House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Victoria (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act February 5th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the work of my friend from Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman for bringing forward this initiative.

The member indicated in his remarks that he did not think the bill transgressed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the point about presumed cruel and unusual punishment. He claims that there is this discretion available to judges or juries on sentencing, between 25 and 40 years in his scheme. Does the member have a formal legal opinion to that effect or is that simply his idea?

Business of Supply February 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I do not always agree with my friend from Winnipeg, but I do today. The tone with which the hon. member for Jonquière has defended her community and the jobs there and the way she has been constructive in her suggestions is really admirable. She is fighting for jobs in her community in the same way the member for Oshawa fought for jobs in his. However, this time the shoe seems to be on the other foot.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague why she thinks the Bloc and the Conservatives are doing this today.

Climate Change February 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Victoria, people are so frustrated by the Liberals' stale talking points and by the gigantic gap between rhetoric and action on the environment.

No matter what the Prime Minister says, climate change leaders do not use public dollars to buy pipelines. People are clear that action is needed now.

When will the Prime Minister stop giving fossil fuel subsidies to giant corporations and get serious about climate change?

Climate Change February 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are increasingly anxious about climate change.

Last October, a UN report concluded the planet only had a dozen years to make dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or face a catastrophe. Canada's environment commissioner warned that meeting our Paris commitments “will require....actions beyond those currently planned or in place.” Canadians cannot wait for the government to get its act together to urgently address climate change.

Why does the Prime Minister think that sticking to Harper's climate change targets will get the job done?

Veterans Affairs January 31st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary has told us about the money being spent on veterans, for which I am grateful. He has told us about efforts continuing. He has told us that a number of other programs are being expanded, which is terrific.

However, that does absolutely nothing to keep the promise that the government made in 2015 to widows like Patricia Kidd in my riding and so many others I have heard from across this country. The parliamentary secretary has tried to change the subject here tonight. He has done nothing for Patricia Kidd. This is another broken Liberal promise.

I would ask the parliamentary secretary again: Will this promise be kept, the promise made in 2015 in the mandate letter to Canadians? Will it be kept before the election in October of this year?

Veterans Affairs January 31st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, a question I have been pursuing for a great deal of time concerns the inability of women who marry military people and the inability of Canadians over 60 to get access to their late husband's pension.

In my case, I was first alerted to this issue by Patricia Kidd from my riding of Victoria. I have also had letters from across the country on this issue. She and her late husband Pete were married 33 years ago. They were married for 31 years before he died. They raised two sons. However, Ottawa will not give Patricia a penny of the pension money that other veterans' widows get because of an archaic rule dating back to 1901 that was inserted into the pension legislation before the First World War to prevent young women from marrying aging veterans.

That clause is not unique to the armed forces. It is in other pension plans, such as those pertaining to judges, Mounties and other federal workers. The clause has been the source of enormous injustice, which the government has acknowledged. It acknowledged it by making clear in the 2015 mandate letter of the minister of Veterans Affairs that eliminating the so-called “marriage after 60” clawback clause was a priority.

That was in the 2015 mandate letter. I have spoken with the then minister of veterans affairs, the member for Calgary Centre, and wrote to him on September 13, 2016. He said help was on the way. Then I spoke to and wrote to the minister of veterans affairs, the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, to the same effect. I wrote to him September 25, 2017, and again in February 2018. Then I asked a question in question period, and that minister said he had heard about this, that it was very important to many veterans and their families, and said “I can assure the member and the House that we are indeed working diligently on this file”.

That is not diligent. I cannot seem to get an answer from the government. It was a commitment made to me and to Canadians in the mandate letter that there would be a change. Patricia Kidd and so many like her are waiting for justice.

I ask the government when we are going to see this Liberal promise kept.

Petitions January 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise on the very same concept that my colleague just addressed. I have a petition regarding Senate Bill S-240, which would make it illegal to traffic in human organs and tissues and give the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship the power to make permanent residents or foreign nationals inadmissible to Canada if they have engaged in those horrendous activities.

Indigenous Affairs January 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, in the recent cabinet shuffle, the former attorney general was removed from her role. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said that her removal as attorney general demonstrates the Prime Minister's “lack of resolve to address Canada’s deplorable relationship with Indigenous peoples”.

Then, in a written statement, the former attorney general suggested that she was removed from her role for speaking “truth to power”. My question for the Prime Minister is this. What could she have meant?

Expungement of Certain Cannabis-related Convictions Act December 7th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I think my hon. friend would agree would that we work very effectively on the justice committee. It is an honour to serve with him there. Both of us are vice-chairs on that committee and he is a real asset to it.

An expedited pardon process might come along and the government will tell us that it will be free, that it will be fast and so forth. It does not do the trick. It is under-inclusive. If there is any doubt at all, I do not know why the government would not embrace the right thing and expunge.

As for the Prime Minister's acknowledgement, there is an important point here. There was a stigma at a time for same-sex sexual activity, which is no longer the case. There was a stigma for cannabis possession in the past, which is no longer the case, otherwise the Prime Minister would not have acknowledged he did this.

The problem is simple. That person did not get caught. Thousands and thousands, particularly indigenous and black Canadians, did get caught, and they are suffering. He is not. We are not. We should do the right thing and get on with it.

Expungement of Certain Cannabis-related Convictions Act December 7th, 2018

Madam Speaker, first, I would like to thank the member opposite for keeping an open mind in considering support of my bill. I appreciate that very much. His recognition of the historical injustice and the disproportionate impact on indigenous and black Canadians is something on which we both have to work harder, as does the the House. This is an opportunity to take a step in that direction.

It is true that often records for small quantities of cannabis go hand in hand with other convictions and the like. There have been such things as plea bargains and all of that, which we need to acknowledge exist in the real world.

In California and other places, the expungement is automatic. People do not need to have these applications. Unfortunately, as a private member's bill, I cannot do that. As members know, we cannot require the government to spend money. If I had my druthers, I would have the government take action and automatically expunge the records for things that are now perfectly legal.

There is a technical issue that can be dealt with, and I am not sure why we cannot do it. The San Francisco district attorney's office has a software program to go through and do this work. I do not see why we cannot figure it out here.