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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

Congress of Black Women of Canada May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to recognize the Congress of Black Women of Canada first founded in 1973 by Kay Livingstone. In 1985, my local Mississauga and area chapter was formed, and I am proud to say that more than 30 years later, two of the chapter's original founders, Faye Schepmyer and Madeline Edwards, are still very active today. They are champions of education. They offer annual scholarships, EQAO tutoring, and a summer and March break camp.

These two exceptional Canadian women and their organization are also champions of social housing. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of Camille's Place, an 82-unit apartment complex that the Mississauga chapter actively manages in order to address the social and economic needs of women of the region of Peel.

I invite all members to pay tribute to the Congress of Black Women of Canada's Mississauga and area chapter for its incredible work and dedication to our community.

National Strategy for Safe Disposal of Lamps Containing Mercury Act May 30th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my friend and colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his excellent presentation and his private member's bill, and also for having secured the support of the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands and the express support from the last speaker to bring the bill to committee. That really—

Business of Supply May 16th, 2016

Mr. Chair, I was very privileged and proud to serve in Iraq under the flag of the United Nations as a civilian officer. While I disagreed strongly with the 2003 intervention, nothing gave me more pride than our decision not to intervene in 2003. I am now very proud of the role the Canadian Armed Forces is playing in Iraq, especially in the fight against the scourge of ISIS, or Daesh.

Could the minister take a moment to review the different missions that are going on around the world at the moment, including Iraq, in which Canadian Armed Forces personnel are engaged?

Business of Supply May 16th, 2016

Mr. Chair, if I could ask a quick follow-up question on the reply from the hon. minister?

As coalitions change, as coalitions broaden and new members are introduced with very different military cultures, political backgrounds, and conflicts that these members of their armed forces have gone through, could the minister comment briefly on the extent to which the Canadian Forces are equipped, in light of their experiences, cultural sensitivities, and sophistication, to take leading roles in these broader coalitions that may include members who have not been part of these coalitions in past conflicts?

Business of Supply May 16th, 2016

Mr. Chair, my first question is about international engagement and, in fact, the United Nations, which many of us hold dear in the House and across the country. Canada has a proud history of engagement with the United Nations. This is about sophistication, building relationships, conflicts that are changing rapidly, interoperability and governance, which are concepts that are new to the nature of conflict.

Could the Minister of National Defence update the House on his mandate letter priority to renew Canada's commitment to the United Nation's peace operations, including helping the United Nations respond more quickly to emerging and escalating conflicts? Are the Canadian Armed Forces members ready and prepared to undertake peace operations under the United Nations?

Business of Supply May 16th, 2016

Mr. Chair, before starting my prepared remarks, I want to make a very quick clarification for the record.

There was discussion earlier, led by my colleague opposite, the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, that may have created the perception that we are somehow talking about the closure of bases. I just want to assure everybody here that it was never discussed. The discussion was around the potential relocation of airborne sovereignty assets, alert assets, not the closure the bases, and that is to better meet an asymmetric threat. There was no discussion about base closures.

This evening, as we discuss the important work of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, let us remember that at this very moment, more than 1,360 Canadian troops are taking part in 15 operations around the world.

We have witnessed first-hand the support these men and women offer to Canadians, as they did during the recent events in Fort McMurray. We must also remember that our men and women in uniform have had a positive impact on the lives of many people outside Canada and beyond our borders in places like the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean.

The Canadian Armed Forces are flexible and adaptable. They are able to react quickly and decisively. Thanks to their unique expertise, they can overcome the most complex security problems. They can also collaborate effectively with other departments, non-governmental organizations, allied nations, and coalition partners to do the work they are asked to do.

Our troops have an excellent reputation and are held in high regard both at home and abroad.

This is being demonstrated right now in Iraq. As we all know, ISIL has killed thousands of innocent civilians and has displaced millions more. In fact, ISIL's advance triggered one of the largest refugee crises the world has ever seen. ISIL is undermining the stability of this and surrounding regions, and has posed a broader threat to international security.

