House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for York Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Taxation May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government has lowered taxes and enhanced voluntary options so that Canadians can save more of their hard-earned money.

In contrast, the Liberals and the NDP want to hike taxes and hike CPP payroll taxes. Canadians know what this means. It will mean killing jobs and Canadians keeping less of their hard-earned money.

Would the Minister of Finance please tell the House what other voluntary options he would consider?

Business of Supply May 25th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I am pleased to have this opportunity to address the committee tonight. I am here to highlight one of the central initiatives in budget 2015, the important role our government plays in supporting infrastructure in Canada. Canadians rely on public infrastructure on a day-to-day basis. It gets us to work in the morning and home at night. It moves our goods to market, connecting our people and businesses with the world. It connects our families.

Canada's prosperity and quality of life depend on a vast network of public infrastructure, from roads to highways to bridges to transit systems, water and waste water infrastructure, ports, airports, and recreational and cultural facilities. Investments in Canada's public infrastructure create jobs, support trade, and promote productivity and economic growth in communities across Canada.

The Liberals take great pride in their record when they were in government, but the facts tell a different story. The Liberals under Paul Martin ran an ad hoc, unpredictable and insufficient so-called infrastructure program.

In contrast, through our government's long-term commitment to public infrastructure, we have made significant investments in infrastructure across Canada.

Through the $33-billion building Canada plan, our government has helped build over 12,000 provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure projects from one end of this country to the other, but we did not stop there. We went even further.

Economic action plan 2013 committed $70 billion in public infrastructure over the next decade. This includes the $53-billion new building Canada plan for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure. This funding was unprecedented and the largest, longest federal infrastructure plan in Canadian history.

To build on this record, our government also doubled the gas tax fund to help municipalities address their infrastructure priorities. To top that off, we even made the fund permanent. I know the Liberals do not like to hear that, so let me repeat it. We took a temporary program, passed legislation, over their objections, and made it permanent. Last year we announced it would grow at 2% per year, to be applied in $100-million increments. This means local municipalities will get an additional $1.8 billion in funding over the next decade for their roads, sewers, bridges and other like projects.

In York Centre, the riding which I am so privileged to represent, many of the roads, like Wilson Avenue and Finch Avenue have been recently newly paved. Sewers were upgraded on Antibes Drive, just to name a few.

Our government did not stop there. We also added an additional 11 eligible categories, including disaster mitigation, recreation, tourism and culture. As a result, communities have more choice for projects that can be supported by the federal gas tax fund.

Our government listens to local mayors. This fund, which has already done so much for municipalities, will continue to support infrastructure priorities for many years to come.

Another major component of our plan, the new building Canada fund, totals $14 billion over 10 years. Under the new building Canada fund, each province and territory has been allocated a base amount. Funding under this component is available, not just for provincial, but municipal governments as well. Of course, our government also understands the importance of smaller communities and their needs and priorities. That is why we are guaranteeing that $1 billion will be reserved for communities with populations under 100,000 across the country.

Taken together, investments in infrastructure will keep Canada moving full speed into the future.

We all know that traffic congestion is getting worse in our large cities. Our government understands every minute spent in a car is one less minute spent with our families. It means higher costs for businesses and less livable cities. Building on our government's investment in public transit to date, economic action plan 2015 introduced a new and innovative fund to promote public transit infrastructure investment that is affordable for taxpayers and efficient for commuters.

The public transit fund is a permanent fund that provides up to $1 billion per year for major public transit projects. This is the first time ever a federal government has provided directly for public transit. This is just another way our Conservative government is building on the longest and largest public transit program record in Canadian history.

Here is an important fact. Our Conservative government is investing three times more in infrastructure than the previous Liberal government did. It is no wonder the Canadian Federation of Independent Business applauded our government's action plan 2015 and gave it an A.

That is not all; there is more. The new public transit fund has also been praised by municipalities across Canada. Here is what the Federation of Canadian Municipalities had to say:

The transit investment in this budget is good news for Canadians and marks an important achievement on a key issue they face every day. This level of permanent, ongoing funding has the potential to be transformative for public transit across this country.

The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships also praised budget 2015 and, in particular, the creation of a new public transit fund by saying:

The Federal Government has demonstrated leadership today by continuing to invest in public transit infrastructure that is critical to the economic engine of our municipalities and to people’s quality of life.

Mayors from across the country have applauded our new public transit fund. Here is what some of them had to say.

Mayor John Tory of Toronto said, “This is a major step forward for Toronto and for the country.” He also said, “This is good news for Toronto and for cities across Canada.”

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said, “I’m pleased to see a permanent public transit fund being established with enough dollars to generate the federal share of our Metro Vancouver transit plan.”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said, “This money will allow us actually to continue building LRT indefinitely until the system is done, which is very exciting news for Edmontonians.”

