- Get e-mail whenever he speaks in House debates
- Subscribe to feeds of recent activity (what you see to the right) or statements in the House
- His favourite word is police.
Conservative MP for Wild Rose (Alberta)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 74.70% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Tourism Week in Canada June 12th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, as chair of the parliamentary tourism caucus, I would like to invite all of the members of the House to join me in celebrating Tourism Week in Canada.
As chair of the parliamentary tourism caucus, I invite everyone to join me in celebrating Tourism Week in Canada.
Canada's $85-billion tourism industry is hard at work in communities from coast to coast to coast, fuelling nearly 615,000 jobs. Through initiatives like our government's federal tourism strategy, we will continue to grow this important industry.
Tourism Week in Canada also provides us with an opportunity to recognize the leaders who work tirelessly to promote our country. One of these leaders is the president and CEO of Banff Lake Louise Tourism, Julie Canning, who has been named one of the co-hosts of the 2013 tourism industry of Canada congress, to be held in December at the Château Laurier.
During this Tourism Week in Canada, I thank and applaud Julie for her service. She is certainly a wonderful ambassador for our country.
I encourage all Canadians and visitors from all over the world to see all that Canada has to offer.
Natural Resources June 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, natural resources are an integral part of Canada's economy that creates opportunities for Canadians and communities all across Canada. Our government has a plan to spur resource development while ensuring the environment is protected through our responsible resource development plan. Every sector of the Canadian economy is poised to benefit from this growth, from service companies to manufacturers supplying much-needed equipment, to the local grocer.
Could the Minister of Natural Resources share with the House the latest report on resource development?
Canadian Museum of History Act May 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, to have these museums in some smaller communities all across this great country share in the stories and the history that would be contained in this museum here in the national capital region, to be able to see some of the artifacts from those museums in smaller communities brought into this one, shows the opportunities here for Canadians to build a better connect to their sense of shared history and to connect to the parts of their history from all across this great country.
Canadian Museum of History Act May 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question of my friend for Kenora because did touch on a very key thing here, which is the ability of the museum to be able to share those collections with some of the smaller communities. I think he is absolutely right. When we look at the members of the opposition, they do not represent some of the large rural ridings like his in Kenora and mine of Wild Rose in Alberta. They do tend to represent more of the large cities—
Canadian Museum of History Act May 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would first like to point out an inaccuracy in the member's preamble.
Although our military history in World War I and World War II, and fighting some of those battles, are a key part of Canadian history, there are certainly many other aspects of Canadian history that are very important as well, which would be showcased at the museum.
There are things like the last spike, which was not only the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway but also the completion of tying this great country together with the vision of Sir John A. Macdonald. There are things like the journey of Terry Fox, who continues to inspire Canadians today with his marathon of hope. There are things like the iconic hockey sweater of Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, which is the reason I wore number nine when I played hockey. Those are the kinds of people, events and achievements that inspire us and bring us together as a country, and I would point that out to him. I also want to point out that in creating the new Canadian museum of history, we would be encouraging Canadians to better connect to our history.
However, the things the member was trying to claim are just not accurate. The museum would continue to be able to make its own decisions about how it best meets the mandate that the government has given it. I just do not buy into what the member was saying at all. I believe this is a great opportunity for Canadians.
Canadian Museum of History Act May 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time this evening with my good friend, the member for Leeds—Grenville.
I am delighted to rise to speak to Bill C-49, which will create the new Canadian museum of history. In my remarks tonight, I would like to focus on why it is so important to have a national museum dedicated to Canadian history.
Our government believes in our national museums, and we recognize the tremendous value they hold for all Canadians. As we approach Canada's 150th birthday, it is an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate our history and those achievements that define who we are as Canadians.
We have all heard the statistics. Canadians lack knowledge of our history and wish that they knew more about it. Although more than 75% of Canadians feel that learning Canadian history strengthens their attachment to the country, fewer than 50% are able to pass a basic citizenship exam that tests general knowledge of Canada, and only 26% of youth aged 18 to 24 know the year of Confederation. Only 37% know that the Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought in World War I, and only 76% of Canadians are embarrassed about the lack of knowledge Canadians have about their history. Something obviously has to change. Our children deserve and should know more about the long and complex history of this great nation.
The establishment of the Canadian museum of history will give Canadians the opportunity to learn, appreciate and feel proud of the richness of Canada's history. The museum will chronicle our country's national achievements. It will explore the major themes, events and people of our national experience by bringing history to life and providing the public with a strong sense of Canadian identity.
