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

International Day of the Girl October 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on October 11, we celebrate the International Day of the Girl, recognizing girls' rights globally and supporting action to address discrimination and the barriers girls face simply because they are young and female.

Today we are joined on Parliament Hill by 17 young ambassadors from Plan International Canada, an NGO supporting young women. They have come from across Canada to declare that they belong in their dream jobs.

These 17 inspiring youth will be stepping into a variety of roles to illustrate every girl's right to claim her place in society and realize her full potential to be a leader of change who defies and rewrites stereotypes about the place of women and girls in the work world.

Our government is committed to gender equality and will always speak out against discrimination.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, we highlight women and girls claiming their place in Canadian society and around the world. To our guests and all girls, they belong here, and we invite them to stand with us.

Situation in Myanmar September 26th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, over the course of the past year, my constituents have written to me and have called me about this issue, constituents who belong to the Islamic Society of North America, the Association of Progressive Muslims, Christians, and people from all walks of life, faith based and from other circles in our community. They have expressed outrage that there is yet another community, the Rohingya in a relatively forgotten part of the world, subject to such atrocities, to such slaughter. They have asked me to step up and show them what we can do as parliamentarians.

My colleague from Cypress Hills—Grasslands spoke of leadership. In just a few weeks, the 137th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia. Traditionally, upside of 120, sometimes 140 or 150, parliamentary delegations from around the world meet to discuss issues like democracy and human rights. What does my colleague think international fora such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union could contribute to such an acute crisis such as the crisis of the Rohingya, and what opportunity could the House of Commons have with a united voice to inject itself into that dialogue?

Gender Equality Week Act June 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as we conclude third reading of Bill C-309, I would like to take the opportunity to once again express my sincere thanks to my colleagues in this House, and to all those who have been involved in shaping and championing this bill, an act to establish gender equality week.

I would like to spend the final minutes of this debate acknowledging the work of three men in particular among all those who inspired my work on Bill C-309.

Our Prime Minister, who proudly and regularly describes himself as a feminist, has challenged men to do more to support women and Canadians of minority gender identity and expression in an effort to achieve gender equality. He leads by example, having appointed the first gender-balanced cabinet in Canada's history, and he empowers his ministers to systematically apply gender equality and equity considerations to both their domestic and international work.

Day by day, much of the credit also goes to our amazing parliamentary staffers right here on Parliament Hill. My own executive and legislative assistant, Adrian Zita-Bennett, proudly hails from Mississauga—Lakeshore, and he has done a lot of the heavy lifting in the stakeholder consultations and in the drafting of the preambular paragraphs of Bill C-309. As a young professional, Adrian is passionate about social justice, and he has pledged himself to doing what he can to help bring full gender equality to our country.

The third man is Glen Canning. Members of this chamber will remember the Rehtaeh Parsons tragedy. Rehtaeh was a Nova Scotia teenager who was sexually assaulted by four males at a home near Halifax in November 2011. She took her own life on April 4, 2013, following months of bullying, cyber-abuse, and victim-blaming. Glen Canning is Rehtaeh's father. I had the honour of meeting him a short while ago at a fundraiser for Interim Place, which is a local women's shelter in Mississauga, where he told Rehtaeh's heartbreaking story. Today, four years after Rehtaeh's death, Mr. Canning is an activist and writer, courageous and tireless, who is doing what he can to stop sexual violence in Canada.

I spoke with him by telephone yesterday, and I asked him if there was a message that he would like to relay to this House and to Canadians. He told me that one of the most important goals is to equip young men with the right tools and knowledge to be able to stop acts of sexual violence or harassment against women and girls when they witness them. If Bill C-309 will help to ensure that every man and every boy in Canada knows about Rehtaeh Parsons' story, and other stories like hers, for that reason alone it will have done a great deal of good.

I wanted to highlight these three examples of men who have stepped up and are taking action because, in my view, it is very important that men in increasing numbers become champions of all aspects of gender equality: sexual and intimate partner violence; the gender wage gap; the continuing disparity of opportunities for women in the STEM careers and male-dominated fields such as law enforcement, aviation, or the armed forces; the plight of Canada's indigenous women; and numerous other areas, as outlined in Bill C-309's preambular paragraphs.

Women and Canadians of minority gender identity and expression simply cannot and should not do this work alone. Many men are already actively involved through the HeForShe campaign and through important community-based efforts across our country. These men, in turn, will inspire more men and boys to join them, as there is much more work to be done and more help needed.

It is my aspiration that Bill C-309, an act to establish Gender Equality Week, will serve as a platform to support this work through a focused national discussion each year, not only to raise awareness among Canadians and to take stock of the remaining challenges but also, through stories like Rehtaeh's, to emphasize that the status quo is simply untenable. We must continue to take action on gender equality.

