House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was alberta.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Edmonton Centre (Alberta)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Interparliamentary Delegations June 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, a report of the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas representing its participation at the bilateral visit to Brazil, held in Brasilia and São Paulo, Brazil, from April 23 to 26, 2019.

Natural Resources June 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, Canada's energy sector is a key driver of our economy and an important source of good, middle-class jobs in my community.

Edmontonians and all Albertans want to see good projects move forward in the right way. They know first-hand what happens when they do not.

For 10 years, the Conservatives cut corners and failed to get a single inch of new pipeline built to non-U.S. markets. We were elected on a plan to do things differently, and we have delivered.

Could the Prime Minister please update the House on our government's decision on the Trans Mountain expansion project?

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 18th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I understand that my remarks may be getting under the skin of the Conservative opposition. That is the nature of this place. That is the moment when the Conservatives threw up their hands and said to capitulate, cave in, give in on culture, give in on supply management. Forget labour, throw out the dispute resolution mechanism, forget women and indigenous and LGBTQ2 people. They really do not count in trade. Just take any deal, even a bad deal. It is shocking and shameful. I am glad that they were not in the kitchen cooking the deal, because it would have been a colossal flop.

Instead of taking the advice of the Conservatives to capitulate, our Minister of Foreign Affairs held fast. Our government stayed strong. We let the Americans and the Mexicans iron out their differences and then we came back to the table. The new NAFTA was always going to be about three economies. We committed to that, as did our Mexican partners, and ultimately so did the United States.

Now we are debating the passing of a deal that is central to our economy and to our modern self-identity. I understand the sour grapes from the Conservatives over trade deals like the Canada-European trade agreement because they simply could not close the deal. They did not have the mettle of our Minister of Foreign Affairs, who knew that the German Social Democratic Party would not be able to deal with a new modern trade deal with Canada. What did she do? She did not take advice from the Conservatives. She did not sit here and sulk. She did not yell at them from across the Atlantic. What did she do? The Minister of Foreign Affairs went to the convention of the German Social Democratic Party, spoke at it and convinced the Social Democrats. Germany signed on to a historic deal.

That is exactly the same kind of mettle that the leader of our NAFTA negotiations put toward this historic deal. That is leadership. That turned the tide. That is exactly what makes them so mad on the other side. The opposition cannot handle innovative trade deal-making because they think that they know how to run an economy when, in fact, what they know how to do is add $150 billion to our debt and have nothing to show for it.

What did we get? Since day one of the NAFTA negotiations, our objective was to get a good deal for Canada and for all Canadians. We wanted to safeguard more than $2 billion a day in cross-border trade, 70% of Canadian exports.

What is in the new NAFTA? Let us talk about energy, because that is important to my province and to the whole country. The new NAFTA deals with energy issues through the modernized agreement.

On this day when we approved TMX and when we are no longer going to rely on one U.S. market for 99% of our exports, when we are going to see shovels in the ground, and when we are going to see $15 billion of trade repatriated to this country because we will be able to have world prices, this is when we want to make sure that there is no more proportionality clause so that we do not have to sell the Americans more oil than we want to.

On autos, we have heard exactly from my colleague from Mississauga that the CUSMA deal and Canadians working in the auto sector are better off than ever before. That is the new NAFTA. That is what we promised. That is what we got.

Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 18th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to speak at this late hour. With the few minutes I have at my disposal, I want to share a story about the most comprehensive and important trade deal that Canada has negotiated in modern times. Let us talk about the evolution of a trade deal that transformed how our economy and those of the United States and Mexico have become intertwined to the benefit of Mexicans, Americans and all Canadians. Let us talk about a failed Conservative administration that poisoned the well with the Obama administration and had no chance whatsoever to negotiate a new deal with an administration that had no time for the then Canadian government because Prime Minister Harper went on national TV to tell President Obama how to do his job. It is an odd strategy when one is trying to build bridges, not fences or walls.

When it was clear that our government would be working with President Trump and his administration on negotiating a new NAFTA, our government got to work. We assembled a true Team Canada, not one geared to narrow partisan interests, as the other side had done, but one that was putting the interests of Canadians first. We reached out to former interim leader, the Hon. Rona Ambrose. We reached out to former prime minister Brian Mulroney, even to then premier Brad Wall and then premier Rachel Notley, individuals at the polar ends of the political spectrum in Canada working on behalf of Canadians in the face of a deal that was essential to our survival.

Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, the MP for University—Rosedale, took charge and got busy to develop an approach that would reach out to decision-makers across the U.S., to leaders in the Mexican government and industry associations across both countries.

When I was knocking on doors during the negotiations, Canadians were understandably concerned. They had had 10 years of failure from the Conservatives, and $2 billion of cross-border trade daily was at stake. They told me, and I agree, that it was no laughing matter. In fact, access to and integration with the U.S. and Mexican markets are the fabric of small and big businesses here in Canada.

At the height of concerns for people in my riding of Edmonton Centre, at the height of that anxiety over a trade deal that for many seemed to be an existential issue for our country, that is when the Conservatives showed their true nature. At the point when the Trump administration was trying to wear us down, that was the moment when the Conservatives could not handle the heat.

The Environment June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise today to discuss this very important motion from a public safety perspective. I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Environment and Climate Change for putting forward the motion we are debating this evening.

Our government is taking the actions necessary to address climate change and position Canada as a leader in the clean growth economy. We are focused on helping Canadians and different orders of government to deal with the devastating effects of climate change. As well, we are working hard with stakeholders from all orders of government and from all industries on how best to prevent the devastating effects of climate change.

That is what Canadians expect from us. That is why we were elected and that is what we will do.

Canadians do not want over-the-top rhetoric, political games or denials on this critical issue. Climate change is real, it is happening and we are already feeling its impacts.

Over the past few years, with this year being no exception, many communities have been hit hard by severe floods, unprecedented wildfires and destructive storms. We know that these natural disasters are happening with greater frequency and ferocity than ever before. Already this summer, we have seen climate change in action in Alberta with smoke from forest fires blanketing our province, blocking out the sun in my city, and leaving us in such pitch-black darkness that the streetlights came on in the middle of the day in Edmonton.

Two weeks ago on May 31, among thousands of cities and 85 countries around the world, Edmonton had the worst air quality in the world. Spending an entire day outside, as many Edmontonians have to do, was equivalent to smoking at least 40 packs of cigarettes. If they were stacked up, it would be quite a stack of smokes, and that is what people were breathing in.

Mike Flannigan, a professor with the department of renewable resources at the University of Alberta, said that the smoke from wildfires “is like a 'chemical soup' that can be trapped in the lungs and cause a number of health issues.” This is a chemical soup that some children in Edmonton have been consuming every single summer that they have been alive.

Meanwhile, as Alberta burned, causing thousands of innocent people to flee from their homes, Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, repealed the carbon tax stating, “We've always had...fires.” He said that climate change had nothing to do with what was happening in our province.

Let me go back to what I said earlier. On the same day that the smoke from the wildfires was so thick that people could not see a car in front of their car on the road, they could not see across the street, and at midday the street lights came on in Edmonton because of the smoke, the premier of our province said, “We've always had...fires.”

I wonder if Nero said the same thing while Rome burned. That is a good question. Canadians and Albertans might want to know the answer.

It simply is not true that Alberta has always had fires. We have had fires, but not to this severity, not the frequency and not causing the kind of devastation that we have seen over the last five years. Climate records already show an increase of 2.4°C in annual temperature over the last 100 years, for Edmonton. Not to mention the fact that Alberta's violent summer weather causes more damage now than it has caused in decades. As of 2017, 61% of all of Canada's insured damages have been in Alberta, amounting to over $5 billion in insurance paid between 2010 and 2017, and that is just damages related to wind, hail and flooding. Without action, this is not going to get any better.

We can no longer afford blissful ignorance. It is time for Conservative politicians, like Premier Kenney and the Leader of the Opposition here in this place to understand, accept and recognize the devastating effects of climate change for what they are, and to stop burying their heads in the sand when it comes to protecting Canadians.

It is no laughing matter, as we can hear outside the chamber right now. Climate change is serious. It has a real effect on our lives and on our economy.

It is time for Conservative governments and would-be Conservative oppositions to stop playing games with Canadians' lives for the sake of petty politics and decades-old ideological principles.