Our government believes that it has a solemn responsibility to wisely manage the money Canadians send to us. That is why we chose not to build a new national museum from the ground up but rather to build on the reputation and popularity of the Canadian Museum of Civilization to create a national museum of history that will showcase the national achievements that have shaped this great country.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization is set to begin a progressive transformation that will be completed over the next five years and will lead up to Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. The Canadian Museum of History will provide the public with the opportunity to appreciate how Canada's identity has been shaped over the course of our history. Canadians deserve a national museum that tells our story and presents our country's treasures to the world.
Members might ask what this transformation involves. The government investment will allow the museum to undertake the renovation of almost half its permanent exhibition space. The result will be more than 43,000 square feet of permanent exhibition space, due to open in 2016, presenting a comprehensive and chronological history of Canada to Canadians and to the world.
It is important to remember that the Grand Hall and the First People's Hall, which present the history of Canada's first peoples, will remain an integral part of the new museum, as will the Children's Museum.
To complement the government's investment and to ensure that Canadians in all regions have new opportunities to learn about Canada's history, the new museum will sign agreements with several museums across the country to travel exhibitions outside the national capital region, to share expertise and to lend artifacts and other material from its collection to enhance their local exhibitions and educational programs.
To quote Michael Bliss, a Canadian historian and award-winning author, this new museum is a “terrific opportunity” for our local and provincial historical societies as well as our national organizations.
Understanding that not all Canadian museums have the ability to accept large travelling exhibitions, the new museum also plans to work with those institutions to develop travelling exhibitions tailored specifically to their needs. These institutions will also be able to borrow artifacts from the new museum.
The new Canadian Museum of History will not only open its collections to museums across the country but will also provide a showcase for Canadian museums. To increase its capacity to host travelling exhibitions created by museums across this country, the museum will renovate 7,500 square feet on the street level floor of its main building to create a new temporary exhibition gallery. These exhibitions will help the Canadian museum of history to tell a truly national story and connect the treasures that are scattered in local museums across the country to our national narrative.
Between now and 2017, the museum is planning a series of temporary exhibitions that will highlight its new mandate and will build excitement about the changes in its programming.
In terms of how Canada's history is presented, some have wondered if there is a move afoot to present our history in a way that favours a partisan approach. I would remind everyone that the Canadian museum of history will remain a federal crown corporation and will continue to operate at arm's length from the government. The board of trustees and the management of the museum are responsible for determining exactly how the museum will present Canadian history.
Our government has established a new mandate for the Canadian museum of history. That is true. Having done that, we will leave it up to the capable management of the museum to make its decisions about the implementation of that mandate.
I would like to note that the museum reached out to Canadians, in person and online, to seek their opinions and ideas. The Canadian Museum of Civilization even launched an online forum located at myhistory.ca. The museum also carried out a series of cross-country consultations that gave Canadians the opportunity to give their opinions on the personalities, events and milestones that truly tell the Canadian story. In total, more than 20,000 Canadians contributed their ideas to the website, panel discussions and round tables all across Canada. We are delighted by this level of engagement. By the time we celebrate Canada's 150th birthday in 2017, Canadians will have a new museum dedicated to the history of this country. It will be a celebration of our history and the achievements and accomplishments that have shaped this great land.
This is a great opportunity for young and not so young Canadians alike to have a better sense of and get a better share in our history. We will be able to share the collection gathered at the museum here in Ottawa with other museums across the country, whether they be large museums that can benefit from large exhibitions or some of the smaller museums in smaller communities, like those in my riding of Wild Rose or in Kenora, as my friend from Kenora has just pointed out. Lots of communities across this country will have an opportunity to have the exhibitions travel to their parts of the country so that they can experience them first-hand. Of course, we will see some of the great pieces in some of the museums across the country come to the National capital region to be shared with people here. It is a great opportunity for all Canadians. It is a great opportunity for many of the museums across this country, whether they be large or small.
It is also a great opportunity to see the stories of our Canadian history told. We have a very rich history. Look at some of the amazing feats of soldiers, in particular, in World War I and World War II. I believe that some of those battles were the coming of age of this country. I have had the opportunity to visit some of the places where those battles took place. That is certainly not an opportunity all Canadians have. I wish they did.
Museums that will benefit from the travelling exhibitions are the places where Canadians can learn about these significant parts of our Canadian history. It is a great opportunity for Canadians and for all museums across the country to share our Canadian history.