That is why since 2014, Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces have assisted Iraqis in their fight against ISIL as part of an international coalition led by the United States. From August to September 2014, the Royal Canadian Air Force delivered more than 1.6 million pounds of military supplies to Iraq. From October 2014 to February 2016, our CF-18s conducted nearly 1,400 sorties and over 250 air strikes. This air operation successfully struck hundreds of ISIL fighting positions, military equipment, and vehicles.

Thanks to coalition efforts, ISIL has suffered significant losses in terms of fighters, assets, and territory. By the beginning of this year, the coalition forces had helped halt ISIL's progress and compromised its ability to fight.

Now the Iraqi military is able to take on a more offensive role in battle. They are reclaiming territory and pushing ISIL fighters back into hiding. While ISIL remains a threat, the international coalition is undermining its momentum.

Against this backdrop, there was a need earlier this year to reassess Canada's contribution to ensure it remained meaningful and continued to respond to the most pressing needs of the coalition effort.

In February, the Prime Minister articulated a redefined and refocused Canadian contribution that reflects a more comprehensive and whole-of-government approach and more particularly, that reflects the changing realities on the ground.

This refocused approach was abundantly debated in the House. During the five-day debate, no less than 98 members of Parliament had an opportunity to voice their opinions. This refocused mission, representing a $1.6-billion commitment over three years, was designed to maximize Canada's unique capabilities while complementing the efforts of our partners.

The Canadian Armed Forces remain a central pillar of this new approach, with a commitment of approximately 830 military personnel. The military is shifting its focus toward the training mission on the ground by tripling the size of the train, advise, and assist mission in northern Iraq.

The Canadian Armed Forces have already begun deploying the additional troops required for this training mission. We are also bolstering our intelligence capacity in support of this mission. This intelligence is informing the coalition's operational decision and is improving the coalition's ability to target and defeat ISIL.

In fact, less than two weeks ago, on May 4, the Minister of National Defence met with other defence ministers at a coalition meeting in Germany, and many of them spoke very highly of Canada's intelligence contribution. We also have personnel working in coalition headquarters and with the Iraqi government.

A Canadian general officer has been selected to lead the global coalition's ministerial liaison team which is intended to provide strategic support to the Iraqi ministry of interior and the ministry of defence.

We are expanding our medical presence, to serve Canadian and coalition needs and also to mentor local security forces.

We are supporting capacity-building efforts in both Jordan and Lebanon. We are maintaining the refuelling and surveillance aircraft, and have deployed tactical air support, which began operating in Erbil earlier in May.

Canada's new approach has been very well received by our coalition partners, particularly the United States. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, recently said that our training mission and the expansion of our intelligence resources have made us an extremely valuable member of the international coalition against the Islamic State. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that Canada is enormously invested in the fight and is making an important contribution. We can be extremely proud of our soldiers.

As the Minister of National Defence said himself during a debate in the House in February of this year, the Canadian Armed Forces are composed of highly trained and experienced men and women. They train in order to carry out their missions and get things done.

The chief of the defence staff recently visited northern Iraq, where he saw first-hand the real results the Canadian Armed Forces are achieving on the ground.

The new mandate for this mission was not approved early enough to be included in the main estimates that we are examining today. However, the Department of National Defence will seek to obtain up to $207 million in the supplementary estimates later in the year. I would like to mention, however, that this amount is not at all representative of the contribution of the Canadian Armed Forces to maintaining security in the Middle East.

We see that history is repeating itself when we look at other international military operations. Overall, the Canadian Armed Forces are fulfilling their international obligations thanks to the strategic use of their limited resources and the most effective use of their unique expertise.

In Operation REASSURANCE, the Canadian Armed Forces provide vital support for NATO assurance measures and our allies in Europe, whether on the ground, at sea or in the air.

As part of Operation UNIFIER, more than 200 Canadian instructors are providing much-needed assistance to Ukrainian forces.