No federal government in Canadian history has ever made a stronger commitment of supporting infrastructure than our Conservative government. This new public transit fund will complement our government's existing infrastructure support by providing significant long-term support for public transit projects that help all Canadians. That is what Canadians expect from our government, and we are delivering.

Through the new building Canada plan, our government is providing stable, predictable funding over the next decade for public infrastructure across Canada. While we have a public transit fund in place, our existing federal infrastructure will continue to support thousands of ongoing or new infrastructure projects across Canada in 2015 alone.

While the Liberal Party plan is to raise taxes and recklessly increase spending, our Conservative government is committed to investing in public infrastructure to reduce commuting times for families, enhance our economic productivity, and encourage job creation and economic growth across Canada.

I now have a question for the Minister of Finance.

What is the government doing to support infrastructure in Canada?

Criminal Code May 13th, 2015

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-678, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (property of Holocaust victims and survivors).

Mr. Speaker, it is important for me to stand in the House today to present my private member's bill, which is an act to amend the Criminal Code of Canada regarding the property of Holocaust victims and survivors.

This bill would amend the Criminal Code to make it an offence to sell or purchase personal property that was owned by or in possession of a victim or survivor of the Holocaust for the purpose of willfully promoting hatred against any identifiable group.

This is an issue that is very close to my heart and it is certainly important to my constituents in the riding of York Centre. I hope all members in this place will support this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Philippine Heritage Month Act May 8th, 2015

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-675, An Act to designate the month of May as Philippine Heritage Month.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in the House today to introduce this bill.

Canada is home to one of the largest Filipino diaspora communities in the world. Some 800,000 Filipinos currently call Canada home. I am proud that York Centre is home to one of Canada's largest Filipino communities.

Let us make every month of May Philippine heritage month. I certainly look forward to the support of every member of the House in supporting this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

President of the Philippines May 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III arrived in Canada. I, along with some of my parliamentary colleagues, as well as scores of members of the Filipino community, were on hand to give him a warm Canadian welcome.

Canada is home to one of the largest Philippine diaspora communities in the world. In fact, some 800,000 Filipinos currently call Canada home. Many arrive here under the caregiver program. Once here, in addition to working long hours, many take courses to upgrade their skills. They come to Canada to be part of our Canadian family, and what a contribution they are making to make Canada a better country for all.

I am proud to say that York Centre is home to one of the largest Filipino communities in the country. Each year we celebrate Philippine Independence Day in Earl Bales Park, where tens of thousands attend. In late August, the entire Bathurst-Wilson area is closed to traffic, where over 100,000 people attend the festival Taste of Manilla.

It is my great pleasure to welcome President Aquino to Canada. I know he will feel right at home in our great Canadian family.


Taxation May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader's high-tax plan for the middle class just does not make any sense. The Liberal leader admits there will be a $2 billion hole. He also admitted that he would have to raise taxes on people earning less than $60,000 a year by cancelling their expanded tax-free savings accounts.

Economists also say that his proposed tax increases will not raise the money necessary to fund his expensive schemes. His numbers just do not add up. The only way to make the numbers work will be higher taxes on the middle class by taking away the tax-free savings accounts entirely and income splitting for seniors.

Canadians know that on this side of the House will protect middle-class incomes, while the Liberals will tax middle-class incomes.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, finally, this is an intelligent question.

I would say that this legislation is absolutely necessary. The world is not the same place it was decades ago. It is not the same world it was in 1970 when the Liberal Party brought about the biggest breach in civil liberties in the history of our country, when it imposed the War Measures Act.

Our government's job is to protect Canadians. We take that job very seriously. Bill C-51 would give the national security and law enforcement officials the tools and resources they need to protect Canadians here in Canada.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, if that is not rhetoric, I do not know what is.

We on this side of the House know exactly what we are doing. Our foreign policy is based on principle.

The radical jihadists declared war on this country, Canada. If there is one thing we can count on terrorists to do, that is to keep their word. They said they are coming to the west to drink our blood. It was this House that went to debate over whether or not we should be sending our forces to Syria and Iraq to bomb ISIS positions. It is this side of the House that voted to send our brave men and women to Iraq and Syria to bomb ISIS positions.

We on this side of the House are protecting Canadians. That is a solemn oath we took and a guarantee we have given the Canadian people. We put their national security and the security of people here in Canada first and foremost, unlike the NDP members who cannot even utter the word “terrorist”.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am really perplexed by the Liberal Party, and I continue to be. Remember, the Liberal Party is rooted in the belief of conscription if necessary but not necessarily conscription.

Here we see the Liberals again getting up in this House with regard to Bill C-51, ranting and raving and complaining against the bill, yet at the same time saying that Canadians should not worry, because they can read public opinion polls too and they are going to support it.

One of the Liberal Party members from a downtown riding—I do not recall which one exactly; Trinity—Spadina, I think—actually appeared at Toronto City Hall in a rally against Bill C-51.

