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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

Petitions December 5th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, today I table petition e-492 that calls upon the Minister of Health and the Minister of Transport to enforce the Canada Health Act, with our provincial partners, to ensure adequate, affordable parking for patients and caregivers at medical facilities.

I am proud to support Collin Kennedy's call for action to allow free parking for people undergoing serious medical treatment. Requiring people who undergo chronic treatment for a range of illnesses to pay for parking is unfair, especially when they may already be unable to work. Other countries and jurisdictions have already figured out ways to do this.

This petition has over 12,355 signatures and is currently the 10th most-signed e-petition of this 42nd Parliament. I am happy to see that so many Canadians across this country have come together to ask the government for action.

Canada Pension Plan November 29th, 2016

Madam Speaker, the Standing Committee on Finance addressed this issue. A Liberal motion called on the Minister of Finance to take a much closer look at these issues with finance ministers across the country and work with them. We had an opportunity to really enhance the plan, so we had to take steps right away. Everyone was in agreement, so why wait for someone to object? We had to strike while the iron was hot, so we did. That does not mean we are done striking. It means we are ready to press on and make sure the people who need protection get it.

We want to make sure that women who raise children get this protection because they are the ones who need it most, not women who earn $200,000 or more because they probably already have that kind of protection. We cannot transfer money from the poor to the rich. We have to make sure that everyone has the same advantage. That means we want everyone to be on a level playing field.

Canada Pension Plan November 29th, 2016

Madam Speaker, at committee, I do not believe the finance department said it would be bad for 30 years. We have to look not at the CPP by itself. We have to consider all the measures the government is taking. One of the very first measures of this government was including une bonification, or looking to increase the guaranteed income supplement and old age security for the seniors most in need.

This impacts a lot of women and a lot of men as well. It is no longer going to be always about dividing men and women. It is going to be about poverty in the future. It is going to be about those who have education and the ability to profit from the system we have created. We have to make sure that all of us have the ability to profit from that situation.

We have taken a long-term approach but also an approach that looks at all sorts of instruments to improve the level of poverty for all Canadians.

Canada Pension Plan November 29th, 2016

Yes, Madam Speaker, a whole month.

I am also interested in this because of my mother. My mother did not lead a very easy life. She grew up in great poverty. She also had some mental illness. We grew of up in poverty with her. However, she never had a company pension plan. She never really worked in some of those jobs that one needs, and she was seemingly always poor. When she died at 58 years old, she was looking forward to being 65 years old, the day she would get her Canada pension plan. She would get the guaranteed income supplement and old age security, and she would break out of the poverty barrier in this country. However, she never managed to get there, which is unfortunate. I always have her in mind when I think about the future, because I know there are many other Canadians who face similar issues.

I have enjoyed the process of studying this bill and the process of “making sausage” for the House, but the CPP is simply not a tax. I have heard my colleagues on the opposite side categorize this as a tax, but it is not. It is a form of savings for the future.

In committee, I had the opportunity to ask the opposition what our nation would be like if we did not have the Canada pension plan. What would our country be like if Canadians could not look forward to a day when they could have a form of savings to rely on when they were retired? Well, we would have 44% of all seniors in this country living in poverty, because that is what we had in 1950 before the Canada pension plan came into effect. I have heard the arguments made by witnesses and by the opposition on why we should not do this, but those are the same arguments that were made in the 1950s on why we should not have the Canada pension plan. I have had the opportunity to read Hansard from that period.

Today, we have some of the lowest rates ever of seniors poverty in our country, and for that I am very grateful, but we can always do better. How does Canada compare to other nations in the world? How do we compare to OECD countries?

I looked at pension contribution rates around the world and at a report that was put out by the OECD in 2013. In fact, Canada has some of the lowest contribution rates in the world. Our contribution rates for our Canada pension plan is 9.9% currently and it is going up to 11.9%.

If we look at Austria, in 2012 it was 22.8%. In Estonia it is 22.8%. In France it is 16.7%. Even the United States had a contribution rate in 2012 of 10.4%. Therefore, I do not believe we are losing our competitive advantage by investing in our future. In fact, we are still very competitive with the United States.

The only country we have a really large trading partnership with that does not have a pension plan is, in fact, Mexico. It had no contribution rate in this 2013 report. I asked the opposition in committee if we actually want to be like Mexico. Do we want the same form of protection for our workers and fellow citizens that they have in Mexico? I think we all know the answer to that. We are very happy to be living in Canada. We are very blessed.

I believe that it is important for us to be saving for the future. It is one principle that I think people, whether young or old, can get behind. There is actually an old proverb: look to the future but believe in the present. Have foresight and look to the future. It is also in the Bible, where Joseph and the Pharaoh saved during the good years for the seven lean years. It is something that is taught to all of us, and I hope we always remember it.

In committee, I heard testimony from lobbyists, representing some very important companies, who presented flawed data. For instance, one survey they presented to the committee said that Canadians prefer using the tax-free savings account and registered retirement savings plans over having a larger Canada pension plan. The options offered in the survey were the tax-free savings account, the registered retirement savings plan, personal savings, other investments, CPP, and voluntary retirement savings plans, but there was no option of a defined company retirement pension plan, an RPP, a benefit pension plan provided by an employer. It is unfortunate that it is not offered to employees in this country. I am sure we already know what the response would be. Most employees would like to have a company pension plan, but unfortunately, they have been declining.

