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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was veterans.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Etobicoke Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Conservative Party of Canada May 2nd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, a year ago today Canadians endorsed our government with a majority. We were given a strong mandate to secure Canadians' prosperity. Only the Conservative Party put forward a serious, workable plan, one now seen in economic action plan 2012. Canadians understood that and sent our government back to Ottawa in greater numbers to turn those promises into a new Canadian reality.

We remain focused on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadian families. Economic action plan 2012 keeps taxes low, cuts direct program expenses and carries us toward a balanced budget. Canada's economic performance vindicates our approach. Our low tax, low debt plan for jobs, growth and long-term prosperity is working. Since the depths of the recession nearly 700,000 jobs have been created. More Canadians are working now than ever before. Our Conservative government made a promise to Canadians to ensure their prosperity. We kept that promise and we will continue to do so.

The Budget May 1st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, while the NDP joins big union bosses and their fellow socialist comrades today to rally for a return to reckless, unsustainable, big government deficit spending, including higher punishing taxes, our Conservative government is focused on helping Canadians by promoting jobs and the economy, and protecting taxpayers with prudent and responsible spending.

While our plan is positive and forward looking, the NDP would take Canada back to an era of protectionism and restrictive trade practices.

Can the Minister of State for Finance please explain how economic action plan 2012 will support Canada's—

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky April 24th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, during the darkest period of Europe's history, as Nazi Germany sought to exterminate Jews in their Eastern European homelands, we learned of those who chose to speak out against the slaughter and do what is righteous. Among them was Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church who risked his life and that of his fellow clergy to shelter and rescue Jews from certain death. Thanks to his sacrifice, Metropolitan Sheptytsky saved over 160 Jewish lives.

Leaders of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations representing the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths join us in Ottawa today to honour the courageous actions of Metropolitan Sheptytsky. They are hosted by the Canadian group, the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, which has done amazing work to build bridges of mutual understanding between these two communities.

Metropolitan Sheptytsky lived as a model to the world. Let his actions serve as an example to all of us that we should never shrink away from our obligations to stand up against evil and do what is right.

Katyn Memorial Day April 5th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, April 13 marks Katyn Memorial Day.

The Katyn massacre of 1940 was perpetrated by the murderous Soviet NKVD, on the orders of Stalin, with the intention of wiping out the best and brightest of the Polish nation.

Over 20,000 Polish officers who had been taken prisoner by the Red Army were brutally executed, most in the forests of Katyn. For decades, communist authorities denied this responsibility for their war crime until the Soviets finally admitted to it in 1990.

This memorial day was made even more painful two years ago, when, on April 10, the airplane carrying the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and dozens of high-ranking Polish officials tragically crashed at Smolensk en route to the Katyn commemoration ceremonies.

Over the next week, Polish Canadians will gather to commemorate both tragedies. I ask all of my parliamentary colleagues to join with Polish Canadians in mourning these terrible events in history.

Members' Budgets April 2nd, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the Board of Internal Economy's decision to find approximately 7% in savings from members' office budgets. It is important that members look for ways where we can save taxpayers' money.

Unfortunately, I have to question the comments of my hon. colleague from the NDP who said that it was “a big mistake to trim the MPs' budgets even the little bit they did because that could mean the difference between another staff position and serving people in the constituency”.

Last year that member spent over $42,000 on his accommodations, per diem expenses, hospitality, events and advertising. That is on top of his travel expenses which exceeded $162,000.

When asked to find approximately $21,000 in savings, I have to ask why the NDP member for Winnipeg Centre would not find savings in his own expenses rather than possibly firing a member of his staff.

Financial System Review Act March 28th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, nobody has said that independence is not a good idea in the financial field. It is there and the ombudsman remains in his position. It is essentially the same question the member asked me a moment ago and the answer remains the same. There is independence in the structure. Consumers still have a right to redress and recourse, and that will be provided throughout the process.

Financial System Review Act March 28th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear that direct comment in the media at the time. However, nothing here is invalidated, so I reject the premise of the hon. member's question. As I indicated in my speech, there are independent bodies that provide this advice.

We have consulted widely with Canadians as well as to what they want in this legislation, including all the credit unions and caisses populaires. Those independent factors and experts in the industry are available to us to refer to and to provide comment on this at any time.

Financial System Review Act March 28th, 2012

No, absolutely not.

However, that is why we have our system. In fact, it is a long-standing tradition in Canada to conduct mandatory five-year reviews of Canada's financial sector legislation. I should point out that this most recent review process was officially launched in September 2010, when our Conservative government launched the public consultation process open to all Canadians.

I am sure most members of the House are familiar with the World Economic Forum, which has ranked Canada as having the soundest banks in the world for four years running. What is more, Canada's safe and secure financial system is the envy of the world.

I will quote from the United States Congressional Research Service report which explains how Canadian banks offer a model to the United States and other countries on how to avoid a future financial market crisis. It states:

Canada’s financial system, in particular, garnered attention, because it seemed to be more resistant to the failures and bailouts that have marked banks in the United States and Europe...

As my hon. colleagues are no doubt aware, Canada's credit unions offer important and valuable services as part of our banking sector. Indeed, more than five million Canadians and business owners are the grassroot shareholders of co-operative financial services in Canada and one in three Canadians is a member of a credit union or caisse populaire.

