House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Mississauga East—Cooksville (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Pope John Paul II Day April 1st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on April 2, 2015, people from across Canada will be celebrating the first ever Pope John Paul II Day. Pope John Paul II's work transcended so many boundaries. He was a courageous champion of acceptance, religious freedom, and forgiveness. He promoted the values of peace and tolerance and a strong stand against human rights violations. These are the values that resonate deeply in our country and with Canadians.

This was always the motivation behind my private member's bill, Bill C-266. I want to thank both Speakers, of the Senate and of the House, and the Canada-Poland Parliamentary Friendship Group for co-hosting a special reception today to celebrate Pope John Paul II Day with colleagues, international representatives, and faith leaders.

I invite all Canadians to join me on April 2 in reflecting on Pope John Paul II and his never-ending message: do not be afraid.

Happy Pope John Paul II Day, and may be peace with us.

Taxation March 31st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, by now, we know what the Liberal leader and his band of high-tax advisors want for Canadians: more taxes. They do not like our Conservative plan to give money back to Canadian families, because it does not increase government. In fact, I think that the member for Toronto Centre spoke for all Liberals when she said, “amen to raising taxes”.

On this side of the House, we take action for Canadian families. That is why, according to the PBO, after-tax benefits for families with young children are expected to double for the bottom 20%.

When our government introduced the universal child care benefit in 2006, total federal spending on child care almost quadrupled when compared to the abysmal effort of the Liberals.

Canadian families can trust our government to do what is best and give money back to the real child care experts. Their names are Mom and Dad.

Safe and Accountable Rail Act March 31st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this question was partially answered by the parliamentary secretary during his questions and answers. He did mention that as far as the liability levels go, it is something that can be adjusted going forward. As the hon. member knows very well, this legislation proposes the establishment of a special fund that would be there to cover the costs associated with train derailments.

This is a work in progress. This is the second reading of a bill. I am looking forward to input from each side of the House, in debate and at the committee. This is something we can work on together and make better. Things can always be made better.

Safe and Accountable Rail Act March 31st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in my speech, rail safety is something that the government is taking very seriously. We have to transport our goods by rail, and rail safety has many components.

To date, we have invested large sums of money in infrastructure, but I would like to speak about some of the components of the safety of our railways. It includes all of the components. It includes equipment. I was speaking about tankers. Some of the members previously spoke about inspectors and a lack thereof

. There are many technological innovations that have been implemented by the industry. I will mention some. Many members probably remember times when the trains stopped and there was an inspector going and checking the wheels. Now, this can be done automatically by electronic devices that look for information on cracked wheels and send it to the locomotive. It is the same with the rails that need to be ground.

There are many elements. I do not think I will have time to speak about all of them, so I look forward to—

Safe and Accountable Rail Act March 31st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Communities.

I am honoured to rise in this debate to outline the measures our government is taking to strengthen rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods in general and specifically to strengthen the standards of railway tank cars.

It has been said before, and it is worth repeating, that public safety and accident prevention remains this government's priority. It has always been and will continue to be the case. Our government remains committed to the safety of all Canadians and it will take all appropriate actions to ensure their safety during the transportation of flammable liquids, such as crude oil. Incidents, such as the tragedy that occurred in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, to the most recent incidents near Gogama, Ontario, reinforce our resolve to develop an appropriate safety regime that would protect all Canadians.

Our government has taken many actions to strengthen the safety of railway transportation and the transportation of dangerous goods following the tragic events in Lac-Mégantic in July 2013, and to address the recommendations in the fall 2013 report of the Auditor General of Canada. Since the Lac-Mégantic train derailment, we have initiated regulatory measures to strengthen tank car standards.

On April 23, 2014, under the authority of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, Transport Canada issued a protective direction requiring the immediate phase-out of the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service. Roughly 5,000 tank cars in North America can no longer be used for dangerous goods service in Canada, but can be repurposed to transport non-dangerous goods.

