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Conservative MP for Prince George—Peace River (B.C.)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 62.10% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Fort St. John Army Cadets December 6th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the young men and women who are serving proudly with the 2276 Fort St. John Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.
In October, the cadet corps changed its affiliation from the Kamloops-based Rocky Mountain Rangers to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based out of Edmonton. The change will mean less travel time and more opportunity for the cadet corps to receive support and to learn from active military personnel.
The cadets will hold their change of affiliation parade this Saturday in Fort St. John to mark the occasion, which is a result of 10 years of hard work.
I congratulate Major Dan Davies, Captain Linda Nielsen, Captain Thor Toms, current commanding officer, Captain Ken Lane, and everyone involved with the Fort St. John army cadets.
Last, I would like to wish everybody a very merry Christmas.
Multiculturalism November 22nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, at this time each year Canadians gather in solemn commemoration of the Holodomor, perpetuated by the Soviet regime on the Ukrainian people 80 years ago.
In 2008, our Parliament passed an act to establish a Holodomor memorial day, and to officially recognize the Ukrainian Famine of 1932 to 1933 as an act of genocide.
Could the Minister of State for Multiculturalism please tell us why it is important that all Canadians remember the atrocities that took place during the Holodomor?
Natural Resources November 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, liquefied natural gas is an important resource to our country, especially in my province of British Columbia. Canada is fifth in the world for production and fourth in exports of natural gas. This resource plays an important role as we transition from traditional coal plants and provides Canada with the opportunity to increase exports to new markets.
Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources comment on new developments in the area of natural gas?
Business of Supply November 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my illustrious colleague. We served on the agriculture committee for a few years, and I have gotten to know him well.
Absolutely, what we need for our Canadian resources, especially our oil, is a world price. Having a landlocked market does not serve our competitiveness as we need it to. Access to foreign markets on the east and west coasts as well to American markets to the south is an advantage that we need. In this new world where we trade with everybody, we really need to have access to all foreign markets to get the best price. Our people deserve that in Canada.
After all, the better the price is for Canadians, the more comes back to us in revenue to help out our social programs. It really benefits all Canadians.
Business of Supply November 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I was a member of many groups that have gone down to talk to our American counterparts just to encourage them. Most of them understand the benefit it presents to the American economy, just as it does to the Canadian economy. What could be a better source for oil and natural resources than a friendly neighbour to the north, as opposed to some other neighbours that are not so friendly?
In terms of the ultimatum, I think it shows that our Prime Minister is serious about our resources. After all, he is our number one defender in Canada in defending our resources on the world stage. I think it was a very good statement by the Prime Minister to the Americans to show how serious we are about our resource development. We will do what it takes to develop that resource.
Business of Supply November 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is an easy answer. There is a lot of tanker traffic that goes there every day right now, and it operates completely safely.
The Port of Vancouver is a great example of many tankers coming and going without incident every year. I think it is a misnomer that there are going to be incidents with increased traffic. That is just not the case. We can see many other ports across the world that have triple and quadruple the capacity of the actual traffic of Vancouver and have zero incidents.
We do not see it as a safety issue with the new regime we have in place and are putting in place. We think we have a good plan, and it is going to work.
Business of Supply November 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to address the motion from the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.
I am pleased to state that our government has made significant progress in setting the stage for a much-needed expansion of Canada's energy infrastructure while enhancing safety and environmental protection.
It is also timely that the Governments of British Columbia and Alberta have made substantial progress in their pipeline discussions. I view this as a very constructive development, especially in relation to British Columbia.
Canada's advanced network of energy pipelines, now consisting of more than 73,000 kilometres of federally regulated pipelines criss-crossing this country, provide safe transportation for over $100 billion worth of oil, natural gas, and petroleum products every year. This figure alone underscores the great importance of pipelines to Canada. Pipelines are of major importance to our national economy and support tens of thousands of energy sector jobs throughout Canada.
Pipelines touch almost every Canadian. They transport the fuel that heats our homes and businesses, helps generate electricity, and powers our cars, trucks, and buses. In short, pipelines and the energy they deliver drive our economy and are essential to our standard of living in Canada.
On the practical questions of safety, efficiency, and reliability, the record is clear for pipelines in Canada. Over 99.999% of crude oil transported by federally regulated pipelines moves safely and without incident of any kind, which is an amazing record.
Even with this impressive safety record, our government is working at improvements by introducing new measures to ensure our safety system becomes even stronger. This ongoing goal is reflective of our government's unwavering commitment both to environmental protection and to safety in the energy sector.
Last year we announced our plan for responsible resource development. This plan would ensure that Canada's natural resources are developed in a way that would balance economic prosperity with environmental protection.
