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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Ottawa Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs February 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the world is currently coordinating its response to ISIS-inspired terrorism and extremism. Canada should be at the table and not on the sidelines. A major security conference in Munich is happening this week to discuss terrorism. Twenty world leaders are attending, along with some 60 foreign and defence ministers.

I have a very simple question for the government. Will Canada be represented at this important international summit, yes or no?

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think what is being lost by the whip is something he actually said in his own speech, which is that we are the ones to be in charge of preserving the freedoms we have. The problem is that this process is devoid of the very words he speaks. We should be looking at this with sober eyes and not just ramming through a motion. We should be looking at what happened on October 22 and how to integrate it and have all the evidence brought forward. Unfortunately, and I say this with deep sincerity, the government is doing the top-down thing: no free vote, and putting forward a motion and then ridiculing any kind of critique.

I want to ask the whip how he can say, on the one hand, that he wants to preserve the freedoms of this place, and on the other hand say that there is no free vote. I do not understand that. I would ask him to explain how, on the one hand, he wants us as members of Parliament to preserve the security of this place, on which we agree, but then on the other hand say that there will be no free vote, that the government will whip everyone into shape and tell them what to think. How does he square that?

Foreign Affairs February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that Canada's sanctions simply do not match up with our allies'. These three friends of Putin are being protected by the current government. It is strange.

Unfortunately, Canada is also offside with every single one of our allies when it comes to the Arms Trade Treaty. One hundred and thirty countries have signed the treaty. Every single member of NATO, Israel, and Ukraine have all signed the treaty, but not Canada.

Why are the Conservatives keeping company with countries like North Korea, Syria, and Iran when it comes to opposing the Arms Trade Treaty? Why are they keeping company with them?

Foreign Affairs February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. First, I would like to thank him for taking on this role, and I look forward to working with him.

While the conflict between Ukraine and Russia escalates, key members of Russia's business and political elite are still not on Canada's sanctions list, despite the fact that our allies do list them.

I have a simple question for the minister. Why are Igor Sechin, Sergey Chemezov, and Vladimir Yakunin not on Canada's sanctions list, when they are on the sanctions list of both the United States and the U.K.? Why are they not on our list?

Resignation of Minister February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, like many last night, I was shocked and surprised by the announcement by our friend across the way of his decision to step down as foreign affairs minister and to not seek re-election. Like many people, I spent the night thinking about the minister's contributions to this place, to our country, and to our city.

As many will know, we were both elected in 2006, but members should know that our connection was very close prior to his being elected to this place and Queen's Park. It was as early as grade nine. He was chosen by his school to represent the school and to meet the then mayor of Ottawa, and that happened to have been my mother. Some people have accused her of his being motivated toward politics because of that visit, but I know more. I know that at an early age, he was inspired by a teacher, someone who was involved in politics in the Progressive Conservative Party, who led him to become a young activist within the Progressive Conservative Party, along with a fellow minister down the way.

What always drove the minister, as far as I could tell, as for many of us in this place, was making a genuine difference in his community, in this place, and obviously, recently, on the world stage.

It was after having had a wonderful time with my family this past Labour Day weekend that I received a call. I was asked to accompany the minister on a trip to Iraq. I certainly was not planning on this trip. It was not part of my itinerary.

I have to share with the House and Canadians that the way the minister conducted himself on that trip, also with my colleague from the Liberal Party, showed his professionalism. It showed that he cared about this country and that he was a responsible minister and parliamentarian. On every visit with dignitaries, he included us. He asked for our advice and actually followed up on some of the issues we were advocating for.

Make no mistake. I have a long list of disagreements with the minister, but that is what politics is about. It is about putting forward ideas and presenting them in the best way possible, but I want to underline a couple of issues in the foreign affairs file the minister has taken on and led. When he was first named as the foreign affairs minister, I reached out to him and talked to him about the issue of women, peace, and security and the whole issue of sexual violence. He has led on that internationally. He recently had the government earmark $10 million to carry on that fight against sexual violence in Iraq. He should be applauded for that. He took leadership on that, and for that I thank him.

He also, time and time again, stood on the world stage and spoke out against discrimination against people, wherever in the world, because of their sexual orientation. As minister, he led like no other minister on the world stage when it came to the persecution of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals. Again, I want to thank him for what he has done in putting Canada in a good light with regard to fighting discrimination against those who are GBLTQ in this world.

I also want to talk about the dichotomy that is the minister. As passionate as he can get, as partisan as he can get, and he can, he is also someone who reaches out. He is someone who understands the importance of getting things done. He has done that here in Ottawa with his leadership on NCC reform, his reform of accountability in this place, and his focus on making sure our capital is going to be a place that shines. His voice in cabinet was absolutely extraordinary when it came to this city.

I want to finish by talking about why we get involved in politics and what I think the minister is about. He acknowledged in his comments that he has grown into his role.

I would argue that anyone who comes here and is static does not belong in politics. This is a place for growth. This is a place to learn. This is a place to engage.

The minister has done that. He found his best footing as the Minister of Foreign affairs, in my opinion. For that, he should be acknowledged. I think we all get into politics for good reasons and, ultimately, it is to make a difference.

The minister's service record is strong and distinguished. He has always served his constituents and his country with pride and passion.

The member has served this place with passion. He served his electors well. If I might say,“Rusty” may be gone but will not be forgotten.

Leon Katz February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Leon Katz was a pioneer. Trained as an engineer, Leon invented technologies that revolutionized the practice of medicine in Canada, including Canada's first heart-lung pump for open heart surgery and Canada's first fetal heart monitor. Later in his career, Leon worked for Health Canada. His team's discovery of hazards in blood collection led to international recalls of tainted equipment and saved countless lives.

He was recognized for his contributions to medicine, science, and technology with the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.

Leon Katz was a devoted father, grandfather, and husband, a proud member of the Jewish community, and an engaged citizen here in Ottawa. He passed away last month, shortly after his 90th birthday.

Leon Katz remains an inspiration for all of us, including his daughter, Floralove Katz, herself a recipient of the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. She is in Parliament today.

I know that all members will join me in thanking him for his service to our country.

National Defence January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence offered few answers yesterday at committee, and that was clear to everyone. The one thing he did let slip was that the Conservatives would be seeking a new mandate to extend Canada's involvement in the war. Since approving the last mission, the mandate has gone from observers and air strikes to ground combat.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirm that he will be asking the House for a mandate to extend this mission? If yes, will it include ground combat?

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

With regard to the Family Class sponsorships and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) Regulation 117(9)(d): (a) how many Family Class sponsorships have been denied by visa officers based on this Regulation since its inception in 2003; (b) of the refused applications, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors; (c) how many sponsors have requested an exemption from this Regulation to allow their excluded family member to come to Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds under Section 25 of the IRPA; (d) how many requests for exemptions were granted; (e) of the exemptions that were granted, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors; (f) how many requests for exemptions were refused; and (g) of the exemptions that were refused, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors?

Citizenship and Immigration December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in Syria has created millions of vulnerable refugees who are in absolutely dire need, yet reports today reveal that the Conservatives are refusing to make new commitments because they are only looking to accept religious minorities. We heard that just a second ago. Whatever people's religion, ethnicity, or creed, it is a Canadian value to help everyone in need. Can the minister confirm if he is applying religious discrimination to refugees?

National Defence December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canada has been involved in a war in Iraq since September. Four months later, we still do not know some basic facts. We do not know whether the mission will be extended. We have not been told how much this war is costing, or even beyond counting bombs and targets, what impact the air strikes are actually having on the ground.

Why, after four months of war, are Canadians still left in the dark by the government?