House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was mentioned.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Kitchener South—Hespeler (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

CANADA LABOUR CODE September 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-377 was also introduced under the previous government. It was called unconstitutional by seven provinces and was opposed by a significant number of unions, police associations, federal privacy commissioners, and the Canadian Bar Association. It put unions at a disadvantage during collective bargaining and made it more difficult for employees to unionize. It added unnecessary and redundant compliance requirements for financial disclosure, which were already addressed in the Canada Labour Code and in many provincial labour statutes.

Jerry Dias, president of Unifor Canada, Canada's largest private sector union, called it an attack on unions. Canada's largest public sector union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said the bills were designed to weaken unions.

It is clear that both bills were counterproductive to a fair and balanced relationship between workers and employers. It comes as no surprise that repealing them was a priority of my party during last year's election campaign. Our commitment won the support of many Canadians. Consequently, repealing these two pieces of the previous government's labour legislation was a priority in the mandate letters of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

To honour our commitment, and to avoid excessive red tape while steps were being taken to repeal Bill C-377, the Minister of National Revenue waived reporting requirements for labour organizations in December 2015 for the 2016 fiscal period.

To repeal Bills C-377 and C-525, Bill C-4 was introduced to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, and the Public Service Labour Relations Act to restore the procedures for the certification and the revocation of certification of bargaining agents that existed before the introduction of both bills.

Bill C-4 would also amend the Income Tax Act to remove from all the acts the requirement that labour organizations and labour trusts provide annually to the Minister of National Revenue information returns containing specific figures that would be made available to the public.

The Government of Canada recognizes the important role unions play in protecting the rights of workers in this country and in helping the middle class prosper. To achieve a fair and balanced federal labour policy, we have to repeal the provisions enacted by Bills C-377 and C-525. I encourage all members to vote in favour of Bill C-4.

CANADA LABOUR CODE September 26th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for Laurentides—Labelle.

It is great to be back on Parliament Hill. I hope everyone had a great summer and time well spent with their families and loved ones.

Prior to the election, I was a member of United Steelworkers Local 4610 for over 12 years. Early on, as a teenager working in a unionized manufacturing facility, I was unaware of the role unions played for their members. As I matured and grew older, I quickly realized the great value of unions in protecting workers' rights. Today I am proud to rise in this chamber to talk about the role of the unions in the country and how Bill C-4 will reinstate a fair and balanced federal labour policy.

Unions are a fundamental element of Canada's social and economic fabric and are at the core of our middle class. They help create well-paying jobs, safe communities, and a prosperous economic environment. They set standards for working conditions and quality of life for working people.

Canada has a relatively high rate of unionization, with 30% of workers belonging to unions.

Union-negotiated wages and benefits are usually superior to what non-union workers receive. Higher wages foster a thriving middle class. Higher wages mean more money spent in our consumer-driven economy. Higher wages mean a healthier population.

Unions have been a driving force for economic equality and social rights in Canada, including pay equity for women, safer workplaces, and better pensions for retirement. These advantages are not restricted to union members. Indeed, when unions raise the bar, they raise it for every worker in Canada. The five-day work week, minimum wage, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination: we owe them to the actions of unions.

I have worked in both non-union and union environments. To elaborate, with respect to safety, I remember working in a unionized environment, and the thoroughness of the orientation it provided on safety was superior to any place I had worked before. I had worked in non-unionized places, and although there was a lot of training on safety, the unionized places ensured the safety of their workers to the highest level I had seen.

When Bill C-525 and Bill C-377 were presented under the previous government, they were perceived by many as an ideologically driven and unwarranted attack on unions and collective bargaining.

Bill C-525 was introduced in June 2013. The provisions contained in the bill were designed to make it harder for unions to be certified. It was proposed and enacted without consultation with relevant stakeholders, and because of that, a number of labour organizations and employers expressed their opposition to the bill.

Bill C-377 was also introduced under the previous government—

Say “Hi” Day September 22nd, 2016

Bonjour. Guten Tag. Hola. Tawn-Say. Namasteh. Sat Sri Akal. Konichewa. Marhaba. Ni Hao. Hello.

Mr. Speaker, today, I rise to congratulate the Waterloo Region District School boards and the Waterloo Regional Crime Prevention Council on the 10th anniversary of “Say Hi Day”. On this day, students are encouraged to say “hi” to other students. Within the broader community, people are encouraged to greet neighbours they do not know by saying “hi”.

This is a great opportunity to meet someone new, make more friends, and help build a greater sense of community in our region. Saying “hi” helps connect people in our community, it nurtures a sense of belonging and inclusion, and it removes barriers that separate people.

