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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

Elections in Ukraine October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today is Ukrainian day on the Hill. Canada and Ukraine have a rich history, one that has continued to grow since Canada became the first western nation to recognize Ukraine's independence in 1991.

Canada stands with the people of Ukraine, and last week assisted in election monitoring. With parliamentary colleagues from both sides of the House, we deployed across Ukraine. With the member for Selkirk—Interlake, I observed the election in Odessa. I am honoured to inform the House that Ukraine elected an overwhelmingly Eurocentric parliament.

This was a critical election with remarkable results in the face of continuing Russian aggression. Ukraine ran a democratic election in defiance of attempts to undermine Ukraine's independence and sovereignty. This is also the first time since the Bolshevik revolution, that Ukraine's parliament is absent of any communist representation.

I am proud of Ukraine's move toward reform and stronger and more resilient democracy. It was an honour to contribute to it. Therefore, in recognition of Ukraine and today's celebration of Ukrainian day on the Hill, I offer on behalf of us all: Slava Ukraini.

National Security October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the current world security situation presents Canada and its allies with very serious challenges. It is therefore incumbent upon us to provide the best possible training for our military leaders.

The National Security Programme at Canadian Forces College in Toronto provides professional military development of selected Canadian officers identified to progress to senior command positions at the global strategic level.

This year the NSP includes members of foreign and allied militaries and senior public servants addressing future strategic responsibilities in a complex global security environment from a whole of government approach.

The NSP is led by retired generals in a mentor role and instructed by some of Canada's leading defence academics. The National Security Programme is visiting Ottawa this week on their annual field study exercise. They visit key federal departments and meet with experts in a variety of fields.

As a former staff member at CFC and a graduate of the joint command and staff programme, I am delighted to advise all Canadians about the Canadian Forces College and let them know that the calibre of their defence institutions is second to none.

Ukraine October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government is steadfast in its support for Ukraine, as it works towards a better and freer future.

Today, while in Ukraine, Ambassador Andrew Bennett announced additional support to foster the development of a political culture in Ukraine that would facilitate pluralism and religious freedom. Specifically, we are partnering with the OSCE to promote religious freedom, interfaith dialogue and prevent hate crimes in Ukraine. Moreover, we will be partnering with the Catholic Near East Welfare Association to promote interfaith and intercultural understanding among the different communities in Ukraine.

Pluralism and religious tolerance are essential principles for a thriving democratic society. Canada will always stand with the people of Ukraine, as it strengthens its institutions and reinforces the foundations of democracy, human rights and religious tolerance.

Slava Ukraini.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I know how hard the minister works and her passion on this. As well as being the Minister of Status of Women, she is very concerned about this issue.

The Canadian Forces are a multi-role organization. We have ships deployed at sea. We have our aircraft, both transport and fighter, and we have our ground forces. As everyone knows, there are some ground forces already positioned as advisers in Iraq today. They are helping, guiding and creating the conditions for the Iraqi army and others on the ground to be able to fulfill their role, train their soldiers and effectively counter the ISIL threat on the ground.

What we will do is support those Iraqi ground troops and others with air strikes on strategic locations. That will be done as a member of a coalition. It will be done as a coordinated effort between various air forces, and that is the way it has to happen. Those targets and identified results will be something that we will see unfold in the coming months.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we certainly understand the complexity of this world. It is a very dangerous world in which we live. I appreciate the fact that he lived in a part of the world where he experienced some of this.

However, let me simplify it for him. This is simple. ISIL is a terrorist organization on an unprecedented scale: beheadings, rapes, slavery, genocide, murders. To me, this is pretty black and white, and I think pretty much the rest of the world agrees.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to this debate with great interest. I think it is clear to Canadians, to our allies, and most certainly to this side of the House what kind of threat ISIL poses to the world and to Canada. It is clear to respected Liberal statesmen such as Lloyd Axworthy, Ujjal Dosanjh and Bob Rae, who so ably led the Liberal Party in the interim. All of these very well-respected Liberals agree that joining the coalition mission against ISIL is the right course of action.

Another Liberal, Mr. Duncan Nyberg, an Afghan war veteran, wrote to me yesterday describing his disappointment with his own party. He wrote, “I'm proud of your government today Sir. As a Liberal, I will be very disappointed if the [Liberal leader] and the Liberals do not support the motion before the house today! Feel free to share my sentiments with colleagues. This is a good motion, this is absolutely a necessary motion! I'm finding it difficult to support my party when they pull stuff like this!”

Mr. Nyberg also told me that he registered his disappointment with his NDP MP as well, the member for Scarborough Southwest. I urge that member to respond to Mr. Nyberg and explain why his party is not willing to do what it takes to defend Canada and Canadians to the fullest of its ability. How do the Liberals explain their hypocrisy and the clear split in their party to Mr. Nyberg, a Liberal and a Canadian veteran, and to all Canadians, as to why they are prepared to compromise the safety of Canadians, something that Mr. Nyberg served in Afghanistan to defend?

Instead, the Liberal leader makes anatomical jokes about CF-18s, which dishonour our people in uniform. I was speaking to some friends today who are still serving and one in the RCAF told me that CF-18 pilots are very upset with the Liberal leader's comments. They have families they wish to protect and are ready and willing to undertake this mission on behalf of all Canadians.

In The Globe and Mail today the Liberal Party said it plans to support the Canadian Forces combat mission in Iraq once it is approved by the House of Commons, even though it will vote against Canada's participation in this vital mission. I truly remain confused by its position. Its dithering is on a national scale. All Canadians are confounded by the Liberal and NDP positions.