Under the former Conservative government, Canada won the Colossal Fossil award five years in a row. What is that? This award is given to the country doing the most damage to the climate in a given year. In 2013, Canada had the great dishonour of receiving the lifetime achievement award for the Harper government's continuous lack of action on climate change. The Conservatives received five dinosaur awards in a row. I do not need the country to get dinosaur awards. All I have to do is look across the way to see the dinosaurs on climate change. They somehow think that climate change is going to go away by putting their heads in the sand. That is not the case.

While the inaction continues on the other side, as we have waited well over 400 days for a Conservative plan, we are taking action. This Liberal government will continue to do what we need to do to make sure we can grow the economy, protect the environment and put our energy resources to good use for people in Canada and around the world.

We know that relief, recovery and rebuilding costs continue to climb year after year due to devastating climate change activities. We also know that our planet's changing climate has a lot to do with our new reality. By 2020, climate change could cost Canada's economy $5 billion a year. By 2050, estimates suggest that number could be more like $43 billion a year.

Thankfully, our government has a strong system in place to provide support to communities that are already affected. Emergencies happen locally, and when needs outweigh local capacity, the federal government steps up to the plate.

I saw that action first-hand with the Fort McMurray fires. I worked very closely with the Minister of Public Safety on that matter. In fact, the provincial and federal response operation centre is located in my riding of Edmonton Centre. I marvel at the work of the provincial and federal governments, the Department of National Defence and the RCMP, and partners like the Canadian Red Cross, when it comes to responding to Canadians in need.

As we have seen increasingly, provinces often require federal assistance when disaster strikes, and that includes helping to cover the costs. The Government of Canada's priority is ensuring that Canadians are safe and supported. This means working closely with provincial and territorial partners to coordinate the response efforts to natural disasters by ensuring that provinces and territories have the resources they need.

With respect to this year's record flooding, the federal government responded immediately. This included the deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces and coordination support from the Government of Canada's operations centre. As well, on May 3, we also announced a $2.5-million grant to the Canadian Red Cross to support recovery efforts in flood-affected communities.

It is very important that the Government of Canada continue to act with its provincial and territorial partners, as well as with the NGOs and agencies that Canadians can contribute to, to care for Canadians.

The federal government is also supporting provincial governments through the disaster financial assistance arrangements, or DFAA, to cover the costs associated with long-term recovery and rebuilding in the affected communities.

Remarkably, the upward trend of climate change events is evident in recent payments through this fund. Since the inception of the DFAA program in 1970, more than $5.1 billion has been paid out to provinces. I know this timeline very well, because it tracks my life here on the planet. Over the past six years, DFAA payments to provinces have totalled $2.8 billion. That is striking. It means that the program has paid out more in the last six years than it did in the previous 40 years combined. The growing unpredictability, number and severity of disasters have only increased federal liability under the DFAA, with an estimated outstanding federal liability at roughly $2.4 billion.

The DFAA is a federal commitment to providing early financial assistance via an advance payment to provinces. After the recent flooding, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness encouraged his colleagues to use the innovative recovery provisions under the DFAA. However, we should always remember that these are costs to taxpayers. It is not technically the federal government that has paid $2.8 billion in just six years because of inaction on climate change; it is Canadian families from coast to coast to coast who are collectively bearing this responsibility because of inaction and the lack of a plan on the part of the previous government. It is not just the tens of thousands who have been directly affected by natural disasters, but taxpaying Canadians across this country.

To mitigate those damages, federal support does not end with the DFAA. The national disaster mitigation program, or NDMP, has provided funding for 363 flood mitigation projects across Canada. I was very pleased to see in budget 2019 that $1 million was allocated to Western Economic Diversification Canada for water expertise, flood mitigation and planning and making sure that we can use the existing watersheds to mitigate future flood times. This is now in the budget and will be coordinated by Western Economic Diversification Canada. The national disaster mitigation program has helped to address rising flood risks and costs, and has built the foundation for informed mitigation investments to reduce or even negate the effects of flood events and climate change.

