House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was french.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Sudbury (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Natural Resources February 22nd, 2021

Mr. Speaker, we take the threat to Canadian energy security very seriously. Line 5 is vital to Canada's energy security. I would like to tell my colleague we appreciate her advocacy on this.

We know that Line 5 is vital to workers, producers and consumers in Canada and in the United States. We have always made the case that this is vital infrastructure, and we will continue to make that case.

Diversity and Inclusion February 22nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, every casual hockey fan knows Willie O’Ree became the first Black player in the National Hockey League when he played for the Boston Bruins in 1958, but how many can name the second Black player in the NHL? Mike Marson was just 19 years old when he graduated from the Sudbury Wolves to the NHL in 1974.

Marson was the first Black player to be drafted into and play regularly in the NHL. Marson ended up playing six years for the Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings.

Black History Month is a time for us to recognize the impact that Black players have had on the sport. Mike Marson helped pave the way for many players of colour.

Marson retired at the age of 25, still in his prime but tired of fighting, and returned to Ontario to work.

As we reflect on and celebrate Black History Month, I hope we can give thanks for the men and women who opened the door to inclusion and diversity in Canada’s institutions. We all know the stories of Jackie Robinson and Willie O’Ree, but the men and women who came after them still had mountains to climb, and often still do. That is why hockey and Canada are stronger when all we support diversity.

The Environment February 18th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I believe that Canadians just need to look at our track record to recognize that healthy forests are a crucial part of our clean air future.

Early in the pandemic, we pledged $30 million to help small and medium-sized businesses, including tree-planting companies, to offset COVID-19-related health and safety measures.

This commitment is helping to protect workers and communities. It also supported the planting of 600 million trees during the 2020 planting season. Our government is also funding two separate programs that support the planting of 150 million new seedlings by 2022.

Finally, we also helped fund the Highway of Heroes tree campaign, which has already planted more than 750,000 of a planned two million trees between Toronto and Trenton, Ontario.

The Environment February 18th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to discuss our government's commitment to plant two billion trees, especially with my colleague from the natural resources committee, the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay. I know that he has committed his professional life to the environment. In fact, he and his siblings have followed the path of their late father, Stephen Cannings, recognized as one of British Columbia's many great environmentalists. I raise my hat to him.

Our government shares the member's deep concern about our planet's future and especially about the existential threat posed by climate change.

That is precisely why we recently announced a tougher plan for fighting climate change so that we can exceed the 2030 Paris Agreement targets and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Planting two billion trees in 10 years is an important part of that plan.

We know that nature is part of the climate solution. A nature-based climate solution, like planting trees, takes full advantage of nature's ability to fight climate change by absorbing and capturing greenhouse gases, protecting coastlines from tides, storms and erosion and by lowering the temperature in cities, while improving water quality and enhancing biodiversity.

In Canada, we are fortunate to have vast, healthy and resilient forestry ecosystems. They provide us with recreational opportunities, whether that means taking a walk in a wooded urban area or a hike with the family in a provincial or national park.

Our forests also contribute to absorbing greenhouse gases. This has allowed Canada to increase its carbon sinks. That is why our government is working hard to begin implementing this Canadian solution.

The project to plant two billion trees is huge. It is a complex undertaking. The plan will include urban and rural regions of Canada. The number of trees planted in Canada will increase by 40% a year. There will also be significant benefits. By the tenth year, our country's forest cover will be twice the size of Prince Edward Island. That will cut overall emissions by 12 megatonnes in the next 25 years, while creating more than 4,000 jobs. There are additional benefits, such as the creation of more habitat for wildlife and improved biodiversity. All of this will enhance our ability to restore habitat for species at risk, such as the boreal caribou and migratory birds.

As I said, this is a complex undertaking and there are obstacles to overcome. We need partners in the production of seedlings, which, as the member said, will take about two years to grow.

We also need partners in order to identify the areas of land and the types of trees to be planted and to prepare sites and monitor trees for survival. Despite these challenges, I want to assure the House and all Canadians that nothing in the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report last month should raise any doubts about our determination. The fall economic statement provided just over $3 billion, but we have always said that an initiative of this scale requires strong partnerships to succeed.

