House of Commons photo

Track Brian

Your Say

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is going.

NDP MP for Windsor West (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 54.30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Public Safety October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on his part, it seems that the minister is more interested in his rhetoric than he is in results.

The reality is that we have under the Conservatives 130 Canadians who went to fight with terrorist organizations abroad, and 80 of those people came back to our country.

How can the minister stand in his place and say that CBSA cuts did not hurt the security of Canadians?

Petitions October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is to protect the Ojibway Prairie Complex in the Great Lakes area. This land is one of the last forested areas next to the Great Lakes. The petitioners are calling for its protection and assurance that it will be part of a larger environmental park for the region.

Petitions October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.

The first petition is asking the government not to close the veterans office in Windsor, which it has done. The petitioners especially note that Windsor was heavily recruited for soldiers, both men and women. They believe that the services should be restored in Windsor.

Georgian Bay Channel to Lock 45--Port Severn October 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak to Motion No. 502, the motion put together by the member for Simcoe North. I can say I shared an office floor with the member and know how hard he works and the diligence of his work. I praise him for bringing an issue before us that includes the Great Lakes. As critic for the Great Lakes for the NDP and Canada-U.S. border relations, I can tell members that the Great Lakes are going to frame much of our relationship with the United States for the next 10 years. Whether it be on fresh water, whether it be on invasive species, whether it be pollution, there will be a lot of discourse, and there has been, and I will highlight some of that in my speech.

However, I want to touch on Motion No. 502, specifically, right now, because it is an important issue for the community and is an important issue with regard to infrastructure, with regard to planning, and with regard to ensuring that our natural resources, when they are affected, are handled appropriately.

Motion No. 502 looks to study Georgian Bay and the westerly limit of the Trent-Severn Waterway, at Port Severn, a channel that is not living up to the needs of the current boating culture that wants to use and access the channel, because it is too small.

Specifically, there are a number of challenges people need to know about when we look at expanding this channel. The channel is currently rock-faced. There are sharp turns in the channel. It is narrow and not wide enough for vessels to pass each other. It is subjected to unexpected swift currents, as well. Why these things are important is that the tourism industry, in particular, and the boating culture need to use this facility, and it does not do itself justice anymore. In fact, the Canadian Coast Guard also provides navigation devices and aid.

There have been some attempts to work with the current infrastructure, but it is so challenged that it does need a review. It is hurting the economy and tourism in the region by deterring boaters from making use of the channel. That is a loss to not only that local community but also to the entire Great Lakes. One of the things I want to focus on is the challenges in the Great Lakes, which are significant. We have proposed a series of things that correlate to this. It is about planning. It is about having a plan.

One of the first things to talk about is the lake water levels. We have tabled a motion in the House of Commons that calls for a study of the lake water levels in the Great Lakes. We saw this last winter, being a better winter for the Great Lakes, but prior to that in a series of different years we saw the lake water levels lowering. That has actually hurt this facility, which Motion No. 502 addresses, as well.

The key thing is that we need planning. Every year, when the lake waters go down, a number of different communities scramble with different types of resolutions, asking for federal funds and provincial funds to deal with dredging and other types of work. There is a problem with that because we go from crisis to crisis, as opposed to having a sustainable fund or a sustainable business plan to deal with the lake water levels rising and lowering, and then also understanding that when we do dredge, we cannot be disturbing some of the sediments and contamination in the actual sediments. Therefore, we are conflicted in terms of how we can deal with that.

What we are proposing, as New Democrats, is that we study those levels and then, on top of that, we create a business plan that comes into operation, depending on what takes place. We have a natural ally in the international joint commission, the binational commission, which has done wonderful work for many decades and which continues to do some really good work on a series of different things. It could really be an asset. For example, if lake water levels go down again this year, we could identify the number of communities that are affected by say maybe two or three centimetres. We would know those target spots, and those organizations and those municipalities, as well as the different docks and even cottages and other types of regions, which could be honed in on in terms of dealing with those problems, as opposed to just waiting for them to respond to emergencies and crises.

We are hoping that our motion gets passed.

It is also about our economy. Obviously the shipping community has to deal with it as well. It depends upon the type of aggregate that is coming and going into different ports, and what type of infrastructure construction is taking place across Ontario, Quebec and other parts of Canada, which use the Great Lakes as a shipping and movement distribution vehicle to get those materials to those projects. Again, it is about having a business plan to deal with this.

If we are more efficient in terms of our economy with regard to our shipping, it is also going to help us environmentally. Again, we will know what the consequences of these actions are going to be.

There are a couple of other things that we have pushed forward that are really important to note on the Great Lakes. In the transition that is taking place, there is an issue with regard to microplastics right now. We have had some good meetings with the industry.

Microplastics and microbeads are in a lot of things, such as toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. They are the little plastic beads that are added to products because the other types of materials used are rough on the skin. Consumers like the microbeads because it makes products feel smooth. When it is used in toothpaste, there is no roughness in the mouth.

The problem, however, is that the microbeads end up going down the drain into our municipal water treatment systems and up into the Great Lakes. Once they get to the Great Lakes there are consequences. First, sometimes the fish and other wildlife mistake it for algae, and then digest and eat them. It then becomes part of the food chain. Later on when people are fishing in the Great Lakes, that becomes part of the experience.

