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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

The Environment May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, there is growing concern over plastic waste in our oceans and lakes. Marine animals and birds are dying in alarming numbers as a result of suffocation and ingestion of plastics.

Plastic waste is making its way into the food chain and is polluting our water. To date, the world has produced eight billion tonnes of unrecycled plastic, half of it in the last 13 years. Plastic waste weighing nearly 600 million pounds is floating on the surface of our oceans, and 22 million pounds of plastic waste end up in the Great Lakes every year.

I would like to thank the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for opening a national consultation on this pressing challenge, and I encourage all Canadians to participate. I look forward to hearing from the residents of Mississauga—Lakeshore and I will welcome their involvement.

The time to act is now. It is the right thing to do, and it is the only thing to do.

National Defence April 27th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the children of military families that make that most unique of sacrifices. Indeed, April is the month of the military child.

According to the Vanier Institute of the Family, 75% of military couples have children. There are currently 500,000 children of military members or veterans in Canada.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence tell the House how the government is fulfilling its responsibilities to these military families, who make a tremendous contribution to the Canadian Armed Forces?

Mary Elizabeth Needham April 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, with profound sadness, I pay tribute to Mary Elizabeth Needham, a constituent in my riding who passed away earlier this year.

A graduate of the Ontario Ladies' College, McGill, and the University of Toronto, Mary was accomplished, selfless, and compassionate.

Mary was committed to improving the lives of vulnerable people and was a strong proponent of social justice. She was an active member of the Unitarian congregation in my community and cared deeply about children's and women's issues.

As a grandmother, Mary worked tirelessly through the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign, which supports grandmothers in Africa who are singlehandedly raising orphaned children.

Mary's steadfast devotion to improving the well-being of others was an inspiration to those whose lives she touched along her path. She truly left an indelible mark on our community and around the world. She is sorely missed.

For all those who knew her, Mary's legacy will live on as we strive to help the least advantaged among us and work toward a better tomorrow.

Business of Supply March 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for the question and the direction of the question.

I think it is very important that the relationship between the civil service and the government be maintained. It is integral as part of its core function. Canada's civil service is held in the highest regard internationally for its impartial nature, its professionalism, and its excellence. When our civil servants interact with each other here in Canada or abroad, they are really seen as being of the highest quality.

The accountability is from the civil service to the government, and the government is accountable in the House of Commons. Those are the proper lines of accountability. They are the ones that have been in place. They are the ones that were followed here. They are the ones that, in my view, are entirely appropriate.

Business of Supply March 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.

This individual is a competent, professional, non-partisan, independent civil servant. He has rendered advice to the Government of Canada. He has given advice to the Prime Minister, advice we trust and respect.

With respect to the integrity of the civil service, we have only the highest belief in the women and men who serve our country through these very important functions, functions that enhance and protect Canadians in matters of security, such as the one that is under discussion today.

Business of Supply March 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, my colleague may not have had the opportunity to hear my earlier response at the beginning of my remarks. This motion is about an invitation that should never have been sent in the first place. As soon as that invitation came to light, it was withdrawn.

Canada's national security agencies are non-partisan. They are highly competent. They are effective. They are people, women and men, we believe in. We trust them to protect and promote Canadians' security and Canada's security. They do an excellent job in serving and protecting the interests of all Canadians.

Business of Supply March 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, very briefly, on that point of order, the Conservatives themselves put the relationship between Canada and India squarely at issue. They commented, in fact, on clothing worn by members of the delegation. I would expect the requisite latitude to address the quality of the Canada-India relationship, including some of the very positive aspects our Prime Minister had the opportunity to discuss.

Two-way trade between Canada and India was estimated to reach $8.34 billion in the calendar year 2017. This represents an increase of 3.9% over 2016 and an increase of 30% over the last three years. An estimated 1,000 Canadian companies are active in the Indian market, of which 400 have a physical presence in our country. Despite this presence, there is a palpable sense that Canada-India trade could and should be higher than it is now, given that our mutual trade and investment numbers are low relative to the size of our respective GDPs.

Opposition members certainly do not want to talk about the significant outcomes from this trip, which included, by the way, a $1-billion two-way investment that will create some 5,800 good, middle-class jobs here in Canada. This is a significant investment that will absolutely help the Canadian economy.

India is the world's most populous democracy, one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, and a society on the cusp of a remarkable cultural, political, and economic transformation. On this side of the House, we practice positive politics, and we absolutely take the Canada-India relationship seriously.

Business of Supply March 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in earlier comments I had the opportunity to address the Canada-India relationship, the quality of which has been squarely put at issue by the opposition in debate on this motion. I was at the point of discussing the Rohingya crisis and the Canada-India relationship with respect to the plight of the Rohingya.

Several local organizations in my riding, including the Islamic Society of North America and the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada, are justifiably alarmed over the treatment of ethnic and religious minority groups in Myanmar. Canada, India, and the international community at large cannot stand idly by as this situation continues to destabilize and innocent Rohingya lives are put at risk. We do not want a repeat of what happened in Rwanda or Darfur.

In addition to its regional importance, India is also a major actor globally, with a strong and influential presence in the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the Non-Aligned Movement, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Commonwealth, the G20, the BRICS International Forum, and other important elements of global architecture. As the opposition well knows, these are institutions where Canada also plays a key role, providing opportunities for Canada and India to act together.

