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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was public.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Independent MP for Parry Sound—Muskoka (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Criminal Code December 11th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on that very same question, because in Muskoka and Parry Sound, the number of so-called dropped cases has been amongst the highest in the nation. We have been working very closely with the OPP in Muskoka and Parry Sound, based on a Swedish model, where there is accountability, transparency, proper training, and a respect for the victims who have come forward.

Would the hon. member agree that it is that kind of holistic solution, not only in legislation but also with the police services working with the community generally and those who deal specifically with sexual assault cases, that can bring these issues to better justice?

National Defence December 6th, 2017

Just promises.

Mr. Speaker, the documents tabled in the House this week confirm the defence minister does not have any clue how much used Australian jets will cost, when they will be available, and even how many will be available.

When the Liberals entered into a blind agreement to purchase jets from Boeing, they embarrassed themselves, turned their procurement into a circus, and wasted two years of taxpayers' time and money.

Will the defence minister stick to his commitment “not to buy used aircraft”, and save Canadians from yet another Liberal boondoggle?

National Defence December 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that same minister in February said “we will not be buying used aircraft for our air force.” However, defying all expert advice and financial logic, the Liberals will be buying used, rusted-out aircraft from Australia that date back to the 1980s. The Liberals are far more concerned about politics than doing what is right for our air force and for our taxpayers.

Will the government abandoned this ill-advised purchase of a bucket of bolts and get to work now to permanently replace our CF-18s?

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding Act November 29th, 2017

Madam Speaker, that is correct.

I will read a couple more quotes in more detail. The president of the council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Raheel Raza said:

This bill is a very important and urgent step towards stemming the tide of radicalization that has infiltrated into our communities and put our youth at risk.

I quote Arman Raster, director of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile Diplomatic and Human Rights Office, which he says:

supports this important Bill which would protect Canada’s multicultural society from any forms of extremism, radicalization or terrorism that harms such society.

Those are a couple more quotes I can put on the record, and I would be happy to pass over to the hon. members who have asked, in particular, the specific Senate report when I get my hands on it again.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding Act November 29th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I would refer the hon. member to the Senate report. I am afraid I do not have a copy with me for the purpose of this debate, but there was testimony before the Senate, when it was looking at our terror legislation, that indicated some examples in Canada and some concerns that were raised. I already mentioned Richard Fadden, whom we all know and whose views we take very seriously. There are indeed cases that have been brought to light.

The hon. member should know that I am not here to cast aspersions on any particular organization. I am merely citing them as examples that have been brought to light, sometimes generally, not specifically. I will grant the hon. member that. However, the idea is that, through expert testimony in the Canadian Senate, this gap has been identified, and I think it is our responsibility as parliamentarians to fill that gap.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding Act November 29th, 2017

Madam Speaker, indeed, the purpose of the legislation is to fill gaps.

For instance, the legislation that is currently in place that is available for CRA targets charitable organizations, but there are many other organizations—educational organizations, not-for-profit organizations—that cannot be tracked in the same way and exist as gaps in our legislation.

This was identified in the Senate committee report and is an area of vulnerability that we have, because not-for-profit organizations, other educational organizations, or individuals may not be covered under the Revenue Canada organization, FINTRAC, or these kinds of things.

What I have identified is a gap that can be filled with this legislation. It is consistent with current legislation that is in place but does not extend to these organizations.

Prevention of Radicalization through Foreign Funding Act November 29th, 2017

moved that Bill C-371, An Act respecting the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding and making related amendments to the Income Tax Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to stand in my place this evening to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-371, the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding act.

One of the privileges of being a member of Parliament is the opportunity to craft and bring forward legislation that will make a difference for Canadians. Given the inability of ministers of the crown to bring forward legislation, this is the first time since being elected in 2006 as the member of Parliament for Parry Sound—Muskoka that I have had an opportunity to bring forward a bill for consideration by my colleagues.

It is my sincere hope that the prevention of radicalization through foreign funding bill will be seen as a non-partisan and thoughtful attempt to address a national security policy gap. This is a gap that has been identified by our security experts, and addressing this policy void will strengthen our government's ability to combat radicalization and extremism in Canada in all of its ugly manifestations.

I truly see the legislation as a powerful and practical tool to stem the flow of foreign funding that would promote radicalization and extremism in Canada. The bill would provide the government with the ability to set out a schedule of foreign states, and extend our reach to individuals and entities that suppress religious freedom, impose punishments for religious beliefs, or have engaged in or facilitated activities that promote extremism, terrorism, and radicalization.