I was not aware of this until someone starting doing some research on this, but alternatively, some of the microplastics wash up in the sands, in the shoreline, and because it is plastic it becomes a heating source with the sun on them. It can change the ecosystem of the beach and other areas that are affected. There is a campaign to ban microbeads. Some industry leaders have been really good on this and I think there is some change there.

I know it has affected Canada-U.S. relations. Illinois, as well as New York, has passed a resolution, defining the size and shape of what can be in these products. I know a lot of states, as well as members of Congress and the Senate, are concerned about this issue. The industry is open to and is looking for a Canada-U.S. solution. I am hoping the government takes some initiative on this because there seems to be some positive will to move forward on this. I am meeting with some groups this afternoon about this issue.

There are alternatives that can be used in those types of consumer products that would not cause the environmental damage, whether it be to the beaches, shores or wildlife. There can be natural remedies. These are things that could even be beneficial for our economy, because products could be manufactured in a way that they would be good for the environment when they break down.

I do want to touch on a couple of other issues just briefly, with regard to the importance of the motion and other issues in the Great Lakes. There is the issue in Kincardine right now, where they want to build a deep repository for nuclear waste. We are fighting against that. We believe it is wrong and hope the government does something about it. It is hurting Canada-U.S. relations because the U.S. has legislation that nuclear waste cannot be stored within 10 miles of the Great Lakes, and we are trying to put it within one kilometre.

I tabled a bill here in the House last week on invasive carp getting into Canada. We are calling on the government to let the CBSA officers of this country stop and refuse invasive carp that comes in if it is not eviscerated, cut and gutted. If this species gets into our lakes and our inland water systems, there will be a significant impact and a loss of fisheries. This is an invasive species that should be stopped and the government can do that at no cost.

Fisheries and Oceans October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, invasive carp pose a threat to the ecological and economic health of the Great Lakes and inland waters. If they are allowed to get a foothold, the effects will be irreversible. That is why I introduced a bill to ban the import of live invasive carp into Canada and to give the powers and tools to the CBSA officers to keep these fish out.

Will the Conservatives recognize the seriousness of the invasive carp threat and commit to passing my bill?

Petitions October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on the protection of human life from the time of conception and fertilization.

The 25 petitioners are calling for a review, because it has been 40 years since the right has been debated in Parliament. They are calling for the protection of the lives of unborn children.

Petitions October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.

The first petition is signed by over 100 people who are supporting Motion No. 515 regarding the Ontario Power Generation's proposed deep geographical repository storage of nuclear waste in Kincardine.

The petitioners are asking that the motion be respected and that this process be halted at this point in time to ensure that nuclear waste is stored safely.

Fisheries Act October 1st, 2014

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-629, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act (invasive carp).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduced an act today to amend the Fisheries Act to deal with invasive carp.

Currently, more than 20 federal and provincial policies and regulations are used to keep Asian carp out of the country, but they vary from province to province, and fines are often subjective and issued by judges.

Why would we need to do this? It is because we need to provide protection for our ecosystem, protection for our fishing industry, and protection for our sport fishing industry. Asian carp are intrusive and eat the types of materials that other fish do, which ends up starving our fish population. They are very dangerous, as we have seen in the Mississippi River.

The bill would change the system and would be a pan-Canadian strategy. First, it would make it illegal to import live, invasive carp of all types and would require that any dead carp be eviscerated or technically gutted. Second, it would allow the Canadian Border Service Agency to seize and send carp back to their country of origin immediately. This is important for our men and women on the front lines in Canada so that they are able to defend us with this actual protection.

Last, it would increase fines. They would be $15,000 for individuals and $75,000 for companies guilty of smuggling in Asian carp on the first offence. The fines could rise to as much as $1 million and $4 million respectively for repeat offences.

It is vital that we start protecting our Great Lakes and other Canadian waterways from these invasive species. This bill is a step in that direction.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to intervene again. I like to talk about autos and bridges in this place and will continue to do so. In this respect it has to do with the auto sector which will be affected by the Korea trade deal. We are really concerned because there is such an imbalance in our trade right now.

The United States negotiated better tariff time periods in terms of the reduction period being longer. It also negotiated a snap-back provision. South Korea, as we know, has a national auto strategy and intervention at the state level for its industry. It has that national advantage.

The U.S. has a snap-back provision that allows it to put a hold on the automotive component should dumping take place in South Korea. The Canadian version of the agreement does not have this. Why not?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask this question. I want to preface it with some work that was done for me by the Library of Parliament. It is independent research on a question I asked about countries that had national automotive strategies. Twelve countries in the world have them, and Canada is not one of them. However, one of them is South Korea.

This is what came back from the Library of Parliament. It is a short paragraph that I would like to read to the member to get his response.

In The Republic of Korea, the national strategy for the automotive industry is entitled Strategies and Tasks for Developing the Green Car Industry to Become One of the World's 4 Major Car Making Countries. The tasks included the objectives of producing 1.2 million green cars, exporting 900,000 green cars, and occupying 21% of the local car market by 2015. The government also plans to support financing for the installation of 1,351,300 battery chargers at 168 locations by 2020.

There is more on the parts division.

What is the Conservative government prepared to do to ensure that there is going to be fair market access for Canadian companies to ship to South Korea? What is the government going to do if we get dumped on by South Korea?

South Korea's national government has decided to intervene with this industry at a historic level, and it continues to do so as we enter a so-called free trade agreement. If the fair market itself is being interfered with by the South Korean government, what will the Conservative government do to protect Canadian auto workers?