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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

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership Implementation Act October 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier for his speech.

Unfortunately, he took the occasion to restate one of the biggest myths in Canadian political thought today, that Conservative governments are good for the economy.

Under the former Prime Minister, the economy flatlined for 10 years, the worst economic record since the Great Depression. There is a very simple explanation for that: The Canadian economy does well when we invest in Canadians. The Conservatives failed to invest in entrepreneurship and innovation. We made those investments. They failed to invest in science and technology. We made those investments. They failed to invest in defence and trade, and we made those investments. As a result, today, the Canadian economy is at the top of the G7.

Does my colleague now understand why the Harper economy flatlined for 10 years?

Status of Women September 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the beginning of the inaugural Gender Equality Week, an act that was put forward to provide an annual opportunity to amplify awareness, to continue conversations around gender equality and equity and to inspire future generations of Canadians.

Could the minister please inform us how our government will mark the inaugural Gender Equality Week and how our government will ensure that the challenges Canadian women and gender-diverse Canadians continue to face are addressed in our daily work?

National Defence Act September 21st, 2018

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George for his commitment to this issue.

If we set aside the sometimes cantankerous politics of a Friday afternoon, there is actually much broader consensus across the parties than may appear. I think we all fundamentally support this bill and recognize its importance.

Perhaps my colleague could talk a little about three particular things that are part of this bill. The sentencing principles are now opened up to indigenous Canadians and also Canadians of minority gender identity and expression. I see the Canadian Forces not only as an incredibly important instrument for Canadian foreign affairs and defence policy and international engagement, I also see it as a place of employment for Canadians. With the introduction of these three principles, it opens the Canadian Forces up more broadly to consideration by recruits across our social spectrum.

National Defence Act September 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as our government made clear when we tabled Bill C-77, Canada's military justice system is both unique and necessary. It contributes significantly to the ability of the Canadian Armed Forces to achieve its missions in Canada and around the world. However, it must also continue to evolve in order to represent Canadian values.

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect for a moment on the many different facets of our Canadian Armed Forces, including the facets that are manifest in our communities.

I would like to give particular thanks to two organizations in my riding of Mississauga—Lakeshore, the Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans Branch 262 and the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 82. I have watched them both work tirelessly to cultivate an environment where current and past members of the Canadian Armed Forces receive the support they need and deserve, while at the same time promoting a culture of leadership, respect and honour for all members of the Canadian Armed Forces. This is exactly who we are putting first with this new bill.

Today, many of my colleagues spoke of the benefits of the set of amendments being made to strengthen the legislation. Allow me to take this important opportunity to provide context to this discussion by giving an overview of the current military justice system, some of its elements and how they actually work in practice.

The first thing parliamentarians, and indeed all Canadians, should appreciate is that Canada's military justice system, while unique, forms part of a larger Canadian justice system, sharing many of the same underlying principles. It is subject to the same constitutional framework, including Canada's Constitution and of course our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Exactly like the civilian system, its overall role is to ensure that justice is administered fairly and with respect for the rule of law.

Military members are liable for their conduct under both the code of conduct service discipline and provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada. However, the military justice system has a second purpose. It is also designed to promote the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces. It does so by supporting the maintenance of discipline, efficiency and morale among military members.

The operational realities of military life mean that service members are often held to a higher standard of conduct than what would be expected of a civilian. That is because military personnel are often required to risk injury or even death in the performance of their duties, both inside and outside Canada. This necessitates discipline within and cohesion of military units.

The chain of command must have a legal mechanism it can employ to investigate and sanction disciplinary breaches. These breaches require a formal, fair and prompt response, one that ensures the culture of the Canadian Armed Forces reflects Canadian social values. Even though members of the Canadian Armed Forces are held to the highest standards of conduct, they do not give up the rights that are afforded to them under Canadian law, including under the Constitution. However, an individual's rights coexist with the basic obligations of military service.

The Canadian Armed Forces' capacity to operate effectively depends on the ability of its leadership to instill and maintain that discipline. This is a balancing of rights against the need to maintain a disciplined and effective armed force. It is important to understand this when considering the Canadian military justice system. The challenges of the armed forces are profound and are not shrinking in magnitude, both domestically and overseas.

These realities of military life and service have been acknowledged by the Supreme Court of Canada. On multiple occasions, the court has directly addressed the importance of a distinct military justice system to meet the specific needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and its serving members.

In 1997, former chief justice of Canada, the Right Hon. Brian Dickson, conducted an independent inquiry of the military justice system. In his report, he concluded that “the need for a separate and distinct military justice system is inescapable” and that the chain of command is central to this justice system.

The military justice system also enables Canada to respect its international obligation to hold members of the military accountable for their actions during naval, ground, and air operations, including those that fall under the law of armed conflict.

Two other independent inquiries of the military justice system have been carried out: one, by another former chief justice of Canada, the Right Hon. Antonio Lamer, in 2003; and the other, by the Hon. Patrick LeSage, former chief justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, in 2011.

Justice Lamer concluded, and Justice LeSage agreed, that “...Canada has developed a very sound and fair military justice framework in which Canadians can have trust and confidence.”

I want to assure my hon. colleagues that leadership and training are central to maintaining discipline, and furthermore that disciplinary action involving the military justice system is not to be taken lightly.

The military justice system ensures that military decision-makers act appropriately and within their authority when making decisions affecting a service member's rights. Such decisions must conform to the law and be just. A lack of fairness can seriously undermine cohesion, morale and discipline and it can adversely impact unit effectiveness.

