House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

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

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to Bill S-7. I have listened to the speeches all morning. I have been on duty here and have been able to take in the speeches from all sides.

In particular, as a father of two daughters, it is important for me to express my feelings on Bill S-7 and what it means to me as a father. My two girls do not listen to their father that much to start with, so I cannot imagine me forcing them into doing anything. However, it boggles my mind that there are cultural beliefs from a variety of different organizations.

I received a tweet a few minutes ago from someone who asked me which cultural group the Government of Canada was targeting with Bill S-7. The Liberal Party agrees to have the bill go to committee, which is excellent. The official opposition says that it disagrees with some of the wording. It does not like the word “cultural”. I think what is happening is the message is getting out that the bill is targeting different cultures. That is absolutely inaccurate. I read the definition of “cultural”. It is about a set of beliefs and values. People can look it up in Webster's Dictionary.

However, this is about barbaric cultural practices. It does not say it is X culture that does this. It could be any group or organization. The laws of our land have opposed polygamy since the 1800s. When the government of the day made the decision that polygamy was the wrong, it did not target a specific culture. The opposition has tried to portray cultures through the bill, which are not mentioned anywhere in the legislation. There is no specific culture identified. Those cultures the opposition have tried to to identify did not exist in Canada, unless we consider Scottish culture or English culture as groups.

It is a cultural practice, a belief system, that an individual or organization has. Wherever the origin, if families have grown up believing that their fathers have the absolute right to force their daughters to marry someone against their will at the age of 15, regardless of where they are from, that is not tolerable in Canada. This legislation would put an end to that barbaric activity.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration indicated that the official opposition members should take this back to their leadership and ensure they understood what they opposed. They do not like the title of the bill because of the use of the word “cultural”. It does not say X cultural activity. They really should reconsider their position on this.

Of course everyone cannot withstand “barbaric” activity. Some people in the House may think that word a bit strong, but that is exactly what it is. Why would we not call it what it is? Who in the House, who in the country, believes in violence against their sons or daughters because they disagree with them on who, when and at what age they should marry? How is that not barbaric? The legislation would deal with that.

I have heard some other comments that we are ending people's ability to have an arranged marriage. That is not the case. Arranged marriages, the ones I am familiar with, have two consulting individuals, two people who decide. An arranged marriage would not work in my family, but it may work in others, and that is fair. The man and the women, based on an arrangement made by their parents, consent to the marriage. They say it is a relationship, a marriage, they would both like to enter into. There is nothing wrong with an arranged marriage of two consenting adults.

The difference between an arranged and a forced marriage is that in the latter, one of those individuals, either the male or the female, does not agree, has had no say in it, and is not consenting to the marriage. That is what the bill is aiming at addressing.

There is a discussion about how many people this would affect and whether or not we have good statistics. In my personal view, if we have legislation that protects one young woman, one victim, from this happening to her, we have done our job as parliamentarians to pass laws protecting individuals. We cannot decide whether or not this is a barbaric activity based on whether or not it only affects one person that we know of. It is barbaric in itself as an action, and not barbaric based on its numbers.

We on this side understand that the Liberal Party will be supporting the bill at second reading. There may be some amendments. The Liberals are supporting the concept that there cannot be one more victim.

I was at an event this past weekend in my riding. I think it was called “one billion awareness”. An organization was bringing awareness across the globe to the fact that one billion women in this world have faced some sort of aggression from a male, whether physical or not. In this country, we need to take every opportunity to make sure that barbaric activity, that aggression against women, comes to an end here and around the world.

Unfortunately, we cannot make it happen in other countries, but we do have a responsibility. I have a responsibility to my children, to my daughters. I have a responsibility to my wife to make sure that we take every opportunity we have to protect women and young boys in this case, young men and young women, from barbaric activities not of their choice but a result of a cultural norm some of their family members believe in. We need to be able to protect them from that. We cannot and should not tolerate that here in Canada.

This piece of legislation, in my view, should be supported by all parties. We should be able to deal with this at second reading, quickly get it to committee, quickly get it back to the House and pass it. We should have done it long ago. It is long overdue, and I appreciate the support of all members of Parliament for Bill S-7.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's speech, and I have two questions.