On July 2, 2014, Transport Canada published regulations updating the legacy of the DOT-111 tank car standards to require thicker steel, half-head shield protection and top-fitting protection. All newly manufactured tank cars built for dangerous goods service, corrosives and flammable liquids must comply with this minimum standard. The tank car may be a jacketed or unjacketed tank car.

Transport Canada also introduced a requirement for proof of classification of dangerous goods.

On July 18, 2014, a regulatory proposal that would phase out DOT-111 tank cars and mandate an even more robust tank car standard specifically designed for the transfer of flammable liquids to replace the CPC-1232 tank cars was announced. The new class of tank car would include thicker steel and require the tank car to be manufactured as jacketed, thermally-insulated tank cars, with a full head shield, top-fitting protection and a new bottom outlet valve. The proposed requirements would also require the CPC-1232 and the DOT-111 tank cars to be retrofitted to improve their features and crash resistance.

Our government has been working in close collaboration with the U.S. to harmonize the tank car standards and retrofit timelines as much as possible. We are in the final stages of developing standards for the next generation of tank cars for the transportation of flammable liquids. This would further reduce the risk of product leaks in the event of a derailment. We have expeditiously developed this new proposed tank car design, which would phase out the current DOT-111 and CPC-1232 tank cars for the transport of flammable liquids by rail.

The new tank car design would be the most robust tank car for the transportation of flammable liquids. In addition, to support the new tank car design, our government will bring forward retrofit requirements to meet the direction on the phase-out or retrofit schedule for the highest risk legacy DOT-111 tank cars, as announced on April 23, 2014.

The proposed TC-117 tank car, formerly referred to as the TC-140, would be the new standard for tank car manufacturers to use for the transport of flammable liquids in packing group I, II and III, such as crude oil, ethanol, gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. Following publication of a final regulation, the TC-117 would replace the current tank car standard, which was published in the Canada Gazette, part II, on July 2, 2014.

Once published, the TC-117 regulation would provide a prescriptive or performance-based retrofit requirement to which all legacy DOT-111 and CPC-1232/TP 14877 tank cars would be required to meet. The regulation would also provide a risk-based retrofit, timeline schedule, which establishes the type of tank car to be used by certain dates for the transport of certain flammable liquids, either by specific name or by packing group. The TC-117 is part of a holistic risk-based approach to enhancing public safety during the transport of flammable liquids by rail.

Our government has taken a number of other actions on rail safety. We have introduced new train operation requirements, reduced train speeds, proposed new compensation and liability requirements, increased railway inspections, introduced new classification requirements, required the sharing of dangerous goods information with municipalities, expanded emergency response assistance plan program to include flammable liquids, and we have removed the oldest tank cars from dangerous goods service in Canada.

Our Government has been open and transparent in our approach to bringing forward a new tank car standard. As evidence of this, anyone can go on Transport Canada's website and find up-to-date information about tank car standard and timelines associated with retrofitting.

Going forward, our governments remains committed to working with industry; all levels of government, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and its National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group; regulatory officials in the United States; and other key stakeholders, such as the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, to examine means of further improving railway safety and the safe transportation of dangerous goods. Thanks in large part to these positive and productive working relationships, we continue to make progress on this important file.

To conclude, while Canada has a strong safety regime for railways and the transportation of dangerous goods, our government continues to take action to improve the safety and accountability of Canada's railways.

We are confident that the actions we have taken, in collaboration with our partners, will set a stronger standard for the next generation of tank cars used to transport flammable liquids and by doing so, will reduce the chance of leaks in the event of a derailment.

The actions our government has taken go well beyond a mere response to recent rail incidents. Rather, we seek to assure Canadians that we are doing what needs to be done to strengthen the safety of our railways and the transportation of dangerous goods. These actions demonstrate our belief in the continued use of railway shipping and the transportation of dangerous goods, and they demonstrate our commitment to the safety and protection of all Canadians.