It is therefore not surprising that during his visit to India, our Prime Minister engaged his counterpart on a wide range of topics of concern at the global level. These include climate change, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen bilateral and international co-operation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future, for example in commitments to promote the implementation of the Paris agreement. They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology, acknowledging that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system. The two prime ministers also agreed to add renewables and energy efficiency to the agenda of the regular Canada-India ministerial energy dialogues.

On peacekeeping, the two leaders affirmed the benefits of co-operation to provide an effective response to global challenges. In that context, they stressed the importance of integrating gender perspectives into peace and security activities and interventions in line with the international women, peace, and security agenda, including prevention of conflict-related sexual violence. Canada has a long history in peacekeeping, while India has long been one of the top contributors to the United Nations peacekeeping operations, so there is much that we have done and can do to co-operate bilaterally, for example on training.

The national security challenges facing Canada and India are different in type and in intensity, but they have many factors and many elements in common. Thus, enhanced co-operation between our two countries where interests overlap is another area of potential benefit. The leaders welcomed the agreement on a bilateral framework for co-operation on counter-terrorism. At the same time, our Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi agreed to develop bilateral co-operation in other security fields, including defence interactions and cybersecurity.

India and Canada share significant structures, values, and goals, including a democratic political framework, a pluralistic society, and a basic commitment to a global order dedicated to security, prosperity, and respect for internationally agreed-upon norms and rules.

On that basis, it is very much in Canada's interest to seek out areas where we can work more closely with India to—

Business of Supply March 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Montarville.

Today's opposition motion puts into question the professionalism of some of the most senior public servants in our country. Canada's national security agencies are non-partisan and both highly competent and effective. We trust them to protect and promote Canada's security.

The answer in regard to the invitation and discussion is clear. In fact, the invitation should never have been issued, and when that invitation was discovered, it was immediately rescinded.

The government has great confidence in the security and diplomatic advisers to the government, who always act in an impartial fashion and always in the best interests of Canadians. They continue to do an excellent job in serving and protecting these interests. We respect our national security agencies, and we respect the non-partisan public service. We respect their ability to provide non-partisan advice.

Reflecting the 1.4 million Canadians of Indian heritage, and cognizant of Canada's geostrategic and commercial interests in the Indo-Pacific region, the Prime Minister's objective during his recent visit was to reaffirm that Canada stands with a united India. Recognizing that the relationship between Canada and India is based on a shared commitment to pluralism, diversity, and democracy, the Prime Minister visited cultural and religious sites of significance to people in Canada, India, and around the world.

During this debate, we are also wise to reflect again on the importance of India in regional and global geopolitics. Given Canada's own strong global bonds and priorities, there is clear potential benefit in collaborating with India in many areas. As many Canadians clearly appreciate, India is the largest and most influential state in south Asia. It is the key actor in its immediate neighbourhood, with complex and important relationships with neighbours like Pakistan and China. It also plays a key role in Asia as a whole in its strategic interactions, especially, but not limited to, in the Indian Ocean region.

India is important for the pursuit of Canadian geopolitical interests across Asia. Not surprisingly, therefore, the recent meetings between our Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi included consideration of this very question. As a result, the two leaders resolved to work together in bilateral and multilateral frameworks to promote a stable and rules-based Indo-Pacific region, which would not only benefit Canada economically but also serve to broaden our effectiveness and penetration as the region moves forward toward greater wealth, influence, and connectivity.

A number of important shared challenges face India and Canada in the Indo-Pacific region. During the visit, for example, the two prime ministers discussed a number of regional and global issues of critical importance.

With respect to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, the leaders paid special attention to security matters. Both called for the immediate cessation of violence, the renunciation of links with international terrorism, and the dismantling of infrastructure to support terrorism. The leaders also affirmed support to the government and the people of Afghanistan to achieve an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled national peace and reconciliation process. Our relationship with India on these matters is important in order for lasting peace and prosperity in the region to be realized.

Our Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi also called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to abide strictly by its international obligations and commitments. They called on all states to implement rigorously the relevant UN Security Council resolutions relating to the DPRK.

Both prime ministers deplored the current state of affairs in the Maldives and urged the government of that country to allow democratic institutions, including parliament and the judiciary, to function independently in a fair and transparent manner.

Furthermore, the prime ministers also discussed the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh, and called for the voluntary, safe, and sustainable return of the Rohingya refugees, while stressing the importance of ensuring law, order, and respect for human dignity in the process. The leaders called for the restoration of humanitarian access for relevant United Nations and other international organizations to facilitate the return process.

This is a matter that remains of great concern to many Canadians. In fact, a number of concerned constituents in my riding of Mississauga—Lakeshore have written letters to my office about the Rohingya crisis—

Sports March 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, like many of us, I watched the Pyeongchang Paralympic Games, which wrapped up on the weekend. It is fair to say that excellence is in the genes of our Paralympic athletes. The Canadian Paralympic committee's slogan for the games was “Greatness is Rare”. Like everyone who watched the Paralympic Games, I can also say that greatness is magnificent.

Can the Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities tell us how our athletes did in Pyeongchang?