House of Commons photo

Track Tony

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is isis.

Conservative MP for Parry Sound—Muskoka (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply December 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this is not just a history lesson, although I started with 1959 in my remarks.

This is what is happening today in Cuba, too. This change of authority which was not really a change, the authoritarianism still exists under Raúl. People are arrested. People have to try to escape in order to have dignity and human rights. There is no question in my mind that the perilous state of human rights in Cuba today is still an issue that Canadians do care about and should care about.

The hon. member can talk about history lessons, but I hope he understands that history is being repeated every day in Cuba, even as we speak.

Business of Supply December 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member is struggling to change the subject, but referring to me as “silly” is insulting to the electors of Parry Sound—Muskoka, so I do hope he finds time to withdraw that statement.

If he wants a real lesson on how to issue a statement on the death of Fidel Castro, he should go to the statement issued by the interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. That statement talks about the people of Cuba, their trials, tribulations, sufferings, and hopes for a better time of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. That was the statement that the Prime Minister should have issued, but it had to be issued by the interim leader of the opposition.

Business of Supply December 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised at this moral equivalency coming from the other side. They ran a whole campaign on being better than the previous government and now they want to equate themselves with it.

The statement to which the hon. member refers was clearly written by the Department of Foreign Affairs and was issued on behalf of the prime minister. I have no doubt in my mind that the eulogy that was issued on the demise of Fidel Castro, the pen that was held on that, was not by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, nor his department. It was the Prime Minister himself. It had all the markings, all the indicators that the Prime Minister wanted to talk about the family history and how good it was to have known this man for decades, and what a good papa he was, I am sure. All of these things did not come from the Department of Global Affairs. I have no doubt that it came from the hand of the Prime Minister.

“Though controversial”, really, that is the message the Prime Minister wanted to send? He should have said he was dictator in his first remarks.

Business of Supply December 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be back on my feet in a place where democracy can reign. We can hopefully have the debate that Cubans cannot have in their own country.

As I was saying before question period, the documentation is very real and very troubling.

On January 12, 1959, at the start of the so-called Castro revolution, the Castros had 71 men executed, without trial, in the city of Santiago de Cuba. Men were lined up in front of ditches at San Juan Hill and shot. When the massacre was over, a bulldozer covered a mass grave. From that time until the present, the reign of terror and oppression has continued unabated for decades, and continues under the dictatorial leadership of brother Raúl.

Fidel Castro was a man who held no free or fair elections and imprisoned his political opponents after phony show trials. He completely controlled all media and installed his brother Raúl as his successor. Yet the Prime Minister celebrates him as being the longest-serving president of Cuba. Longest-serving president? I guess if someone shoots or jails the opponents or a million and a half people flee because of oppression, that person could be president for quite a long time. That is not an appropriate thing for the Prime Minister of Canada to say. It is as simple as that.

The Castro record is dynastic, diabolical, and unquestionably dictatorial, which makes the Prime Minister's sweetly toned Kumbaya farewell and reverent eulogy of Castro utterly without precedent and dumbfounding. It smacks of an arrogance and an imperiousness that has left many Canadians shocked, deeply embarrassed, in many cases angered, and in some cases traumatized.

Let us go through the list one more time about what the Prime Minister had to say about Castro.

I mentioned Cuba's longest-serving president. Apparently, he was a legendary revolutionary orator. “We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader”. Really? The people who escaped Cuba were celebrating in the streets and those who were still under the oppression of brother Raúl, the obvious impression we have, were cowed into being quiet for fear of being arrested and shot if they displayed any kind of emotion of relief at the demise of Fidel. Therefore, these words from the Prime Minister come as a hard slap in the face to generations of oppressed Cubans, some of whom have found freedom in Canada and who regard the Castros with bitter and utter contempt.

Around the world, this eulogy from the Prime Minister was met with utter dismay and astonishment and, as we know, was widely mocked. One only has to go to #Trudeaueulogies to see how people took the Prime Minister's words and turned them on him to show him how disrespectful and hurtful they were. It was so ill-conceived that some, like U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Cuban descent, thought the Prime Minister's Twitter account must have been a parody and surely could not have come from the Prime Minister of Canada.

There are many dark chapters in the history of the Castro legacy, but perhaps it is fitting to remind the House of the 13 days in October 1962 when the world was brought to the brink of nuclear destruction.

Having embarrassed Soviet Russia, Castro gladly invited Russian intermediate-range nuclear missiles onto Cuban soil. He had no qualms about the Soviets mounting a first strike, which would have meant the death of untold millions. This utter madness cannot be scrubbed from the record of history that must show that Fidel Castro was a danger and menace not only to his own people, but to the world and the freedom lovers of the world. The complete disregard for liberty and democracy and the willingness to hold on to power at all costs is what we should really remember about Fidel Castro. That is the real memory we should hold in our hearts and our heads. His is a dark legacy that will live on in infamy, well beyond his death.

