were hired to do the wiring, plumbing and heating. The Wood Tree staff then completed the interior themselves. The co-operative received $94,000 in funding from the Government of Canada supporting communities and partnership initiative, which is administered by the City of Toronto.

This once again demonstrates the government's commitment to low and moderate income persons in need of affordable housing as well as the government's commitment to working in cooperation with cities and local governments.

I want to congratulate the Wood Tree Co-operative and send many thanks to the staff.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am trying to learn all the rules here in the House, so please forgive me for any errors. I appreciate being given this opportunity to ask the member a question. I know that her passion for and commitment to the arts are quite strong, certainly in our caucus and of course across the country.

In the city of Toronto, where we both come from, there has been a great investment in cultural institutions. In fact, Toronto has seen a cultural renaissance, from the Royal Ontario Museum to the Art Gallery of Ontario. We also are going to get a new national ballet and an opera company. We are very excited about some of these government initiatives.

Would the member elaborate on some of those investments that the federal government is making in the arts, particularly in the city of Toronto?

Children of Beslan October 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, on September 28 I was pleased to join with teachers and students from St. Clare's Catholic School in my riding of Davenport to work together on a program to collect teddy bears for shipment to children in Beslan, Russia.

The tragedy that took place in Beslan filled all of us with shock and grief. I was pleased to be a part of this program to bring teddy bears to children who have gone through so much in the past few weeks.

The children of St. Clare's school worked with their teachers to collect teddy bears for children in the Russian town of Beslan following the events that took place several weeks ago. The children of St. Clare's, while not fully understanding the nature of events in Beslan, appreciated that their fellow students had experienced a terrible tragedy. They wanted to send these teddy bears as an expression of support to their fellow children in Russia.

The teddy bears were given to a Toronto based agency serving the Russian community to be transported to Russia and then distributed to children in Beslan. The children of St. Clare's--

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 7th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear about the member's commitment to the environment. I hope that is shared by all the members of his party.

On the issue of the environment, which I think is quite critical to this country, I would also let the member know of a very important piece of legislation that we are looking to bring forward, particularly in the area of green procurement policy, which I think is quite crucial to this country as we move forward with the Kyoto protocol.

The member mentioned several countries around the world that have been leaders in the environmental area, whether it is in procurement or environmental initiatives, yet they also committed to the Kyoto protocol. From what I remember, the Conservative Party is not committed to the Kyoto protocol. I want to know if he and his party have changed their minds on the Kyoto protocol.

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am sure I stated very clearly in my remarks the agenda of our government.

I would also like to state the fact that the government is moving forward with an agenda that very much puts the first and foremost priority on health care. That is what was discussed in the throne speech and that is what the government will deliver.

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I guess there is no honeymoon for me today.

One of the things that the cities have been crying for is respect. I believe this government respects our cities and our communities. We have done this with the goods and services tax. We will also be doing that with the gasoline tax and we will work in partnership with our cities. That is the government's mandate. In fact, it has also promised to have further cooperation with all our cities and communities. That is the role, of course, that will be played by our excellent Minister of State for Infrastructure and Communities.

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question.

I will state that all of us have an important responsibility as parliamentarians and I take it very seriously. I am proud of the work that I have done over the years. I am proud to be the first Canadian of Portuguese origin to serve in Parliament and I also recognize that responsibility.

I must say that when it came to Mr. Caccia, I had a great respect for his work on the environment. I understand and very much appreciate the work he has done over the years. I, too, share many of his concerns. I also believe that the government is committed to Kyoto. That is a strong priority for the government.

Address in Reply October 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question.

I must say that during my time at Toronto City Hall I had an opportunity to be the president of an NGO located in Toronto called International Council for Local and Environmental Initiatives. It was actually started by Maurice Strong. It is an incredible organization. At the same time, when I was chair of Exhibition Place, one of the things we brought forward was the first wind turbine in a North American city. I am very proud of that record.