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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

Canadian Air Transport Security Authority March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today in support of my hon. colleague's motion. This motion, as I am sure members are aware, asks the government to develop a mechanism that would give airports not currently eligible to receive passenger and baggage screening the ability to purchase screening services from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, or CATSA, as it is more commonly known.

In my remarks today, I would like to highlight how our government has long supported the security of our air transport system, as well as the economic benefits that this system brings to us. I am encouraged by the fact that my hon. colleague, the member for Sherbrooke, who is a very impressive young man, has put forward a motion that highlights just one of the many initiatives our government is currently working on to promote jobs and growth while protecting Canadians.

As members of the House know, our government has long advocated policies that promote jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. This pursuit of national prosperity, however, rests on the foundation of our national security. Indeed, as reflected in Canada's National Security Policy:

There can be no greater role, no more important obligation for a government, than the protection and safety of its citizens.

With this in mind, I want to spend a few moments highlighting some of the most salient features of our current approach to aviation security before turning my attention to the motion itself.

Aviation security—the security of aircraft, airports, and all elements of the aviation sector—is a key component of Canada's national security framework.

Canada, as many members know, was a world leader in aviation security long before the events of September 11, 2001. Following the tragic bombing of Air India Flight 182 in June 1985, Canada's civil aviation program was rapidly transformed to include more rigorous measures for screening passengers and their belongings.

The threat to aviation has not diminished in the decades since the Air India tragedy, nor have our government's efforts to mitigate it. The creation of a national screening authority, CATSA, in 2002; the introduction of in-flight security officers; the reinforcement of cockpit doors; and, in 2007, the world's first dual biometric iris and fingerprint airport identity system for workers accessing restricted areas are all examples of improvements made to Canada's aviation security system. Other examples include 100% screening of checked baggage, the implementation of the passenger protect program, and, more recently, the rollout of a national air cargo screening program.

My aim in sharing these security achievements with the House today is to stress that the security of air travel and trade is the principal focus of Canada's aviation security system. At the same time, it is very important to consider that the purpose of security is to protect, not to hinder, air transport. Aviation security measures must not harden the system to a point where they severely undermine the efficiency and competitiveness of the sector that they are trying to protect.

As I noted in the beginning of my remarks, security is a foundation upon which prosperity is built. As such, striking the right balance between investing in security and improving efficiency will always be a key feature of any government's decision-making process. Indeed, the two must go hand in hand.

Our government recognizes the important role that aviation plays in a country the size of ours. Indeed, airports, air carriers, and associated businesses are important parts of a supply chain necessary to meet the needs of the Canadian shippers and travellers who are contributing to economic growth and job creation across this country. Moreover, the Conference Board of Canada estimates that in 2012, Canadian airports accounted for $4.3 billion in real gross domestic product, but had a total economic footprint of $12 billion, generated almost 600 direct jobs, and contributed over $3 billion in federal and regional taxes.

With our security fundamentals well in place, our government is also looking closely at innovative ways to make Canada's aviation security system more cost-effective and convenient for passengers as well as for the industry that directly serves them. Presently, for example, small airports not designated for mandatory screening in the aftermath of 9/11 say that they face difficulty in attracting commercial flights. Many have indicated that the lack of security screening has become a barrier for further economic development in their communities.

In response, the Minister of Transport has been exploring ways to enable these smaller airports, like the one in my hon. colleague's riding of Sherbrooke, to obtain screening services and thereby connect to the wider aviation network. That is why our government supports the motion before us today: it reflects the work we have already undertaken.

As we continue to work toward finding the most appropriate solution to this issue, we need to ensure that the overall security of Canada's civil air system is preserved. That is why we have proposed an amendment to the motion so that screening would be delivered in the same nationally consistent manner under the authority of CATSA. Standards are very important.

In addition to a standardized security approach, the government also supports some form of user pay approach. A cost recovery approach would ensure that revenue streaming from mandated screening would be insulated from the cost of a screening service that would be primarily for the benefit of the local economy.

In short, any mechanisms developed to give smaller airports access to the broader national airport system for economic development purposes will need to ensure that national security standards continue to be met.

Taxation February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadian families know that we are the only party that trusts parents to do what is right for their own families. That is why our government has taken real action to help Canadian families by introducing the family tax cut and the enhanced universal child care benefit.

Could the Minister of State for Social Development please update the House on our government's initiatives to put more money in the pockets of Canadian families?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the oversight that is in place right now is sufficient, strong, and robust, because as was mentioned earlier, there is a review done, but if inconsistencies are identified, they get reported and then something is done about it.

Within this bill, the ability for government departments to speak to each other, collaborate, and harmonize information is another form of oversight in being able to manage the information, so the left hand knows exactly what the right hand is doing. As I said earlier, it is a charter issue. If CSIS, for example, were trying to watch over an individual and its request for a warrant did not pass charter muster, a warrant would never be issued. That, again, is another judicial level of oversight.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend for his example. I hesitate to use this word, but it sounds somewhat bizarre to me, because Canadians would not be targeted under this act.

