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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

Business of Supply November 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the member talked about having a plan in place. I will reiterate what our plan is and what it has done over the years.

Our plan has created over 600,000 jobs. We have the lowest unemployment in over 40 years. We have access now to 1.5 billion customers through CETA, the TPP and the United States trade agreements.

The member mentioned in his speech that the GDP in 2008 was 3%. Does he not believe that this is a good number with respect to growth? We have opened up our markets to 1.5 billion people, and our exports have jumped 12.3%, the biggest quarterly gain since 2014.

Does the hon. member not see that this plan is working?

Committees of the House November 7th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I understand the urgency. We have seen far too often acts of genocide, whether in Rwanda, in northern Iraq or even in Burma. It is unfortunate that countries and states are acting after the fact. It is unfortunate that this still happens.

The member said to follow with action. I want to remind her of her government's actions. The genocide happened in the summer of 2014. Her government did not take action on it. It brought in a total of two Yazidis. We have brought 1,200 Yazidis to the safe haven of Canada. Also, she talked about family reunification. The Conservatives had a backlog of 167,000 under family reunification, and we have brought that backlog down to 24,000. I want to remind the member of her government's policies.

Hespeler October 26th, 2018

Madam Speaker, one of the most historic and picturesque parts of the riding is the village of Hespeler, which was first settled in 1798. It is home to over 70 independent family operated shops, restaurants and services where our community gathers. Nestled beside the Speed River, the traditional old downtown benefits from the stewardship of the Hespeler Business Improvement Area Association, which oversees the beautification and preservation of the historic and traditional character of our village on the river.

The BIA is a non-profit organization, with a membership of over 50 businesses and property owners who fund the association and volunteer their time. This year, the BIA supported more than 20 community events. Two highlights were the lighting of the falls at Jacob's Landing and the annual spring Easter egg hunt.

I thank the members of the Hespeler BIA for the great work they do for our community.

Global Warming October 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member made an impassioned speech and I thank her for her advocacy on this file. She has done a tremendous job in advocating for a cleaner environment not only in Canada but around the world and I thank her for that.

A lot of us have been quoting today from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. A summary of the report states, “The IPCC scientific team's current projections indicate we have little over a decade to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid a catastrophic climate change.”

The hon. member mentioned that time is of the essence and that we need to act now. Would she agree with taking a three-pronged approach? Many approaches could be taken to tackle climate change. One is through government legislation, which is what our party wants to put forward. We want to put a price on pollution to ensure that polluters pay for the greenhouse gas they emit. A second approach is to listen to scientists and researchers that provide scientific evidence and data. Third, we need to change everyday Canadians. We need to rethink the way we live, work and travel. We need to change that because 75% of our greenhouse gas emissions is caused by the way we live, work and travel.

Multilateral Instrument in Respect of Tax Conventions Act October 15th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the member mentioned something about reducing corporate taxes in the United States. When we first came into government, we reduced the small business tax rate from 11% to 10.5%. We have continued to reduce that tax rate, and it is now down to 10%. In 2019, that will be reduced to 9%.

He also talked about competitiveness in the market and Canada not being competitive. I would have to disagree, because we just signed the USMCA, we signed CETA and we also signed the CPTPP, which gives us access to a market of 1.5 billion individuals.

Does the member not agree that our tax rate has been lowered for business and that we are competitive in world trade with these agreements?

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities October 3rd, 2018

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to support the motion of my colleague from Mississauga East—Cooksville.

Skilled workers are the backbone of Canada's economy. The study proposed by the motion would examine ways we can respond to the skilled labour shortage in the greater Toronto area and the Hamilton area.

I worked many construction jobs in the summers when I was in university, so I can speak first-hand about the importance of skilled workers in the construction industry. Before entering my political career, I took electrical engineering at the college level. I worked in the industry as an electrical apprentice for a little while. As the member mentioned in his speech, about 50% of individuals finish their apprenticeships. I actually did not finish my apprenticeship. I switched to political science at the University at Guelph, so I am part of the 50% that do not finish their apprenticeships, but I did learn a skilled trade.

I have been successful in other jobs I have done in the past. I learned how to successfully wire my own basement when I purchased my first home. I learned a skilled trade, and I know how important it can be in one's life.

In the next decade alone, Canada anticipates seeing more than one-fifth of the people in the construction labour force retire from the job site, taking their skills with them. In Ontario alone, the construction workforce accounted for 1.6% of its GDP in 2015, and it employed half a million workers in the construction industry in 2016.

Across Canada, more than 1.4 million people work in the construction industry. It is expected that roughly 250,000 of those workers will retire in the next 10 years, and only 215,000 new entrants will be available to fill the gap, creating a national deficit of 32,000 workers. That figure could climb even higher due to an expected increase in construction activity as Canada's population continues to grow.

Canada is facing a serious skilled labour shortage. A number of sources predict that the demand for skilled tradespeople will accelerate in coming years. The Globe and Mail reported that Canada will face a shortage of one million tradespeople by 2020.

