House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Independent MP for Brampton East (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 52% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship October 15th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan face constant persecution, discrimination and violence. Thousands have been forced to flee, and many are living in very precarious conditions in nearby countries. We are fortunate to have a strong community in Canada that has come together and stepped up to bring some of these vulnerable families to Canada as refugees.

Will the minister please update the House on the status of the effort to resettle vulnerable Afghan, Sikh and Hindu refugees?

Sikh Heritage Month Act October 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, once again, I am proud to rise in the House to debate Bill C-376 at second reading.

The bill was introduced by the member for Surrey—Newton, and I was more than happy to second it. I am humbled and enormously grateful for this opportunity to speak in favour of a bill that provides an opportunity to highlight the many contributions that Canadians of Sikh heritage have made to Canada, and an occasion to educate future generations about the role that Sikh Canadians have played and will continue to play in communities across this country.

At the heart of this bill are everyday Canadians. At the heart of this bill are values that all Canadians share, cherish and protect. At the heart of this bill are diversity, inclusion and tolerance.

Every day, Sikh institutions, like Seva Food Bank, are doing tremendous work, in this case by running and operating a food bank in Mississauga that provides services to over 900 families each month. The Guru Gobind Singh Children's Foundation, which operates under the motto “children helping children”, holds annual charity runs to help raise money for children in third world countries. The Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen is a voluntary organization in British Columbia, that is working on eradicating food insecurity through the Sikh practice of langar, a community kitchen, where everyone is treated equally.

These three organizations are just a small number of the numerous Sikh organizations across this country helping Canadians succeed.

A Sikh heritage month is also an occasion to educate future generations about the role that Sikh Canadians have played and will continue to play in this country.

It is well-known that Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Canadians of Sikh origin have contributed to this diversity, which is interwoven into the cultural fabric of our country. We continue to honour and preserve our history and heritage, in order to inspire future generations to continue sharing our country's story. Diversity is Canada's strength, and our differences, no doubt, make us stronger.

I fully support Bill C-376, which is seeking to formally celebrate the month of April as Sikh heritage month. I have always said I am a proud Sikh and proud Canadian, but I am most proud to live in a nation that does not make me choose between devotion to my faith and devotion to my country.

When people ask me about the Sikh Canadian story, I always sum it up as follows.

In 1867, then-prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald asked for an army of Sikhs to help secure Montreal from a U.S. invasion. In 2015, a Sikh was appointed the Minister of National Defence. This story is only possible in the greatest country in the world. Sikhs are truly living the Canadian dream.

I look forward to seeing this bill pass, and when it does, I will look forward to celebrating with Sikhs and Canadians of all different backgrounds across this country, from coast to coast to coast.

When people ask me why we need heritage months in the first place, the answer for me is quite simple. The beauty of Canada is that no matter where people come from, no matter what people believe in, Canada will always have a place for them, too. This does not happen by accident and will not continue without effort. Heritage months provide an opportunity to educate and learn about the history of our fellow Canadians, and that is why I fully support the concept of heritage months. I look forward to celebrating Sikh heritage month this April.

Sikh Heritage Month Act September 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise today to debate Bill C-376 at second reading. The bill was introduced by the hon. member for Surrey—Newton and I was more than happy to second the bill.

I am humbled and enormously grateful for this opportunity to speak in favour of a bill that provides opportunity to highlight the many contributions that Canadians of Sikh heritage have made to Canada, an occasion to educate future generations about the role that Sikh Canadians have played and will continue to play building our country from coast to coast to coast.

A Sikh heritage month is an opportunity to highlight, respect and honour the many contributions that Sikh Canadians have made to Canada. In fact, Sikh heritage month is already celebrated every April in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. I look forward to the passage of this bill so we can celebrate all across Canada.

April is a particularly significant month for Sikhs around the world. It was in April in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa Panth, which was the formal creation of the Sikh faith. Sikhs around the world believe in core values of naam japna, meditation, kirt karni, earning an honest living, seva, community service, and always helping the less fortunate. These are not just Sikh values; these are also Canadian values.

