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

Committees of the House November 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for this particular concurrence motion. I also want to thank the finance committee that is looking at this issue.

In my own household, I have two young women: one has just graduated and one is in her final year. The experience in my household and in my daughter's peer group is that some are having difficulty finding work but others are not. It depends on which field they have chosen, where they are looking, whether they are willing to be mobile, and so on. It is an issue that I am quite familiar with, based on the challenges of my own family and daughter's peer group.

Fortunately for us, my daughter seems to be on the lucky side and was able to find employment in her field. She is a graduate from the University of Ottawa.

In my newsletter that goes out three times a year, I have a column on industries that need people. I do not expect youth to be reading my newsletter; I am gearing it to the parents of young people who will be able to better inform their young people of where the opportunities might be.

Does the member have any comment about the role of parents in the future of the young people and whether they choose a university or skills trade path?

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will not be supporting the motion to have parliamentary oversight.

I have been on the Hill for eight years. One of our key functions as members of Parliament is financial oversight. Today our supplementary estimates (B) and performance reports were tabled. In having parliamentary oversight, there is a lot of room for improvement on the financial side.

If the member thinks there needs to be oversight, then we should change, improve or enhance the abilities of those organizations that already exist to provide oversight. Adding another layer, particularly a set of parliamentarians, will not enhance or improve the oversight of the spy agency or the other agencies or bodies that already exist and have that responsibility. Improve their responsibility, but do not add another layer of bureaucracy, particularly one that has a political element to it.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, that is a reasonable question, but I do not think that Bill C-44 would change that balance.

Canadians, including those from Burlington, believe that we do have a role and responsibility as a government to protect our citizens, particularly in a world where, unfortunately, terrorism is not a far-off threat. It is something that can happen here on this soil, in homes, communities and places of work.

We have organizations, such as the RCMP, police forces and CSIS, which are our agencies to help with protection. In a careful review of what Bill C-44 would do in terms of protecting Canadians, it would actually enhance the ability for Canadians to enjoy the freedoms they have in their homes, in their communities, in their province and in their country.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act November 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Centre.

It is my honour this afternoon to speak to Bill C-44, the protection of Canada from terrorists act. As the House knows, this measure was introduced before the events on the Hill on October 22.

Before I start my speech, I want to say one thing. First, I am glad to be anywhere to give a speech after the events on October 22, but what surprised me was the outpouring of concern and affection for my family back home, not just for me but to find out how my wife and kids were doing that day. There were hundreds of calls and contacts and emails to my wife and family. I appreciate the outpouring of concern for my family and myself on that day from the people of my riding. It was very heartwarming. I sent a letter off to the local newspaper thanking people for their concern.

It is my privilege, as I said, to rise today to voice my opinion in this debate on the protection of Canada from terrorists act. As we have seen over the last number of weeks, acts of terror are not limited to troubled areas of the world, such as Syria, Iran, and Iraq. They are carried out by individuals and groups in cities and regions around the world. All of these actions are done for a variety of motives and by different means, but they all have a common goal, which is to strike terror and fear into the hearts of governments and citizens and all of the people they affect.

We will not be intimidated by those cowardly acts. In late October, terrorism hit Canada twice in the span of only a few days. In our typical Canadian fashion, we picked ourselves up, got back to work in the House, came together to grieve for our fallen heroes, and carried on.

The one thing I will never forget is the opportunity I had to attend Corporal Cirillo's funeral in Hamilton. My riding of Burlington is a neighbouring riding to Hamilton, where Corporal Cirillo and his family are from, and many of his colleagues in his regiment live and work in my riding. It was a great honour to be at the funeral to pay my respects on behalf of my community and of the House.

We will continue to strive to protect individuals' rights and stand up for the rule of law, because that is who we are. However, it is clear that our national security agencies need new tools, particularly in the areas of surveillance, detention, and arrest. We will not overreact to threats against us, as some have suggested, but it is high time that we stop under-reacting. We need to be more proactive and start taking terrorist threats seriously, because nothing is more important than keeping Canadians safe from harm and fear, whether in the streets of their communities or when they are travelling or living abroad.

