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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ndp.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Edmonton—Sherwood Park (Alberta)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Global Centre for Pluralism June 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Global Centre for Pluralism's Corporate Plan 2015.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think the concern is that the NDP continuously talks about not being able to do two things. We believe that it is important to have security to protect our freedoms, and the NDP just does not.

I would ask the member to maybe sit down with those constituents who are concerned and talk about the fact that we would be criminalizing the advocacy or promotion of terrorism offences. Why does the member not agree to counter terrorism recruitment by giving our courts the authority to order the removal of terrorist propaganda online? How could she be against enhancing the power of CSIS to address threats to the security of Canadians, while ensuring that the courts have oversight, or of providing law-enforcement agencies with an enhanced ability to disrupt terrorism offences and terrorist activity?

When I speak to Canadians, they cannot understand why CSIS does not have the power now to disrupt possible terrorist attacks. The bill would allow CSIS to do that. The bill would give the RCMP, CSIS, and other security agencies across the country the tools they need to keep Canadians safe. I would encourage the member to speak to her constituents. If she explains this properly to them, how could they be against something like that? If they read over the bill, they would end up supporting it.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear from the outset that average Canadians who take part in law-abiding protests to make their views known to the government or some other agency would not be a concern here or to CSIS. I would ask the opposition members to make it clear. Which part of the civil liberties of average, law-abiding Canadians would be intervened upon and restricted by this bill? The opposition members come up with scenarios that are not very clear.

What is very clear is that this bill is intended to give the RCMP and CSIS the tools they need to keep Canadians safe from terrorists, those terrorists who wish to do us harm here on Canadian soil or possibly have put together plots in other parts of the world to hurt Canadians here. That is exactly what this bill would do. It is why most Canadians support this bill and that is why we will be voting for this bill.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Pickering—Scarborough East.

It is my honour to be here today and to speak in support of this very crucial national security bill, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. I am proud of the manner in which our Conservative government has managed this important file of national security.

Whether it be the response to the tragedies of late October, which we along with Canadians recognized instantly as terrorist attacks, or our measures to protect the value of Canadian citizenship, it is an honour to stand with our government on issues of national security.

It is a privilege to advocate for measures that keep Canadians safe, which is of course the first priority of any government. Regardless of the bill or motion that has been up for debate in this House, I feel a strong sense of duty when advocating for positions that Canadians truly care about, such as the mission in Iraq and Syria. Canadians will not tolerate the scourge of terrorism on our shores, which is why we must not allow the evils of ISIL to spread.

I would like to take this opportunity to first thank the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, to whom we are all very grateful. I would also like to thank the men and women who keep us safe on our shores, the RCMP, CSIS and police authorities across the country, who work tirelessly to keep us safe.

We, as parliamentarians, have an obligation to do what we can to help them in that very important job that they have. We have passed the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to protect the sacred values of Canadian citizenship. We have passed the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act to clarify the ability of CSIS to operate overseas.

Now, we are advocating for the anti-terrorism act, legislation that would enable our national security agencies to keep pace with the ever-evolving threats to our national security. Canada, like our allies, needs to modernize our laws to arm our national security agencies in the fight against Jihadi terrorists who we know have declared war on Canada.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by allowing the federal government to share information that the government already has across departments, within government, for national security purposes. Today's threats evolve too quickly to risk vital information being trapped in bureaucracy. For example, if a consular services officer has information of suspicious activity that could actually prevent an attack, he or she must be able to inform the appropriate authorities.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by expanding the passenger protect program, also known as the no-fly list, to allow the government to deny boarding to all terrorist suspects, not merely those who we can prove are a risk to that specific flight. Today, radicalized individuals can board planes so long as they are not a risk to that aircraft. These people could disappear into terrorist training camps and fall off our radar, and then make their way back to Canada after receiving training. I do not know how the opposition could advocate against something so simple, something that makes so much sense.

The anti-terrorism act would protect Canadians by criminalizing the advocacy and promotion of terrorism and allowing the federal government to seize radical jihadi propaganda. Canada is a free and accepting society but that does not mean we must tolerate hateful propaganda that advocates violence against Canadians. Canadians recognize that terrorist propaganda is dangerous and contrary to Canadian values, and that the government should do all it can to ensure that it does not poison the minds of our young people.

The anti-terrorism act would also enable CSIS to disrupt threats to our nation. This is an important part of the bill that, again, just makes sense. In fact, when I speak to Canadians across the country in roundtable discussions, they cannot believe that CSIS does not already have the power to disrupt threats.

It is inconceivable that a CSIS agent cannot take a very minor action, such as intercepting mail to prevent a meeting between a radicalized individual and a known terrorist group, to protect Canadians. Again, this is a common sense policy proposal that the opposition willingly and wilfully exaggerates the powers being proposed.