Today, Canada holds the second largest Sikh population in the world. Almost 500,000 Sikhs proudly call Canada home. Indeed, the Sikh Canadian story is a deep-rooted story with many ups and downs in Canadian history. Sikhs have worked hard across the country, from serving in our armed forces to building our railroads and working in the lumber mills in British Columbia. Today, Sikhs are doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, media personalities and even politicians. They have successfully established themselves as hard-working, generous people who are integral to the Canadian fabric.

As Sikh Canadian families enter the third and fourth generations in Canada, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the fact that the success of the Sikh Canadian community is, in large part, due to the early pioneers who left everything they knew in Punjab and India in search of a better life for themselves and their families. We salute the early taxi drivers, truck drivers, people in factories, the individuals who picked up the extra overtime shifts so they could start building their local temples for a place to pray.

The first Sikh temple was opened in British Columbia in 1907, the Khalsa Diwan Society, and it is still operating today. From that first gurdwara in British Columbia, Sikhs have built numerous gurdwaras from coast to coast to coast. From Halifax to Victoria, one could always drop in to a Sikh gurdwara, meditate and enjoy a community meal, known as langer.

Sikhs have always worked hard and today our community stands on the stories of giant Canadian Sikhs. Baltej Singh Dhillon comes to mind, the first turbaned RCMP officer; Gurbaj Singh Maltani, a young student who dropped his kirpan on the playground and fought for his right to wear his kirpan, his article of faith, all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada; Sikhs like Harnarayan Singh, who is breaking barriers on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi Edition; and even our very own Minister of National Defence, who in 2014 was named the first Sikh lieutenant colonel of the Canadian army.

Indeed, the Canadian Sikh story is thriving today across the country. However, we did not get here by accident and the story of success will not continue without effort. Everyone in the House remembers that in 1914 the Komagata Maru, a Japanese ship carrying Sikhs fleeing India, was turned away by Canadian authorities. When the ship returned to India, many people were killed. The Prime Minister, in 2016, apologized on behalf of the Canadian government for this unspeakable act.

Even throughout my lifetime, I have experienced racism for wearing my turban and I have seen Sikh places of worship vandalized. Just last year, university students were being asked if they were extremists just for the simple fact that they were wearing their identity proudly.

That is why Sikh heritage month is so important. It is not just an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of Sikh Canadians, but, more important, an opportunity to educate Canadians and people all around the world of the Sikh way of life and the Sikh philosophy.

Paramjit Kaur Deol May 30th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House with a heavy heart. After a long and tough battle with cancer, my dearest aunt, Paramjit Kaur Deol passed away this week. She leaves behind a loving husband, four children, and eight grandchildren, who will always remember her as the rock of their family.

Like many Canadians, she came to Canada in search of a better life for herself and her family, in 1974. Grateful for what she had, she always made sure to give back. In the 1970s, one immigrant with a similar name, the Deal family name, found her in the phone book and called her to ask for help. She invited that person, a complete stranger, to stay with her family until the new immigrant could get settled in Canada. This is just one story of many. Thanks to Paramjit Kaur's efforts, several new immigrants got to achieve their very own Canadian dream.

To my mama-ji, Tina, Karen, Kushwant and Moni—

Basketball Scholarship May 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, each week, we run a free basketball drop-in in our riding, and over 100 kids come out to play some basketball. Today, I am very proud to rise in the House to congratulate Humraj Grewal, one of our drop-in participants, who has recently accepted a basketball scholarship to Huntington Prep high school in West Virginia. The program at Huntington Prep is known for its basketball development, and it trains young athletes to get scholarships in the NCAA division I. Past graduates of Huntington Prep include Canada's own Andrew Wiggins, who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

At just 15 years of age, Humraj has shown amazing talent, playing small forward for his local high school in Brampton East. I have no doubt in my mind that he will show even greater promise in his new school in the United States. I want to wish Humraj and his family the best of luck in his future basketball career. All of Brampton East and all of Canada are cheering for Humraj.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 23rd, 2018

Madam Speaker, I always find it absolutely amazing when members from the NDP get up and talk about helping the most vulnerable people in our society.