I will conclude by encouraging all members of the House to join me in supporting this worthwhile and responsible piece of legislation. I will quote John McAvity, the executive director of the Canadian Museums Association. He said that “the renaming of the Museum of Civilization...is essential”, the it “is good news”, and that “it will give Canadians greater access to their heritage [and] to their history”.
Cave and Basin National Historic Site May 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, last Friday it was my pleasure to announce the grand re-opening of Banff's Cave and Basin National Historic Site.
In 1883, Canadian Pacific Railway workers explored the site's warm mineral springs at Sulphur Mountain. They set off a chain of events that echoed eastward across the great plains, all the way to the ears of our country's founding prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.
Just two years later, his government reserved a wide swath of territory surrounding the cave and basin. This was the genesis of Canada's national parks system, which today includes 44 national parks and 167 national historic sites.
Since 2006, our Conservative government has expanded the total area of our national parks by more than 50%, an area larger than Greece. These are Canada's gift to future generations and form the very fabric of our great nation.
I invite all Canadians and the world to visit the revitalized Cave and Basin National Historic Site in beautiful Banff National Park to see where this dream truly began.
Discover Your Canada Act May 9th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this legislation, which, I would suggest, would be very costly and is very poorly thought out.
It is really a novelty proposal from the Liberal Party for a new taxpayer-funded travel subsidy. There are numerous flaws with this Liberal proposal, but unfortunately the 10 minutes allotted for my speech are not nearly enough to explain them all. However, before I address them in detail, let me briefly explain what this Liberal proposal would actually do.
This costly bill would give a very generous tax deduction of up to $2,000 for certain types of travel across at least three provinces by bus, train or airplane or, for short, the Planes, Trains and Automobiles subsidy. Unlike the 1987 comedy by the same name, with the great Canadian actor John Candy, there is nothing funny about this Liberal proposal, especially for the Canadian taxpayers who would be asked to fork over hundreds of millions of their hard-earned dollars to pay for it. Indeed, for Canadians watching at home, today's Liberal proposal is a perfect example of what our Conservative government means when we say that the opposition is fiscally incompetent.
In an era when governments are trying to get back to balanced budgets, I ask Canadians why a party with any sense of fiscal responsibility would suggest that a new novelty subsidy with a price tag of over $200 million each year be a sound idea. More importantly, why do the Liberals think it is the responsibility of government, which is taxpayers, to subsidize personal travel? That kind of big government thinking is a relic of the 1960s and 1970s. Respected National Post columnist Kelly McParland provided commentary on this Liberal proposal in a recent article. She wrote, in part, “...the shrunken little Liberal caucus is pumping out silly ways to spend even more borrowed money trying to manipulate Canadian behaviour, just like the old days”.
What's worse, this bill would not even accomplish what it sets out to do, and that is according to the Canadian tourism industry itself. The head of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada said directly, “...we don’t think this is a particularly useful mechanism because Canada’s challenge is not a lack of domestic travel”.
In the remainder of my time here today, I will address the flaws of this proposal in greater detail. These flaws include its unfairness to Canadians across the country, its sizable cost to taxpayers, and its inability to actually increase domestic travel.
After that, I will present our Conservative government's constructive, effective and more fiscally responsible approach to promoting Canadian tourism.
First, let us examine the issue of fairness—or unfairness, in fact—as it relates to this proposal. For instance, let us consider the modes of travel that are available: buses, planes and trains. What about boats? What about cars? What about motorhomes? Why would some be excluded? Why would some be included? It seems to be completely arbitrary.
What about the fact that eligibility would be tied to travel crossing three provincial boundaries? This would mean that some Canadians would benefit more than others, given the shorter distances between provinces in certain areas of the country.
Second, let us remember that this costly subsidy would not even accomplish what it sets out to do. As I noted before, the Canadian tourism industry itself has already dismissed today's Liberal proposal. It has done so for the good reason that it is clear this proposal would do very little to actually encourage interprovincial travel within Canada.
For that matter, even a basic analysis quickly reveals that it would carry a significant cost. Specifically, according to the Department of Finance and based on existing travel patterns and expenditures, preliminary estimates suggest that this proposal would cost at least $215 million each year.
I should note that is a conservative estimate based solely on existing travel patterns. If Canadians were actually motivated to change their travel plans to qualify for this costly subsidy, as is the stated intent of the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, this proposal would cost taxpayers even more.
