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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-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act January 30th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my constituents of Kitchener South—Hespeler for electing me to this place. I also want to thank everyone who volunteered on the campaign, everyone who worked in the constituency office and the strangers who offered me water when I was campaign. I could not be here without them and all their hard work.

Canada is among the top automotive producing countries of the world. The motor vehicle manufacturing industry directly employs nearly 137,000 Canadians and indirectly employs nearly 420,000 people in sales and market services. The majority of the vehicles produced in Canada are exported, and over 90% of our automotive exports are sent to the United States.

Given the importance of our automotive trading relationship with the United States, a key government objective throughout the negotiations of the new NAFTA was to ensure the agreement continued to provide the industry with stability and opportunities for growth. This included maintaining duty-free access to the United States and Mexico, ensuring the rules of origins met the needs of the Canadian producers and securing an exemption from potential U.S. section 232 tariffs on automotive goods.

I want to take some time to talk a little about my riding. I am from Kitchener South—Hespeler. Toyota Motor Manufacturing is within my riding. Not too far down the 401 is another Toyota manufacturing plant, in Woodstock. Between the two plants, they employ 8,000 employees. Just a couple of years back, in 2018, there was a $110-million investment allotted to Toyota through the strategic innovation fund. This helped to support 8,000 jobs, to create 450 new jobs, and will create another 1,000 new co-ops.

Also, in April 2019, Toyota announced it would be building the new Lexus NX and NX hybrid in Cambridge as of 2022. This is the first line of Lexus SUVs that will be built outside of Japan. It is great to see that it will be in my hometown riding of Kitchener South—Hespeler.

The rules of origin are the criteria used to determine whether a good has undergone enough production in the North American region to receive preferential tariff treatment. These rules ensure that the benefits of the agreement go to the North American workers and producers. The final outcome on rules of origin meets Canada's objective and has broad support from all segments of the automotive industry.

However, it was far from clear during the early stages of the negotiations if we would able to achieve an acceptable outcome. Initially, a series of proposals were put forward that Canada believed would have undermined North American integration in the sector and done lasting damage to automakers and parts producers in Canada and indeed the United States and Mexico. Canada was especially opposed to the proposals that would require every Canadian vehicle exported to the United States to include 50% U.S. content. Canada's position was unequivocal on this point. There were no circumstances under which the proposal would be accepted.

In response, Canada put forward a counter-proposal designed to encourage production and sourcing in North America. These ideas were instrumental in reaching an agreement on new rules of origin, which will incentivize the use of North American-produced materials and support the long-term competitiveness of the North American automotive industry.

In order to benefit from the preferential tariff treatment under the new agreement, automobiles must meet a number of requirements: 75% originating content for the finished automobile and core auto parts like engines, transmissions and bodies; 70% of the steel and aluminum purchased by automakers qualify as originating; and 40% labour value content.

The 70% aluminum and steel requirements did not exist under the original NAFTA. This requirement will apply to all vehicles traded among the Canada-United States-Mexico agreement when the new agreement enters into force. Certain elements of the requirements were expanded upon as a result of the December 10, 2019, amendments to the agreement. After seven years, the steel purchased will have to undergo more manufacturing in North America in order to fulfill the 70% requirement.

In addition, after 10 years the parties will evaluate whether the aluminum requirement needs to be further strengthened in a similar way.

The labour value content provision means that 40% of the value of the vehicle must be from a plant where the workers earn an average wage of $16 U.S. an hour or more. Wages in automobile assembly facilities and parts production plants located in Canada exceed this threshold, which will help improve Canadian automotive manufacturing competitiveness.

Throughout the negotiations, consultations were held with Canadian producers of both vehicles and parts, industry associations and the union that represents Canadian auto workers. All of the proposals put forward by Canada were based on extensive consultations, and the final outcome has the support of Canadian stakeholders.