My question to the Liberal Party is this. Which is it? Do you support the bill or do you not support the bill, or is this another typical Liberal ruse where you just kind of gauge public opinion and just go with the wind on this one?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015, contains a range of needed anti-terrorism measures, including, for example, provisions that will enable important improvements to the passenger protect program. The proposed legislation complements measures included in the Combating Terrorism Act, which came into force in July 2013. It enhances Canada's ability to address threats to air transportation security, while also establishing strong safeguards to protect civil liberties.

The Combating Terrorism Act created four new offences of leaving or attempting to leave Canada for the purpose of committing certain acts of terrorism. Leaving Canada to participate in terrorist training, for example, is now an offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Shockingly, the NDP voted against these measures. Evidently it does not believe that travelling for terrorist purposes ought to be criminal.

The changes we are making to the passenger protect program would complement this by allowing the government to potentially prevent certain people from travelling by air under specific circumstances where arrest and prosecution may not yet be possible.

Let me explain. It was this government that established the passenger protect program in 2007 to screen air passengers more effectively. The program uses measures such as denial of boarding when necessary to respond to threats to aviation security.

While the program currently operates on the basis of authorities in the Aeronautics Act, Bill C-51 would create a stand-alone framework to support the passenger protect program. This new framework would expand the program's mandate in a very important way to address both individuals who posed a threat to aviation and security and those who attempted to travel to engage in terrorist offences.

I wish to emphasize here that it would also establish safeguards with respect to information sharing and find mechanisms for review and appeal of decisions.

To accomplish all this, the bill would define new authorities for two ministers.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness would establish a list of persons under two categories: first, those who may pose a threat to transportation security; and, second, those who may travel by air to engage in terrorist offences. Having the Government of Canada, not international air carriers, screen passengers against the list would better protect the security of the program and the privacy of those on the list.

Under the anti-terrorism act, 2015, the minister would also have the authority to respond to such threats in a reasonable and appropriate manner. Operational directions would be tailored to the specific threat. For example, in some cases, the minister could direct an air carrier to designate an individual for additional screening at the security check point. In other more high-risk cases, the minister could direct the carrier to prevent a listed person from boarding a flight.

In implementing these authorities, the Minister of Transport would serve as the primary contact with air carriers, including responsibility for: first, disclosing the list to air carriers for the purpose of screening passengers; second, collecting information on listed persons from air carriers; third, communicating response directions to air carriers on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; and, finally, overseeing industry compliance with the new legislation

In response to concerns raised in committee, our government moved an amendment that would clarify the minister's authority when giving direction to air carriers. We believe the amendment would respond to those concerns, while ensuring the original intent of the bill would remain intact.

Let me say a few more words about information sharing.

For security and privacy reasons, the names of people who are, or were, on the list would not be disclosed, except when authorized for specific purposes. Specifically, it would authorize certain entities to disclose and collect information to help the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness administer and enforce the act. For example, under the act, the Canada Border Services Agency would be able to collect information related to air travellers who were coming to or leaving Canada, as well as screen them against the list.

The act would also authorize the minister to enter into written arrangements to share information with foreign states. Such disclosure, however, would always be subject to applicable Canadian law.

There are other safeguards that would respect the privacy of individuals and would give them a fair process to challenge the minister's decisions. For example, any listed person who has been denied the right to board an aircraft could apply within 60 days to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to be removed from the list. The minister would have 90 days, or a longer period agreed upon by the minister and the applicant, to review the case. If after this review the minister decided to keep the individual on the list, that individual could apply to the Federal Court for a review of the minister's decision.

Given the national security objectives behind this legislation, decisions made under the new authorities could involve sensitive information that, if disclosed, would be injurious to national security or endanger the safety of a person. Therefore, the legislation would define special streamlined procedures for judges to review decisions that relied on sensitive information, similar to the procedures that are used to review other national security programs, such as the terrorist entity listings under the Criminal Code.

Finally, let me highlight compliance and enforcement provisions.

For consistency with the existing regulatory framework for civil aviation, the bill would mirror the Minister of Transport's inspection and enforcement authorities under the Aeronautics Act. Contraventions of the new act, whether they relate to the duties of air carriers, the prohibition on disclosure of information, or the obligation for passengers to undergo screening, are all offences punishable on summary conviction. Contravening the clause related to obstruction can be punished either as an indictable offence or by means of summary conviction.

An individual who contravenes the provisions under the act could be fined up to $5,000 or be liable to up to a one-year imprisonment term, or both. Meanwhile, a corporation that is convicted of an indictable offence is liable to a fine of up to $500,000.

The proposed legislation would balance the need to address air transportation security and terrorist travel by air with safeguards that give individuals the right to administrative recourse and appeal. These amendments are also in line with the recent UN Security Council resolution on foreign terrorist fighters, aimed at stemming the flow of extremist travellers, as well as the measures being put in place by many of our international partners to address this threat.

The anti-terrorism act 2015 is an important step in expanding our tools to address extremist travellers who participate in terrorist activities, and I call on all members of this House to support it.