Canadian Blood Services March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I was proud to partner with Canadian Blood Services to host a blood donor clinic at the Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga.

During a special ceremony, we heard a moving presentation from Vinesha Ramasamy, a courageous young woman who is a cancer survivor and blood recipient. There were tears in so many eyes when Vinesha looked toward those as they were donating blood and personally offered her thanks to them for giving the gift of life. She thanked Debbie, who bravely made her first donation; Ernie, who was giving his 75th donation; and Robert for his 100th blood donation. I also rolled up my sleeve. One must lead by example.

I am proud to say that a total of 33 units of blood were collected on that day, which is estimated to save the lives of 99 patients. I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians who are able to donate blood to give the gift of life.

Television Channels March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government understands that Canadian families expect choice and fair treatment when it comes to their spending on everyday items and services.

On this side of the House, we believe and have said all along that Canadians should not have to pay for the channels they do not want in order to watch the channels they do want.

In our Speech from the Throne, we promised to provide consumers with more choice in channels, and that is exactly what we have delivered: the ability to unbundle TV cable packages.

Unbundling will let Canadians control not only what they want to watch but also how much they want to spend.

This is just another initiative by our Conservative government that puts consumers first and will help Canadian families make the best decisions on how to spend their hard-earned dollars.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do not really understand the logic here. How is this bill going to drive women underground?

The bill contains preventive measures to help women to deal with barbaric, terrible practices. Is it ideal? Probably not. Nothing is perfect in life. Therefore, it probably could be perfected or made better, but its aim is to help people who come to this country.

I go and meet with organizations in my riding that provide settlement services that help women who come from different countries to understand that in this country they have rights and are protected, and that restrictions that they may have faced in the country they came from do not exist here.

This is something that is happening on the ground. It is financed by CIC. It is financed by Status of Women. It is going on. Is it easy? No, it is not, but this has to continue. We have to inform those people who come here to start a new life in this country. They have to be informed of our regulations and of their power—

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that we are spending so much time and focus on the title and not on the substance of the bill.

The bill is at second reading. It will go to committee, where there will be an opportunity for further discussion and debate. I would suggest that we should actually focus on what the bill is about.

It is about practices that I think, wherever members sit in this House, we have to consider barbaric. They are. What does “honour killing” mean? Are people going to kill their daughters because they did something that is considered unacceptable on cultural or religious grounds? Practices that include violence against women and girls or domestic violence are barbaric practices that are not allowed in this country.

This country accepts people from all corners of the world. Those people should know, and are informed, that some of the practices or actions that are legal in the country they come from are not legal here—

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity today to speak on Bill S-7, the zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act, an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

In the Speech from the Throne in October 2013, our government promised it would ensure that no young girl or woman in Canada would become a victim of any cruel practice that violates basic human rights. Such practices are not acceptable on Canadian soil. Bill S-7 would send this clear message to all Canadians and those coming to Canada.

Bill S-7 would deliver on that promise. The zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act would demonstrate that Canada's openness and generosity does not extend to early and forced marriage, polygamy, and other types of barbaric cultural practices. Canada will not tolerate violence against women or girls, including spousal abuse and violence in the name of so-called honour. Those found guilty of these crimes will be severely punished under Canada's criminal law.

This bill would establish a national minimum age of 16 for marriage in the Civil Marriage Act. Currently, a minimum age of 16 for marriage exists only in federal legislation pertaining to Quebec. It has never been legislated for the rest of Canada. As a result, the common law applies, which is usually interpreted as a minimum age of 14 for boys and 12 for girls. This bill would set 16 as the minimum age for marriages across Canada, consistent with current practices in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Civil Marriage Act would also be amended to codify the legal requirements for free and enlightened consent to marriage. Currently the legal requirements for free and enlightened consent for marriage and for ending an existing marriage prior to entering another are legislated in Quebec. Consent is the most critical aspect of a lawful marriage. This amendment would make it clear that no Canadian should ever be forced to marry against their will.

