House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was actually.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Winnipeg Centre (Manitoba)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply March 7th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I had the opportunity to participate with finance committee in looking at tax evasion in one of our reports. Our committee put out 14 recommendations. We asked the minister how her department could be more effective and what the experts themselves in her department actually do to improve this situation. It was just a simple request but sometimes we have to ask those things.

We also requested that all tax products with any tax advisers be registered with the Canada Revenue Agency to make sure that they are legal.

We also asked that CRA report back to finance committee around June 1, 2017, and tell us what is going on with the Panama papers and what is occurring with tax evasion.

There was one thing that I did learn about in our study and that is that Canada is not alone in this. We are not in isolation. We have to work with our allies around the world.

I am wondering how we can take this complicated issue that impacts many jurisdictions around the world, the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia, and do something, not by ourselves to reduce our competitive advantage, but how can we work with them.

Business of Supply March 7th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I was a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, where we discussed this issue at length. We even produced a report with about 14 recommendations, if I remember correctly. We studied this issue thoroughly.

Did the member have a chance to look at our recommendations and what can be changed? What did he think of our recommendations?

Business of Supply February 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, why is a distinction being made? The motion also refers to other religious communities.

People are often dismissive of or know absolutely nothing about the religious traditions of indigenous peoples, particularly those of the Neheyo, which is part of the Cree nation.

Personally, I take part in a ceremony that lasts four days, during which I do not eat or drink and I dance for the Creator. It is an extremely complicated religious ceremony.

In the past, indigenous peoples have been oppressed. We could not practise our religion in public until 1951. Even today, indigenous communities across the country are still experiencing problems in some areas, such as in schools and even in certain communities.

I believe Islamophobia is a bigger problem than we realize.

As a result, I would like to know two things. First, why are we not including all communities? Second, how can we make a distinction between what is happening today with indigenous peoples and Islamophobia, which I believe to be a real problem.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the CETA trade deal is a good thing. The European Union is a group of countries that share many similar values that we have here in Canada. Not only that, I believe it offers the opportunity of creating more jobs, and the potential for high-skills jobs in our country.

I wonder how the member can justify throwing away future potential growth with the number of jobs that we could have in this country.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Reporting Act December 14th, 2016

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-332, An Act to provide for reporting on compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to have the support of the member for Etobicoke Centre.

I rise today to present a bill that would offer a higher of accountability, an act to provide for reporting on compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The federal government in consultations with provincial and territorial governments and with first nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples must report 15 sitting days after June 2 of every year. This legislation would fulfill the seven teachings of honesty, knowledge, humility, respect, love, effort, and courage.

[Member spoke in aboriginal language]


(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act December 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member could talk a bit more about the spheres of influence that he was talking about, also the idea of promoting democracy or democracy-building around the world and in Ukraine, as I would like to have more information about his thoughts.

We do have a multipolar world, or there are different visions about the world that we should be living in, whether it should be a multipolar world with not just the one superpower, or whether it should be going down, where we should be imposing a world view on various spheres or various areas of the world. I would like to hear his thoughts on those issues.

Tax Convention and Arrangement Implementation Act, 2016 December 8th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this is a fine bill from the Senate. Taiwan is our 12th largest trading partner. It is a democratic jurisdiction that we need to support. We do a lot of trade and we need to find ways to build relationships to ensure Canadians can not only do business in Canada but in Taiwan as well, and eventually use the value chains that have been created into China to ensure we build relationships.

This type of agreement would not only allow Taiwan, Canada, and our citizens to truly benefit, but also China. A successful Taiwan is a successful China. This is why I am pleased to support the bill. I am pleased to hear that a lot of members in the House agree. I hope the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan can also agree.

Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act December 7th, 2016

Madam Speaker, rules in international trade are very important. They prevent dumping, for instance.

Our Canadian companies can benefit. For instance, in drywall, American companies have been dumping a lot of their product here. For me, it is very important that we protect Canadian jobs and also have uniform rules in international trade that people respect. These international tribunals can be used in a good way. They can be used to protect Canadian jobs. However, we have to ensure that other nations and companies respect that.

I hope the hon. member can agree that at the end of the day we are here to protect Canadian jobs and Canadian industry, and to allow them to have a fair and even playing field. We are also here to project our influence into the world in manufacturing and other businesses.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act December 7th, 2016

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-329, An Act to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (asbestos).

Mr. Speaker, I am excited, with the support of the member for Newmarket—Aurora, to introduce a bill to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, modifying section 94. This would place asbestos on the prohibited materials list, meaning no person shall manufacture, use, sell, offer for sale, or import asbestos.