No government can guarantee that it will be able to stop every terrorist act from occurring, but we can make every effort to prevent, detect, deny, and respond to terrorist threats. At its most basic, this means reaching out to communities and religious leaders who will help law enforcement identify individuals who are threats to our collective peace and security.

There are a number of initiatives and programs in place to help governments and law enforcement build those relationships, and we have seen that trust and collaboration flourish over the past few years. This type of interaction is invaluable in terms of helping to uncover potential threats.

We often hear the terms “lone wolf” and “radicalized individuals” used to describe people who may become radicalized to violence without law enforcement having any signals or warnings. While these individuals may be hidden from view, they are often inspired by terrorist entities that are strong in number and loud in their calls for death. Terrorist groups often are happy to let the world know who they are, what they believe in, and what their plans are. Through the Internet in particular, groups like ISIL and al Qaeda broadcast their message of hate and terror, calling on new recruits and followers to carry out their acts of violence against innocent civilians.

Members of the House know the influence the Internet can have on individuals and organizations. We do not need to talk about terrorism to see the effect it has. We all get emails that are inaccurate and tell the wrong story about all kinds of issues. They all end up on our desks, and we all have to respond about inaccuracies and so on. It is this kind of access to information—even erroneous, poorly informed information—that causes individuals who are not being radicalized to make inaccurate statements, believing what they are reading on the Internet. Unfortunately, for individuals who are lost in terms of their place in this world, the Internet is a source of radicalization. Terrorist organizations are able to do this through countless online outlets that are easily accessible and available throughout the globe. We need to be very diligent in that area.

However, these large groups need more than cheap communications, which the Internet provides. They need money, weapons, explosives, people, and other types of resources to carry out their work. That is why our government is taking decisive action, through legal means, to stop terrorist groups.

One way is to cut off their source of funds and resources. We know that global terrorist groups actively seek funds and resources internationally. Under Canada's Anti-terrorism Act, our government can list an entity under the Criminal Code if it has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in, or facilitated a terrorist activity, or if it is knowingly acting on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with any entity involved in a terrorist activity.

The listing process requires analysis of intelligence and criminal information. These reports are submitted to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for consideration. If the minister has reasonable grounds to believe that the entity's activities fall within the parameters I just mentioned, the minister can place that organization on the list of terrorist entities. Once on the list, the entity is effectively denied its source of critical funding from Canadian sources. Its assets are frozen and subject to seizure, restraint, or forfeiture.

As a further measure, the listing makes it a criminal offence for any Canadian, at home or abroad, to knowingly participate, directly or indirectly, in the activities of a listed entity for the purpose of enhancing its ability to carry out a terrorist activity.

Which entities are on the list? They include aI Qaeda, which serves as the strategic hub and driver for the global Islamist terrorist movement; al Shabaab, a group that is waging a campaign of violence and terror in Somalia; and, of course, ISIL. As we know, this barbaric group has carried out prominent attacks involving suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, improvised explosive devices, armed attacks, hostage takings, and beheadings.

This is just one way we are able to use legal means to address threats to our safety and security.

As I have heard from all the parties, it appears that the bill is going to go to committee, which I think is appropriate. There we can discuss the issues further and gain a better understanding of them.

I hope all parties can accept the legislation put before us today. It is balanced, reasonable, and effective. It would create new and important tools to allow CSIS to continue to operate successfully. It is the first step in keeping Canadians safe.

Gift of Giving Back November 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to announce that it is that time of year again. It is time for the ninth annual Gift of Giving Back community food drive, which is being held on November 5 and 6 in Burlington, at Nelson High School.