Regrettably, overshadowing these negotiations were threats by the United States to impose tariffs of up to 25% on automobiles and auto parts imported to the United States. These threats were real, as section 232 of the United States Trade Expansion Act, 1962, provides the means to impose restrictions on those imports that are deemed to pose a threat to U.S. national security.

The notion that Canadian autos and auto parts could pose a threat to U.S. national security was inconceivable. Canada strongly rejected this notion at all levels. As well, our negotiating team and the media mentioned that it was absurd that Canada was a national security threat to the United States.

At the same time, it was clear that the prospects of a tariff as high as 25% on Canadian automobiles and auto parts would be a significant challenge for Canada-U.S. trade relations and the Canadian economy. As a result, Canada was steadfast in its position that an exemption from section 232 measures on automobiles and auto parts was necessary as part of the negotiations. This exemption was secured through a binding side letter to the new agreement that took effect November 30, 2018.

Should the United States impose section 232 tariffs, the side letter guarantees an exemption from such tariffs for 2.6 million Canadian automobiles annually. It also guarantees an exemption of $32.4 billion worth of Canadian auto parts exported to the United States annually. In addition, the side letter guarantees that Canadian light trucks, such as pickup trucks, are fully exempt from any section 232 tariffs and do not count against the annual exemption of 2.6 million automobiles.

These levels are significantly higher than Canada's exports of automobiles and auto parts to the United States, thereby providing significant room for growth in Canadian production and export of vehicles and parts, even in the event of U.S. section 232 tariffs on these goods.

As a part of the negotiations, Canada also secured a commitment from the United States to provide at least a 60-day exemption to Canada for any future measure under section 232, including for automobiles and auto parts. This side letter also took effect November 30, 2018.

In closing, I will reiterate the importance of Canada's automotive industry to Canada's economy. The sector is heavily integrated within a broader North American economy, and its ability to trade freely in North America is imperative to its success. This is why we worked tirelessly towards achieving outcomes in the new NAFTA in support of this sector. As a result, the future prospects of the Canadian automotive sector are very bright.

The industry is competitive and innovative, the quality of our workforce is second to none, and Canada has preferential market access to the United States, Mexico, Europe and key markets in Asia, together with 14 free trade agreements covering 51 countries that connect us to 1.5 billion consumers worldwide. Canada is the only G7 nation with trade agreements with all other G7 nations. The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement is central to Canada's trade with the world, and the automotive sector is central to this agreement.

The new NAFTA maintains tariff-free trade, strengthens the rules of origin and removes the threat of new and prohibitive section 232 measures. It also provides Canadian industry with the stability and market access certainty it needs to grow and continue to provide high-quality, well-paying jobs for tens of thousands of Canadians.

I want to mention that I am very much in support of the bill and I hope other members in the chamber are supportive of it. On average, the Canadian auto sector manufactures one car every 30 seconds, supports over 500,000 jobs and contributes $18 billion annually to our economy.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act January 30th, 2020

Madam Speaker, auto rules of origin were avoided in her speech. I would like to remind her that I have Toyota Motor Manufacturing in my riding. When I spoke with the organization, it mentioned this was a great deal for Canada. Many of its Toyota vehicles are exported to the United States, and we wanted to ensure we had a great deal.

With respect to exports, one of the things the United States administration was very focused on was that 50% would be U.S. content. We fought vigorously and said that at no cost would we have this and we strictly opposed the United States for it.

Also, originating content was at 62%. We bumped that up to 75%. Now auto workers, particularly in Mexico, have to make over $16 an hour. Therefore, could she comment on how the auto rules of origin were avoided?

Government Policies June 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, over the past three and a half years, our government's policies have been very beneficial for my riding of Kitchener South—Hespeler.

The Canada child benefit has supported more than 20,000 children, who have received a total of $246 million in tax-free benefits. Our middle-class tax cut saved 2,800 of my constituents an average of $1,000. Our housing plan funded the building and repairing of 1,440 homes and subsidized 2,240 units. Our doubling of funding for the Canada summer jobs program provided jobs for 658 people. We lowered the small business tax from 11% to 9%, saving an average of $7,500 for small business owners. When we doubled the gas tax transfer, Kitchener and Cambridge gained more than $11 million. That was on top of the $118 million for infrastructure funding that went into transit, water facilities and roads.