When the opportunity came to help middle-class families with a tax cut, and when the opportunity came, through the Canada child benefit, to lift 300,000 children out of poverty, the NDP members voted against it. They always go out and talk about helping Canadians, but when the opportunity came, they voted against it. We are not going to take any lessons from the NDP members on helping Canadians.

This side of the House is doing its job. In the 2015 election, we promised that we would invest in middle-class Canadians, and we have done that by reducing taxes and investing in the Canada child benefit. We promised to reduce the age from 67 to 65, and we have done that. We have invested billions of dollars in affordable housing.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 23rd, 2018

Madam Speaker, what the hon. member and the hon. member's party fail to understand is that our commitment made in the 2015 election to return to the age of 65 for the GIS and old age security has lifted hundreds of thousands of seniors out of poverty. Those are the same seniors the member's party turned its back on. That was the commitment we made in the 2015 campaign.

The member opposite wants to talk about jobs. Let us talk about jobs, no problem. Since we were elected in 2015, we have created over 600,000 jobs. That is more than the Conservatives created in 10 years of government. The unemployment rate is at a decade low of 5.8%. The Conservatives had the lowest-growth job rate, for 10 years, of any prime minister.

The member opposite and his party like to get up and talk about experts. We take our advice from the Canadian people. That is why we are sitting on this side of the House. If the Conservatives keep that mentality, they will be comfortable on that side for a very long time.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 23rd, 2018

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in the House and discuss measures we are introducing through Bill C-74. The bill proposes important measures related to our budget 2018. With our latest budget, we are putting people first and ensuring equality and fairness for all Canadians.

We are doing this in a number of ways. These include initiatives that allow for more equal share of parental leave, an initiative to support the participation of women in the workforce, and the introduction of proactive pay equity legislation in federally regulated sectors.

We are also working hard to support Canada's most vulnerable segments of society, including seniors. The measures introduced in Bill C-74 help to do just that. It is no secret that Canada's population is aging, and Canadians are living longer and more healthy lives. This increasing longevity is good news and should be celebrated, because it brings with it more wisdom, expertise, and experience in society. However, this demographic shift also means that we need to adjust our policies and programs to ensure they remain relevant.

We have a growing seniors population, with over six million people who are 65 years of age or older. In the next 25 years, that number is estimated to almost double, to 11 million people, representing one-quarter of Canada's population. There is no doubt that private and public institutions alike must adapt, as the significant demographic shift creates new opportunities as well as challenges.

Our government places enormous value on the contribution that seniors have made and will continue to make in our communities, workplaces, families, and our country. It goes without saying that they should have access to income security that will allow them to live a safe, secure, and dignified retirement.

We have already taken concrete steps to ensure that seniors will have that dignified retirement. In the area of income security, it is well known that we have restored the eligibility age for old age security and guaranteed income supplement from age 67 back to 65, and for allowance benefits from age 62 back to 60. This is putting thousands of dollars into the pockets of Canadian seniors and keeping approximately 100,000 future seniors from falling into poverty. Since 2016, we have also increased the top-up of the guaranteed income supplement payment by $947 per year for single recipients. This has improved the financial security of close to 900,000 vulnerable seniors and is lifting approximately 13,000 seniors out of poverty. Seventy per cent of those seniors happen to be women. We are also ensuring that senior couples who receive GIS and allowance benefits and live apart for reasons beyond their control, for example, because of long-term care requirements, can receive higher benefits based on their individual incomes.

The Canada pension plan is one of the most important parts of our social support system. It is with great pride that I remind the House that in March 2017, our government enacted legislative changes to enhance the Canada pension plan to ensure greater financial security for future seniors by increasing CPP retirement benefits, and providing larger benefits for disabled contributors, widows, and widowers. The amount that Canadians pay into the plan before retirement will gradually rise over a seven-year period, starting in 2019. Increased benefits will build up gradually with each year of contributions to the CPP enhancement. When workers who participated in the enhancement for their entire careers collect retirement pensions, the CPP enhancement will increase the maximum CPP retirement pension by approximately 50%. These CPP enhancements mean more money for Canadians when they retire, so they can worry less about their savings and focus more on enjoying time with their families.