For example, working with his scenario, if there were any charter implications in the surveillance of any individual for any act of terrorism, regardless of the type of example, and it did not pass muster with a judge, a warrant would never be issued. That is another level of oversight. Judges would not allow this sort of thing to happen if charter rights were violated in any way, shape, or form. However, none of that would apply to that scenario, because Canadians have the right to express themselves, and that is simply what category it would be under.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I also share the sentiment that my hon. friend from Malpeque is an honourable man, and I have enjoyed serving with him in the House.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock”, and that is this government. Those who swim with style are across the aisle in the New Democratic Party. Although they are delightful people, they are naive, and in their naivety they risk the security of this nation, and this is something that concerns us all. This is an important debate. This is something that is critical to our country at this point in history, right now.

As my hon. friend just said in his speech a moment ago, his experience in Eastern Europe is why he came to Canada, seeing the Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhof gang, and others at those times. Those were very poignant times and very poignant moments in the history of the world in terms of terrorism. It was a portent of things to come. We saw the terrorism of the Middle East grow and develop into what is now ISIL. This group has not just threatened Canada. This group has declared war on Canada and on the entire world. It is incredibly important that we deal with this right now.

These security threats that are facing our country and the world right now are serious. The world has changed. We have to wake up to this. This government is addressing that right now, head on, because we have a responsibility to defend each and every Canadian in this country. That is our duty and our responsibility, and that is what we are doing right here. We are not going to allow obfuscation to stand in the way, nor just a simple lack of understanding of what security actually means, not only in Canada but within our security environment in the world, because the world has become much more dangerous, whether we like it or not. The end of the Cold War provided us with a peace dividend that we thought was going to last. It did not, and now we have Vladimir Putin threatening the world, threatening NATO, and threatening his neighbours as well. These are serious challenges that we face in this country, and this is something on which we have to work hard.

I would like to point out that the party opposite is on the wrong side of history. Eighty-two per cent of Canadians support what this government is doing, and out of that 82%, 36% do not think we have gone far enough. This government is going to protect Canadians.

It is clear from recent events, be they attacks in Copenhagen, Paris, Sydney, or even right here in Canada, that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and our allies. There is ample evidence. It is all over the media. It is all over YouTube. It is all over the Internet. If we are blind to these things, that just makes us dangerous to the security of our country. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to this. We must be absolutely vigilant in the security of Canada.

They have done this for no other reason than that we support freedom, we support democracy, we support the rule of law. These are the concepts that they simply despise, these barbaric terrorists who make up the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh. There is no rhyme or reason to it. There is no logic to it. They just do not like our way of life and they do not like our values. It is too bad, because we are going to combat them at every turn. We are going to defend Canadian values and Canadian democracy at every turn.

On October 23, 2014, the Prime Minister said, “Canada will never yield to terrorism, and neither will this House of Commons—we carry on.”

The introduction of the anti-terrorism act, 2015, gives voice to this resolve. The anti-terrorism act, 2015, would create a new criminal offence for promoting or advocating the commission of terrorism offences in general and is punishable by a maximum of five years imprisonment.

Terrorism strikes to the very core of our democratic institutions and our traditions. It undermines our sense of security, places our critical infrastructure at risk, and seeks to intimidate us so that we change our way of living. That is never going to happen.

When people encourage others to engage in terrorism, they harm our quality of life or infringe upon the freedom of all Canadians to live in a peaceful, open, and tolerant society guided by the respect of the rule of law. In short, they have committed an offence against all Canadians, and this is deserving of serious punishment.

Protecting Canadians is absolutely paramount, but security of this nation is also integral to our economy. Without security, the economy is at risk, and we must absolutely protect all Canadians. The concepts of advocacy and promotion are familiar to criminal law. For example, they are both used in the offence of advocating genocide. The word “promotes” is found in the hate crime provision. As well, the proposed offence would include the terms of “communicating” and “statements”, which are also familiar to Canadian criminal law and currently used and defined in hate propaganda provisions.

Some have questioned why the offence is not limited to communicating statements made in public similar to the public incitement of hatred offences. The proposed new offence is more akin to the other counselling offences that presently exist in the Criminal Code. Counselling offences are made out, regardless of whether their counselling occurs publicly or privately, because people are liable for counselling others to commit crime. Section 83.21 makes it an offence to instruct others to commit an activity for the benefit of a terrorist group. Section 83.22 makes it an offence to instruct others to carry out a terrorist activity. It is also an offence under section 464 to counsel someone to commit a crime, even where the offence is counselled and not committed.