That is the message that Canada should be sending. That is the message that the world should be hearing from Canada, not the bromides of a Prime Minister who has a tin ear and does not reflect the values and the democratic principles of our country, Canada, that we love.

Business of Supply December 1st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you will make sure that I stay within the bounds of the decorum of this place and the rules of this place.

May I say that it is always good to be in the House at the same time as a fellow northern Ontarian like you? I know that we try to represent the common values of northern Ontarians in this place, and outside it. That is why I am standing here today. Cuba may seem far away for many of my constituents, although some of them do frequent it on occasion, in the winter months; but of course, Canadian principles are not expendable just because we get a nice, cheap vacation. I know my constituents feel that way, and I am sure many Canadians across the country feel that way.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge—I guess I have already made that clear.

What I want to do in the first couple of minutes is just talk a bit about the iron-fisted rule of Fidel Castro over the last nearly half century.

This was not an accident. This was the actual cultivation of a repressive communist dictatorship that punished all forms of dissent. It did not matter whether people were marginalized because of their sexual orientation or because of their political beliefs or because of their religious beliefs; Fidel Castro was an equal opportunity, dictatorial, authoritarian thug. That is the person who received the eulogy of the Prime Minister.

Thousands of Cubans have been incarcerated in deplorable prisons, thousands more were sent to Gulag-inspired labour camps, and countless others have suffered from harassment and intimidation at the hands of Mr. Castro and his cronies.

This is not just something that happened at the beginning of the revolution or at the end of the revolution. This was the course of conduct over decades. He denied entire generations of Cubans basic political freedoms. He left thousands upon thousands to live in poverty, while he lived like an emperor. That is the reality of life in Cuba.

Let us remember that the revolutionary forces took over the island on January 1, 1959. Fidel, his brother Raúl, who was there at the conception, and Che Guevara, himself, as soon as the revolution took hold, unleashed a wave of terror, including executions by firing squad, designed to reduce the population into submission.

I believe my time is up. I will be happy to resume debate after question period.

Ethics November 29th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we are awaiting the imminent report of the task force on legalizing pot. It is now clear that the Liberal Party has taken money from the marijuana lobby, from big weed, at another cash for access event.

In The Globe and Mail today, a Ms. Roach from the Cannabis Friendly Business Association said that she gets emails all the time from Liberals asking her to come to fundraisers, and that the Liberals, “took our money happily without question”. When will the Liberals admit that all their claims about following all the rules have gone up in smoke?

Ethics November 29th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we learned today that the cash for access scandal extends to pot lobbyists. The parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, the very man the Prime Minister put in charge of coming up with new pot laws, attended a Liberal party fundraiser in Toronto this spring where he posed for photos with the Cannabis Friendly Business Association. When will the Liberals admit that they have a hazy notion of their own fundraising guidelines? When will they clear the air and admit they are breaking all of their own rules?

Pancreatic Cancer November 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, Canadians' awareness of pancreatic cancer is unfortunately exceptionally low compared to other cancers, despite it being the most deadly form. November is national awareness month for this disease, and Pancreatic Cancer Canada has initiated a purple lights program to encourage landmarks across Canada to shine a purple light to raise awareness.

Pancreatic Cancer Canada is asking us to help literally shed light on this terrible disease and its presence in the life of Canadians.

I encourage all members of the House to reach out to their community leaders and request that a local landmark be turned purple. They can also request that the city or municipality declare November as national awareness month, or November 17 as world pancreatic cancer day.

Pancreatic cancer knows no bounds. It can strike anybody, at any time. It is estimated that 5,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with this disease this year alone.

I encourage all my fellow members to wear purple this November 17 to shed light on pancreatic cancer and to help educate Canadians about this deadly disease.

Public Safety November 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, recently we learned that the Minister of Public Safety has asked for a review of the pay that inmates receive while in prison, and their own investigator wants inmates to get more money. More pay for convicted criminals? Is this some sort of joke? Is this the new priority of the Liberal Party of Canada? How much more money are we going to pay criminals while Canadians are paying higher taxes for the Liberal promises that are never kept?

Business of Supply November 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I wish to correct the record and draw the distinction between what our ministers did when we were in government, and what the Liberals do.

When we were in government, as the hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe must know, we were specifically prevented by our rules from fundraising from individuals who were registered to our departments. If I were the minister of health, as I was, we did not, and I did not, fundraise with pharmaceuticals interests, including Barry Sherman, by the way. When I was president of the Treasury Board, anyone who had any dealings with the Treasury Board did not go to my fundraisers.

In the Liberals' case, every person on their list who was registered as a lobbyist is not only invited but actually organizes the fundraisers. Does the hon. member have anything to say about that?