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  • His favourite word is c-51.

NDP MP for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

National Defence November 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, what we are asking for is action on this now.

Until 1992, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Canadians were systematically driven out of the military. More than 1,200 Canadians were dishonourably discharged because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Last week, the defence committee unanimously adopted my motion urging the minister to take action to revise these service records.

Will the minister take this first step now and begin righting the injustice done to these Canadians who served their country honourably?

Petitions October 31st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present petition e-431, initiated by Tsewang Rinzin of Toronto. This petition calls on the Government of Canada to send at the earliest opportunity a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians and/or diplomats to China to ascertain the whereabouts and well-being of the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, and to urge the Government of China to release the 11th Panchen Lama at the earliest opportunity.

The Panchen Lama is the second-highest ranking lama in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. The 11th Panchen Lama was declared as such on May 14, 1995. Three days later, he and his family disappeared and they have not been seen for 21 years.

I am pleased to be the sponsor of this petition, and I look forward to hearing from the government at the earliest opportunity in response.

Human Rights October 25th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, today marks Rainbow Day on the Hill, a day when we invite LGBTQ youth to come to Parliament to shadow out-MPs. We hope this opportunity to see lesbian and gay leaders in action will inspire these youth to become involved as leaders in their own communities.

While today the focus is on youth, I also want to remind the government that there is much unfinished business when it comes to my community. Hundreds were kicked out of the Canadian Forces for being gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender and are still saddled with dishonourable discharges. Hundreds of gay men are still haunted by criminal records for things that are no longer illegal in Canada, often preventing them from travelling or volunteering. Thousands of public servants faced government-orchestrated witch hunts and firings for being members of our community. The harm this did to people's careers and lives remains unacknowledged. The gay blood ban and an unequal age of consent remain in place.

Yes, symbols are important, but the current government needs to act on this unfinished business and in doing so to help put an end to homophobia and transphobia once and for all.

Foreign Affairs October 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals say they are doing nothing to facilitate the sale of armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, but not only did the Minister of Foreign Affairs sign the export permits himself, now we learn the Department of National Defence will be performing quality checks on the armoured vehicles before export. It is clear the government is not just supporting this arms deal but it is also giving the Saudis training and a quality guarantee.

Why is DND involved in testing these vehicles for Saudi Arabia? Is this why the Liberals are so afraid of the oversight of arms sales?

Canadian Human Rights Act October 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments by the member for Winnipeg North, but I want to go back to what the member for Kitchener—Conestoga said. In his speech, he claimed that the majority of faith groups did not support the bill. When I asked him about that, he said that was not what he said. However, he just repeated it again and said that the majority of faith groups and immigrant groups did not support the bill.

I have seen no evidence of that. In fact, I have seen evidence to the contrary. Could the member for Winnipeg North comment on that?

Canadian Human Rights Act October 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member would agree with me that there is a kind of misconception that sometimes happens that transgender people are really only downtown urban people.

I have attended the Okanagan Pride every year. Last year I met a transgender man from the member's riding. In my experience, there are transgender people in all communities, all across the country, and it is not just some downtown urban kind of phenomenon.

Canadian Human Rights Act October 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Thornhill for the seriousness and respect with which he approaches all issues in the House, even though we quite often find ourselves on opposite sides.

With respect, I would submit that he is missing the point with the redundancy argument, and that is that while some cases have indeed succeeded by arguing that the discrimination transgender people face is like sex discrimination or like a disability, what the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission both said is that there is a distinct possibility of cases failing because they are not like sex discrimination or they are not like a disability. It is easy for most of us to see that discrimination against, for instance, a trans woman is not the same as discrimination against a woman. There are many aspects in which they will be different.

What we heard from both of those organizations is that yes, while some cases have succeeded, there is a gap, and in the future, these cases might fail.

Canadian Human Rights Act October 18th, 2016

Madam Speaker, obviously the hon. member is correct. I have been working on this for five years. It was first passed by the House six and a half years ago, and if there is a villain in this story, it is the unelected Senate which has twice failed to pass this law. This law could already have been in place in this country.

I hesitate to mount a great attack on the other place today because I have no idea how its members will deal with future government bills, but I hope they will deal with this expeditiously and respect the will of the House and make sure this becomes law as soon as possible.

Canadian Human Rights Act October 18th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Burnaby South for seconding my previous private member's bill and for his work on this issue. I want to say once again that it is not my work that has brought us to this place, but the work of very brave transgender Canadians who stepped forward to fight for their rights in public, to take cases to court, and to demand that organizations and institutions make way for all Canadians. It is not my work that we are here to celebrate today, nor the work of the Minister of Justice, nor the work of the House of Commons, but the work of transgender Canadians in stepping forward to be who they are. Indeed, in a famous quote, Oscar Wilde says that people should be who they are because everyone else is already taken.

Canadian Human Rights Act October 18th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question and I know her great sincerity in addressing this issue before the House. The simple answer is of course I do. It is not the total solution. Passing laws never solves everything, but passing a law like Bill C-16 is an expression of our collective will as Canadians to do better and our collective will to make sure that we are an inclusive society that leaves no one behind.