I know the Liberal Party might not think that $200 million a year is a lot, but Canadian taxpayers know it is a lot of money.
We can think of it another way: over the first five years alone, it would cost, at the very least, $1 billion—not $1 million, but $1 billion. When politicians propose $1 billion in new spending over five years, Canadian taxpayers expect and demand that they also explain how they are going to pay for it. Canadian families working on their household budget around the dinner table know that if they add new spending, they had better know how they are going to pay for it. Even though the Liberals have come here today with a plan for new spending, have they told us how they are going to pay for it? Would they cut government services? Would they cut government programs? Would they cut health care transfers, as they did in the 1990s when they were in government? Would they just hike taxes, such as income taxes or the GST? Maybe they would simply add to the government debt.
We do not know what they would do, because the Liberal Party and the member did not think about those questions. That is the very definition of fiscal irresponsibility.
It is little wonder that many Canadians have given a thumbs-down to this proposal already. Indeed, here is what some everyday Canadians said when asked by Global News about this proposal. One man said, “It reduces tax revenue to the government, which means government has less money to do other things that I might value more.” Another added, “We are in financially tight times right now, and letting our country go further into debt for that sole reason seems like a bad idea to me.”
It is comforting to know that these everyday Canadians have more wisdom and more fiscal responsibility than the Liberal Party. It is no wonder more and more Canadians are turning their backs on the Liberals. By rejecting this costly Liberal plan, our Conservative government is standing by the existing support that we provide to Canada's tourism industry.
This government recognizes the importance of the tourism industry to this country. It contributes about $80 billion to our economy. It creates jobs for 600,000 Canadians and is an industry that touches all regions of the country. It is important to all regions and to all our constituencies.
That is why, in October 2011, we brought forward our federal tourism strategy. It is a whole of government approach. It reaches across 20 different departments or agencies and touches on 31 different recommendations across those 20 different agencies and departments.
It is centred on four key areas. The priorities are, first, increasing awareness of Canada as a premier tourist destination; second, facilitating ease of access and movement for travellers while protecting the safety and integrity of Canada's borders; third, encouraging product development and investments in Canadian tourism assets and products; and fourth, fostering an adequate supply of skills and labour to enhance visitor experiences through quality of service and hospitality.
One of the biggest things it does is pull together all those departments for the first time. It does so by bringing together a steering committee. The steering committee takes the plans and priorities we have for tourism, pulls them all together and gets all the departments and agencies thinking about the importance of tourism and the effect they have on tourism. For the first time, we are including the tourism industry in those consultations and meetings and making sure their voices are heard at the government table.
We are making a difference. If I had more time, I would like to share all the great things we are doing for tourism. Unfortunately, time runs short in the House, so suffice it to say that we are very excited about the future prospects of the tourism industry.
As a government we are committed to fiscal responsibility, and for this reason we will be voting against this proposal. That is also why we are supporting effective programs to boost tourism rather than the costly novelty of the Liberal proposal for a taxpayer-funded travel subsidy.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I noted that my colleague mentioned she had been spending some time recently knocking on doors in her riding.
I have been knocking on doors in my riding, which is in the Calgary area as well. I have knocked on doors in the community of Cochrane and I have spent time at trade shows in communities like Airdrie and Didsbury, which are all in the same general area. My constituents are quite happy to be hearing that we have reconfirmed in the budget that we will make sure we balance our federal budget by 2015. I am wondering if she has heard similar things from people in her community and if her constituents are supportive of our commitment as a government to make sure we balance the federal budget by 2015.
Volunteerism and Ed Eggerer May 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, in my constituency and all across Canada, volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities. Earlier this week, the City of Airdrie held a special ceremony to honour its volunteers of the year. Perhaps the most long overdue recognition went to a pillar of our community, Mr. Ed Eggerer, who was awarded the Airdrie Ambassador Award.
It is with a heavy heart that I must inform this House that Mr. Eggerer is being given this award posthumously, having passed away suddenly on March 17. Our entire city's condolences go out to his wife Sylvia, his family and his many friends.
A true servant of democracy, Mr. Eggerer's legacy is a community far better off in innumerable ways, thanks to his humble dedication.
In addition to Mr. Eggerer, Donivan Ryan, Jack Lumley and the local Meals on Wheels program were all formally recognized for their contributions to our community.
As Governor General David Johnston said, “Volunteers are doing their part to make Canada the smart and caring nation we all want it to be.” These four winners are perfect examples.