First, the indication from the speaker opposite is that they are not supporting the bill because they do not like the words “cultural” and “barbaric” together. I looked up the definition of culture. Merriam-Webster's definition of culture is:

the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time

a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.

a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)

Where in the bill does the NDP find a specific cultural group identified? It is about barbaric activity that individuals believe is the right thing to do to their wives, children, and other women. We do not agree with it. It is not the Canadian way.

Where in the bill does it mention any particular cultural group?

Red Tape Reduction Act February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think you will find, if you ask for it, unanimous consent to see the clock at 5:52 p.m. to allow for the bells to ring for us to begin the vote tonight.

Committees of the House February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-587, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (increasing parole ineligibility). The committee has studied the bill and, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1, request a 30-day extension to consider it.

In addition, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation of Bill C-590, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (blood alcohol content). The committee has studied the bill and, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1, requests a 30-day extension to be considered.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you were to seek it, you would find the unanimous consent of the House to see the clock as 5:30 p.m.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and happy New Year.

First, it is my honour, as always, as it is an honour for every member of Parliament, to speak in the House of Commons. I am looking forward to our discussions over the next number of months here in the House as we lead into an election. What I am very excited about is that the motion today, particularly part (b), states:

prepare a budget that addresses the economic challenges facing the middle class by creating more good-quality full-time jobs, and by encouraging economic diversification.

That is exactly what our finance minister will be doing. That tells me, based on its opposition motion, that the opposition will be supporting our budget when we present it. That will be the first time in the nine years I have been here that the opposition has supported our budget.

Of course, we need to take our time to ensure that things are accurate. We heard the Liberal Party's last speaker on this particular topic say to just give them numbers, whether they are accurate or not, and then be patient.

My response to the opposition, the third party, is that it also needs to be patient. Our finance minister is putting together a budget that will be accurate, reflecting the issues and the events that are happening today, and those numbers will be ones Canadians can trust and have faith in and that this Parliament and this House can have faith in. It will happen in a few short weeks. In fact, what would be interesting for my colleagues from across the way to learn is that legislation actually does not require a budget to be presented at any time. In fact, a former finance minister, Minister Flaherty, presented the earliest budget in Canadian history a number of years ago in this House.

There is plenty of time for us to bring the budget forward. We will have accurate numbers. We will be moving this economy forward. We will continue to create jobs and create opportunities for Canadians. That is why they should have patience on the other side.

Business of Supply January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am not familiar with the riding the member represents, so I looked up the city website on the Internet. I noticed that in 2012 the average house price in New Westminster was $645,400. It is a little surprising that riding has an NDP member.

I have a question for the NDP member. I have heard the comments of the NDP members about our promise of income splitting for families. I am assuming that also applies to pension splitting.

Are the NDP members telling Canadians that not only would they not follow through on the income splitting for families, but that they would take away pension splitting for seniors, which we put in place a number of years ago, as well?

Committees of the House December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill S-2, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act and to make consequential amendments to the Statutory Instruments Regulations. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back without amendment.

This is the fourth bill this committee has reported back in the last three weeks. I thank it for its hard work.

Taxation December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government is fulfilling its promise to balance the federal budget, and we are now in a position to fulfill our promise to help Canadian families balance theirs.

A single parent making $50,000 a year, with two kids, will see almost a $1,000 in relief and benefits. Families earning less than $30,000 a year will see an average benefit of $1,200 a year. Under our government's plan, all families with children benefit. A vast majority of these benefits will flow to low and middle income families.

Since coming to office, we have introduced the enhanced universal child care benefit, the children's arts tax credit, and now the family tax cut. Our government lowers Canadians' taxes, we balance budgets, we put money back in the pockets of hard-working Canadians, and we will continue to stand up for Canadians day in and day out.

Committees of the House December 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-32, An Act to enact the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and to amend certain Acts.

The committee has studied the bill and has decided, unanimously, to report the bill back to this House with amendments.

Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill S-221, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (assaults against public transit operators).

The committee has studied the bill and has decided, unanimously, to report the bill back to this House without amendments.

I hope the House leaders move quickly on both these items.