During Operation PROVISION, the Canadian Armed Forces played an instrumental role in helping Lebanese and Jordanian refugees enter Canada and also helped with the processing and preliminary examination of applicants abroad.

The Canadian Armed Forces are also taking part in five UN missions, namely in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, the Golan Heights, Haiti, and Cyprus. They also contribute to a peace support operation in the Sinai Peninsula, in Egypt, with the multinational force and observers. In many of these missions, Canadian troops hold important key positions and show extraordinary leadership and professionalism.

Again, the operating expenses in this budget provide only an overview of the tremendous contribution of the Canadian Armed Forces to maintaining stability and security in the world.

A former UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping once aptly reflected that one could not stand as an island of stability in an ocean of turmoil. We are truly blessed to live in Canada. We are far removed from much of the turmoil and violence that plagues so many parts of the world.

However, we cannot become complacent in our isolation. Despite appearances, we are not an island. We are intricately connected to a global network of forces, some positive and some negative. We are also a nation that embraces humanitarian values and prides itself in being a positive force on the world stage. Therefore, we must think about how we can continue to be responsible and engaged international citizens.

Going forward, the government is undertaking a comprehensive defence policy review. This process will take a fresh look at the current strategic environment, consider the defence needs of Canada and Canadians, and set the future direction for the Canadian Armed Forces.

While the policy review is still in progress, with Canadians submitting their views from across the country, I expect that international partnerships and operations will remain an enduring thread of Canadian defence. This year's activities prove that Canada's military women and men stand ready to continue this proud legacy of international engagement.

Business of Supply May 12th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for his excellent speech, and for his excellent relations with managers of SMEs in Mississauga-East—Cooksville.

I wonder if my colleague could take a few moments just to describe the diversity of views on the TPP from corporate and business stakeholders in his riding, and also the importance of consultations through such entities and organizations like the Mississauga Board of Trade.

The Budget April 13th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her thoughtful speech and for her engagement on budget 2016.

Over the past few weeks we have heard a lot of discussion in this House on Canada's oil and gas resources. For our friends in the Conservative caucus, it cannot happen fast enough that resources get to tidewater, even though in the last 10 years they have not achieved one pipeline that has actually reached tidewater.

The Liberal government has committed to a more robust, transparent environmental assessment process in which Canadians can trust and have confidence. I wonder if the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands could elaborate in a bit more detail what the conditions are for her, under which Canada's oil and gas resources would be able to reach tidewater?

Citizens of Mississauga—Lakeshore April 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour an incredible team, Dr. Iggy Kaneff and his wife Mrs. Didi Kaneff, long-time residents of my riding of Mississauga—Lakeshore.

When Dr. Kaneff arrived from Bulgaria in 1951, he was nearly penniless and did not speak any English. Through exemplary hard work and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, lggy has since become one of Canada's most successful real estate developers and patron of the sport of golf.

In recognition of his business achievements and philanthropic efforts, Dr. Kaneff has received numerous high honours over the last 65 years, among these prominently, the Order of Ontario.

Eight years after arriving in Canada, also from Bulgaria, Didi Kaneff founded the Ignat Kaneff Charitable Foundation in 1986. Didi Kaneff is a community leader in her own right, who tirelessly champions the arts, local charities, hospitals, and health and social services.

I ask all members of the House to join me in honouring and acknowledging the truly remarkable and inspiring achievements of Dr. and Mrs. Kaneff.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL February 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent speech.

One after another, the Conservative members would have us believe that the position of the Liberal government is to withdraw from the fight against the Islamic State. In fact, it is the opposite.

I wonder if my hon. colleague could take a few minutes to explain to the House how the integration of the principles of humanitarian assistance, training, and diplomatic assistance are three steps forward and a stronger, more integrated strategy.

When we talk about the fight today, it is not just a military fight; it is a fight for the hearts and minds of those who are under pressure to join the Islamic State. That is a vision that has to be created locally, endogenously within the populations of Iraq and Syria.

I wonder if my colleague could elaborate on those principles.