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  • His favourite word is ontario.

Conservative MP for Huron—Bruce (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 54.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have also been to his riding, and I can understand why he would be optimistic about the prospects in Huron—Bruce. Unfortunately, he may not know that they only got 9% on election day in 2011. They certainly have a lot of work to do there, but we never know what can happen.

In any event, the important thing with the TPP is that we continue to negotiate. We are working on behalf of Canadians. We are working on behalf of Canadian industry to grow our markets without the barriers of tariffs. That is the most important thing.

We have to be in negotiations with a big agreement like the TPP. I hope we continue to move forward. However, if we can do deals like the Canada-Korea agreement while we are working on the TPP, let us do it.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about tariffs. I am glad the member brought this up. It does not deal directly with his question, but sanitary and phytosanitary measures are some of the impediments that have caused trade problems in the past, where we have had an agreement, yet the other country can use some sort of condition to either slow, stop or never allow. Pork International has done a great job. That is something we have set up to educate processors or consumers over there. We have veterinarians over in these countries that work with government officials so they better understand how if there is a problem in this country, we can contain it so it does not get to their country.

Those phytosanitary measures are very important. I know the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has travelled around the world making sure that our departments are doing this so that officials around the world are educated and know that Canada has the absolute world-leading, world-class sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to congratulate the member on his charity hockey game last week where he raised over $100,000 for charity. I would also like to point out that it is the first time in 25 years that I have scored two goals in a game, so that was certainly a milestone for me.

The benefits to producers in Huron and Bruce counties are very significant. If we look at what it allows just with perfecting and growing those soybeans, they are able to produce over $3 a bushel for premiums. This is what allows farmers to fix or build new drying sheds. This allows them to buy a new tractor or at least have the confidence to buy one. It allows them to work with the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus and the seed companies to look at other generations, new iterations of the seed for higher yield and better protection against pests, to look at how they are able to dry and mature their crop. We had a partnership with Guelph Hensall co-op on a white bean project a number of years ago.

These are the kinds of investments we see when there is profit in a market. Trade deals like this keep profit in the market.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to the Canada-Korea free trade agreement. When I think what this free trade agreement would mean to our riding of Huron—Bruce, it is very significant. There is no doubt about it. In Huron and in Bruce counties, agriculture, light manufacturing and tourism are really the key pillars. Energy as well is another huge contributor to our local economy.

When we think of agriculture, we produce everything that Korea wants and everything it needs. That is why it was so significant when the Prime Minister made his announcement in September that we were going to be able to move forward on the deal.

The Korean economy is the 15th largest in the world. It is the fourth largest in Asia. It has 50 million people who know and understand the quality products that are made right here in our country. Agricultural exports, just in Ontario alone at this juncture, are $68 million. Definitely, in no time at all we would see that grow and grow and quite likely double, triple and quadruple.

There are products grown right in the riding of Huron—Bruce that have tariffs on them today. Let us just pick off the easy ones. Pork and beef are pretty obvious ones. There are identity-preserved soybeans, white beans, adzuki beans, navy beans, kidney beans, and the list goes on and on. All together, the average tariff rate is 52.5%. Put in context in terms of what the Canadian dollar looked like two years ago, a year ago and what it is today, currency has very little impact. It does have some, but when we factor in some of the tariff rates on some of these products, it makes it terribly uncompetitive when dealing against the United States and the European Union. This is a great deal for producers from one coast to the other, but certainly in Huron—Bruce.

The market for pork in Korea is $1.1 billion annually. The market for beef in Korea is $1.3 billion annually. In the last number of years our market share has continued to decrease. We have a very small share of the market relative to the U.S. and the European Union. By putting this deal together, ratifying it and getting it moving, we would have the ability to change the momentum and start growing into that market, taking away some of the market share from both the EU and the American deal.

From 2010 to 2013, our pork market share went from 14% to a little under 9%, at 8.9%. That represented a $22 million decrease. In the same period of time, the U.S. and the EU market share increased 10% to over three-quarters of the market. The duties on pork, averaged out, on fresh, chilled and frozen, is 25%. Those would decrease over the next 13 years. As of January 1, that would allow our producers to trend with both the U.S. and EU. It is very important.