I am looking forward to returning here in November to continue the hard work for Canadians.

Business of Supply June 18th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member mentioned that there will be zero emissions in 2050. I know that the Waterloo region has taken some steps in order to get to zero emissions. We have had the construction of a building.

Can the member elaborate on what our region is doing? We are an innovative region and we are committed to zero emissions as well. Can he comment on that?

Science June 14th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the member for Milton was forced to delete a tweet that suggested that there is no link between climate change and extreme weather patterns, completely disregarding science that shows that climate change is real. This was so predictable, considering the 10 years of Harper Conservative cuts and the muzzling of scientists, resulting in scientists protesting the death of evidence on Parliament Hill.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport please explain the importance of science and evidence-based decision-making?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship June 13th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, last month, the OECD ranked Canada number one in the world in attracting entrepreneurs, thanks to policies such as the Atlantic immigration pilot, the global skills strategy and the rural and northern immigration pilot. We know that we have historic low unemployment rates and have added over a million new jobs to the Canadian economy in less than four years.

Can the parliamentary secretary update this House on how Canada can maintain its competitive edge?

Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the opposition has said that we gave up on auto, but I want to mention to the opposition that we have invested, particularly in my region. As the member for Sydney—Victoria has mentioned, we have made investments in Michelin Tires Canada, and in Toyota, specifically in my riding, we have invested $110 million in Toyota in the auto sector. This supports 8,000 jobs in southwestern Ontario and has created 450 new jobs.

I want to ask the member how this investment in auto helps not only my riding but all of Canada. Also, Jerry Dias from Unifor said that “The auto industry should be absolutely thrilled” with this new NAFTA.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned a lot of places, Norway and California, and their progression in tackling climate change. We have put an incentive on electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the Province of Ontario has repealed that.

The Liberals went into 2015 saying we would go into a deficit so we could invest in Canadians and ensure we grew our economy. There has been an increase of one million jobs under Liberal watch, with the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years.

Does the member not see that this plan is working for Canadians and that the Liberal government is investing in Canadians? If the budget were balanced at all costs, we would not see these investments in the environment or the investments about which the member spoke.

Criminal Records Act June 4th, 2019

Madam Speaker, in his statement, the member said that our new policy on the legalization of marijuana had done nothing. I want to remind the member that according to Statistics Canada, one out of every 10 young people between the ages of 15 and 17 will smoke cigarettes. The reason for that is that we injected a lot of money into educating our youth on the effects of smoking, the harms of it and the reasons it was bad for their health. It has been drilled into young people at schools.

This is exactly what we want to do with the legalization of cannabis. We want to ensure that the money we receive from that is invested in education programs to make safer consumption for youth. Often cannabis has been mixed with other products. We want to ensure we educate youth so we bring the consumption rate down to the numbers I just mentioned. Those are Statistics Canada numbers from 2011. We want to ensure we reduce the consumption and this is the way to do it.

Does the hon. member agree that if we use the example of smoking cigarettes and apply that to cannabis we can reduce the rate?

Toronto Raptors May 27th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, Saturday night was one of those times in our country's sports history when the emotions of millions of passionate Canadian fans were united and in sync, riding a roller coaster of emotions. Canadians across Canada were united in cheering on the Toronto Raptors.

Down 15 points in the third quarter, the Raptors made an amazing comeback as “We The North” defeated the Milwaukee Bucks. Passionate and loud cheers echoed not only in the arena, but even louder outside in Jurassic Park.

Wherever Canadians were watching, we were all cheering on our basketball heros: Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell and Marc Gasol.

As the Raptors head to their first ever NBA final, Canadians are united behind them. We will see the warriors in the finals. Let's go Raptors.