CSIS is not and will never be a secret police force. The opposition members know that. CSIS cannot and will not operate without strict oversight and review. That is why disruption powers would be subject to judicial review and also why the government's new balanced budget that we proposed would double SIRC's resources. The Security Intelligence Review Committee, or SIRC, is a robust Canadian model that has provided effective expert oversight of CSIS for decades. CSIS agents are often in the right place at the right time to disrupt threats early. Given the increased number of foreign fighters and jihadi terrorists threatening our nation, it is very important that we empower the men and women of CSIS to keep Canada safe.

Finally, the anti-terrorism act would further strengthen Canadian citizenship by ensuring that national security agencies are better able to protect and use classified information when denying entry and status to non-citizens who pose a threat to Canada. Again, that is another proposal that Canadians would see to be very important and just makes sense. Canadians know that only the Conservative Party, led by this Prime Minister, can be trusted to keep Canadians safe from the threat of terrorism.

Whether it is on the issue of citizenship; our international security obligations; budget increases to national security agencies, which they continually vote against; or on a crucial bill that would modernize our security tools, the New Democrats and Liberals oppose, confuse and obstruct.

That is why I am proud to be a part of this Conservative government. I am proud of our strong record and the leadership of the Prime Minister on issues of national security. I will be voting in favour of this very important bill, and I encourage all other members to do the same, to help keep Canadians safe from terrorists who wish to do us harm.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, allowing ISIL to create a strong base in that region would obviously affect that region in such a brutal manner. We have already seen what it is doing now, and it can only get worse, also for us here at home in Canada where ISIL has directly asked Canadians to attack non-believers within our country. We see situations where we have Canadians who have gone over and trained with ISIL and are trying to come back to Canada. We have the mission against ISIL, which is important. We also have legislation being brought forward in the House now to help us protect Canada before terrorist attacks happen. This is a multi-pronged approach and it is very important to keep Canadians safe.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, at no time have we ever said that we were going to get involved in the Syrian civil war. That war would require a much different approach.

What we are dealing with in the motion in front of us today is the expansion and extension of our mission against ISIL. Whereas ISIL was in Iraq, it has moved some of its assets and bases farther into Syria, so we are joining our allies to also move into Syria. There are more than 60 partners with whom we are working. We are joining the U.S., Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates, who are already conducting strikes in Syria. It is important that we join those partners in fighting against ISIL.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is kind of the main difference between the opposition side and the government side in this case. We on the government side believe that we can do both, that we can secure security and still work on humanitarian issues that continue, after there is security in the region, to then work and develop the nation further, and to help the nation further.

At this point, with the security there in Iraq and the movement of ISIL, where it has gone now into Syria, we need to first move in with our military, our air forces, and support our allies to ensure the security of the region, and then we can move on with humanitarian assistance. Even right now, we are supporting with humanitarian assistance where we can. We are providing emergency shelters and medical assistance to thousands of Iraqi civilians in addition to large-scale financial assistance to other governments in the region impacted by the crisis in Syria.

We have the ability to do both things: create security and help in the humanitarian way as well.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to this very important motion.

The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, and jihadi terrorists have declared war on us and pose a real threat. They have targeted Canada specifically, are urging supporters to attack disbelieving Canadians in any manner, vowing that we should not feel secure, even in our own homes.

As a government, we know that our ultimate responsibility is to protect Canadians from those who would do us and our families harm. That is why Canada is not and will not sit on the sidelines. ISIL has committed heinous acts of brutality against religious minority communities in Iraq and the region. The world watched in shock and horror as tens of thousands of Yazidis were stranded on Mount Sinjar last August after fleeing ISIL en masse under threat of torture, enslavement and death. While many of those Yazidis have since been relocated to safety, ISIL continues to seek out and violently persecute the region's diverse and ancient minority religious communities.

Just recently, ISIL abducted over 220 Assyrian Christians in eastern Syria. Their fate is still unknown and their disappearance, coupled with the worsening state of safety and security in the region, has forced over 1,000 Assyrian Christian families to vacate their homes in fear. This is part of a much wider campaign by ISIL to expel or destroy all those who oppose its warped ideology of division and hate, including Shia and moderate Sunni Muslims.

This extends into ISIL's destruction of Iraq's religious and cultural heritage, where it has targeted sites of shared significance to the Christian, Muslim and broader Arab communities in Iraq. ISIL has sought to destroy the inherent religious diversity Iraq has maintained for hundreds of years and to erase the history of a region known as the cradle of civilization.

Earlier this year, ISIL desecrated the ancient city of Hatra, a UNESCO world heritage site. It ransacked and vandalized the Mosul Museum, destroying hundreds of irreplaceable Assyrian artifacts. Last July, it demolished Jonah's Tomb in Mosul, a site revered by both the local Christians and Muslim communities.