In all these contexts, “counsel”, like the actions of advocacy or promotion, means active inducement or encouragement to commit a specific offence regardless of whether the offence counselled was or was not committed. However, it is not an offence to advocate or promote the commission of terrorism offences generally. In other words, one can be held criminally responsible for actively encouraging or inducing commission of specific terrorism offences, but one could escape criminal sanction for actively encouraging terrorism offences in general because there is insufficient detail that links the advocating or promoting to a specific terrorism offence.

In practical terms, this means that our current criminal law may not address a situation where someone encourages another person to carry out attacks on Canada, without reference to some specific activity. It is worth noting here that this is exactly what occurred in the case of the barbaric terrorist who killed Corporal Cirillo and attacked this very building. As the National Post reported, prior to committing these senseless acts, he had access to Internet sites that called for attacks on Canada and to “fulfill your duty of jihad in Canada”.

Such a call for attacks on Canada could mean any number of things. It could mean urging someone to engage in acts of violence against persons or against our public infrastructure. It could mean attacks against Canadian financial or security institutions. The problem is that we do not know for sure because this is a general call to attack without sufficient detail. This makes it extremely difficult for the police to collect the evidence necessary to lay a charge under existing laws because there is no link to any specific terrorism offence. I therefore strongly support the objective of the proposed new offence, which would bring clarity to the law and address an issue that raises significant public safety concerns.

Some have said that this proposal would violate the freedom of expression. However, I do not share that view. Advocating for jihadi terrorism where Canadians are killed en masse is not a human right; it is an act of war. Canada is not alone in dealing with the scourge of terrorism promotion. We have seen this all around the world. The United Kingdom enacted a glorification of terrorism provision in 2006. France has an offence for l'apologie du terrorisme.

Je suis Charlie, Mr. Speaker.

Australia has already enacted that offence, in a way somewhat similar to the legislation before us today.

Terrorist propaganda would be defined to include material that advocates or promotes terrorism offences in general. This takedown power would not depend on a prior conviction for this offence. Terrorist propaganda is an important tool that terrorists use to brainwash individuals into joining their barbaric cause. Information operations is a potent weapon.

I call on members of the NDP and Liberal Party to put aside their previous objections to tough on terror laws, like the combatting terrorism act, and support this important legislation—like most Canadians, 82%, who are supporting it.

I close by saying that we are a society based on openness, tolerance, and respect for the rule of law. Those who advocate terrorism undermine our values and put all Canadians at risk, and this government will not stand for it.

Foreign Affairs February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canada continues to stand stalwartly in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Our government has been very clear that Vladimir Putin must get out of Ukraine.

With today's reports that pro-Russian forces are not respecting the ceasefire and that the EU had imposed further sanctions, can the Minister of Foreign Affairs please update the House on the next steps that our government is taking to support Ukraine?

Privilege February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am rising in support of my House leader.

It behooves us all to work with our partners and to ensure that they have the ability to do their job properly to protect us.

I was stopped at the gate in a taxi the other day. The individual officer did not recognize me. I gladly produced my ID to demonstrate who I was. That is why we are issued government ID, namely to demonstrate who we are when the need arises. I was more than happy to do so. It took me less than half a moment to do it and I was on my way.

We should use some common sense in helping our security forces who try hard every day to protect us. I do not think it is too much to have on our person the instruments that we are given to demonstrate who we are.

Foreign Affairs January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, since the onset of the crisis in Ukraine, Canada has stood proudly and firmly with the Ukrainian people. Our Conservative government has implemented tough economic sanctions against those responsible, we have sent record numbers of observers to recent elections in Ukraine, and we are participating in NATO's reassurance mission.

Would the Prime Minister please update this House on Canada's latest efforts to support Ukraine?

Russia January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Russian-backed proxies of Vladimir Putin attacked Mariupol killing and wounding over 100 people, a criminal act using Russian supplied weapons like those that shot down MH317.

Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian MP and former pilot, was kidnapped by Putin's proxies in Luhansk last June 17 and delivered to Russia bound and gagged. She is jailed in Russia and resisting with a hunger strike.

Savchenko is falsely accused of involvement in the death of a Russian journalist and entering Russia illegally. Putin claims she is a prisoner of war, but Putin claims he is not waging war in Ukraine. This is right out of the KGB cold war playbook: lies, obfuscation, kidnapping, murders and proxy wars.

Vladamir Putin is turning Russia into a pariah state. The Russian people are suffering through a failing economy and Putin's rogue behaviour. They deserve better leaders, leaders that the international community can respect.

Today is Free Savchenko Day and Canada calls for Nadiya Savchenko to be freed.

Slava Ukraini.

National Defence December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Poland's defence minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, says that there has been unprecedented activity by Russia's navy and air force in the Baltic Sea region in recent days.

He also says that this is evidence of Russia's testing and probing of NATO and that this does not in any way help to build good relations and trust.

Given this spike in activity, would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence please update this House on Canada's contribution to NATO's Ukrainian assurance measures?