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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

70th Anniversary of D-Day June 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I proudly rise today to salute the tens of thousands of Canadians who served on land, at sea, and in the skies over northern France. The significance of this day cannot be overstated. Just 11 months after the D-Day landings, Canadians and our Allies celebrated victory in Europe. Remarkably, Canadians progressed further inland than any of the Allies during the course of the Battle of Normandy.

While we remember this proud accomplishment, we also pay tribute to the almost 1,000 Canadians who sacrificed in the landings at Juno Beach on D-Day, including the 340 brave Canadians who gave their lives.

Our greatest generation laid the foundations of our freedom and our democracy and inspired generations of veterans who followed their example. God bless our greatest generation and our D-Day veterans.

Lest we forget.

Poland June 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, freedom was reborn in Poland 25 years ago today. The first free elections were held in Poland on this day because the Solidarity trade union, led by Lech Walesa, helped defeat the Soviet empire, a communist system of evil that the Prime Minister recently called a “poisonous ideology”. Poland triumphed, loosening the bonds of other nations. Their fight for freedom was defended by Reagan, Thatcher, Mulroney, and the spiritual leadership of St. John Paul.

Prime Minister Harper stood among the Polish people today, sharing their joy and sharing Poland's determination to help freedom flourish in other places, like the commitment we share to stand with the people of Ukraine to help them rise and become a free and prosperous society.

Poles have long fought for freedom, and we know the heavy cost of it. They have built a nation that is called the Canada of Europe, a thriving democracy with a robust economy that is the envy of its neighbours. Poland and Canada stand united in a just cause to help other nations realize the same freedom we enjoy.

God bless the Polish people.

Jeszcze Polska nie zginela kiedy my zyjemy.

[Member spoke in Polish and provided the following translation:]

Poland has not yet perished as long as we live.

Jan Karski May 14th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Jan Karski, an operative in Poland's home army during the Second World War, witnessed unspeakable horrors. Karski was dispatched to inform the Polish government in exile and western allies of the Nazi terror in occupied Poland. He infiltrated Warsaw's Jewish ghetto and witnessed Nazi soldiers hunting Jewish children for sport and Jews being herded onto boxcars and sent to their deaths.

Karski urgently described what he witnessed and appealed directly to Franklin D. Roosevelt for the world to acknowledge and to stop the Holocaust. Astonishingly, he was not believed. Karski continued to speak out and documented what he saw in a book.

His determination to tell the world about the Holocaust and other atrocities reminds us to never stay silent. Jan Karski stood courageously and defiantly in the face of the greatest evil this world has ever known, and we are inspired by his example.

I invite all members to attend a reception hosted by His Excellency Marcin Bosacki, Poland's Ambassador, honouring Jan Karski tomorrow evening and to learn more about his extraordinary life.

Fair Elections Act May 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member partially answered the question herself. There are 39 different forms of ID that can be used. The vast majority of people in our country agree that valid forms of ID should be applied. It is reasonable. There are all sorts of other things that we do in life to prove our identity and where we live.

The accommodation made in the bill to allow an oath to be signed and proof provided through the two pieces of ID is very reasonable. It came out of hours and hours of testimony before committee. The minister was very broad-minded in looking at the bill and making changes that accommodated these issues that were brought up in testimony before committee.

Fair Elections Act May 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-23, the fair elections act.

The bill would fulfill a commitment made by our government during the last Speech from the Throne and in it our government committed to bringing forward a comprehensive election reform proposal that would protect the votes of Canadians at the polls.

The fair elections act would ensure that constituents in Etobicoke Centre, along with all Canadians, would be in charge of democracy by putting special interests on the sidelines and the rule-breakers out of business.

It would also make it harder for people to break the law. It would close loopholes in big money. It would impose tough new penalties on political imposters and those rogue calls and it would empower the Commissioner of Canada Elections with sharper teeth, a longer reach and a freer hand.

The fair elections act would make our laws clear and easy to follow. It would make life harder for election law-breakers and easier for the honest people to take part in democracy.

I believe Canadians agree that our current system can be improved. For example, 87% of Canadians believe it is reasonable to require someone to prove his or her identity and address before voting. Based on my conversations with constituents in Etobicoke Centre, I would also submit that a majority of my constituents would agree with this view. This is why I am proud that our government is committed to enhancing our electoral laws and protecting the integrity of each and every ballot.

What I would not support is the NDP's suggestion that people should not require any ID to vote. The fair elections act would prohibit the use of vouching and voter information cards as replacements for acceptable ID.

Studies commissioned by Elections Canada demonstrate mass irregularities in the use of vouching and high rates of inaccuracy on voter information cards. Under the act, voters would continue to have 39 different forms of authorized identification to choose from to prove their identity and to prove their residence.