Asbestos has destroyed the lives of far too many workers. While short-term gain may be good, the long-term consequences for society are expensive. Let us ensure that people around the world do not suffer needlessly for our inactions. Let us do the right thing, and ban this toxic substance, once and for all.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal Code December 6th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in the House of Commons for debate on Bill C-235, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

It is an act that looks at fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the criminal justice system. It would make it more responsive to the needs of our society.

It is incredible that today, in 2016, we still lock up people who suffer and take little to no account of the impact on their mental health or the long-term outcomes. In this case, we are talking about FASD. We are talking about outcomes in the criminal justice system and the hopeful rehabilitation of our fellow citizens.

In Winnipeg I have had the great privilege of meeting youth who have been impacted by FASD, youth who want to contribute to our society. FASD Life's Journey, an organization in Winnipeg Centre, helps by offering training and support to our fellow citizens so that they can navigate life more successfully.

FASD affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include learning difficulties, difficulty with social interactions, behaviour affected by impulses and passions, which has consequences, and memory issues.

I spoke with these youth about politics and what we do here in this House. It was just last month. I also had the opportunity to see them working with the drum, using traditional indigenous healing techniques to make their lives better. They did that drumming with such passion. They lived in the moment. It was as if there was no tomorrow. It was not in 10 minutes that we were going to be living but right now, today.

They sang Gitchi Manitou Makwa, which is a song called great bear spirit, and it was great. I was proud to participate with them.

I have had the opportunity of reading the annual report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator. In January 2016, it reported that the federal corrections system had a sad milestone: 25% of the inmate population in federal penitentiaries are indigenous people. They are 35% of the women's population in prison. Between 2005 and 2015, the federal inmate population grew by 10%. In the same period, the indigenous population grew by 50%.

We all know these stats here in the House. It was a decade of darkness. We have become ready in our society to lock up people who are suffering and throw away the keys. They are people like James, who I met at the John Howard Society. He has been in and out of prison most of his adult life. As an indigenous man, he has been given no support, except now, by the John Howard Society. He is a man who suffers from FASD. He is my relation. He is all of our relation. He is my brother. I believe that he, too, can become a productive member of our society.

This bill is the work of the hon. member for Yukon. I am very proud of what he has done. It has four recommendations, which come from the Canadian Bar Association. This association represents thousands of lawyers who deal with this affliction every day.

First, this bill would allow the courts to order an assessment to determine if a person charged with a crime had FASD. Second, if the assessment was positive, it would allow the judge to use it as a mitigating factor in sentencing in certain circumstances. Third, the bill directs that FASD would be added to the already prescribed list of special needs the correctional institution must be responsive to. Fourth, and most importantly, offenders with FASD would have an external support plan when they left prison so they would not immediately reoffend or miss a probation meeting, and as judges often say, use the revolving door of a broken system again and again and end up in my riding, clogging up, unfortunately, our justice system.

On December 18, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final report, “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future”. The Government of Canada has committed to implementing all of the recommendations. These goals are important, and they are also very ambitious.

The TRC's calls to action impact corrections as well. I am going to read those calls to action:

1. Eliminate the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people and youth in custody over the next decade.

2. Implement community sanctions that provide realistic alternatives to imprisonment for Aboriginal offenders and respond to the underlying causes of offending.

3. Eliminate barriers to the creation of additional Aboriginal healing lodges within the federal correctional system.

4. Enact statutory exemptions for mandatory minimum sentences or imprisonment for offenders affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

5. Reduce the rate of criminal victimization of Aboriginal people.

We promised that during the election. I promised that during the election. This bill goes a long way to making a difference. It will go a long way to making this system more responsive.

I have been told there are some provincial justice ministers who are concerned with the bill. However, they should remember what their title says. It says “justice minister”. As a justice minister they must offer justice to all Canadians. It is unjust when young people with FASD do not receive the community supports they need, when they end up in prison because of a series of poor choices they make throughout their life.

We should be focused on ensuring that our most vulnerable fellow citizens are not in prison due to a lack of resources, or time, or effort, or cost or perhaps just the plain laziness of bureaucracy and the inability of systems to be flexible.

I would hope our government would be able to support this legislation. I hope my fellow parliamentarians will hear the call from the hon. member for Yukon for the great work he has done, because it is important. It is one small step in realizing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 recommendations, and it is a path that we can make today. It is something we can start today.

Tapwe akwa khitwam.