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Crucial Fact

  • 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

Canadian Human Rights Act November 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like the unanimous consent of the House to split my time with the member for Saskatoon West.

Canadian Human Rights Act November 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I really do want to thank the member for Calgary Nose Hill for her very insightful, passionate speech. She and I have had a lot of dialogue on this issue since we were both first elected. I have seen her come a long way in her understanding. It is quite admirable to see her talk about her journey before the rest of us in the House.

For me, what is different this time, and this is the third time the House has been here at this point, is the fact that partisanship has now been swept away. We are really talking about each member's understanding of this issue and his or her feelings on this issue. We certainly have, as the member for Calgary Nose Hill pointed out, a very large contingent in the Conservative caucus who will now be supporting this bill, along with the Liberals and the NDP. That is a sign of progress.

I want to emphasize something the member for Calgary Nose Hill mentioned and draw attention to it again. One of the ways we have made this progress is by trans people approaching their members of Parliament, talking to them about their lived experience, and asking for that representation. I want to ask the member for Calgary Nose Hill about her experience, meeting transgendered people and talking to them personally about their experiences.

Canadian Human Rights Act November 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, just on the last question from the member for Sarnia—Lambton, I know she is quite sincere about her question, but we have had on the Hill in the last four years three full sets of hearings, one here in the House and two in the Senate. The transcripts of those hearings and the more than 35 witnesses are available to all members. If I were asking a question of her, which I am not, I would be asking how this is any different than protections for gender. Does that mean families cannot talk about gender? Does this mean that families cannot talk about race? This is no different than any of the other protections that are currently in the human rights code.

My question for the parliamentary secretary is this. Given that it has been a long road to get here to what is now going to be the third time, and I trust this bill will be passed by Parliament, what arrangements have been made, or what talks have been held by the government with the other House about expeditious passage of this bill? Since the Senate has become a bit of a black box for the rest of us, I want to know whether the member has been able to make any progress in talks with senators.

Remembrance Day November 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge Remembrance Day, which all members will be marking in our ridings next week. I know that on November 11, I will be joining thousands of Canadians in my riding of Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke and across the country to honour the service of our veterans.

Remembrance Day is above all a time to remember those who gave their lives in service to Canada and the sacrifices of the many more who were wounded in service, including those whose injuries may not be so readily visible.

This is also a time to remember the sacrifice of families who lost loved ones and a time to offer our profound thanks to the men and women who serve our country in times of war, conflict, and peace, now and into the future.

Hopefully this Remembrance Day will also be a time for all of us in the House to recognize the covenant that we have with past and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families, and a time for all of us to work to make sure that serving members and veterans get both the respect and the support they have earned through their service.

Lest we forget.

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.