House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was chair.

Last in Parliament May 2022, as Liberal MP for Mississauga—Lakeshore (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2021, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, I would like to respond to the comments of my good friend from Vancouver Granville.

It was a pleasure and privilege to serve with him in the civil service. This goes back a number of years, to the early 2000s, but I think that experience as civil servants has really instilled in us not only an ethic but also a good understanding of how government works in a non-political way.

Civil servants across the country who are serving now, especially during the pandemic, represent the best of the best. I thank my colleague for his service in that regard, but also for his continued service as the member for Vancouver Granville and for his friendship.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, it has been a pleasure to work with my colleague and all colleagues on the Conservative side of the aisle. I look forward to resuming my service with the UN. It is a service that is very closely connected, as my colleague can imagine, to air travel.

I look forward to the lines shrinking as well, and looking ahead, I am proud of the work our government is doing to do that. We could always step on the gas a bit more. As officials who are part of the global commutes group that travels regularly between headquarters in New York and the field, I very much look forward to the full post-COVID resumption of air travel in every country, not just ours.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the chief government whip, for his kind comments. Again, this is about service. In his case, it is long-standing service, not only in the House but also for our party, our vision and the values we defend. All colleagues look to him as somebody with tremendous experience, which he shares very openly and willingly. We all benefit from his accomplishments, his vision and his ability to pull people together across the aisles. I very much appreciate his words and friendship.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my good friend and neighbour from Etobicoke—Lakeshore for his kind comments. Again, this is about working together. It is about collegiality. However, at the core, within our camp and across the aisles, it is about friendship. This is an example of a long-standing friendship.

There has been tremendous service on his part as a leader in caucus, as the Ontario caucus chair and in so many other ways. Yes, our ridings abut and our residents visit each other frequently and regularly. We share a waterfront. I look forward to remaining in very close contact with him.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague and friend from Mississauga—Erin Mills for her kind comments. We were both elected in 2015. Team Mississauga is a tight-knit team.

I want to thank her for her service and for her incredibly important role and voice in the field of human rights, diversity and inclusion. She has done tremendous work. She is not just a leader in Mississauga; she is a national leader. I look forward to hearing much more from her in the months and years to come. I thank her so much for her kind comments.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, briefly, first of all, I give a profound thanks to my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands and the Green Party.

The service is in a far part of the world. It is in the Asia region that deals with humanitarian and development issues. I will have more to say and will be happy to explain some of the details in person. I very much look forward to serving in that part of the world, a region that I have not worked in before. There is a whole host of challenges there that are facing the organization and its member states.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my Bloc Québécois colleague for her service and her commitment to a better world, here in Canada and abroad. I am deeply grateful for my relationship with my Bloc Québécois colleagues, including the members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

I thank my colleague for her words of encouragement.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Edmonton Strathcona for her service, her friendship and her vision of making not only Canada better but the world better. She and I share much common ground and many commonalities on the project that she is pursuing. I may not have been able to pursue it as vigorously within my own camp until now, but we share it profoundly.

I deeply appreciate her comments on behalf of the NDP. I look forward to remaining in close contact.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I was not prepared for questions and answers, but I am grateful.

This comment reflects that at key moments, this House is one. It is one in my heart. We have our own parties and our own political vision, but that is what makes us strong.

There are times when we need to show the division and need to show Canadians the options that are available. That is a constructive way of engaging in democracy. However, as everyone can see, the friendships here are deep. The respect across party lines is deep. The respect for the House is deep here at home and abroad. I am deeply grateful to have served with all members. I thank my colleague for her comment.

As I said in my speech, I leave with a full heart, with many memories and with many friendships that I will carry with me, including with the hon. member across.

Business of Supply May 19th, 2022

Mr. Speaker, I am gratefully sharing my time with the member for Ottawa Centre.

For me the coming moments will be filled with deep emotion, as I rise to present my farewell remarks in the House of Commons. I thank my colleagues across all parties for the opportunity today to share my profound gratitude.

The opportunity to serve the residents of Mississauga—Lakeshore as a member of Parliament since 2015 has been a lesson in humility and the most transformative experience of my career. I am extremely grateful to the Prime Minister of Canada and to our community for the trust they have placed in me during this period.

I will back up briefly to the beginning of my journey to our magnificent country that I have come to call home.

I was born in Cold-War West Berlin and then lived just outside Hamburg, Germany until my mid-teens when one day my mom and dad, Jutta Spengemann and Michael Spengemann, announced to my sisters, Lily and Maya, and me that we would be moving to Canada to a city called Mississauga. If anyone had, at that time, told me that I would one day represent a district of that city in our Parliament, I would have laughed or perhaps shuddered in disbelief.

However, my parents created wonderful and cherished opportunities for us. There were opportunities to study, explore, travel and become involved in the community. Membership in the 845 Royal Canadian Air Cadets Squadron created an appreciation of service. Student government led to an interest in politics on my part and to volunteer positions within our party. The seed was planted.

