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

Elections Modernization Act October 26th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I would like to spend a moment reinforcing what my colleague is talking about, the great work of the committee and of the government on Bill C-76 as it pertains to making sure Canadian elections are inclusive and barrier-free. If we take a look at our government approach as a whole when it pertains to persons with disabilities, we are trying to make the federal workplace barrier-free through Bill C-81 and are trying to make sure our elections process is inclusive and fair. This is a process that should be inclusive to all Canadians and should prevent foreign interference in our Canadian elections system, and that is exactly what Bill C-76 would do.

Elections Modernization Act October 26th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the amount of work the committee has done on this particular bill is exemplary. We have had great debate here in this House. If we take a look at the amount of time that was spent on Bill C-23, it is a fraction of what we have been able to spend on Bill C-76. It is important to let members of this House know that a voter identification card is information, and that information is important. Only Canadian citizens can vote in a Canadian election and that is the way it should be.

Elections Modernization Act October 26th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her concern about the safety and security of the Canadian electoral system. It is quite clear that permanent residents and landed immigrants do not get to vote. Canadian citizens get to vote. Voter ID cards are exactly that: demonstrating a person is a Canadian citizen. That is what we want to make sure takes place in this country, and that is what Bill C-76 would ensure.

Elections Modernization Act October 26th, 2018

Madam Speaker, the Government of Canada has heard what Canadians have to say.

We are very proud that the majority of the all-party amendments to the bill are among the amendments the committee adopted.

When the bill was introduced, the Government of Canada introduced it as an initiative to modernize our electoral process and make it more transparent, accessible and secure for all Canadians. One of the proposed amendments was to require all electors to be Canadian citizens when exercising their right to vote.

Even though that has always been a requirement for eligibility to vote, Bill C-76 revealed an error in the wording of the new Canada Elections Act, which came into force in 2000.

It was possible to interpret the French version of the act as stating that a person who expected to obtain Canadian citizenship prior to voting day could vote in an advance poll before being granted citizenship. Of course, there is no way to know for sure that a person will become a Canadian citizen until that person has taken the oath of citizenship.

The amendments made by the committee to Bill C-76 correct this error and clarify that only Canadians can cast a ballot in a ballot box. This would help ensure the integrity of the entire electoral process.

Former chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand has applauded the Government of Canada's efforts to modernize our electoral system and make it more accessible. However, he also mentioned that additional amendments should be made to facilitate the identification of electors who live in seniors residences or in long-term care centres, because it could be difficult for seniors to prove where they live with an ID. I think this is a great amendment, a great suggestion, because in a riding like Edmonton Centre, with so many towers and so many seniors residences, I have seen that this particular voter ID difficulty for seniors is prevalent.

The committee also adopted amendments to Bill C-76 that would make the electoral system more accessible for our seniors. From now on, seniors centre employees would be allowed to cast ballots for senior citizens living in their place of work, provided they themselves can vote and live close to the seniors centre. I know that the seniors at St. Andrew's will be happy to hear this. They live about a block away from my house, and when it comes time to vote, they will be able to make sure that their voice is counted.

Bill C-76, the elections modernization act, includes measures to ensure that political parties and third parties play by the same rules in exercising their right to participate in political electoral activities.

From now on, third parties that intervene in the electoral process in any way would have to clearly explain their advertising messages. Also, third parties that spend more than $10,000 or that receive more than $10,000 in contributions would be required to submit financial reports to Elections Canada every two weeks, starting on September 15 in a fixed-election year. Elections Canada would publish these financial reports on its website. These transparency measures would help Canadians better understand who is trying to influence their vote and why.

This bill will also protect our democratic institutions from foreign attempts to influence outcomes. Elections Canada representatives and the commissioner of Canada elections appeared before the committee and recommended further enhancing a number of protective measures. The government agreed to several of those recommendations.

Bill C-76 also contains additional tools that would make it easier for Elections Canada and the Canada elections commissioner to prevent or limit the effects of third-party influence on Canadian voters. For example, the new third-party funding section of the act would prohibit the use of foreign funds at any time to obtain or broadcast partisan advertising, to fund partisan activities or to conduct polls. New anti-avoidance provisions would also forbid all attempts to sidestep these rules.

Bill C-76 created a new offence to prohibit the fraudulent use of a computer to influence election results. A new offence added during the committee's study will henceforth prohibit all attempts to influence an election and strengthen that prohibition.

We would also make it a criminal offence to publish material made by anyone attempting to impersonate the Chief Electoral Officer or a returning officer.