Our intent for cost-sharing has always been a key feature of this initiative. An article published in the Scientific American last week says it best. If we want to fund an initiative that will not just plant trees but enable people to live sustainably in the landscape over time, “it’s going to take unprecedented collaboration between governments, organizations and local people.” That is why our government has and will continue to actively engage with provincial and territorial governments, indigenous peoples, industry and non-governmental stakeholders to realize this commitment. We will stay the course because there is no path to net zero that does not include our forests.

Natural Resources February 5th, 2021

Madam Speaker, we take this issue with respect to Line 5 very seriously. Line 5 is vital to our energy security. This line is a critical economic and energy security link between Canada and the U.S. and has safely operated for over 65 years. It provides good-paying, middle-class jobs for the thousands of worker at refineries in Sarnia and in Montreal and Lévis, Quebec.

I assure the House that we are looking at all our options. Line 5 is a vital pipeline for Canada's energy security, and we fully support it.

Damascus Cafe and Bakery February 5th, 2021

Madam Speaker, in Sudbury, the road to Damascus leads to 106 Beech Street. It is where a Syrian refugee who immigrated to Canada with his family years ago has set up shop.

The Qarquoz family's Damascus Cafe and Bakery offers both eat-in and takeout Mediterranean and Syrian cuisine. The menu is composed of spinach fatayer, falafel sandwiches, tabouleh salad and some of the best shawarma in Sudbury.

Five years ago, the Qarquoz family arrived to a huge welcome party at the Greater Sudbury Airport. Today the family has grown, has integrated wonderfully into the community and has become self-supporting. They are now giving thanks by giving back generously to the community.

When I stopped in recently for take-out, the owner, Hussein, wanted to talk about how we could work together to help feed homeless people.

In Sudbury, our diversity is not a challenge to be overcome, or a difficulty to be tolerated. Rather, it is a tremendous source of strength. Our multiculturalism is our strength.

I am grateful Hussein brought his family to Sudbury and I am proud—

Business of Supply February 4th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I am the MP for Sudbury, which is a mining town, but I am from a small town called Kapuskasing, where my father and grandfather worked in the pulp and paper business back in the 20s and 60s.

The U.S. trade relationship on softwood lumber is key for us. That is why we will certainly be taking it up with this new administration. The former administration did not even want to entertain any discussions, but we will certainly press the issue further and more strongly with this new administration.

Business of Supply February 4th, 2021

Madam Speaker, long-term care and the supports he is advocating for are in the provincial jurisdiction in Canada. If he wants to bring that forward, that is fine, but the New Democrats like to get involved in provincial issues quite often, I find.

That being said, the safety and security of front-line workers is certainly top of mind. That is why we introduced the Canada sickness benefit to make sure that if people on the front lines need to take time off because they are sick or a loved one they live with is sick, they have access to a benefit. We would like all of the provinces to continue the supports we are providing, as this is very important to us, but we also need to get the provinces involved.

Business of Supply February 4th, 2021

Madam Speaker, the answer very clearly is yes, I support this committee. It is important that we have a discussion on the importance of the relationship and on energy security between Canada and the United States.

I will correct the member, though. Certainly, the member for Don Valley West mentioned that he is supportive of using Canadian oil and gas. I was parliamentary secretary in the last Parliament when we approved and fought for TMX to make sure that our oil got to markets and we had the best deal for our Canadian resources. I am still of the same mindset and will continue defending that, as well as Line 3. Everyone just heard me talk about Line 5, NOVA Gas and LNG. Those projects are all important not only for western Canada, but for all of Canada in our energy security.

Business of Supply February 4th, 2021

Madam Speaker, this motion addresses a number of important issues, and I am very pleased to speak to it today. In the time that I have, I would like to focus on two aspects of the motion: the importance of Line 5, and energy trade between Canada and the United States.

Our government has been extremely clear about Line 5. It has our unequivocal support and we are using every tool at our disposal to advance the file. Line 5 is vital to Canada's and North America's energy security. Our government takes this issue very seriously and for the opposition to suggest otherwise is not only misleading but irresponsible. The opposition is playing a political game that members on this side of the House have no interest in playing. Line 5 is vitally important and is bigger than partisan politics. Line 5 supports thousands of jobs in Ontario, Quebec and western Canada. It is essential in providing lighting and heating to thousands of Canadians. It represents an important source of fuel for farmers and the industry and it provides jet fuel for the Pearson airport, Canada's busiest airport.

