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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is iran.

Conservative MP for Thornhill (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 59% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs June 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a litany of blatantly implausible excuses for the Liberals' genocide denial. One of the early excuses was that, if Liberals acknowledged the horrifically obvious, Canada would be obliged to do something. We have not heard that excuse for a while. The minister has been hiding, until today, behind process.

Is that the real reason? Have the Liberals denied genocide to avoid restoring and extending Canada's anti-Daesh combat mission?

Foreign Affairs June 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, today's UN report is unequivocal, that genocide against Yazidis has occurred and is ongoing and, as important, that there must be no impunity for these crimes.

The Liberals have spent months, until today, making excuses for refusing to recognize this as genocide, but every state—and this includes Canada—has an obligation to act to prevent and to punish genocide.

Now that the minister has finally spoken the word, will Canada restore the combat mission?

Business of Supply June 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his motion. His supply day motion is floated on the isolated pools of alcohol across our country, and the point has resonated with “free the beer” and with his private member's bill a year ago on interprovincial barriers to wine producers in different regions of the country.

However, the consequences of the motion would go far beyond wine and beer. I wonder if my colleague could speak to the benefits and consequences of returning to the original intent of our constitutional framers with regard to people, goods, services, and investment across the country.

Business of Supply June 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I respect my colleague's insight and her expertise in this area, but the reality is that the ICC will simply not initiate a complete investigation and definition of what we know is happening and what we see graphically in many forms on YouTube, on social media, which the Islamic State boasts about on a regular basis. We will not see the ICC act meaningfully without direction from the United Nations Security Council. That simply will not happen.

Canada should be doing more.

The Simon-Skjodt report is a worthy and meaningful report. That report by itself provides more than enough evidence for ministers on that side of the House to stand and say, as ministers in democracies around the world have said, that what the Islamic State has been perpetrating and continues to perpetrate is genocide.

Business of Supply June 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we expected this argument to be raised today, and I am sure we will hear it repeatedly through the day.

The reality is that the United Nations Security Council is dysfunctional and impotent when it comes to responding to today's crisis. These laws were written in the middle of the last century, and it is a system that should be respected. However, as we have seen, the United Nations has fallen into dysfunction, as has the UN Security Council when it comes to the vetoes from Russia and China.

The leader of the official opposition made the point that the young Yazidi girls who are suffering today cannot write letters to the United Nations Secretary-General.

Writing letters, consulting, and not speaking a word is simply unacceptable.

Business of Supply June 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise to support the motion by the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland.

It is tragically incredible that in 2016 any minister in any country that considers itself a democracy, committed to the rule of law and recognizing the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide refuses to speak the word that specifically and powerfully defines what has been happening in full sight, and has been horrifically documented in Syria and Iraq for years now. It is the brutal persecution of any and all who refuse to convert to the Islamic state's perverse interpretation of Islam, kidnapping, sexual enslavement, rape, torture, mass murder, in other words, genocide.

Today we have heard, and I suspect will hear many more times, convoluted attempts from the government side to excuse Liberal ministers from uttering that word. More than seven decades after the word was created from Greek and Latin roots, the Greek word genos for race or tribe and the Latin word cide for killing, lexicologists, diplomats, politicians and ordinary people have quibbled and quarrelled over a precise meaning and when it should be applied.

The House passed a motion unanimously just last year, put by the former Conservative member of Parliament Brad Butt, that reaffirmed recognition of four genocides of the 20th century: the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the Ukrainian Holodomor and the Rwandan genocide. However, many of us felt that motion fell short of recognizing all of the 20th century genocides, such as the Great Chinese Famine, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge killing fields, Srebrenica, and Darfur, to reference several yet unrecognized genocides. Now we have Syria and Iraq and the so-called self-proclaimed Islamic state.

The evidence is overwhelming. The most clearly defined instance is the massive atrocities committed on the minority communities of Ninewa province in northern Iraq. Before June 2014, Ninewa was Iraq's most diverse province. The ethnic and religious minorities included the Yazidis, the Assyrian Chaldean Christians, the Sabaean-Mandaeans, the Shia Shabak, Turkmen, and the Kaka'i. More than 800,000 men, women and children were forced form their homes and communities. Shrines, temples and churches were systematically destroyed. Many thousands were killed in barely three months, and the slaughter has continued since.