The member for Westmount—Ville-Marie is a military man, someone I truly respect and admire. He is a navy man with a military tradition in his family, and a proud one, which I heard him remark upon today in the House. I simply do not understand his defence of his party's lack of leadership, lack of vision and lack of understanding on this grave issue, because for him this must be entirely counterintuitive and most certainly against all that he was trained to be and to do in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Canadians are widely in support of this mission because they recognize the threat to us all and they recognize that it is necessary to take our rightful and necessary place amongst our allies and contribute to our collective global security.

Hillary Clinton recently said of ISIL:

...military action is critical.... In fact, I would say essential, to try to prevent their further advance and their holding of more territory. Because by holding territory, they both gain weapons and they gain revenues.

Mrs. Clinton said it very simply and I hope that this somehow resonates with the opposition parties.

The NDP cry loudly about this mission as being solely a humanitarian mission. Canada has given significant amounts of humanitarian aid already. We are currently the seventh-largest contributor to humanitarian assistance. We are adding Iraq to Canada's developing country partners. We have given money, material, and have already and continue to resettle refugees from the region.

The New Democrats' position makes it clear to me that they are not and may never be ready to accept the awesome responsibility of defending Canada and Canadians.

We have provided strategic airlift to other coalition partners so that they can deliver arms to Kurdish forces. That is a humanitarian act. Stopping and killing ISIL prevents it from killing innocent people in the region for just being there. It stops it from raping and selling into slavery girls and women. It prevents it from committing mass atrocities and beheadings, which have all been very well-documented. It will prevent it from coming to Canada.

I remind members that radicalized youth fighting abroad with ISIL and threatening to return home is a global reality in many countries. Approximately 130 Canadian youth have done so, and in my view, have forfeited their right to return, and where the law allows, to retain their citizenship. The opposition pointed out that this is not easy. It is right. It is not. That is why we are debating this in Parliament.

However, it is clear, and this government has been clear, as to why we are going to war against ISIL terrorists. The case for participating in this coalition is because children have been beheaded and, as I have already mentioned, women have been raped and sold into slavery to depraved individuals. They are absolutely depraved because who but depraved people buy slaves? What has been the fate of these women and these girls to date?

ISIL has killed en masse. It has beheaded journalists, humanitarian aid workers and others, and it has broadcast that to the world. It has said that it is coming here to advocate attacks on Canadians. It has attempted to perpetrate genocide on whole groups of people. What more justification do the parties opposite want? They speak a great deal of history most recent and generally out of context.

If it is history they want, what about the policy of appeasement? What about hoping that this will all just sort itself out? Appeasement is not an option. We cannot allow appeasement to lead to its inevitable tragedy.

The answer to terror is not negotiation. There is simply no negotiation or any dialogue with terrorists. It is foolish to think so. It is wrong. This government will not appease terrorists and their tyranny. This government will always stand up for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We will always stand up for the rights of people around the world, especially minorities. We will stand with our allies in a mission that is internationally sanctioned.

The Security Council stresses:

—terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States, as well as international and regional organizations, to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat.

The world is united against ISIL. The Iraqi government has asked us for assistance. That is precisely what Canada is going to do. This government and our Prime Minister will always do the right thing and this nation, Canada, will stand to be counted with our allies to fight to stop a global scourge, one that has no basis in religion because no god would sanction what this enormous gang of killers has done, and continues to do.

National Seniors Day September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, October 1 marks National Seniors Day, and my riding of Etobicoke Centre is the home for 40,000 seniors, which ranks eighth in the population of seniors in Canada.

I think we all agree that our seniors are the generation we commonly refer to as the “greatest generation”, who served our nation and established the principles we value today. We are still guided by the principles of freedom, democracy, and opportunity that this generation fought for and defended for us all. This is a debt we can never adequately repay.

We must all ensure that our seniors live with dignity and with honour. We must ensure that those living with diminished capacities are treated with the respect, care, love, and security they deserve, in the way they treated us until we were prepared to take the torch from their hands.

The totalitarian threats that our greatest generation fought against are once again threatening Canada and the world, and we, as a democracy, must address them.

We owe it to our seniors to keep our democracy strong and our nation vibrant, so that our seniors can live in the peace that they earned and that we will one day pass on to the following generation.

I stand in this House to honour our seniors today and to thank them for all they have done for us. Their legacy is our great nation of Canada.

Ukraine September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, will visit Canada tomorrow. He will be warmly greeted by Canadians and in particular by those of Ukrainian heritage, as he will address all of Canada from this House.

What President Poroshenko will find is that Canadians stand alongside the Ukrainian people in support of the right to freedom and self-determination, free from the intimidation of Vladimir Putin.

Yesterday our Prime Minister reminded Canadians that since the Putin regime invaded Ukraine, Canada has led the way in seeking the political and economic isolation of Russia. There is no ambiguity as to where Canada stands. We will never recognize the illegal occupation of Crimea or any other inch of Ukraine's sovereign territory. In support of Ukraine, we have sent financial assistance, military supplies, and our armed forces to reassure our NATO allies in eastern Europe.

Canada is a loyal friend and recognizes that Ukrainian immigrants helped build and shape our nation. Canada will work hard to ensure that we help Ukraine build a new future and become prosperous as only free and democratic societies can.

Slava Ukraini.

National Defence June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, with Russia's ongoing military interference in Ukraine, as well as new NATO reports confirming additional troop buildup near the Ukrainian border, the eyes of the world are focused squarely on Russian military activity. Our government has been clear that we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. At the same time, there is no greater priority than defending Canadian borders and our sovereignty.

My question is for the Minister of National Defence. Can he update the House regarding Russian activity in the Arctic and what measures the government is taking to protect Canadian sovereignty?

Veterans Affairs June 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, June 6, Canadians paused to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. As a nation, we honoured those Canadians who bravely landed on the heavily defended shores of Normandy, and with great vision and perseverance, forever changed the course of history.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs inform this House on how our government remembered this very important date?