I am enormously grateful to my mom and dad for the courageous, bold decision they made to leave our previous home in Germany to come here. I thank them today and every day. It was the best decision they made for us, and there were many excellent decisions. Their love and encouragement along a series of twists and turns in my path ultimately led me to an opportunity to serve with the United Nations in Iraq from 2005 until 2012. It was from that position that I entered Canadian politics.

This will be about as partisan as I will ever get, but it was at the moment when the Liberal Party, my party, had been pushed up against the wall after the 2011 election, and when there were whispers that there may no longer be a space for the Liberal vision in the tapestry of Canadian politics. It was then that I decided to come home and get into the political trenches.

Along with my parents and my sisters, who strongly and quietly supported my journey into politics, I would like to thank all of my family and loved ones in Canada and in Europe, and my friends and teammates for their tireless encouragement and support over the course of three elections and the much more important time in between.

I have a very special and particular word of thanks to the members of my constituency team, who have served the people of Mississauga—Lakeshore with incredible compassion, patience and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic: Dulce Santos, Hanan Harb, Kassandra Fiore, Brenda Armstrong, Adam Larouche, Yaseen Abdulhai, Zelia Bukhari and Rafeef Kilani. I thank them for their extraordinary and tireless service in unprecedented times. They have the deep gratitude of our entire community.

To our amazing volunteer teams, including the Mississauga-Lakeshore Constituency Youth Council, the Mississauga-Lakeshore Council for Seniors, the faith leaders' dialogue, the Mississauga-Lakeshore Federal Liberal Association, and groups of environmental leaders, including shoreline cleanup crews and youth advocates against plastic pollution, such as the 1st Port Credit Sea Scouts, and so many others, I send my sincere thanks for their leadership and for everything they have done and will do for our community.

Alongside them are leaders in many other extraordinary organizations and initiatives in our community doing their part to build a better tomorrow. There are indigenous organizations, such as the Eagle Spirits of the Great Waters. In the BIAs, there are heritage sites such as the Small Arms Inspection Building; farmers' markets; The Compass food bank; Armagh house and Interim Place, which are working tirelessly to protect women and children at risk of violence. There are also sports organizations, such as the Mississauga Canoe Club and PCYC's learn to sail program; faith-based organizations and places of worship; ratepayer groups; environmental organizations, such as Credit Valley Conservation. There is also Epilepsy South Central Ontario, as well as our many festivals and cultural organizations, and countless others.

To each and every one of these extraordinary leaders, I send my profound thanks for contributing so much to the spirit, strength and resilience of our community. It has been an absolute joy to work with them, and I know that their exemplary service will continue in the times to come.

I would like to thank my colleagues in every party in the House. I thank them for their service. I thank them for their camaraderie, their friendship and the extraordinary opportunity to work with them in committee on important bills and during times of celebration and remembrance. I have learned a great deal from all of them, directly and indirectly, individually and collectively. I will bring this experience with me to my new role.

I will also give a word of thanks to fellow parliamentarians who belong to the Inter-Parliamentary Union for their service in tackling important challenges.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union, or IPU, is well known to many members in the House, and it is one of the oldest international organizations in the world. Founded in 1889, it now comprises 179 member parliaments.

It was an extraordinary experience to meet and work with many parliamentary colleagues in the IPU and its committees, in particular the Committee on Democracy and Human Rights and the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.

Parliamentary diplomacy and international advocacy have become very important in many respects, and I am grateful for the work we have been able to do together.

Let me offer a word of thanks to the extraordinary diplomatic community here in Ottawa. I thank the ambassadors, high commissioners, chargés d'affaires and embassy personnel from over 120 countries for being here, working closely with us, promoting strong relationships and alliances, communicating important priorities and tackling new challenges.

Never before have these friendships and relationships mattered more than they do now in these times of unprecedented crisis. They will endure as important foundations for building a much better tomorrow.

Canada is an extraordinary country, and if we get it right, our brightest days are still very much ahead of us. We have the world's longest coastline, the world's second-largest land mass, abundant natural resources, rich and diverse histories, important ecosystems, the world's top talent, cutting-edge technologies, a compassionate society and staunchly defended values and institutions that support our democracy, including the House of Commons.

There is still much to do in the areas of reconciliation, climate action, diversity and inclusion, social and economic investments, energy diversification, security and defence, international development and peace building, to mention but a few.

I am deeply honoured to have had the opportunity to work on each of these issues and others in the House of Commons, and I wish each and every one of my colleagues the best of luck as they continue to serve our country and move us forward.

I look forward to serving once again with the United Nations, reconnecting with former colleagues, meeting new teams and remaining connected with each and every member. Our country is in good hands.

Chi-meegwetch. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. Much love.