Last year, the Burlington hockey families, including the Burlington City Rep Eagles, the Burlington junior A hockey club, and the Burlington Barracuda's Girls Hockey Club, really got into the giving spirit with great compassion by collecting and donating an astonishing 207,000 pounds of non-perishable goods during their food drive in mid-November.

This year, the beneficiaries include Burlington flood relief, Carpenter Hospice, Halton Women's Place, Partnership West and, of course, the Salvation Army. I encourage all residents to give to this food drive. I know Burlingtonians have huge hearts. I strongly believe in their generosity, which, in turn, strengthens our entire community. It is no surprise that Burlington has been declared one of the best places to live in Canada.

Good luck to all involved with the annual Gift of Giving Back community food drive.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 October 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on that point, this budget bill is 400 and some-odd pages, half in French, half in English.

The previous questioner has written a few books. They are likely over 200 pages. That member likely expects people to read her books, so I am expecting members of Parliament to read 200 pages.

The change to the child tax credit for physical fitness is becoming refundable. Since November is financial literacy month, there are only three other refundable tax credits. Refundable means that if individuals are not paying taxes, they still get their money back for that.

Why is that important to poor families who have kids in physical fitness programs in this country?

National Hockey League October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, Canadians from coast to coast have much to be thankful for: a strong Canadian economy; a government committed to lowering taxes; increasing trade with our global partners; and much more. Last but not least, is the fact that the NHL is back.

After a long summer of watching our professional baseball team tease Canadian sports fans with hopes of making the playoffs, the Canadian Football League playoffs are just around the corner.

As Canadian hockey fans, we are ready to eat, sleep and breathe hockey, as we embark on the emotional roller coaster of following our favourite teams through every puck drop, penalty shot, goal scored, overtime and shootouts.

For all those who are supporting our Canadian teams, the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, here is hoping our teams have a great season.

Go Habs.

Pan American Games Torch Relay October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canadians from coast to coast are being invited to celebrate and share their Pan Am spirit by taking part in the Toronto 2015 Pan Am torch relay.

This national event will be fuelled by hometown pride, with stops planned in five Canadian cities that have previously hosted major games. They include Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver as well as 130 communities across Ontario, including my hometown of Burlington. Three thousand torch bearers will proudly carry the flame and share the Pan Am spirit of the games during the 41-day journey toward lighting the caldron at our opening ceremony in Toronto.

I know this event will be an opportunity to showcase our diverse culture, accomplishments, vast geography, and proud history. Our government is proud to support the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games torch relay, and we encourage all Canadians to take part in this celebration.

I encourage those wishing to become torch bearers to check out the website for all the details. Mr. Speaker, I have registered to be a torch bearer, and I hope you have too.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will start with the second question first. If there are witnesses that any of the parties wanted to see but did not invite, it is their fault that they did not hear from them. If the Conservative Party did not desire to hear from telephone companies and did not put them on the list, they would not be invited. I do not recall any telephone companies being on the list to be invited. My recommendation to the committee is that if there are people or organizations that members want to see, get them on the list. If they are a priority, make them a priority. As a group, we will decide how many meetings to have, and it is usually based on how many witnesses we have. If there are only a few witnesses, there are fewer meetings.

With regard to Carol Todd, she did not want privacy rights trampled on, and I do not believe the bill tramples on any privacy rights.

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague across the way. She does an excellent job on behalf of her party at committee.

It would not be wise for this committee or any committee to wait until the Supreme Court decides on the issue. I am not a lawyer, but if we look at the decision that was brought down, it defined activities of the police, but it did not change what was in the bill.

The wheels of justice move relatively slowly in this country. Getting legislation through the House moves slowly. Cyberbullying is one of those areas that is not moving slowly. It is progressing every single day. We needed to act, and we acted appropriately.

If in the future, after this is reviewed, if changes to legislation need to be made based on rulings from the Supreme Court, that can happen, but we should not have to wait until the Supreme Court has decided on everything. As elected officials, we decide here in the House.