In Huron—Bruce and in Perth county, which is right beside Huron and into Wellington, there are a huge number of pork producers. They have experienced many difficult times. They are starting to recover and this year will be one of the better years they have had in a decade. A deal such as this helps to increase that momentum and helps to allow the economy to grow and expand in a riding such as mine.

Beef has seen the same trajectory as pork in the last number of years, going from $9.6 million to $6.7 million. Their duties are actually higher than pork. They are 40% to 72%. They would decrease over the next 15 years, which is important as well.

Beef producers in Huron, in Bruce, and in our neighbouring counties in both Wellington and Perth, have struggled, certainly with the price of land and other issues that contribute to the profitability of the beef market. They have had their struggles, but again, like pork, the last couple of years in the red meat sector they have had better years. The price of their fat cattle is if not at, then near all-time highs.

Deals such as this allow the red meat sector to continue to grow. If we look at the hundreds and thousands of acres of corn grown in Huron, Bruce, Perth, Middlesex and Wellington counties, the corn input has certainly provided a huge input into the beef and pork. It is vitally important and helps the agriculture economy grow.

Another one that people may not think about but where it certainly does have an impact is in the spirits industry. Spirits Canada President Jan Westcott has probably been quoted by many people in the House. There are smaller distilleries. There are certainly the large ones that Jan represents, but there are the smaller ones as well. Barry Stein and Barry Bernstein of Still Waters Distillery, one that I have toured in Concord, Ontario, have a 100% rye whiskey. The tariffs on that product are 20% if they want to sell it in the Korean market. That will be eliminated. The tariff will be at zero.

The beautiful thing about that is that small distilleries such as theirs, or even the large ones, can continue to work with Canadian rye growers. Whether it is in Alberta or southwestern Ontario, companies such as Still Waters Distillery, when they have those tariffs eliminated, can become competitive in a market such as Korea.

Since 2008, when the ratification of both the EU and the American deal came into place, the Canadian market share for spirits was cut in half. This is a chance for them to once again gain momentum. Like I said, when those distilleries can work with growers, it helps to diversify their economy. It helps to diversify their crop rotation. That is very exciting for farmers, as well.

Especially in Huron County and now getting into Bruce County as well, the specialization around identity-preserved beans is really becoming a science. It is really becoming perfected. Companies like Thompsons, P and H, Huron Commodities, and Snobelen, out of Lucknow, have really worked with growers to perfect this identity-preserved bean.

Koreans want this bean more than they want American beans. They know it is a higher quality. It is our climate and our soil. The premiums that farmers get, just the premium for growing it, forget the price, can be over $2 and in some cases as high as $3.50 a bushel. Some fields are 50 bushels to the acre, times 100 acres, that is a lot of premium. That is a lot of dollars in the pockets of farmers. That is a positive thing.

The tariff on those IP beans is almost 500%. Let us think of the impact when that tariff is reduced to zero. It is going to allow companies such as Huron Commodities to compete and succeed in this market. These are big deals.

Some of the beneficiaries of these deals are farmers, obviously. There will be higher prices for everything they grow and everything they sell. Farm machinery dealerships will benefit as farmers will have more dollars in their pockets to reinvest in their equipment and operations. Processors, such as Huron Commodities, will have a chance to grow, expand and develop, as well as all the companies that supply them.

Farmers will also have the profits to reinvest in R and D. Just one example is GPS systems in the tractors that work with planters and combines. These are all things that five or six years ago growers in my area did not have the ability to use, the technology or the profit.

In addition to that, here is something that over the last five years I did not think we would see. Pork producers are actually starting to build new barns again. This is good for cement companies, people who own gravel pits, builders, steel and so on. They are starting to have a rebirth of building pork barns, so that is important. Nuhn Industries in Sebringville in the member for Perth—Wellington's riding has grown and doubled in size. Trucking companies, rail lines, ports and harbours will all benefit from this deal. It is very exciting.

