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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Liberal MP for Kingston and the Islands (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 23rd, 2015

With regard to the census: what are the dates, titles, and file or reference numbers of all reports, dossiers, studies, dockets, files or other materials, prepared by, for, or on behalf of any department, agency, crown corporation, office, or any other government organization, since April 1, 2009, concerning (i) the 2011 Census of Population or the 2011 Household Survey in general, (ii) the design or methodology of the 2011 Census of Population or the 2011 Household Survey, (iii) the application or use of the 2011 Census of Population or the 2011 Household Survey, (iv) the nature or quality of the data returned by the 2011 Census of Population or the 2011 Household Survey, (v) the 2016 Census of Population or the 2016 Household Survey in general, (vi) the design or methodology of the 2016 Census of Population or the 2016 Household Survey?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 23rd, 2015

With regard to the 11 billion dollars in new investments in science, technology and innovation (STI) since 2006 identified in Seizing Canada’s Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014 and in the Economic Action Plan 2014, broken down by fiscal year from 2006 to 2014 inclusive and by federal department or agency: what was (a) the set of STI initiatives, projects, programs to which funds were allocated; (b) the amount of funds allocated to each of these initiatives, projects, programs; and (c) the amount and year of disbursement for each of these initiatives, projects, programs?

2015 Templeton Prize March 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there are saints who live among us.

The 2015 Templeton Prize has been awarded to a man of deep faith, Jean Vanier, the son of our 19th Governor General, Georges Vanier.

Jean Vanier was called to found L'Arche, now a federation of 147 communities in 35 countries where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers, and all are transformed by the encounter. Vanier co-founded Faith and Light, consisting now of 1,500 groups in 82 countries supporting the intellectually disabled, their families, and their friends.

Everywhere in the world, we live with brothers and sisters who have intellectual disabilities. To really meet them and become friends is also becoming open, in Vanier's words:

...to love people, to respect them deeply, to live authentic relationships with others, to yearn for truth and justice in the huge family of humanity.

Today, let us celebrate the saints who live among us.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, ever since I was kid, and especially when I was a kid, my parents tried to tell me about Chinese culture, because our family immigrated from China. They wanted me to learn about it, understand what it was, and even pass it on to my own kids.

One of the things I remember they would also tell me about was how life is so good here and that in the old days, many generations ago, everybody used to have arranged marriages. Of course, this is not something people would ever contemplate today, and my parents would say that we are very fortunate in not doing this anymore.

However, I believe they would be insulted, and I am insulted, when somebody calls that a barbaric cultural practice. It may be wrong. It may be wrong for society today, but to call it a barbaric cultural practice is going too far. For example, there are reasons that some marriages, a long time ago, may have been arranged. Some societies do not have a lot of extra wealth to put into choosing mates in the way that our society does.

To completely classify that sort of activity as a barbaric cultural practice is going too far. We can say that domestic abuse, domestic violence, forced marriages, and all these things are wrong and against the law in Canada, but to condemn cultures in that very general way is not needed in this law.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as the Conservative member knows, the Liberal Party objects to the world “cultural” in the short title. It is unfortunate that the short title of legislation should start to trigger emotional responses. I do not think that is a good way to write laws. Laws and the administration of justice should be as dispassionate as possible when we have the chance.

If the legislation really tried to address culture and changing culture, the Conservatives might want to put the word “culture” somewhere in the short title. Really, though, if they want to address domestic violence and abuse or forced marriages, why not just use the plain terms? Why restrict the offences we are trying to limit by calling them cultural? Why not just say that we want to fight domestic violence, domestic abuse, forced marriage, and honour killings? Why not just talk about what we are writing legislation about?

Why talk about culture, which potentially brings in all sorts of other biases we might have against certain groups?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 12th, 2015

Do not disagree with your minister, please.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about the minister's time allocation motion, which would limit the time for debate on this bill. Since I am not running in the upcoming election, I would like to put something on the permanent record here in the House.

I believe that the quality of debate in the chamber could be improved. The government says that speeches are repetitive. That is its argument for limiting debate. I think what is going on is that the opposition is doing its job in criticizing the government's legislation. However, the speeches we hear, and I would say we hear this a lot from the government side, and to be fair, sometimes from the opposition side, are not real debate in terms of a clash of ideas, in terms of responding to each other in a give and take, back and forth exchange of ideas and a testing of ideas.

The reason the debate needs to continue is to have better-quality debate. If we had good-quality debate, we could finish it in a couple of days and would not need to limit the number of speeches.

We in the opposition are challenging the government. We are pointing out problems. We are bringing up facts and evidence, and we need a response from the government. If we got a proper response and had a back and forth debate, a real debate, instead of just reading speeches where we pass by each other, from an intellectual point of view, we would not need to limit debate.

Therefore, I call on the government—

Petitions March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present today from constituents throughout the city of Kingston and in my riding of Kingston and the Islands.

The petitioners are asking the House of Commons to launch a national inquiry on the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls so that we can deal with the issue of protecting the safety of this vulnerable group.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my colleague from the NDP a question I am sure he has heard before, but I have not heard a good enough answer yet. Maybe he can do a better job.

The question is about the member's statement concerning the tax rate for small businesses. As he knows, large businesses are taxed at a higher rate. Therefore, as one grows from a small business to a large business, the marginal tax on the extra profits is very high, because the tax rate goes up. The business increases a little bit, and all of a sudden, the whole business is taxed at this higher rate. It is kind of a distortion and a perverse incentive.

If they want to decrease the small business tax rate, how do they compensate for this disincentive to grow past this boundary between small and large businesses?

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to contest a point made by my hon. colleague. He talked about tax cuts and $800 per person. What Canadians need to know is that these tax savings are an illusion. The federal government debt has increased by about $160 billion, which is something like $4,000 per person. People might have received tax cuts, but they actually still owe that money to whomever invested in Canadian government bonds or to tax debts in the future. Their kids are going to have to pay that money back in something.

It is completely an illusion to claim that the government has put money back in people's pockets. It was their own money to begin with and they still owe it. I want Canadians to know that. If my hon. colleague would care to respond to that, that would be fine.