House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ndp.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Oak Ridges—Markham (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada June 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader will say anything and do anything to get what he wants. He came back to Canada simply to rule our country.

He is so focused on winning at any cost that he will actually say what the Liberal Party wants him to hide. On April 14, he said he would raise taxes. He would hike the GST. He is also the father of the job-killing carbon tax.

When out in B.C., he called the forestry sector a basement industry. He then criticized the auto sector out in B.C. to make up for that slip of the tongue. Once he got back to Ontario, he then defended the auto sector.

He will say anything, do anything, including blurting out that he will raise taxes--

Italian-Canadian Recognition and Restitution Act May 28th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think it is important to note that at no time in my speech did I say that we needed to forget what happened to Italian Canadians. What I did say was that we apologized to Italian Canadians in 1990. The Conservative prime minister—

Italian-Canadian Recognition and Restitution Act May 28th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to this bill and I do so somewhat with mixed feelings. I am always proud to get up in this House and speak to the successes of Italian Canadians over the years and everything that they have accomplished in Canada. However, today we are also being asked to remember and to speak about what I think is one of the darkest days in Canadian history with respect to Italian Canadians and their treatment while in this country. I think it is important that we take a look back at some of the history with respect to Italian Canadians and their internment.

It is important to note that it was at the onset of World War II that then Liberal Prime Minister Mackenzie King decided that Italian Canadians, despite everything they had accomplished in this country for the many years they had been here, all of the successes, somehow should be deemed as enemy aliens. Some 632 Italian Canadians were interned and placed in camps. Others were forced to identify themselves with local police. This was the treatment of Italian Canadians for many years.

Following the end of the war, Italian-Canadians waited for an apology. They waited through many different governments. They waited through Liberal Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, and still no apology. They waited through Liberal Prime Minister Pearson, and still no apology. They waited through Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau, and still no apology. They waited again until, finally, in 1990, then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, addressing the National Congress of Italian Canadians, apologized.

On November 4, 1990, speaking to the biennial convention of the National Congress of Italian Canadians, Prime Minister Mulroney acknowledged the injustices committed against Canadians of Italian origin during World War II and apologized to all Canadians of Italian origin on behalf of the Government of Canada for the injustices perpetrated on a quiet, law-abiding community. In his speech, he pledged that the violations of democratic rights so apparent during World War II should never happen again; and finally, he accepted the principle of redress for the wrongs committed to the Italian people and he suggested, again, that this should never happen again.

Italian Canadians have accomplished so much in Canada. There are over 1.4 million Italian Canadians. They are leaders in business. They are leaders in industry. They are professionals. They are tradespeople. It has often been said, in the greater Toronto area where I am from, that the first generation of Italian Canadians built Toronto and the second generation owned Toronto.

Over the past weekend I had the pleasure and the privilege of being in Halifax. I was able to visit Pier 21, where my father and my mother entered Canada with my aunts and my uncles at that time. These are proud Italian Canadians: my father Tony Calandra, my mother Franca, my uncles Peter, Ross and Carmen. They came to Canada to build a better life for themselves. They did not come to look back. They came to be productive members of society.

Italian Canadians identify themselves not by the injustices perpetrated against them by previous governments in World War II, but by what they have accomplished since coming to Canada. They identify themselves as strong family people, people who helped construct the streets that we came to work on, helped on this building, helped build Toronto, helped build Montreal, helped accomplish so much across Canada. That is how Italian Canadians identify themselves.

Earlier today I was speaking to my uncle, Peter Salvino, who came to Canada a little more than 34 years ago. I asked him how he felt about this, and he said he was not here at that time, but it did have an impact on Italian Canadians all those years that they waited, because people used the fact that there was no apology until 1990 as a reason to be racist in many instances toward Italians.