The Conference Board of Canada has estimated that Ontario will face a shortage of 190,000 skilled workers by 2020, and that number is projected to rise to 560,000 by 2030. According to the Conference Board of Canada, Ontario is losing out on as much as $24.3 billion in economic activity annually because employers cannot find people with the skills they need to innovate and grow in today's economy.

There are three possible sources of new construction industry workers in the skilled trades: youth, newcomers and under-represented segments of Canada's population, such as women and indigenous people.

Bob Collins, the senior economist for BuildForce Canada, recommends relying on new Canadians, the indigenous population and women to meet the rising demand for employees in Canada 's construction sector. I understand that by 2027, young people entering the workforce will fill only about 10% of construction jobs.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, I have always been a strong advocate for economic immigration. ln Atlantic Canada, the percentage of workers retiring is expected to reach 25%, which means that Atlantic Canada has the challenge of filling these labour gaps. As a possible solution to this, the committee extensively studied the Atlantic immigration pilot project. ln 2017, under the program, New Brunswick sent out job offers to 487 foreign workers and has upped its 2018 quota to 800 people. Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island managed to completely fill its annual allotment of 120 people in 2017, and it endorsed 15 people earlier this year.

Here in Ontario, we can adopt lessons from the Atlantic immigration pilot project. The program can serve as a great model to address the skilled worker shortage in the greater Toronto area and within a 100-kilometre radius of the GTA.

In addition, I understand that there are a significant number of tradespeople who came to Canada as temporary workers and, due to the demand for workers, have overstayed their visas. We should be offering a path to permanent residency for these workers.

In addition, I understand that there are a significant number of tradespeople who came to Canada as temporary workers who, due to the demand for workers, have overstayed their visas. We should be offering a path to permanent resident status for these workers.

Conestoga College in my riding of Kitchener South—Hespeler is a leader in skilled trades training for women. Through gender-specific programs and opportunities for mentorship, Conestoga has assisted many women and men in pursuing a rewarding career in skilled trades. Non-traditional occupations for women, such as skilled trades, can offer a direct route to a secure and fulfilling future. Also, construction industry trade unions operate training centres and offer apprenticeships and should be supported for their work in trades training for diverse populations as well.

All of these options could be explored by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. The committee could come forward with recommendations on how to increase construction skill development.

Employment increased by 33,900 in Ontario in the second quarter of 2018, with all the gains in full-time work. This rise in employment shows that our economy has the potential to grow and that we can find ways to address the labour market shortages in the construction industry.

We have heard a lot of speeches today from many members across the aisle. We have a labour gap in the skilled trades. Members' speeches have concentrated on the GTA and Hamilton, but this shortage goes all across Canada.

As I laid out in my speech, this is going to continue to grow year over year and become a larger gap. We will have an even larger shortage, which will be a hit to our economy. However, if we correct this now, get the issue to committee and study it, and put in measures through education and encouraging more of our population and youth to get into the skilled trades and these well-paid industries, we can correct this now before it becomes a bigger problem.

Therefore, I support this motion to address this very real and pressing issue.

Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities October 3rd, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for bringing this motion forward. It is very timely.

The Conference Board of Canada estimated that Ontario will face a shortage of 190,000 skilled workers in 2020 and by 2030 that number will be roughly double. Can the hon. member speak to that and how his motion will be timely to ensure that we fix this problem before it gets any larger?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship September 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, family reunification is a priority for this Liberal government. Under the Conservatives' mismanagement, we saw Canadians wait years in ballooning backlogs to reunite with their wives, husbands, parents and grandparents. In my riding of Kitchener South—Hespeler, I have seen over the past years great progress in reducing these Conservative backlogs.

Can the minister inform this House of our recent changes to the parents and grandparents program?

Petitions September 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present e-petition 1576, which I sponsored and which has been certified by the clerk of petitions. The petition has been signed by 554 Canadian citizens of Sudanese origin and residents of Canada. Sudanese applicants for Canadian visas are obliged to travel all the way to Egypt, over 2,000 kilometres, Ethiopia, or the U.A.E. in order to do a 30-minute process of having their biometric fingerprints taken, which is an inconvenience for many Sudanese Canadians. The petition calls upon the Government of Canada to provide visa and immigration services including biometric fingerprinting in Khartoum, Sudan for Sudanese applicants for Canadian visas.

Retirement Congratulations May 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, one minute is too short to adequately honour Ken Seiling, husband to Kathryn, father of five, grandfather of nine, hockey coach, organist, choir master, teacher, museum director.

Ken has announced his intention to retire after 42 years of public service, two years as a councillor, seven years as mayor and regional councillor, and 33 years as regional chair in Waterloo Region.

During his time, our population has nearly doubled as Waterloo region has become one of Canada's economic engines. He has spearheaded policies to protect farm land and green spaces; protect groundwater resources; encourage urban intensification; build a regional transportation system, which includes light rail transit; and maintain strong public health services.

I thank Ken Seiling for his dedication, passion, and enduring stewardship of our region. We could not have asked for a better chair to represent Waterloo Region.