The disaster mitigation and adaptation fund, or DMAF, also provides provinces and territories with funding for large-scale infrastructure projects to help reduce the impacts of future disasters. The DMAF is a $2-billion, 10-year fund, making investments in provincial and community projects. That will mean more resilient public infrastructure that is better able to withstand the damaging and deepening cycles of storms, floods, droughts and wildfires.

Writ large, our commitments to Canadians are clearly outlined in the recently released emergency management strategy for Canada, entitled “Toward a Resilient 2030”. This strategy, released in January of this year, is the culmination of more than two years of work. It reflects strong engagement between federal, provincial and territorial partners and stakeholders. It supports a whole-of-society approach to emergency management, outlines key priority areas to building a more resilient Canadian society by 2030 and aligns very closely with the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Ultimately, it provides a road map to strengthen Canada's ability to better prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. I point out that all provinces and territories, including Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, supported the strategy.

I would like to take a moment to read a paragraph from page 1 of the emergency management strategy for Canada that all provinces and territories supported with the federal government. It reads:

The impacts of climate change are already being felt across Canada increasing the frequency and intensity of hazards such as floods, wildfires, drought, extreme heat, tropical storms, melting permafrost, coastal erosion, and, in Northern Canada, damage to seasonal ice roads. These hazards pose significant risks to communities, individual health and well-being, the economy, and the natural environment.

Pride June 12th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise today as we begin pride season to share the incredible results our government has delivered for LGBTQ2 Canadians.

We have invested an historic $20 million over two years in Canadian LGBTQ organizations. We have increased funding to pride events across the country. We have extended legal protections to trans and non-binary Canadians. We have expanded our ability to welcome more LGBTQ refugees to safety in Canada.

We have come a long way in the past 50 years, but there is still a lot more work to be done.

The opposition leader's refusal to participate in a single event this pride season demonstrates his disdain for LGBTQ2 Canadians. The costs of inaction from the opposition leader and his party are real, when we see some of the highest rates of suicide and homelessness among LGBTQ2 kids.

Our party will lead. Our leader, this plan and our government are much better than advertised.

Democratic Institutions June 10th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. If you seek it, I hope you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: That the House agrees with the recommendation from the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and that the name of the—

Canada Child Benefit June 5th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, when I knock on doors in my riding and meet families with young children, I ask them about the Liberal baby bonus and they tell me they love it.

Early in our mandate, families in Edmonton Centre hoped that the Canada child benefit would do better for them, and it has. In April alone, we issued over 7,000 payments to over 12,000 children, for a total of $4.6 million into the riding. That is over $55 million tax-free directly to Edmonton Centre families each year.

Three years into the program, we have lifted 17,000 children in Edmonton out of poverty. That is equivalent to a Rogers Place full of children out of poverty. When we add their parents, it is a Commonwealth Stadium full of people able to make ends meet.

Across Canada, we have reduced poverty from 13% to 9%. What do we call that in Edmonton? We call that better than advertised.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I might be wise and just recap what the minister said to answer his question, because it was so well phrased.

Just this week, the IMF finally debunked trickle-down economics forever. Trickle-down economics does not work, full stop. What works is investing in people. What works is putting money in the hands of middle-class people so they can decide what is best for their families at the local level. When we combine that with making sure that families are better off by $2,000 because of tax changes and making sure there are well-paying jobs from coast to coast to coast, our economy will perform at the top of the G7.

As the minister and I both know, we are not fully through the recovery process in Alberta. However, promising signals are there. Of the 100,000 jobs created in the last month, 20% were in Alberta, where 12% of the population lives. That means jobs are coming back to Alberta, and our government will help bring even more of them to the people there.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development is doing exceptional work on the issue of housing. Right now, we are having an active conversation with him and the Minister of Natural Resources about how we can solve this issue for the city of Edmonton with a portfolio-based approach and focus on the 900 hardest-to-house people and their permanent supportive housing. When we have support from ministers who want to do right by the people in our communities, we can make a difference.

Edmonton leads this country in ending homelessness. About 8,000 people have been housed over the last seven years, with 5,000 more to go, 900 of whom are hard to house. When we get these 900 permanent supportive units done, we can get to the other 4,000 people. We will be the first city of our size in this country where the government will have helped to end homelessness.