My uncle has ultimately built a great life here in Canada. He celebrated in 1972 when Paul Henderson scored that goal. He was proud when we launched the Anik II. He remembered when Terry Fox started his run and was sad when it ended. He remembered 1996, because he was in Atlanta when Donovan Bailey won the gold medal for Canada. He could not stop cheering. He lost his voice when the Canadian team won the relay. He was at the Olympics in Canada in 1976, and again in 1988. He was also one of the proud Italians who in 1982, when the Italian team won the World Cup, flooded onto the streets of Toronto to celebrate.

Italian culture is strong, but first and foremost, they are Canadians. They are Canadians who have moved on. They are Canadians who have accepted the apology by Brian Mulroney, then Conservative Prime Minister, for the wrongs of previous Liberal governments. They have accepted the apology on behalf of all Italian Canadians.

We have done so much more as a government, and we are moving on, just as Italians have moved on. But we are not ignoring what Italians suffered. That is why our government recently provided funding in recognition of what Italian Canadians went through, so that we could educate other Canadians on the Italian Canadian experience during the internment.

One of the reasons I am so opposed to this legislation is because, indeed, it looks back. Wrongs were committed. Italian Canadians, as I said earlier, waited a long time, but in 1990 they received an apology.

I object to this legislation because we have already done so much. Not only did we apologize in 1990, but as I said recently, we have provided, through the community historical recognition program, $5 million in grants and contributions over four years, which will begin in 2008-09. This money will fund projects to commemorate and recognize the experiences of the Italian Canadian community in relation to the second world war internment in Canada.

I want to focus as an Italian Canadian parliamentarian not on the injustices of the past, but on the accomplishments of the Italian Canadian people. I want to focus on the things that my parents accomplished, on the things that my aunts and uncles accomplished. Most Italian Canadians want to focus on that.

We can look at the bill and ask, as I would suggest the opposition has done, how can we gain cheap political points? How can we seek to divide the Italian community? Where can we get some seats? How can we use Italian Canadians to break into communities where we have not been successful? That is why the bill is so shameful. We need to focus on what we have accomplished.

A Conservative government recognizes the accomplishments of the Italian people. A Conservative government apologized to the Italian people. A Conservative government provided the millions of dollars that will be spread across this country to help the rest of Canadians understand what was perpetrated against Italian Canadians in World War II by a Liberal prime minister. A Conservative government will help Italian Canadians move on and will help share with the rest of Canadians why Italians have been so successful, why I am proud to be an Italian Canadian.

I simply will not support a bill that seeks to divide the Italian community, that seeks to earn cheap political points over what has been the darkest period in Canadian history.

I hope that all those Italian Canadians who are here today recognize the fact that on this side of the House there is a Prime Minister and there is a minister who appreciate everything that Italian Canadians have done. I as an Italian Canadian and member of Parliament will continue to stand up for them every day that I am privileged to be here.

G2P3 May 13th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to recognize three outstanding young students in my riding. Eboni Morgan, Essence Morgan and Mia Caschera are students Stouffville's Glad Park Public School, and are also known by their moniker G2P3, or Girls 2 the Power of Three.

Last Sunday they hosted a fundraising event for our local food bank that included competitions for teenagers, including basketball, skipping and hula-hooping. They arranged the prizes, the vendors, the music and along with their classmates, they baked a wide range of treats to be sold at the bake table. In total, the event raised over $2,700, which will help support our local food bank.

My riding is an exceptional one. We are blessed with hard-working people from around the world. We are home to the Oak Ridge's Moraine and Rouge Valley. My farmers produce Canada's best potatoes, corn and cattle. We are home to Olympic heroes Eric Lamaze and Karen Coburn.

Ebony, Essence and Mia represent the next generation of Canadian leaders. They are an important part of why I am so proud to call Oak Ridges—Markham home.

International Aid May 7th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have watched the situation in Sri Lanka with great concern. International organizations, world leaders and the United Nations have called on the Sri Lankan government to implement an immediate ceasefire. Reports have indicated that thousands of Tamil civilians are trapped in the war zone. With the number of displaced persons increasing, it is becoming critically important for NGOs on the ground to have unhindered access.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation tell Canadians what this government is doing to help the victims of this devastating conflict?