Under this legislation, it would be “prohibited for an individual or entity in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada to accept or agree to accept money or other valuable consideration, including by gift, donation, or bequest or legacy, knowing that it is from a foreign state, entity or individual referred to in subsection (1) of the bill and intending that it be used, or knowing that it will be used, in whole or in part, to fund activities of an institution” in support of radicalization and extremism.

This legislation gives the government the power to act swiftly, with a full review and appeal process. This bill deals with the covert means by which money is paid to Canadian organizations and institutions that support radicalization.

The legislation gives the government the power to move swiftly, with a full review and appeal process, to address foreign funding trouble spots. We know that Canadians take the prevention of radicalization, the eradication of extremism, and the safety of our country seriously. It is something that Conservatives also take seriously, and our national security must be the number one priority of any government.

There are other strong voices calling for policy to close this gap. Security experts, and anti-radicalization advocates, including those in the Muslim community, have called for controls on incoming funds that support radicalization and extremism. Richard Fadden, the former national security advisor to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former director of CSIS, has confirmed that there are concerns about foreign financing of Canadian religious and quasi-religious institutions.

He stated the following during testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence:

I think it is a problem. I think it's one that we're becoming increasingly aware of. It's one that we share with a number of our other Western allies and, insofar as I've been able to make out, nobody has found a systemic solution. What I think has occurred on a number of cases, you can find out about a specific case and you can do something about it; the problem is finding out about the specific case.

Calgary Imam, Syed Soharwardy, as well as other witnesses, advised the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence that extremist jihadist ideology is being spread at schools and universities in this country, often under the guise of academic freedom and away from the eyes of CSIS.

The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, based out of Toronto, supports my bill, calling it a very important and urgent step towards stemming the tide of radicalization that has infiltrated our communities and put our youth at risk.

In her testimony to the subcommittee on national security at the U.S. Congress on July 27, on homegrown terrorism, Raheel Raza, president of the council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, stated the importance of preventing funding of U.S. educational institutions and mosques by foreign extremists. She said this applies to Canada as well, to keep our country safe.

En 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and National Defence produced a report entitled, “Countering the Terrorist Threat in Canada”. In its recommendations, the committee urged the government to prevent foreign funds from entering Canada, where such funds, donors or recipients have been linked to radicalization.

I would also like to note that there have been questions on whether the bill could cross over to implicate our key allies. However, there is a provision set out in the legislation that would not allow any countries with which Canada has extradition agreements to be included in the schedule. This, of course, includes our key allies including the U.S., France, Germany, and Israel.

This legislation actually lines up with actions already taken by some of our allies.

In 2007 the Australian government became one of the first to act on this issue when it intervened to reject a Saudi request to transfer funds to the Islamic Society of South Australia. This move was specifically taken amidst concerns about foreign-funded lslamist extremism.

Norway and Austria have taken similar actions. Germany and the U.S. have also studied the situation intensely, and in 2016 a similar bill was brought to the floor of the U.S. Congress.

In January 2016, then U.K. prime minister David Cameron did acknowledge that there is a problem of Saudi-funded education programs in the U.K. that may be responsible for promoting lslamist extremism.

Canada and her allies must be ever vigilant when it comes to monitoring radicalization extremism in our country. The recent news of returning ISIS fighters to Canada brings the point home again, that government must have adequate and efficient tools at its disposal to prevent radicalization in the first place. I propose that my legislation would provide another tool in the arsenal to achieve exactly this goal.

Again, I encourage my colleagues to give thoughtful consideration to this legislation and feel free to discuss any of its details with me.

Air Transportation November 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is in reference to question period. I would like to seek unanimous consent to table documents that illustrate what the Leader of the Official Opposition was saying, that in fact there is Liberal culpability on the Phoenix pay fiasco.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 7th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I would like the member to return to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for a second. As a former trade minister, the hon. member knows a lot about how these international commercial arrangements in fact work.

I find it strange that a government that promised infrastructure in Canada for Canadians is now resorting to promising infrastructure and legislating infrastructure for Asian billionaires. Can the hon. member expand upon this, based on his tremendous experience with commercial agreements and international trade?

Transportation Modernization Act October 31st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we have had a lot of debate in the House already on the bill, which seems to be, and in fact manifestly is, an omnibus bill. It would amend 13 different pieces of legislation. At the same time, the much-vaunted expression to the Canadian people was that this was going to solve a lot of passenger issues. It was going to be the passenger bill of rights, yet there is very little in the bill that is about passengers.

I wonder whether the hon. member can give his perspective on why he is supporting this piece of legislation when it does not do what the Liberals said it was going to and it would have all this impact on 13 other pieces of legislation.