With the action taken by Quebec to enhance the Quebec pension plan in a similar fashion, all Canadians can now look forward to a safer and more secure retirement.

Building on that success, as part of the 2016-18 triennial review, federal and provincial ministers of finance agreed to more changes that will improve the CPP without increasing legislated contribution rates. These changes will provide further support from CPP enhancements for parents and people with disabilities. In our latest budget, we have confirmed that the government would move forward with these changes in 2019, in addition to those established through the CPP enhancements. With Bill C-74 we would put our promise to Canadians in action to create a better CPP for seniors today and into the future. This is why we are asking for the House's full support of Bill C-74.

The changes we are proposing in this bill include features that would protect the value of retirement benefits under the CPP enhancement for parents who take time off work to care for young children and for persons with disabilities. They also include a raise in the survivor's pension for individuals who become widowed under age 45 as well as a top-up benefit for disabled retirement pension recipients under the age of 65. We would increase the death benefit to its maximum value of $2,500 for all eligible contributors.

It is important to note that Bill C-74 would also make the required amendments to maintain portability between the CPP and the enhanced Quebec pension plan when those enhancements come into effect.

As I have stated, with budget 2018, we have committed to putting people first and ensuring quality and fairness for all Canadians. Part of that commitment means taking informed steps forward in our efforts to advance equality, especially for women, because we believe that equality between Canadian women and men will lead to greater prosperity. We are applying this lens to everything we do, and the changes we are proposing in Bill C-74 are no exception.

The changes we are making to the Canada pension plan are going to go a long way in supporting all future retirees, including, in particular, women. We know that women are more likely than men to take time away from work to raise their children, and let us not forget that women are also more likely to outlive their partners. We are making these changes because it is the right thing to do and is the smart thing to do to help seniors and advance equality for women to the benefit of all Canadians.

We know that Canadians work hard every day to support themselves and their families and to keep our economy growing. When it comes time to retire, Canadians deserve to do so with support from the very society they helped build and maintain. It goes without saying that Canadians should have access to income security that will allow them to live a safe, secure, and dignified retirement.

I am proud to say that through Bill C-74, we would continue to make that goal a reality. I encourage my colleagues in this House to support this bill and help create a better retirement for those who work so hard, for this generation and for generations to come. We owe it to all Canadians to pass this bill.

Sikh Canadians March 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am a proud Canadian. I am a proud Sikh, but I am most proud that I live in a country that does not make me choose between my devotion to my faith and my devotion to my country.

Last week in my riding I met with university students who are now being asked if they are extremists simply for practising their Sikh identity proudly. I, too, have been asked these questions. My response has always been to deal with it in a positive manner and educate Canadians on how beautiful the Sikh religion and its people are. The principles of my faith have guided me in public service, especially the values of equality for all and performing seva, selfless service.

Sikh history in Canada is 128 years old, and Sikhs proudly serve as leaders in all fields. Today, I ask all Canadians that if they have a question about Sikhs to come and speak to me or any other Sikh Canadian. We will be happy to share why our unique identity is so important to us and why advocating for human rights is a shared Sikh and Canadian value, protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

William Osler Health System February 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, last week I got to meet a constituent of mine in Sarabha, Punjab. Dr. Gurjit Bajwa travelled to my father's village in Punjab as part of a seven-member team from William Osler Health System in Brampton. They held three eye camps, a diabetes camp, and provided free medical coverage to people in my father's village in Punjab. How cool of a story is that? Constituents from my riding of Brampton East went back to where my father's story started, to provide free medical coverage in a rural community.

They also signed on to agreements for new research opportunities. Doctors also made a plan to ensure that people in Punjab have the awareness of diabetes, which is a big problem in that region.

This is another great example of effective and sustainable international partnerships that play critical roles in advancing our respective health care systems.

I ask members to join me in congratulating Dr. Gurjit Bajwa and his entire team from William Osler.