Citizenship and Immigration May 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal MP for Brampton—Springdale is in hot water for hiring two live-in caregivers and then refusing to sponsor their immigration applications, essentially keeping them in a position of involuntary servitude. The abuses the Toronto Star documents include improperly seizing their passports, requiring evening foot massages for the member's relatives, cleaning the chiropractic offices of family members.

Could the minister tell me what more the government can do to protect live-in caregivers from these kinds of tragic abuses?

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I have another follow-up question because I did not get the appropriate answer from the member for York South—Weston.

I want to ask the Liberal member if he could help me understand how calling the Americans “idiots” and “morons”, and other words that I will not repeat, during the last Liberal administration, helped develop our relationship? How was it that all of the other true supporters of our friends to the south were able to make it to Washington to lend their support, but the previous Liberal government was unable to get there? The member for York South—Weston suggested it did not want to involve itself in a photo op.

I would suggest that Americans were expecting Canadians to be there after 9/11, but it took us three weeks. The former Liberal prime minister could not fit ground zero, where thousands of Americans lost their lives, into his schedule because he had to make it back to a Liberal Party fundraiser.

It is this Conservative government that has put our relationship with the Americans back on track. It is this government that has left the border open to--

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments of many of the members opposite today and I reflect on all the times during the last campaign and in the House that I have heard the phrase “American-style” used as a way of putting down other people.

I wonder if the member could also comment on what damage the previous government's response to 9/11 did to our relationship with the Americans. I would suggest that, in times of crisis, one of the things our most important trading partner and biggest friend will remember is how people responded.

I recall that presidents and prime ministers from around the world visited the United States soon after 9/11 occurred, yet it took the previous Liberal government some three weeks to get to the United States. It took the previous prime minister three weeks, and then when he got there, to add insult to injury, he decided not to visit ground zero because he had to make it back to Canada for a Liberal Party fundraiser.

I wonder if the member might comment on how that really started the demise of the relationship between Canada and the United States, especially coming after some extraordinary progress made by previous Conservative governments that led to a free trade agreement that has--

Taxation April 22nd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, are there any more new policies the Liberal Party would like to announce during this global recession?

We know that the Liberals want to increase the GST. We know that they want to impose a job-killing carbon tax and last week, the Liberal leader said, “We will have to raise taxes”.

If there was any doubt that the Liberals were out of touch with Canadians before this announcement, their new policy has surely confirmed it.

Canadians deserve to know, which taxes would the Liberals raise? By how much would they raise these taxes and who would be forced to pay these high taxes?

My constituents have made it very clear. They work very hard for their money. They appreciate the investments our government has made, which has left more money in their pockets, more money so that they can invest in their future and in the future of their families. They do not want another tax and spend Liberal lecturing them on how they should use their hard-earned money.

Cutting taxes, investing in Canadians, tackling crime, supporting farmers, and working with our provincial and municipal partners is our agenda and it is the agenda of Canadians.

Energy Efficiency Act April 1st, 2009

Madam Speaker, I am going to help my hon. friend understand, because in response to a question from a Bloc member, he said he did not understand. I guess where the Bloc is coming from is that when the Liberals were in power, they actually signed the Kyoto protocol in 1998, yet under their watch, greenhouse gas emissions increased by 26%, and under their watch, Canada became the worst per capita user of energy in the world.

He talked about their record with respect to the economy. The reality is it was a previous Conservative government that brought in the economic policies that allowed that Liberal government to balance the books later. It really was not that government that balanced the books, it was Conservative provincial governments across this country that balanced the federal budget when the Liberals took $25 billion out of the provinces unilaterally without asking them. That is the record of the Liberal Party: increased greenhouse gas emissions and nothing to address the financial situation.

We have a government now that has brought forward an economic action plan supported by the member opposite that is going to address Canada's economic difficulties. It is investing in people, roads, bridges, sewers and highways. It is doing everything it needs to do to keep Canada as the most prosperous nation in the world.

I say those comments so that the hon. member can understand where the member from the Bloc was coming from when he made his comments.