I have had the great privilege of working on this bill with colleagues from all parties in this chamber over the past several months. I look forward to engaging with our colleagues in the other place in the months ahead.

Once again, I express my sincere thanks to all supporters of Bill C-309. I am grateful for everything they are doing to champion this very important cause.

Helmut Kohl June 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, former German chancellor Helmut Kohl passed away at the age of 87. A household name during my childhood, he appeared regularly on the television sets of my parents and grandparents and shaped my early views of politics.

Chancellor Kohl was a stalwart champion of European integration and played a pivotal role in the reunification of Germany. He saw German unity as an inseparable element of a strong, stable, and prosperous Europe.

Kohl's chancellorship spanned over 16 years, to this day the longest tenure of the post-war chancellors.

As one of eight German-born members who have ever had the privilege of sitting in this chamber, let me put my sentiments into the words of the poet Goethe:

[Member spoke in German as follows]

So Ehre denn, wem Ehre gebührt!


Therefore honour … to whom honour is due.

I would ask all members to join me today in honouring former chancellor Helmut Kohl, a remarkable man and unequivocally a titan of European history.

National Defence June 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence and the chief of the defence staff are seeking to facilitate the transition to civilian life for soldiers who retire or leave the Canadian Armed Forces. They want to close the seam. We owe a huge debt to our troops who retire after serving our country.

Can the parliamentary secretary tell the House what is in the new defence policy to facilitate the transition for those leaving military life?

Mississauga-Lakeshore Constituency Youth Council June 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the Mississauga-Lakeshore Constituency Youth Council, which is an amazing group of young people. Last weekend, it ran a toiletries drive to help the Compass food bank, in Port Credit.

For weeks prior, the youth council profiled stories of Compass volunteers and clients on social media to shed light on the need for access to basic necessities, such as diapers, shampoo, razors, feminine hygiene products, and toothpaste.

The team reached out to businesses, faith-based organizations, schools, and libraries, and canvassed neighbourhoods to build support for its initiative. Through its hard work, the Compass received over 1,000 pounds of toiletries.

I would like to thank Sean, Pernia, Meghan, Nolan, Rida, Chris, Jonathan, Kassandra, Ethan, Steph, Hamza, Vlad, Caleigh, Jessie, and A.J. for their amazing efforts, and give a special shout-out to Hanan Harb in my constituency office. Her leadership inspired the youth council throughout this project.

This team made a real difference in our community. I ask all members in the House to join with me in recognizing these young people.

Antonio Sousa May 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate Antonio Sousa, who would have turned 92 this Saturday, June 3.

A pivotal figure in the Portuguese Canadian community, Antonio touched so many lives with his integrity, compassion, sense of humour, and dedication to helping others. He came from Portugal in 1953, and was joined a year later by his wife Maria Antonia and son Julio. In 1958, their younger son Charles, now Ontario Minister of Finance and my local MPP, was born.

In addition to being a successful small business owner, Antonio Sousa co-founded the First Portuguese Canadian Club of Canada and supported many other Luso Canadian organizations. He worked tirelessly to make it easier for Portuguese immigrants and other newcomers to succeed and prosper.

Antonio Sousa was always kind and gracious to me, and I know that today all those who knew him are better people for it.

[Member spoke in Portuguese as follows:]

Foi uma honra reconhecer este canadiano notável.

Business of Supply May 29th, 2017

Mr. Chair, the Canadian Armed Forces are also engaged in smaller international operations. We hear a lot in the news about the major operations of our forces, like Operation Impact in Iraq, and Operation Unifier in Ukraine.

In his remarks, the minister noted that more than 1,600 Canadian Armed Forces personnel are deployed in 19 international operations. Each of these 1,662 individuals are making essential contributions abroad.

As members of this House, we do not often hear much about these smaller missions. I am wondering if the minister or the parliamentary secretary could tell this House about the contributions that our women and men in uniform are making in these types of operations.

Business of Supply May 29th, 2017

Mr. Chair, on the issue of Operation Reassurance and our enhanced forward presence, Russian aggression in eastern Europe, which includes the annexation of Crimea, has prompted NATO assurance and deterrence measures in central and eastern Europe.

Canada is a strong NATO partner and remains committed to the alliance's mandates and mission. Through Operation Reassurance, the Canadian Armed Forces has deployed air, land, and maritime assets to Europe in support of NATO.

Could the parliamentary secretary please explain the reason for NATO's enhanced forward presence and how Canada will be contributing to this mission?

Business of Supply May 29th, 2017

Mr. Chair, my second question relates to NATO.

In the minister's earlier remarks, he referenced the importance of NATO as well as the concept of collective defence. The government has reiterated its strong commitment to NATO, and that it participates in NATO operations, activities, and decision-making bodies, including the recent NATO leaders summit meeting in Brussels.

Can the minister or the parliamentary secretary please explain the importance of NATO to Canada's defence and security?