In recent years, our Conservative government has demonstrated its commitment to credit unions by supporting a federal credit union charter to accommodate growth and expansion of the Canadian credit union system. These actions will ensure that those credit unions, which choose to pursue business ventures out of the province, will not be constrained by outdated rules on provincial incorporation. Furthermore, this will also give credit unions a means of diversifying sources of funding and spreading their geographic risk exposure. Similarly, in order to provide federal credit unions with a greater leverage of the Canadian Payments Association, today's legislation would amend the Canadian Payments Act so that credit unions would be classified under the co-operative class in the act instead of the bank class.

At the same time, credit unions will still employ the long-standing, well-understood and robust governance, liquidity, clearing and settlement frameworks in use today. While this may sound like nothing more than a technical change, it is nevertheless fundamentally important. This change would continue to promote a level playing field within the financial sector which would foster competition among players and would ensure a stronger, more stable overall system.

This is what the Credit Union Central of Canada, the national association for credit unions of Canada, had to say about this modification. It said:

—we want to note our support for the proposed amendments...Placing the federal credit union in the cooperatives class will preserve and strengthen the credit union system representation at the CPA. It will ensure that a federal credit union will be represented by a director, who speaks for the interests of cooperative financial institutions in CPA matters. A strong advocate at the CPA is important for the credit union system's ability to advocate on behalf of credit unions and to continue to operate payments facility efficiently and cost effectively, which has a direct impact on overall credit union system competitiveness.

I will remind everybody that CPA is the Canadian Payments Act.

I am certain all members of the House would be in agreement that a stronger credit union system can benefit all Canadians.

Finally, as I mentioned at the outset of my remarks, I would like to speak to a piece of the financial system review act that would make improvements to Canada's payments system, something Canadians deal with almost each and every day. Indeed, every year, Canadians make 24 billion payments, which in total are worth more than $44 trillion. These payments allow us to run our businesses, sustain our households and allow governments to fund essential programs.

Canadians use various payments instruments to purchase goods and services to make financial investments and to transfer funds from one person to another. These instruments include cash, cheques, debit and credit cards. With the exception of cash, payment instruments have typically necessitated a claim on a financial institution such as a bank, credit union or caisse populaire. Therefore, banks and credit unions must make arrangements to transfer funds among themselves, either on their own or on their customer's behalf.

A payments system is set on instruments, procedures and rules used to transfer these funds. In Canada our national systems for clearing and settlement of payments are run by the Canadian Payments Association, or the CPA, a not-for-profit organization of federally regulated financial institutions.

Our government knows that no modern economy can reliably function without a payments system that is sophisticated and secure. However, the payments landscape is changing. For example, experience in Canada and abroad since the 1990s demonstrates that clearing and settlement systems do not always include banks as direct participants. That is why Bill S-5 seeks to amend the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act to remove the requirement that there must be at least one bank involved in a payments transaction. These new rules will allow more flexibility in establishing systems to clear complex financial instruments like over the counter derivatives, or OTCs. This adjustment will permit the Bank of Canada to monitor payments that could pose systemic risks to the financial system.

Canada's leadership in reforming the global financial system through membership and international organizations, such as the G20, is well-known and a source of pride for Canadians. What Canadians may not know is that one important commitment we have made to our G20 partners is that all our OTCs will be cleared through central counter parties by 2012. This is an important step for the resilience and stability of our financial system.

To meet our G20 commitments, it is critical that Canadian prudential and market conduct regulators have the necessary authority, tools and information to regulate the Canadian OTC derivatives market on an ongoing basis. This means coordinating activities across current federal and provincial jurisdictions as well as with foreign regulators.

This is the kind of evolutionary change that demonstrates the importance of regular reviews in our legislative framework to maintain Canada's leadership in financial services. For these reasons, I urge the members to support passage of this largely technical but immensely important bill, which would help to ensure the continued functioning of Canada's payments system.

Financial System Review Act March 28th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful to speak to the third reading stage of Bill S-5, financial system review act.

I thank the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for his comments, especially those on financial literacy. They are a cornerstone for all Canadians to understand their institutions. This would help the jobs and economy of our country to continue to grow.

The bill is significant legislation because, although it is purely technical, it would guarantee the long-standing strength and security of Canada's financial institutions. Our government will make a series of changes to various legislation that govern Canada's financial system, including the Canadian Payments Act, about which I will speak in greater detail in just a few moments.

First, I want to emphasize for members of the House, and Canadians watching at home, that the Financial System Review Act is a mandatory and routine legislation. Canada's financial system is the safest and most secure in the world, and that is a direct result of mandatory five-year reviews. That kind of vigilance has been absolutely critical to maintaining our economic strength in our financial institutions. As the hon. member before me pointed out, much of the world has lauded that, understands that and has given Canada credit for it. Thanks to the greatest finance minister on the planet, the hon.—

Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act March 16th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has been a wonderful mentor to me since I have been in this House.

I would like to thank the minister for his work on this file. I have had the honour to work with the minister for two years. His courage in demonstrating and enacting transformational change on this file is incredible. I am sure that Canadian history will show his courage and foresight in protecting our country.

Our immigration act has been one of the cornerstones of Canada's reputation abroad. My parents are immigrants. Many other people in this House are immigrants themselves.

We need to strengthen the system because Canada is a fair and generous place in the world and we want it to remain so.

The hon. member talked about several things. He talked about fairness. He talked about making sure the timelines are much shorter for genuine refugees and being able to screen out the bogus refugees, saving Canadian taxpayers $1.65 billion over five years. That is money which could be used to much better effect in this country over time.

What does the hon. member think the overall impact of this legislation would be on Canada's reputation around the world?