While these disciplinary actions are not to be taken lightly, each year hundreds of service members find themselves before the military justice system. It is a system that is used and it is a system that must be effective and efficient.

When there are reasons to believe there has been an offence, an investigation is conducted to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to lay a charge. If the complaint is of a serious or sensitive nature, the Canadian Armed Forces National Investigation Service examines the complaint and then investigates as appropriate. Otherwise, investigations are conducted by military police or at the unit level. With the exception of certain service offences of a minor nature, legal advice is required before a charge may be laid.

The military justice system employs a two-tiered tribunal structure. More serious matters are addressed at court martial where a military judge presides, whereas minor matters maybe dealt with at summary trial, where there are qualified officers who preside. Both tribunals can be held wherever the Canadian Armed Forces are deployed and this is an operational necessity.

Courts martial are formal military courts and they are presided over by independent military judges. These tribunals are designed to deal with more serious offences and they are similar to Canadian civilian criminal courts.

The accused person is entitled always to be represented at a court martial by defence counsel from the director of defence counsel services at no cost or by a civilian counsel at his or her own expense. There are two types of courts martial. A standing court martial is conducted by a military judge who sits alone and who is responsible for the finding on the charges and imposing a sentence if the accused person is found guilty. For the most serious offences, or if chosen by the accused person, a general court martial will be convened where the case is presided over by a military judge and the verdict is decided by a panel of five other members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Summary trials are designed to deal with relatively minor offences. That is important for the maintenance of military discipline and efficiency at the unit level. These trials are presided over by officers from within the accused person's chain of command, including commanding officers, delegated officers to whom a commanding officer has delegated his or her powers and superior commanders. All presiding officers are trained in a curriculum established by the judge advocate general and are certified to perform their duties. Summary trials allow military commanders to administer discipline, enabling members to return to duty as soon as possible.

An offender may request a review of the findings of a summary trial by a review authority. If he or she remains unsatisfied, the offender may then appeal for judicial review by the Federal Court of Canada.

In each and every case, an accused has the right to be tried in the official language of her or his choice and, in each and every case, an offender convicted at a court martial has the right to appeal to the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada, a civilian court comprised of three judges selected from the Federal Court of Canada. These decisions can in turn be appealed to the Supreme Court.

The military justice system remains a vital facet of the Canadian Armed Forces. It must also continue to evolve to meet the expectations of Canadians and the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces. This is precisely what Bill C-77 sets out to do.

National Defence Act September 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Dartmouth—Cole Harbour for his great work on the Standing Committee on National Defence.

I wonder if he could talk a bit about how this framework in Bill C-77 connects with the excellent reputation of the Canadian Forces abroad, the discipline, the operational effectiveness and the feedback that we are getting from our allies and pretty much anybody with whom we interact overseas on the great work that we are doing in peacekeeping and international security.

Interim Place June 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, over the past four decades, Interim Place has profoundly changed the lives of many women and children in Peel region by helping them break cycles of violence and providing an opportunity to build new lives free of abuse. I recently attended Interim Place's second annual purple tie luncheon, an event that focused on the role men must play in promoting equality and stopping gender-based violence.

I would like to thank Sharon Floyd, Julia Robinson, staff, volunteers, donors, supporters, and the entire board of directors for serving as powerful agents of social change in our community. Their hard work, commitment, and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable women and girls is an inspiration not just to our community, but to all Canadians.

On August 28, Interim Place is hosting its 7th annual Step Forward To End Violence Against Women Walk in beautiful Port Credit. I encourage everyone in Peel region to walk with us on that day to demonstrate our commitment to ending violence against women and girls.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 June 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I may have been mistakenly counted as the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge. I wonder if you could verify the record.

74th Anniversary of D-Day June 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 74th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. We pause to reflect on what took place on the shores of Normandy and pay our respects to the fallen.

Alongside allied forces, thousands of Canadian soldiers played a crucial part in the D-Day offensive to liberate France.

We must never forget the 340 Canadians who died at Juno Beach on this day alone in 1944. Many more would perish as the Allies advanced into western Europe. Their heroism and their courage will forever be etched in our memories. These men and women fought selflessly to give us the freedom and opportunities we all enjoy today.

The events of that day shaped our identity as a nation.

We must never forget the sacrifices made by Canadian veterans on D-Day. Our veterans represent the very best of Canada, having put their lives on the line in the defence of democracy, freedom, and justice.

Lest we forget.

Royal Wedding May 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday, May 19, His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales, wed Ms. Meghan Markle in a beautiful ceremony at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom.

There are several Canadian connections to this royal wedding. Ms. Markle lived in Toronto as an actress, the couple's romance blossomed in Canada, and Prince Harry has travelled to Canada numerous times as a member of the Royal Family, including last year when he opened and attended the Invictus Games.

Thirty-three per cent of my constituents identify as being of British descent, and my team and I were excited to host an early morning breakfast on Saturday to gather our community around the telly to celebrate this very special occasion. It was a morning full of tea, crumpets, marmalade, and other goodies, and the wedding brought us a great sense of joy and optimism.

I call on members of the House to join the people of Mississauga—Lakeshore and all Canadians in wishing the royal couple the very best for the years to come.

National Defence May 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, on May 12.

It is with great pride that I rise to salute the work of the Canadian Armed Forces and U.S. armed forces that created and supported this cornerstone of our North American defence relationship.

NORAD is critically important to the defence of our continent.

Can the Minister of National Defence tell the House how our government is supporting this now 60-year-old collaborative effort?