Amendments to the Criminal Code are proposed to provide protection against early or forced marriage, prevent victims from being removed from Canada, and effectively punish perpetrators for violating Canadian laws. The proposed amendments in Bill S-7 are very important because they create offences that specifically address the social harm caused by the public sanctioning of these harmful practices.

More so, the bill proposes two new offences that would extend criminal liability to anyone who knowingly celebrates, aids, or participates in a marriage ceremony in which one or both of the spouses is either under the age of 16 or is marrying against his or her will. This would cover both those who conduct the marriage ceremony and those, such as family members, who have full knowledge that a marriage is forced or involves a child under 16 and actively aids the marriage ceremony taking place. This would include, for example, transporting an unwilling bride to the ceremony or acting as a legal witness.

It is important to note that a person could not be prosecuted for merely being at the scene of a crime and witnessing it; a person would need to have engaged in some conduct specifically directed toward helping an early or forced marriage to occur.

The bill also proposes to make it an offence to remove a child from Canada for the purpose of a forced or underage marriage outside the country. This government is aware of the very disturbing stories of Canadian children being taken abroad for a forced or early marriage. They are told that they are going overseas to a relative's wedding, only to discover upon arrival that the wedding ceremony is, in fact, their own.

Child protection officials who believe that the child will be removed from Canada for a forced or underage marriage lack the requisite legal tools to intervene and to prevent the child's removal from Canada. This bill would change that by adding new offences related to an underage or forced marriage ceremony to the list of offences in the provision that makes it a crime to remove a child from Canada.

The Criminal Code amendments provide a foundation for the very important prevention measures in Bill S-7 to protect vulnerable Canadians and residents from early and forced marriages. The bill proposes to introduce specific forced or underage marriage peace bonds.

Peace bonds, which are preventive court orders, currently exist in the Criminal Code and are available in circumstances when a person fears, on reasonable grounds, that another person will cause them personal injury or will commit certain types of offences. Amendments would provide courts with the power to impose conditions on an individual when there are reasonable grounds to fear that a forced marriage or a marriage under the age of 16 will otherwise occur. For example, an order under the new peace bond provisions would prevent a victim from being taken out of Canada and would require the surrender of a passport.

We have heard that many victims of forced marriages are reluctant to contact the authorities prior to the marriage because they do not want their parents or other relatives prosecuted. These peace bonds are an important option available to victims of forced marriages who might be reluctant to contact the authorities prior to marriage because they do not want their parents or other relatives prosecuted. These peace bonds would also reinforce the clear message that forced and underage marriages will not be tolerated in Canada.

Another important measure in Bill S-7 proposes to amend the Criminal Code to limit the defence of provocation so that it would not be available in so-called honour-based killings or many spousal homicide cases. The defence of provocation can currently be raised by a person who is found to have committed murder on the basis that a wrongful act or insult by the victim was sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of the power of self-control, causing them to act suddenly, before there was time for their passions to cool. If successful, even though the person is found to have committed a murder, they are instead convicted of manslaughter.

This bill proposes to restrict the application of the defence of provocation so that it would no longer be available to those who intentionally kill another person in response to conduct that was legal. It would only be available when the victim's conduct amounted to a relatively serious criminal offence.

It is an important amendment because, as a society, we need to send a clear signal that murder should not be excused because the killer was insulted or embarrassed or suffered some other emotional upset. The strongest penalties should be imposed for murder committed because a person was unable to control the actions and decisions of another person.

Finally, Bill S-7 addresses polygamy and reinforces the message that it is a practice that is an affront to Canadian values. Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act would specify that a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on the grounds of practising polygamy in Canada. It would allow for the removal of non-citizens who practice polygamy in Canada without the need for a Criminal Code conviction.

I am very proud that the government is sending a strong message to Canadian society and to the world that Canada will not tolerate barbaric cultural practices. I hope that all members of the House will join me in supporting Bill S-7.