The realities faced by Iraqi Christians epitomizes the severity of ISIL's brutal campaign of persecution. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled their homes, joining an estimated 2.4 million now displaced by the violence. By some estimates, the near total disappearance of Christians from the region is unfolding. Should ISIL's campaign against Iraq's religious minorities continue unencumbered, the fate of the Christian population in Iraq could mirror that of the Jewish community in Iraq, which dwindled from approximately 135,000 in 1948 to less than 100 today.

From an estimated population of 1.3 million Christians in Iraq in 2003, some estimates now put the number of Christians remaining in Iraq at approximately 130,000. ISIL threatens to wipe out the region's pluralism, rooted in the presence of faith communities of diverse creeds living together side by side for millennia. The maintaining of such diversity is crucial for lasting stability.

Without tolerance and respect for religious diversity in Iraq, the chance of building a democratic country grounded in the rule of law is greatly diminished. Iraq's religious minorities have also been targeted under a horrific campaign of sexual and gender-based violence. Unspeakable acts of rape, sexual enslavement and forced marriage against women, girls and boys have been perpetrated by ISIL in the territories it holds.

Canada has been a strong supporter of international efforts to end sexual violence and conflict. Such barbaric acts are an affront to human dignity and Canadian values, and add to the urgency of the call to stop ISIL and re-establish peace and security in the region. The twisted, hateful ideology that motivates ISIL is spreading like a cancer. It is fuelling violence in East Africa, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and throughout the Middle East.

While our government has rightly directed the Canadian military to support our friends and allies in stopping ISIL's advance on the ground, military force alone cannot root out the long-term threat posed by jihadi extremism. Extremism flourishes in an environment without respect and tolerance for religious diversity and religious difference. Legal and social restrictions on religious freedoms, including the prohibitions against blasphemy and apostasy that we have been seeing elsewhere in Muslim-majority countries cannot be allowed to take hold in Iraq; not just because they infringe on the rights of Christians and other minorities to practise their faith, but because they discourage the liberalizing voices within Islam that are crucial to countering the influence of the extremists in the long term.

This is precisely why the government has committed to advancing freedom of religion as a central component of our response to the situation in Iraq. Through the Office of Religious Freedoms, we will be working over the medium and long term to promote interfaith dialogue, to encourage understanding and respect among Iraq's religious communities, and to help build a political and social framework that allows all Iraqis to express their faith freely and without fear.

To that end, the Office of Religious Freedoms has been working diligently to identify and implement initiatives to assist in these efforts. Through the religious freedom fund, the office is supporting a two-year project with minority rights groups internationally that will increase the capacity of local Iraqi civil society organizations to monitor and respond to violations of religious freedom, as well as assist religious communities of all faiths to access vital services.

We will also continue reaching out to our friends and allies to build recognition for the important role religious freedom will play in ensuring long-term sustainable peace in Iraq. Our Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Dr. Andrew Bennett, continues to conduct outreach with Canadian Iraqi religious leaders to identify how best to help Iraq's religious communities under threat and support longer-term religious tolerance and freedom. Ambassador Bennett has also held fruitful discussions in the region with a number of faith-based organizations to explore opportunities for partnership with Canada on the ground.

As a multicultural and multi-faith society, Canada is uniquely qualified to promote the peaceful coexistence of Iraq's various religious and ethnic communities. We have a rich and proud tradition of diversity, respect, and tolerance, a tradition that has yielded peace and prosperity for Canadians. Through our engagement in Iraq, we will honour this tradition by acting against hate and persecution, by championing the values of pluralism and religious freedom and ultimately keeping Canadians safer here at home.

Citizenship and Immigration March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the tragic events of the Komagata Maru were truly a regrettable chapter in Canada's history. That is why this Prime Minister and this government were the very first to acknowledge what happened to the passengers of the Komagata Maru on behalf of all Canadians.

It is this Conservative government that worked with the Khalsa Diwan Society to build a museum around this tragedy, and also a monument and a number of other projects to educate Canadians. On the 100th anniversary of that tragedy, Canada Post released a special stamp to further create awareness about this tragedy.

While we are educating and creating awareness about this tragedy, those opposite continue to play politics with it.

Public Transportation March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his hard work in this place.

Thanks to a private member's bill that passed with the backing of our Conservative government, public transit operators, including taxi cab drivers, now have added legal protection from assaults. With the passing of Bill S-221, a court will have to consider it an aggravating circumstance for the purpose of sentencing if the victim of an assault is a public transit operator engaged in the performance of his or her duties. This means that finally those who commit threats or assaults on our transit operators will face a penalty that matches the seriousness of the crime.

Canadians can trust our government to hold criminals to account and to stand up for hard-working Canadians.