Enhancing pipeline safety is a significant component of this plan. Oil and gas pipeline inspections have increased by 50% annually, from 100 to 150. Annual comprehensive audits of pipelines have been doubled, from three to six.
To ensure that pipeline companies have the strongest incentive to operate their facilities with the highest standards of safety and environmental responsibility, we intend to entrench in legislation the responsibility for them to pay for the consequences of any spill—the polluter pays principle. Companies operating major pipelines would need to demonstrate a minimum financial capacity of $1 billion to clean up after any spill.
We have given the National Energy Board new authority to impose serious financial penalties on companies that do not comply with safety and environmental regulations: up to $25,000 a day for individuals and $100,000 a day for companies for as long as the infractions are not addressed.
For the first time, companies must have a senior officer responsible specifically for pipeline safety.
These are just a few of the improvements made by our Conservative government. As Canada's energy infrastructure expands west, east, and south, our next generation of pipelines will be built to the highest quality standards in the world.
The need for this expansion is pressing. Currently 99% of Canada's crude oil and 100% of natural gas exports go to the United States, but as we all know, our American neighbours are finding abundant resources of their own. This means that the U.S. would be relying less on Canadian energy imports into the future. It also means that new infrastructure, including pipelines, must be built in order to open up new international markets and to transport our energy resources to them.
As for practical challenges that this new economic activity entails, there is no question that Canadian crude, including heavy oil from the oil sands, can be carried by Canada's pipeline network with security and safety.
Canada's regulatory and safety regime for developing our natural resources has long been established as among the best in the world, but when it comes to protecting Canadians and our environment, there is no room for complacency. For that reason, our government has firmly stated that no project can proceed unless it is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.
Building and operating safe pipelines is something that Canada has done for many decades. Few sectors can boast such an outstanding safety record. One of the chief characteristics of a strong safety regime is its ability to continually evolve and improve. As technology evolves and regulations are improved, safety standards are raised.
Last summer I announced that we are taking steps to ensure that we have a truly world-class pipeline safety regime in Canada. Under our new proposed measures, companies would be required to develop and implement a security and safety program that anticipates, prevents, and mitigates conditions that could adversely affect people, property, or the environment. They must prepare and apply an emergency management program focused on emergency preparedness and response requirements.
We will also ensure that companies operating pipelines have the financial capacity to respond to any incident and to remedy damage. To do so, the government will require major crude oil companies to have a minimum financial capacity of $1 billion. In this way, we are protecting the Canadian taxpayer from having to pay in the unlikely event of a spill. With these proposed measures, we will make existing and new pipelines in Canada safer than ever before.
Energy is a major Canadian resource, a key driver of Canada's national economy. Over the next 25 years, the oil sands alone could support more than 600,000 jobs, including new opportunities for aboriginal peoples. However, the benefits from our economic sector go beyond jobs and reach all Canadians. For example, the oil and gas industries generate about $22 billion a year in taxes and royalties to governments in Canada. That contributes to Canadian health care and other social programs.
The natural resource sectors already account for nearly 20% of all economic activity in Canada—a big number—as well as one-fifth of all economic activity, over half of our exports, 950,000 high-paying direct jobs, and a further 850,000 indirect jobs.
Canada has a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on natural resource development to further grow our economy. With the development of the Keystone XL pipeline and other necessary infrastructure, we are opening up the way for a new era of growth and prosperity for all Canadians.
Our government is balancing the need to develop our resources while protecting our environment. On the other hand, the NDP have decided to forgo almost 20% of the Canadian economy. Instead it attacks it at any chance it gets. The NDP has attacked our oil and gas industry, our nuclear sector, and our forestry sector. It has decided to take an extreme position that will not create jobs and economic growth for Canadians, but will instead sap our growth and harm our economy.
It is not just B.C. and Alberta that will suffer under the NDP. There are thousands of companies across Canada that benefit from the oil sands, especially Ontario's manufacturing heartland. Our government will stand firm and resist this anti-development, anti-trade stance and continue our work to create good, high-paying jobs for Canadians across this country.
Income Tax Act October 31st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I come from a long line of carpenters. I was a carpenter myself. I built a house about three years ago, so I understand what travelling to work involves and the cost involved.
My first job out of high school was working at a gold mine in Manitoba. We incurred the cost ourselves because there was a good job waiting at the other end. The incentive was the good job we got at the other end.
I am not clear and I do not quite see the linkage to absolute employment with a tax credit. I do not think it would be that direct, and you are making the presumption that there would be an automatic increase in employment based on the tax credit. I would ask that you explain that.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 October 25th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on the economy and on keeping the Canadian economy in general chugging along. Among the things we talked about, the job skills grant is going to affect us greatly and will answer the need, especially in the west, for skilled workers in our workforce. We are already being hit by that need. It is going to hit us even more, and we are responding to that need.