Finally, on the recommendation of the commissioner of Canada elections, our government would reinforce the ban that applies to all persons and entities that sell advertising space. It would now be forbidden to sell advertising space to foreigners that would allow them to broadcast election advertising.

The results of Canadian elections should only ever be determined by electoral votes made by Canadians. Bill C-76 already contained numerous amendments to the act to amend the Canada Elections Act that were important to Elections Canada's recommendations.

During the committee's study, the Government of Canada listened to independent experts whose only job is to protect our democratic institutions. I am proud of the comments we heard from those experts because they helped strengthen the bill.

Therefore, I invite all colleagues in the House today to voice their support of the third reading of the act to amend the Canada Elections Act and modernize our electoral process and make it more transparent, accessible and secure for all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

When we take a look at the facts, 56 witnesses were heard in committee on Bill C-76, there were 24 hours of committee time and there were 36 and a half hours of study time of CEO recommendations by committee. For bill C-23, the hours of study for the Fair Elections Act was 49.5.

Bill C-76 would encourage Canadians to participate fully in the electoral process, and that is exactly what we intended.

Small Business Week October 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, last week we celebrated Small Business Week, during which time Canadian shone a spotlight on entrepreneurship and the ingenuity of local small businesses while recognizing the contribution these businesses make to our communities and our economy.

In Edmonton Centre, we have a number of thriving local businesses, including specialty shops, health care service providers, technology-based companies and non-profits.

Our government proudly supports small and medium-sized enterprises and works hard every day to help Canada's small business owners get ahead.

We know that when our small businesses succeed, our economy prospers.

Last week I visited a few of these businesses, such as the Colombian, Jobber, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and the Table Top Café, to thank them and to learn about their unique challenges. I thank them, their families and their clients. They make me and all of us very proud.

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his diligent work on this file.

It is 2018. We are living through the #MeToo movement. I want every woman, every man, every gender non-binary person who works in a Parliament Hill office or in a constituency office, and any person who works in a federally regulated agency to know that they can go to the workplace and feel safe, be safe, and should the unfortunate incident of an unwanted sexual advance happen, they know their workplace is equipped, trained, ready to respond, and able to support them so that they can get through this unwanted issue quickly, and that the preventative aspect of this is in place and that all of us receive training.

It is a historic opportunity to get something right. It is one regime. It protects Canadians. It is about time.

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, when I became a member of Parliament, I was surprised, even shocked, at the lack of protections that were afforded to parliamentary staff both here on the Hill and in our constituency offices in terms of the safety provisions in place for them, in terms of the regime that existed for protecting people against unwanted sexual advances in the workplace.

Bill C-65 is a historic change. It is one regime. It extends to parliamentary staff both on Parliament Hill and in our constituency offices. I think it boils down to three verbs: prevent, respond, support. We are preventing incidents of harassment and violence from occurring. We are responding effectively to them when they do occur. We are supporting employees affected by harassment and violence, and protecting their privacy. That includes LGBTQ2 Canadians, indigenous Canadians, all staff in federally regulated agencies and in parliamentary offices. It is about time.

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, what is really important about Bill C-65 is our new approach to workplace committees and their role in investigating alleged harassment in the workplace.

In the consultations that were held across the country, it was very clear that a matter of allegation of harassment or unwanted sexual touching in the workplace is so serious and such a private matter that our government has decided it is best for the individual to be able to raise this with one person in the workplace and not involve a whole workplace committee. Many people who said they were victims of workplace harassment did not bring it forward because they did not want a whole workplace committee involved in the investigation process.

It is important to note that should an alleged victim want to have someone accompany him or her in that process, the person is able to do so but that is the person's choice. It is not an automatic role and the workplace committees will not have involvement in that process.

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague and his colleagues for their support on this bill.

What we heard from witnesses was quite clear: when someone is a victim of harassment in the workplace, it is extremely personal and traumatizing, so protecting victims' privacy is paramount. We therefore think it is important that these individuals have access to all the support they need.

Canada Labour Code October 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that my colleague is in robust health. As he can see, my hairline is taking the same trajectory that his has taken. I do not know if that makes us wiser or just more experienced on the campaign trail.

However, I can tell the member that everybody's experience when it comes to unwanted approaches in the workplace must be taken with the seriousness that they deserve and they must be investigated. What we are talking about here in Bill C-65 is one regime to stop workplace violence, to help people who are subject to it, and to make sure that our political staff on the Hill and in our constituencies are afforded the same rights, protections and safety as all Canadians.