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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is process.

Liberal MP for Ajax (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Public Safety February 17th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I have tremendous regard for the member opposite, but his question, frankly, is just inaccurate in the way it has posed the information.

The reality is that pre-clearance already happens for 12 million Canadians every year at eight locations. Everybody who crosses the border is protected by the Canadian charter and Canadian law. The result of not having pre-clearance would mean that these individuals would be on U.S. soil, where they would not have the protection of the charter and they would not have the protection of Canadian law. This is the right way to proceed.

Public Safety February 17th, 2017

Madam Speaker, unequivocally we support Canadians' right to privacy and security, and we make sure that those rights are protected each and every day. That is why the protocol governing the use of passwords is so clear. It is publicly available, but I will read the most relevant section:

The CBSA's current policy is that such examinations should not be conducted as a matter of routine; they may only be conducted if there is a multiplicity of indicators that evidence of contraventions may be found on the digital device or media.

I am sure the member opposite would agree with me that this is a prudent policy.

Public Safety February 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely committed to making sure that our national security framework keeps Canadians safe and puts safeguards in place to protect rights and freedoms.

I am a little bit confused by the question, because right now the committee is looking at the security intelligence framework. We are awaiting its report. I would think that the member who sits on the committee would want us to listen to that report, consider its recommendations, and incorporate them into our action.

Public Safety February 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his question.

One of Canada's top priorities is to ensure that all Canadians can travel and work without experiencing problems.

I encourage whoever has had problems at the border to speak with the U.S. authorities.

Public Safety February 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I share my hon. colleague's concerns with respect to the situation.

We are working very hard to ensure that all Canadians receive fair and proper treatment when they travel abroad. At the same time, every country makes its own decisions as to whom they admit on their territory. I would encourage anyone who feels they were wrongly denied entry to the United States to use every recourse available to them at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Public Safety February 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, certainly for this government, making sure that the balance of protecting Canadians' rights and furthering our economy is at the foremost of our consideration. When we take a look at the pre-clearing, it is already happening in eight locations. There are more than 12 million passengers every year using this. It facilitates the movement of goods and services, it increases security, and it makes sure that Canadians can travel directly to locations they otherwise would not be able to in the United States.

Let me say as clearly as I can that, absolutely and without question, U.S. officials in Canada are required at all times to comply with Canadian law and with the Canadian charter.

Public Safety February 10th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I share the concern of the member opposite. Let me assure him that we will work to ensure that all Canadians receive fair and proper treatment.

I would encourage members of the House, if there is an incident that they become aware of that causes them concern, to bring it to our attention. Obviously, a number of these issues are emerging. We will take a look at the situation. We will be happy to get back to the member. Again, I appreciate him bringing it to our attention.

Business of Supply February 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I lament that a path forward was not possible, but responsible leadership is taking a look at the facts and making a decision that is best for constituents. I absolutely feel that is what we have done.

It is a bit confusing. The member is saying his constituents are not in favour of electoral reform, do not want it, but then he wants a referendum so he can, what, campaign against it? That does not make sense. It is divisive. It is unnecessarily costly and it would pull us away from the matters on which we should be focusing.

When the Conservatives say they want a referendum, but they do not want change, do they want a referendum so they can campaign against it? It is an illogical supposition.

Business of Supply February 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this was indicative of part of the challenge that we faced as we went around the country. There certainly were constituencies where there was passionate support for some form of change, often at a very broad level, something like proportionality. However, then there was enormous difference even inside of that about what the proportionality would mean. The problem was that, as I went to other constituencies, including my own, there were very strong voices that said they had no interest in moving to any form of proportionality and if we went in that direction, it would be detrimental to our democracy; they said it is a bad idea, so do not do it.

I think that what a responsible government, a responsible legislator, does is listen. When we apply legislation, it is not a battering ram. We do not say damn the torpedoes and do no listen to anything but just ram it through. I do not think that is being responsible.

The idea of being responsible is taking a look at what the field of opportunity is to act. How much are we going to have to expend on other issues in terms of political capital to get it done, and how much does the population want it relative to other issues? I do not think spending the next three years talking about electoral reform would serve my constituents or the nation more broadly. The answer is to make the system the best we can without engaging in an all-out divisive fight over what system we are going to go with. That is why we landed here.

There is much we can do, and we should focus on that, but the major attention of the House has to be on trade, jobs, the border, and national security. I would have faced an enormous backlash if we had done any differently.

Business of Supply February 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, what I did find as I went across the country was, while there was not consensus on the idea of changing the system, there was enormous passion about our democracy and an enormous consensus that we need to do all we can to improve it.

On that basis, certainly we heard near unanimity on needing to repeal many of the measures that were found in the unfair elections act. Let me give some examples: the idea that the Chief Electoral Officer could not promote elections to adults, could not go out there and advocate for people getting to vote; the issue of people who were disenfranchised by not being able to use a voter information card; the issue around vouching; the issue of getting young people registered on the voters' list so that they are ready to vote when they become of age, so they are given the resources so they can turn out to vote. That was a particular issue, when we know the turnout for those who are under 30 is so low.

We also wanted to expand the rights of Canadians voting abroad. In many cases they were completely shut out from the ability to have a say in their own democracy. A citizen is a citizen is a citizen, and no matter where Canadians reside, certainly they should have the opportunity to have a say on the future of their democracy and how their nation is governed.

We know the issue of cybersecurity, particularly as we watched it unfold in the U.S. election, was of incredible import. Therefore the minister, in the new mandate letter, has been given specific authority to tackle that issue and ensure that our cybersecurity is in place to protect Canadian democracy and, indeed, the affairs of all parties.

The point is that, while there is not consensus on a change of system, there is a lot of area of common ground where we could work together to make our democracy stronger. I listened to those consultations that happened across the country and the voices that were there, to the people who passionately felt that they were not heard and the people passionately feeling that a change in system would push them away from being heard or create problems beyond what we have today, and this is the most prudent path forward.

For a responsible government, the objective should be to take a look at what the agenda is, do the research, do the work, do the engagement, and then ascertain the best path forward. In the next election, what is essential for me when I go and face my constituents for the sixth time—and I have been successful most of the time; I was not in 2011, and some members were excited about that, although I was not.

The reality is that I have to be able to go back and feel good about the decisions I made, feel that I listened to constituents, that I took an objective view of the facts, that I did what was expected of me in a representative democracy, which is to sit and deliberate, and to listen. To the best of my ability, I tried to do that.

I can say to this House that there was not a path forward for change. I lament that. I wish there was. What I can say is that we can do better and our democracy can be stronger. There are many areas where we can and will improve. As a government, we are firmly fixed on those. I feel very comfortable going back to my constituents and having that dialogue.