A Statistics Canada survey shows that from 1977 to 2013, total RPP coverage went from 35% to 24%. It is declining. Fewer and fewer people have access to company pension plans, and that is unfortunate. If private companies are unwilling to take up that slack, it falls to us to make sure we provide for the most vulnerable in the future.

In committee, the third opposition party has been talking about the issue of women. The Liberals have raised this issue as well in committee. In fact, my esteemed colleague from Pickering put forward a motion calling on the finance minister to speak to the other ministers of finance across Canada to raise the issue of equity in pensions for women. This is a long-term process. This pension plan will be in effect in eight years, so we have time to prepare for the future. We have time to make sure we get this right.

We also need to take the time to work with the provinces, our provincial partners, because they are our partners. We cannot unilaterally say that we are going to change this by ourselves or that it is only for us to decide. That is not how our government works. We work in consultation and through discussion. Though it may take a little longer, at the end of the day, there is more buy-in and it is more positive for more people.

I think of the young pages in the House. I think of young people. This pension plan will not benefit me, because in 40 years, I am going to be well into my eighties, but it will benefit the pages. They will see the full benefit of this Canada pension plan. That is truly thinking for the future, thinking for seven generations, thinking long term. That is what we need most in the House, not short-term political gain but a long-term vision for our nation.

Canada Pension Plan November 29th, 2016

Madam Speaker, that is very kind.

Pensions are important, and I am always reminded that we must prepare for the future. There were stories told in my family about indigenous people out hunting the buffalo on the prairie with the buffalo jumps. After the kill was done, the men and women would work together with the children to collect the meat and tan the hides. There was hours and hours of work to prepare for the coming winter. The children were asked to look for fuel and would toss over the buffalo dung to dry to get ready for the winter.

I am also reminded of the western view on this, where the grasshopper and ant have to prepare for the future. One enjoys himself and the other does not.

Therefore, when I was considering this problem on the finance committee, I often thought of it as something about preparing for the future, but it is also related to the idea of poverty, which is a huge problem in our society.

In March 2015, Statistics Canada showed that Canadian household savings was at a five-year low of 3.6%. To give a frame of reference, in 1982, the savings rate of Canadian households was 19.9%. Therefore, we are just not saving enough. We know that we should. We know about these stories. We hear these stories in our homes and we teach them to our children, yet it seems that we do not take the time to actually do it ourselves when it comes time to think of our long-term, 40-year futures and how we are going to retire.

Members might ask what my interest is in this. Well, obviously, I am a citizen and am always interested in the future. I am also on the finance committee with some fabulous colleagues. We have been studying this issue for over a month, preparing, listening to witnesses, considering testimony, and even studying the bill itself.

Canada Pension Plan November 17th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, which had the opportunity to study this matter from November 14 to 16, 2016. Furthermore, on November 1, we spoke with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and officials from the Department of Finance.

It is time this bill moves on to the next stage and goes to committee so that we have the opportunity to finally sit down and study it in greater detail, clause by clause. I really hope this House can start moving on the work we would like to be doing at the finance committee in a more appropriate way.

Committees of the House November 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, when this motion was being read, I was yelling out that it was a shame that the opposition is carrying on in such a way—

Questions on the Order Paper November 14th, 2016

With regard to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and fires which have occurred on Indian Band Reserves since 2010: (a) how many fires have occured per year; (b) how many deaths have occured; (c) how many individuals have been injured; (d) how much has been spent on fire fighting on reserves; and (e) how much has been spent on fire prevention on reserves?

Criminal Code November 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to salute the hon. member for Yukon for this wonderful initiative.

I would also like to highlight that in the annual report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2014-15, he indicates that between 10% and 23% of people incarcerated perhaps suffer from this disorder. He states that CSC does not have a reliable or validated system to screen, assess, or diagnose this spectrum disorder at intake and this lack of reliable prevalence data means offenders with undiagnosed FASD may not be benefiting from specialized interventions that take into account an offender's mental health needs, as per legal requirements.

It is something we need to look at and it is well-documented. This is important.

Indian Residential School Reconciliation and Memorial Day Act October 31st, 2016

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-318, An Act to establish Indian Residential School Reconciliation and Memorial Day.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce an act to establish Indian residential school reconciliation and memorial day. I would like to thank Maeengan Linklater for helping to champion the bill's creation and member of Parliament Seamus O'Regan, the member of Parliament from Newfoundland, for seconding my bill.

My bill is designed to set aside June 2 to honour the survivors of the Indian residential school system and acknowledge Canada's colonial historical legacy of the Indian residential school system for what it is, an act of cultural genocide under the UN Convention of 1949.

I ask Parliament to support this legislation and work together, as a nation and a country, toward the revitalization of indigenous communities and to affirm the treaty relationship between Canadians and indigenous peoples.

Tapwe akwa khitwam.

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