In September last year, during the Canadian election campaign, the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide conducted a bearing witness expedition to Iraq. The group documented the brutal forceable displacement, forced religious conversion, rape, torture, kidnapping and murder. Just to explain for the House what the Simon-Skjodt Center is, it conducts work on genocide and related crimes against humanity for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Simon-Skjodt Center is dedicated to stimulating timely global action to prevent genocide where possible and to, as it states, “catalyze an international response when it occurs.”

In August 2014, the report found that more than 200,000 Yazidis were surrounded on Mount Sinjar without food and water. Another 50,000 were isolated and captured by Islamic state terrorists. Only have U.S. humanitarian food drops and bombing raids created a safe corridor for escape was the siege of Mount Sinjar ended.

Detailed testimony, recorded by the genocide expedition, was given by refugees in Iraq's internally displaced persons camps and those at large in the area.

One man's quoted testimony in the expedition's report characterizes, I believe, the Islamic State's campaign of forced exile and actual extinction. “We have no future“, he said, “Our generation has gone”.

The Simon-Skjodt genocide report, and it is a report I would suggest all members of this House read for its well-documented detail of what has happened under Islamic State's brutality, concludes with the statement:

...our belief is that [Islamic State] perpetrated genocide against the Yezidi people.

The next sentence is one that will be debated, I know, throughout the day today, but the next sentence is the sentence the Liberal government has been hiding behind. The sentence says:

Any formal determination of whether genocide was perpetrated needs to be made by a court based on careful consideration of the evidence.

That is exactly what has not happened. It has not happened as Islamic State has continued to perpetrate genocide and crimes against humanity ever since, and still today.

The International Criminal Court will not, on its own, initiate proceedings to consider and declare Islamic State guilty of genocide. The ICC must first be directed by the United Nations Security Council to act. Because of veto dysfunction on the Security Council, and the blockage of such genocide and crimes against humanity resolutions by Russia and China, repeatedly, none of the democracies on the Security Council have bothered to put such a motion regarding Islamic State.

As a bit of an aside, this is just another powerful reason to shake up, to renovate, to recreate the United Nations to be the international institution it was originally created to be and is so often not today.

However, and this is a point we will argue through the day today, the inability of the United Nations to direct the International Court to act should not be used by sovereign democracies like Canada to not meet our individual responsibility to speak the g-word out loud and to take the necessary action with like-minded countries.

We know well, and we heard from the Leader of the Opposition, the list of those who have spoken out. Our mother Parliament, the British House of Commons, voted unanimously to define Islamic State action as genocide. So too the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Vatican, the U.S. House of Representatives, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the U.S. Secretary of State, the council of bishops in Europe, and others, and there are more, almost by the month, have dared to speak the word the Liberal government refuses to say.

In conclusion, I would urge all colleagues, across parties, to stand today and support the motion put by the member for Sturgeon River—Parkland to declare that this House strongly condemns the atrocities and declares these crimes to be genocide.

Foreign Affairs June 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, by any realistic measure, last week's visit by China's foreign minister did not go so well. Again, the Prime Minister broke with protocol and caved in to Minister Wang's demand for a meeting. Then Canada's minister stood silent while the Chinese minister angrily scolded a Canadian journalist.

When will the Liberals stand up to China and demand meaningful answers on China's human rights transgressions?

Foreign Affairs June 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, diplomatic news conferences are usually the stuff of deflected questions and high-level platitudes. However, yesterday, the Chinese foreign minister furiously dressed down a journalist who dared ask about human rights abuse and the imprisonment of Canadian Kevin Garratt for unsubstantiated charges of spying. The Minister of Foreign Affairs stood by quietly and said that he raised these same issues behind closed doors.

Can the minister tell us if the Chinese foreign minister was as angry, condescending, and disingenuous in his denials there, and how the minister responded?

Foreign Affairs June 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, millions of Chinese citizens, victims of widespread and well-documented human rights abuse, must wonder about the Prime Minister's fresh start with their communist government. We recall of course the Prime Minister's professed admiration for China's basic dictatorship. Yesterday, the Chinese foreign minister angrily refused to answer any questions at all about China's lamentable human rights record.

Is it not time for the Liberals to rethink and recalibrate their priorities on the China file?

Foreign Affairs June 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, Kevin Garratt, a Canadian citizen who for years has assisted humanitarian programs into North Korea from his café in Dandong, China, has been imprisoned in China since 2014, indicted on phoney and unsubstantiated charges of spying.

While our previous Conservative government spoke out strongly on Mr. Garratt's behalf, protesting the lack of evidence, the Liberals have only expressed concern.

Why is an innocent Canadian being abandoned so the Prime Minister can pursue his fresh start with China?