Our government has also recently announced that under the fair elections act, electors with no identification that proves their residence would be allowed to vote with two pieces of identification that prove their identity and a written oath as to their residence provided that another elector from the same polling division, who proves his or her identity and residence by providing documentary proof, would also take a written oath as to the elector's residence. These changes are abundantly fair and reasonable.

Stopping possible election fraud is just one of the many positive changes that the fair elections act proposes to make. The act would protect voters from rogue calls and from political imposters by punishing those who would attempt to deceive Canadians. For example, Bill C-23 would create a mandatory public registry for mass calling and impose prison time for impersonating election officials. It would also increase penalties for deceiving people out of their votes.

The fair elections act would give the Commissioner of Canada Elections sharper teeth, a longer reach and a freer hand to ensure we would have strong elections law enforcement.

The bill would allow for small donations coming in and keep big money out of our elections by ensuring donation limits could not be circumvented. Big money from special interests can drown out the voices of everyday citizens, like people in Etobicoke Centre, who have supported me, and those constituents who come to my office often looking to discuss current legislation or seeking assistance on a variety of issues. Theirs are the voices that should be reflected in the House.

Lastly, the bill would provide better customer service for voters by adding another advanced poll day and ensuring Canadians would know where to vote, when to vote and what ID to bring with them.

The fair elections act would also explicitly require Elections Canada to inform disabled voters of the extra help available to help them vote.

I believe the majority of my constituents would agree with me in that the fair elections act would make life harder for election law-breakers and easier for honest people to take part in our democratic process.

I do want to address something about our youth. I reach out to schools and to various groups in my constituency and beyond when I am asked to speak for a variety of reasons. I tell people, including at citizenship ceremonies, that citizenship comes with duties and responsibilities. One of those duties is to vote. I have said that before and I have said that often. I tell that to school groups, to youth, and to people frequently when I speak in front of public groups. It is very important that people understand that, to make sure that our democracy works as it has.

Make no mistake, Canada is a heaven on earth. There are people clamouring to come to our country because of what we have, because of the strength of our democracy, and how hard we work to ensure that each and every person is enfranchised with their vote.

I am very proud of the bill. I am very proud to stand for it. I am very proud to speak for it.

Veterans May 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Leader of the Opposition accused the Prime Minister of making a 91-year-old veteran, Arthur Haché, pay for his airfare in order to attend the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy. This accusation was false.

Today's Acadie Nouvelle makes clear that the federal government would have covered this venerable veteran's travel costs, however the reason he cannot attend the ceremony in Normandy is due to personal health reasons. It is unacceptable that the Leader of the Opposition, without knowing the facts, would publicly use this veteran and his case as an opportunity to attack the Prime Minister.

I ask that the Leader of the Opposition apologize to Mr. Arthur Haché and his family, and to set the record straight for the House. I also encourage him, if he wants to actually help veterans, to raise their case files privately so he can ascertain all the facts rather than opportunistically use veterans to score political points.

Homelessness May 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Edmonton East for bringing this motion forward. We know that every city has its own method of calculating the number of homeless, but this can lead to varying results that make it rather difficult to plan adequately and to meet the needs of the homeless.

What the motion does is to recommend a standardized point-in-time approach for use in communities across the country to measure homelessness. The goal is to provide communities with the tools they need to implement a consistent homeless count.

As my colleagues also pointed out, under the renewed homelessness partnering strategy, the government is adopting a housing first approach to homelessness. Housing first gives people who are homeless a place to live immediately and permanently, and then gives them the necessary supports to improve the other aspects of their lives.

In many cases, this means getting them help, whether for addiction or a mental or a physical illness, so that they can get back on their feet and lead productive lives.

The recent Mental Health Commission of Canada's pilot project, the at home/chez soi project, demonstrated that the housing first approach rapidly reduces homelessness while alleviating pressure on shelter, health, police, and judicial services. We are incredibly proud of this policy shift.

Through the pilot project, we now know that housing first rapidly ends homelessness and leads to other positive outcomes for quality of life. We also know that it is a sound financial investment that can lead to significant cost savings.

For those participants who were in the highest need, every $10 invested led to an average savings of $21.72. We also know that it works over a length of time. For the housing first group, an average of 73% of participants were in stable housing, in comparison to 32% for the usual care group over the course of the study. As I said before, we are very proud of this policy shift because these are the strongest results we have ever seen in an attempt to reduce homelessness.

Communities with housing first funding targets, under the homelessness partnering strategy, will be required to implement an initial point-in-time count, but the standardized point-in-time approach can be used by any community wishing to do such a count. The count will determine baseline levels of homelessness.

This standard point-in-time method will allow us to track changes in the Canadian homeless population and allow local communities to adjust their programs to prevent and reduce homelessness.