I would be happy to take any questions.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my thoughts are that a lot of the time New Democrats just get it plain wrong. I think it has been proven through the years that they do get it wrong.

The point is the front-line workers. The vaccine is one thing, but the front-line workers are preparing and improving every single day to make sure that Canadians will be safe and protected if there is an outbreak. That is the most important thing. The vaccine, granted, is one thing, but based on the evidence and the facts we have today, the priority is to ensure that if there is an outbreak, all the front-line workers are protected and have been educated. It is a big job.

We have all heard what the Liberal health minister in Ontario, Dr. Eric Hoskins, has had to say. He feels very confident. He is obviously concerned and he has a big job to do, but he complimented the way our government is working with the Ontario government, and we are doing that from coast to coast.

I think New Democrats should get on board and work with the minister a little better than they do.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question, but I will go back to the point I made.

If members opposite want any information that they somehow cannot get hold of, the minister sits right in front of them. They could go over at any time and ask. If they still felt that they needed more time, they could arrange for a meeting with her in her office, or with her staff or the parliamentary secretary. If they had questions about any information, they could do that.

My point was that if members opposite have questions, they would have seven minutes in a committee meeting. I have witnessed the questions in committees for years, and usually they have a six-minute, 59-second question and one second for an answer. I am trying to say that if they want to have a meeting, why not just arrange to meet with the minister or meet with her staff? They are always willing and available to have a meeting. It is a far better use of everybody's time, and opposition members would have the ability to ask more questions. I think it is a great thing.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today and discuss this motion. Just to review it, the motion is:

That the House recognize the devastation that Ebola is wreaking in Western Africa and the serious threat to public health that the virus could pose to Canada; and call on the Minister of Health, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and the Minister of Public Safety to appear before the Standing Committee on Health twice monthly to report on Canada’s efforts at home and abroad to ensure that the outbreak does not pose a threat to the health and safety of Canadians.

That is the motion we are looking at. The attempt from the Liberal Party here is to have these people come to the health committee, of which I am a member, and report back to the committee twice a month until, I guess, further notice. There is no start time and there is no end time. There is nothing in the motion that mentions that the minister of development, who could also be a liaison, should appear.

I really disagree basically with the entire portion of the motion. The reason I say this is that the Health Canada website lists everything that it is doing. It is right there in real time. The minister and the Chief Public Health Officer have held press conferences. They have put out press releases. It is in the news every evening, so the information is out there and it is getting to Canadians. All of the provinces are working together. They are working with the minister and with the local public health units.

In Ontario, the Liberal government and the Liberal minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins, actually complimented the minister on television a few days ago. They pointed out what a great working relationship they have on this issue and how provinces, ministers, public servants, health officials, and everybody involved are working to make sure that Ebola does not come to Canada but, most importantly, that if it does, they have the ability to recognize it, detect it, treat it, and make sure that the health care officials who are providing front-line care are protected when doing their job.

It is an important comment when we hear someone from a different party from ours complimenting, rising above partisanship, and stating the facts on what is taking place.

That is what I feel. I feel as well that a lot of this is about recognizing the roles of the federal government, the provinces, the local health units, and the local hospitals. All these areas are doing their jobs and are working collaboratively. Just the other day, the federal response team was in Nova Scotia doing a trial run. That is a further example of how each level of government and each agency is working to make sure it is done correctly.

We have been doing what has been asked of us by the WHO. We have delivered, both in dollars and in the personal protective equipment that we have sent over. We have been there. Obviously, we want to work with the WHO to make sure that we are addressing the issues in Africa and that we are trying to contain the issues there so that they do not spread to Canada. Travel advisories have obviously been set up. With other air traffic coming into Canada, direct flights are not available in many cases.

These are important facts to show what we have done, but let us get back to the point about the actual process that the Liberal Party brought forward on this motion.

To my mind, the committee is maybe not the best avenue for this work to be done. I will point out why. It is because of the way the committees are set up in the Standing Orders. Basically the minister, the Chief Public Health Officer, and the Minister of Public Safety would be there, and they would each have 10 or 15 minutes to present their information.

All that information is already in the public domain. It is available. The Liberal Party would have seven minutes to ask questions.