I believe we can learn something new from everyone we meet. That is why I encourage members to not be shy, just say “hi”.

Citizenship Act June 16th, 2016

Madam Speaker, everyone in the House would agree that the main argument the Conservatives are giving is that they want to keep Canadians safe, and I understand that argument. Do they not feel that all Canadians who commit crimes should face the consequences of their actions through the Canadian judicial system? That would keep Canadians safe. If someone commits a crime, that individual should be subject to our judicial system and should be put in prison. That would keep everyone safe.

My colleague mentioned the Toronto 18. I want to give him an example. A family comes to Canada. One child was born overseas and another child was born in Canada. Say both of those children committed a crime here. Under our Canadian judicial system would they both not be considered equal under our laws? Under Bill C-24, one of those children would have citizenship revoked but the other would not. That would not be considered equal justice under the law.

I wonder if the member could comment on that.

Citizenship Act June 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her speech, but I think there are a couple of things she missed. To set the record straight, within six years of the previous government, Conservatives brought in only 23,000 Iraqi refugees and 2,000 Syrian refugees in 2013. Our government since November 4, 2015, brought in 27,000 Syrian refugees.

In the Waterloo region, immigrants have been welcomed and have been receiving language training. Some are working during the day and taking language training at night. The member also mentioned humans being not numbers on a scorecard and that we have to provide for them. What about the interim federal health program that the previous government cut for Syrian refugees, leaving the refugees vulnerable?

Syrian Refugees June 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the theme of this year's World Refugee Day in Waterloo region is “Waterloo region celebrates refugees”.

Indeed, Waterloo region does celebrate refugees. We have a long history of welcoming refugees, including Russian Mennonites in the 1920s, and Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s.

Over the last six months, different levels of government, settlement agencies, and other service providers in Waterloo region have come together to welcome and resettle over 1,000 Syrian refugees. The collaboration has been key to the successful resettlement of refugees in our region.

I want to thank the immigration partnership of Waterloo region, Reception House Waterloo Region, Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, the YMCA Cambridge, and Kitchener-Waterloo immigrant services, and all those other organizations and associations that make our region an amazing place to live.

Business of Supply June 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned in her speech the stopping of the flow of arms and radicalization efforts. This can only be done through collaboration with the international community and neighbouring Middle Eastern countries.

Stopping the flow of radicalization can only be done through the growth of economic prosperity. There are no jobs there, and so the youth are evidently joining radicalized groups, because there is no economic prosperity.

The previous government did not degrade ISIS and did not bring stability to the region. Our government has committed to training local troops on the ground to take the fight directly to ISIS.

I would ask, as did my colleague for Laval—Les Îles, who is supplying ISIS with funding and arms? This is the question that we need to ask, because this is how we can degrade ISIS. If we can stop the flow of arms and resources, we can degrade ISIS.

Does my colleague not agree that this is the way to degrade ISIS?

Conestoga College June 8th, 2016

This week, Conestoga College celebrates the achievements of 4,500 new graduates at its spring convocation.

Conestoga is one of Ontario's fastest growing colleges, with more than 12,000 full-time students. Conestoga is a leader in polytechnic education working in partnership with industry and community leaders. Its programs support the changing needs of our region's dynamic economy. It offers Ontario's only college-based Bachelor of Engineering degree.

More than 50% of the region's health care professionals are Conestoga College graduates. Conestoga's graduate employment rate is among the highest of all Ontario colleges. The majority of graduates remain in our community, contributing more than $1 billion to the local economy each year.

I am very pleased to offer my congratulations to Conestoga College's newest graduates and look forward to the tremendous contributions they will make to our region.

Religious Freedom May 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this May 14th marked eight years of incarceration for Iran's seven Baha'i leaders. They have been imprisoned for practising their faith, a fundamental right guaranteed under international and Iranian law. They are among hundreds of prisoners of conscience held in Iranian jails on the grounds of their religious beliefs, political opinions, and civil activities. Some potentially risk torture and execution.

These prisoners are still languishing in Iranian prisons. Many of them have restricted access to crucial medical care, regardless of life-threatening illnesses.

During this Iran Accountability Week, at the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, we stand in solidarity with these prisoners and the people of Iran to ensure that constructive engagement with Iran will go hand in hand with our continued focus on human rights.

The Budget April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I do agree. The middle class is vital. In my speech, I said it is the economic engine of this country. We need to ensure that we are helping the middle class in order for those people to achieve prosperity and health, and to achieve a great future for their children.

In my region of Waterloo, we are investing in the middle class, in transit, and we are investing in the high-tech sector. That is how we can grow our middle class.