Running from Wisconsin through Michigan and across the Straits of Mackinac to the lower peninsula, Line 5 supplies Michigan and Ohio refineries with oil and natural gas liquids from Alberta and Saskatchewan before entering Ontario at Sarnia. From there it is refined into gasoline, diesel, home heating oil, aviation fuel and propane, supplying southern Ontario and Quebec. What is more, Line 5 provides a safer way to transport oil than rail or road and has operated safely for over 65 years.

Now Enbridge wants to dig a tunnel to replace the two pipelines running along the lakebed under the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge is committed to making a safe line even safer through its tunnel project. It has committed to encasing the line in reinforced concrete to reduce the risk of an anchor strike and enhance its safety, and Michigan, just a couple of days ago, provided permits for this project.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy approved these proposals a few days ago on January 29.

It did so after a nine-month-long comprehensive review that included input from the State Historic Preservation Office and a report from an independent civil engineering firm specializing in complex tunnelling projects.

The review concluded that the project would have minimal impact on water quality in the Great Lakes and would not affect protected public uses of Michigan's water resources.

Let me quote what the director of EGLE's water resources division, Ms. Teresa Seidel, had to say. “During our review of this proposed project, our top priority has been protecting the Straits of Mackinac and the surrounding wetlands, aquatic life, and other natural and cultural resources from adverse environmental impacts.”

What would the impact be? According to EGLE, the project would result in minimal impact to wetlands and, in fact, would only affect an area roughly one-tenth the size of a football field. As a result, EGLE concluded that the proposed tunnel beneath the lake-bed could be built in compliance with state environmental laws.

I would like to add that the State of Michigan's environmental agency has stated this project is completely safe. That is not according to Enbridge or to Canada. That is the finding of the organization responsible for enforcing Michigan's environmental laws. That is the argument our government has raised with American officials. That is our answer to those who want to stop the project.

What we have heard this week from the Leader of the Opposition and others on the other side of the House is that we are not doing anything. However, that could not be further from the truth.

The Government of Canada has supported Enbridge in this dispute for three years, at both the diplomatic and political levels, and will continue to do so. Ambassador Hillman is making the case and Consul General Comartin in Detroit is making the case. The Prime Minister raised the issue of North American energy security with Vice-President Harris, and the Minister of Natural Resources will press this case with the former Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm, as soon as she is confirmed as the new U.S. energy secretary.

I will say it again. This line is vital to Canada and to the United States. We will always defend it and protect Canada's energy and industrial infrastructure.

I would like to address the broader context of the energy relationship between Canada and the United States.

Our relationship is worth over $500 billion in cross-border trade. In all, a little more than 70 pipelines and more than 30 transmission lines already cross the Canada-U.S. border, creating the most integrated energy system in the world.

As a result, Canada supplies more than half of all the crude oil that the U.S. imports annually. Alberta alone sends more than three million barrels a day south of the border. Canadian crude represents roughly 70% of the feed stock to refineries in the U.S. Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions. In Michigan, half of all homes are heated with Canadian propane.

It is the same with other sources of energy. Canadian electricity powers close to seven million American homes, and Canadian uranium generates 6% of America's electricity, enough to power one in every 17 American homes. All of this energy integration benefits both countries by strengthening our energy security, lowering energy and capital costs and enhancing reliability of supply. It also creates good, middle-class jobs on both sides of the border, including at the thousands of American companies that supply technology, machinery and other services to Canada's energy industry.

Any shutdown of Line 5 would have significant economic impacts, not just on Ontario and Quebec, but in Michigan and neighbouring states. Four years ago in Houston, the Prime Minister said, “Nothing is more essential to the U.S. economy than access to a secure, reliable source of energy, and Canada is that source.” It was true then and remains true today.

Why disrupt our relationship by stopping a project that the United States' own environmental body says is safe? It is a project that can continue to supply good jobs and essential resources to both countries, a project that will ensure that low-cost, safe and reliable energy keeps flowing to Michigan, its neighbouring states, Ontario and Quebec.

Our government understands how important Line 5 is to Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Canada. That is why we strongly support this project. We will continue to defend this cause at all levels and at every opportunity as part of a broader and more mutually beneficial energy relationship between Canada and the United States.

We look forward to working with all members of the House to ensure that this critical pipeline continues to operate safely for the benefit of Canadians and our neighbours to the south.