Canadians are being informed. That is the point: Canadians are being informed. Anything that would be presented in committee is already in the public domain.

If members of Parliament, specifically the Liberal members, need information or want information, the minister literally sits right across from them. If they had a question, they could come over and ask it during question period. They know all the minister's staff, and they could contact the staff. The information is flowing. There is not a problem with information. All the information is in the public domain.

The other important thing is that we are not resting on our laurels. We are working, as I said, with the World Health Organization, but we are also monitoring, very closely, what is taking place in Texas. We are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure that if there are any areas for improvement, we are taking those actions.

It is important to recognize that there can always be improvement. We can always do better. We can always find ways to make those important front-line health care officials as safe as possible, because we do know how this disease is transmitted.

One thing I wanted to talk about here with prepared notes was one of the institutes, the Institute of Infection and Immunity, or III, which supports research and helps build research capacity in the areas of infectious disease and the body's immune system.

In addition to supporting research, III plays an important role on infectious disease issues in Canada, including helping to coordinate Canada's rapid research response to infectious disease outbreaks, especially those caused by new and emerging pathogens.

To respond to these emerging threats, CIHR III has led the effort to strengthen Canada's vaccine research landscape through strategic investments, leadership, and partnership activities. For example, starting in 2006, CIHR III led the development of the pandemic preparedness strategic response initiative, and our government made an investment of $21.5 million.

A lot of these investments were made some time ago so that we would be prepared as a country to protect our citizens from these outbreaks.

Tremendous leadership in developing this initiative was shown by forming linkages and building partnerships with provincial, federal, and international stakeholders. As I mentioned earlier in my comments, these partnerships increased the total amount of funds available for research from $21.5 million to $43.3 million. This investment allowed CIHR to support more than 92 projects involving 345 researchers across the country.

The projects supported through this initiative produced a variety of research and commercialization outcomes. For example, over a third of the projects researching vaccines and immunization produced results that could lead to a new drug or vaccine.

There is no doubt about it: we have done a great job in working with our partners, both abroad and locally. All should be commended on this point.

I do have an amendment to the motion.

I move, seconded by the member for Yukon, that the motion be amended by replacing the words “the relevant minister and ministers to appear twice monthly” with “the Minister of Health” and replacing the word “monthly” with “as soon as possible”.

I will now take questions.

Committees of the House October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Health entitled “Marijuana's Health Risks and Harms”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government take a comprehensive response to this report.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to ask the minister a question.

I believe the opposition has left out a lot of facts and a lot of significant points in the debate today. We are talking about liability and risks, and one of the risks is nuclear.

There are some vast differences between Fukushima and the reactors we have in Canada. We have CANDU reactors here that are heavy water reactors. Japan was using light water reactors that used enriched uranium.

Then, if we look at the geography of the location of reactors, and let us talk about Ontario specifically, they are all on the Great Lakes, where there is no high risk for tsunamis or earthquakes. If we take a look at Fukushima, it is right on the ocean, right in a fault line.

Also, the design of the safety components for the reactors at Fukushima and the CANDU reactors are vastly different

When we talk about liability, we talk about insurance, and we have to face the facts and the risks. They have been working on this for years. They have it right. Would the minister expand on this?

Houston Astros June 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, a big congratulations goes out to Brock Dykxhoorn this weekend. He is a mountain of a man at 19 years old, 6 foot 8 inches, 240 pounds, who throws over 90 miles an hour. He was drafted in the first pick of the sixth round by the Houston Astros this weekend.

Congratulations to Brock. He grew up in Goderich, Ontario. He played for the Team Canada under 18 team, and pitched in Florida and the Dominican Republic. He won a silver medal in Seoul, Korea, where he won two games. Brock pitched this year at Central Arizona Community College and last year at West Virginia University. He is one of the very first players to be drafted from Huron—Bruce to the major leagues. He throws 90 miles an hour and has great control.

We should all watch for him. Even though some members like to wear their Blue Jays hats in the House of Commons, we can throw one on for Brock Dykxhoorn. Congratulations to Brock.