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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was regard.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Conservative MP for Thornhill (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 55% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs April 28th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the hon. member is basing his question entirely on the second-class journalism of a current affairs program--

Foreign Affairs April 28th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, that question, from top to bottom, is laced with inaccuracies and falsehoods.

I have spoken to both our ambassador and to the ambassador of Mexico and I am assured that the Canadian now held in prison is receiving due process of law, and the case is proceeding. The case has been slowed because of the lawyer involved who has been appealing at every corner and delaying the process.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague might have finished the hon. member's quote.

We might also remember that the party opposite, when it was in government, did more to, apparently, deliberately alienate our neighbour and greatest trading partner than to build some of the bridges, not the least of which will be built across the Windsor crossing in the years ahead. In fact, since 2006 we think that Canadian-American relations have greatly improved.

I know the hon. members opposite love to deal in myths and torquing of the truth, and this includes all governments since 9/11, but Canada has spent more than $10 billion in new security investments to protect Canadians. The reality is that the dialogue between our two countries is better than it has been for years. We are working together. There have been some misunderstandings and some misperceptions but the frank and open relationship that we enjoy with the new administration is proof positive that we are moving forward.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise in the House today for this important debate. The government certainly recognizes the importance of maintaining an efficient and secure border with the United States. Good border management is critical for Canada because it supports our trade flows. It also supports the people to people relationships that have been build over the years, friends, family and colleagues from communities in each country who rely on efficient, secure and effective borders to maintain these relationships.

I can assure this House that the border was at the top of our list of many things to discuss with the new American administration.

As one would expect, it is also a major concern for the business community on both sides of the border.

We have listened closely to their concerns, including through the North American Competitiveness Council, NACC, and through other stakeholders that are worried about increasing unilateral U.S. security-related measures. Those measures cost money. They cost time. They eat away at the effectiveness of our cross-border trade.

The situation is compounded by a series of other challenges, including the current economic downturn, volatile energy and commodity costs, currency fluctuation and labour shortages.

Furthermore, both Canadian and American companies are concerned about the repercussions of the new rules and fees paid at the American border on our manufacturing exports. We are attacking these problems in many ways.

Senior officials across government meet on a regular basis through a range of channels to seek innovative means of managing a border that is both secure and efficient. During President Obama's visit to Canada, the Prime Minister and President Obama instructed senior officials to launch a renewed dialogue on border management.

We were encouraged to learn that senior U.S. officials, including Department of Homeland Security deputy secretary Jane Holl Lute, are seeking a new dialogue with Canada on border issues involving a key range of departments and agencies. These measures are positive developments and they will play an important role in Canada's ongoing efforts. Since 9/11, Canada has spent some $10 billion on enhancing our side of the border.

We will also invest $75 million over the next two years to ensure that the CBSA has the resources it needs to deliver efficient and secure border services at more than 1,200 domestic and international locations.

These funds are being used to increase the number of on-site border services officers at key border sites and to meet evolving operational demands resulting from increased trade and travel.

We have also proposed an additional two year $165 million spending package that includes $26 million to introduce microchip biometric data in Canada's passports, also known as the e-passport. This project will be piloted in late 2008. It also includes secure visa issuance processes. That means Canada will be joining 42 other countries in their efforts to safeguard passports against tampering.

In support of trusted traveller programs, we have also allocated $14 million to the NEXUS program for low-risk frequent travellers. This money will nearly double the program subscription rate from 130,000 to 350,000, helping to alleviate pressure at our land border crossings. A further $6 million was allocated to help develop provincial enhanced drivers' licences, or EDLs. Several provincial EDL programs have been or are being introduced in the coming year.

Steps like these will help us to make our border with the U.S. even more peaceful and more secure.

Canadians can also be proud of the level of cooperation that exists between the two countries in terms of border management. Our border with the United States is one of the world's most secure and peaceful borders.

This is because of the unparalleled spirit of co-operation that exists among our law enforcement, our intelligence, border and immigration agencies.