The point-in-time approach is widely used in the United States and Australia to track changes in levels of homelessness and to measure the success of efforts to reduce it. In a recent report to Congress, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development used national point-in-time results to demonstrate its efforts to reduce homelessness since 2010.

Also, the count will give us a much clearer idea of the overall extent of the problem. When communities use a point-in-time approach to better understand the demographics of their homeless population—for example, how many veterans, aboriginals, seniors, or young people are homeless—they will be better able to reach out to these groups and to provide the support they need to get stable housing.

Since 2006, our government has worked with communities across Canada to develop local solutions to homelessness. Whereas the approach to the problem was once fragmented, our leadership has helped mobilize a more cohesive and effective response.

With the launch of the point-in-time initiative, the federal government will help communities shift away from a focus on emergency aid to the homeless, toward longer term solutions. This approach is an integral part of the national homelessness strategy, which acknowledges that communities are best placed to address local homelessness issues and that the federal government's role is to support them in finding local solutions.

The point-in-time initiative simply makes sense. That is why I urge all members to support this motion.

Business of Supply May 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is a delightful chap, but he is given to flights of fancy.

This government is accountable and responsible. It has created one of the strongest, best nations in the world and certainly within the G7, and I have tremendous confidence, faith, and pride in what we have done as a government to build up Canada, build pathways to immigration, and build the program.

The minister himself has acted very swiftly and decisively on a problem that was identified. That is the right thing to do. We were accountable and responsible to do that. We have stepped up and we are doing that.

Does the Liberal member himself believe that it was appropriate for his own leader to lobby the government to approve a temporary foreign worker for his father's favourite Montreal restaurant? Mr. Speaker, I ask you.

Business of Supply May 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member is living in an NDP haze.

She is not living in the same great country I live in, because when I travel the world, I listen to people from places other than Canada dreaming of becoming a Canadian citizen and dreaming of having the system of laws and governance that we have. I take great heart and great pride in being a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.

The member herself, like many of her party, stands up and feigns outrage when there are allegations that Canadian workers in the oil sands, for example, are replaced by foreign workers. However, if the NDP had its way, it would shut down those same oil sands and throw all of those Canadians out of work.

How does the NDP square itself with its own hypocrisy? How do those members look at themselves in the morning? I really do not know.

Business of Supply May 6th, 2014

They did, Mr. Speaker.

The Liberals also voted against introducing legislative authority to impose significant financial penalties on employers who break the rules, having the ability to ban non-compliant employers from the program for two years and to immediately add their names to a public blacklist, and requiring employers who legitimately rely on temporary foreign workers due to a lack of qualified Canadian applicants to have a plan to transition to a Canadian workforce over time. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

They voted against requiring employers to pay temporary foreign workers at the prevailing wage by removing the existing wage flexibility, adding questions to LMO applications to ensure that the temporary foreign worker program is not used to facilitate the outsourcing of Canadian jobs, introducing fees for employers for LMO processing, and increasing the fees for work permits so that hard-working taxpayers are no longer subsidizing these costs. The Liberals do not care about taxpayers.

The Liberals voted against making English and French the only languages that can be used as a job requirement when hiring through the temporary foreign worker process and against suspending the accelerated labour market opinion process.

After all of this, Liberal MPs continue to ask the Minister of Employment to have denied labour market opinions approved and to have more temporary foreign workers in their ridings.

I guess that this should not be a surprise, because the only constant position the Liberals have on this issue is hypocrisy, or it may be simply that they are just very confused.

Let me recap what we have heard from the Liberals.

First, this is a good program, but it displaces hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Second, the Liberals criticize our government's action to place a moratorium in the food services sector but vote with the NDP members, whom they criticize, to shut down the entire low-skill stream.

Third, the Liberals say that reducing access to temporary foreign workers threatens Canadian jobs, but then they argue that the program is hurting the middle class.

Fourth, the Liberals say that they are okay with the program so long as the temporary foreign workers who come in can become Canadian citizens.

Fifth, the Liberals want the minister to overturn negative LMOs by independent public servants so that they can have more temporary foreign workers in their ridings.

Lastly, the Liberals ask for stronger rules, yet vote against every single one of the stronger rules that this government has put forward. I really would like them to decide.

It is quite clear that the only party with a plan to fix this program is our Conservative government. Under the leadership of this government and this Prime Minister, Canadians know that they will always be first in line for available jobs. That is why our government is committed to looking at even more reforms to the temporary foreign worker program to ensure that employers make great efforts to recruit and train Canadians and that the program is only used as a last and a limited resort when Canadians are not available.

Canadians can count on our government to fix this program. That is why we will be, and I will be, opposing this motion.

As a correction, I am going to be splitting my time with the member for Peace River instead.

I am now ready for questions.