At the same time, we know further investments in technology and infrastructure are required, above and beyond what I have already outlined. For example, it is a priority of our government to complete a new crossing at Detroit/Windsor. This is an enormously important border crossing for Canada, and that is why the construction of the Detroit/Windsor international river crossing, DRIC bridge, is so important. Construction of the bridge is part of a $300 million commitment to improving infrastructure in the Windsor gateway. It will go a long way toward addressing traffic congestion, as well as security issues.

This is part of our work with the Government of Ontario through our “Let's Get Windsor-Essex Moving” strategy.

Furthermore, we are joining forces with the United States, the government of the State of Michigan and that of the Province of Ontario to thoroughly study the region's transport system, including roads, water crossings and inspection points.

Through the Detroit River international crossing project, we are aiming to have additional crossing capacity in place by 2013. Through these and other initiatives, we will continue to work with our partners in the U.S. to support North American global competitiveness and the rapid and efficient expansion of North America's busiest commercial crossing.

To keep our trade flowing, the Canada Border Services Agency is also delivering a variety of important programs. This includes the eManifest importer admissibility data, or IAD, initiative, which will be implemented by 2012. It also includes the free and secure trade, FAST, initiative, the partners in protection, or PIP, program, the customs self-assessment program, CSA, initiative, the commercial driver registration program, CDRP, and the advance commercial information, or ACI, program.

All these programs are aimed at streamlining border crossing processes for exporters and shippers and keeping our trade flowing smoothly and securely across our borders.

Lastly, we will pursue our efforts to prepare for the implementation of the western hemisphere travel initiative at both land and sea ports of entry beginning in June 2009.

Once implemented, cross-border travellers will be required to present a passport or an alternative document, such as an enhanced driver's licence or a trusted traveller card, when entering the United States.

From the very beginning, this government has worked to ensure that the implementation of the U.S. policy will have minimal impact on the cross-border movement of Canadian goods and Canadian travellers. Working with our partners in the U.S., we successfully rolled back the introduction of WHTI by 18 months. Our 22 missions in the United States, especially our embassy in Washington, were very active in this effort. They continue to play a crucial in communicating the requirements of the WHTI to Canadian citizens living in the United States and working with the U.S. government on joint communications in both countries.

This government believes that any new border-crossing measures, including the western hemisphere travel initiative, with its passport rules for all travel to the U.S., should be implemented in a way that reflects the importance of the border to our societies and economies. Our border should continue drawing people and businesses together, not keep them apart.

This government recognizes the importance of keeping our trade, our people and our investment dollars flowing smoothly, efficiently and effectively through our borders throughout the North American space and around the world.

In conclusion, we will continue to work to that end and with a view to ensuring that North America is better equipped to face competition in the future.

Service Canada April 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure my hon. colleague that Passport Canada has opened a new processing plant. It has expanded regional offices and I assume his office as well. It has nearly doubled the size of its workforce since 2006 and expanded its network to 230 points of service, compared with only 30 under the previous Liberal government.

Afghanistan April 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has informed the Afghan government of the damaging effect this law could have. We have pointed out that we expect it not to be enacted. At the same time, we understand that the Afghan government intends to continue to review the law and to discuss it with civil society. We are monitoring developments closely. We are communicating directly and firmly, and we will continue to make our position known.

Afghanistan April 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, finger pointing and rhetorical fury may play well with the opposition, including the party opposite whose leader changes his policy positions as often as his socks, but with regard to this offensive law, the Government of Canada is dealing firmly and effectively with this issue.

Afghanistan April 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member does not seem to have been following international news.

The Prime Minister, as I said, shared his indignation with other heads of government at the G20 meeting and he called directly and firmly on the Afghan government to honour its human rights treaty obligations under international law, including respect of the equality of women before the law.

Afghanistan April 3rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the hon. member that she does not have the corner on moral outrage. This is, indeed, an offensive law and Canada is deeply troubled by it. I would hope that all parties recognize that we share this concern.

The Prime Minister has shared his indignation at the G20. The foreign minister spoke out at the Hague and will again at the NATO summit. We call on the Afghan government in the strongest of terms to honour its human rights treaty obligations and, in particular, the recognition of the rights of women.

Committees of the House March 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I would agree with the member that there is no room for equivocation in this debate.

I would simply ask the hon. member whether he was aware, when he was a minister of the Crown, of Omar Khadr's age when he was arrested.