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Conservative MP for Oshawa (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 51.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2 December 6th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows, I come from Oshawa. Oshawa has a strong history of manufacturing. I was wondering if the member would be able to contrast our approach, where we are lowering taxes for business and trying to keep taxes low for families and all Canadians, with the NDP policies.
We all know that the NDP wants to put in a $20-billion carbon tax. Right now, with the recovery kind of iffy and when we are not sure where we are going to be going, does the member think that in the economy right now Canadians can afford another hit such as is being suggested by the NDP with this $20-billion carbon tax?
Health December 6th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the bill brought forward by the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert fails to recognize the progress that we have been making. It is unenforceable and amends the wrong act.
Companies are posting about shortages online because, with our approach, it gives doctors the information they need. We will continue to monitor whether companies make information on shortages available to doctors and patients voluntarily. If they do not, we are open to considering a mandatory approach.
Obesity December 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to my friend and colleague from Burlington's motion, which brings an important public health issue to the forefront of debate. The motion speaks to the important public health issue of obesity and the physical well-being of all Canadians. It is both timely and relevant.
Obesity levels among Canadians continue to be extremely high. The World Health Organization declared in 2011 that obesity is a global epidemic and it is facing us now. In Canada, the social and economic impacts of obesity are considerable.
Statistics show us that obesity accounts for losses totalling billions of dollars, but this does not tell the entire story. Obesity often leads to major chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so when we factor in the costs to our health and productivity, we see that the cost to our economy is far greater. We cannot ignore the significant human costs, such as reduced quality of life and social stigma, just to name two. If left unchecked, the economic and social impact of obesity will continue to grow with irreversible consequences for all Canadians.
As such, our government is acting. We brought in the children's fitness tax credit to encourage families to keep their kids active. Keeping with the theme in budget 2013, we eliminated tariffs on sports and athletic equipment. We are working with our partners to promote healthy weights for all Canadians. We fully support the motion and invite colleagues from all sides of the House to join us.
Our government is committed to continuing to do our part and working with our partners to curb obesity rates. I would like to expand on the partnership approach we are taking and the role we are playing.
There is no doubt that societal challenges like obesity rely on many to take action. Complex public health issues such as this one simply defy single solution approaches. No one government or institution alone can make the changes needed to curb obesity rates at a societal level. Solutions cannot be developed in isolation from the needs of communities and families.
There is also no doubt that federal leadership is an essential element of mobilizing all sectors of society around a common objective. Mobilizing all segments of society—communities, academia, the charitable and not-for-profit sector and the private sector—needs to happen too. The good news is that all governments and a growing number of other stakeholders in the private and public sectors agree that complementary and coordinated action is necessary.
The government's approach to supporting new ideas delivered in new ways with direct results for Canadians is rooted in the values we share as Canadians, working together for better health outcomes for all Canadians. Our approach allows partners to leverage knowledge, expertise, reach and resources. With this in mind, I would like to expand on several of the important aspects of our approach.
First, we are working in partnership with the private sector to leverage new resources and ideas, and to expand the reach of our programs. For example, the government has recently partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Sun Life Financial through a matched-dollar funding arrangement. This collaboration is expanding “Get BUSY!”, a program to increase physical activity and healthy eating opportunities for children and youth in community Boys and Girls Clubs.
The government has also partnered with LoyaltyOne to jointly support the Air Miles-YMCA physical activity program, an innovative, incentive-based program that is exploring new ways of getting Canadians active and keeping them active over the long term. In less than a year, we have leveraged over $2 million in private sector investment. This is a positive story from a taxpayer perspective.
Second, innovation is at the centre of our approach. Supporting and promoting new programs and models that are proven to be effective is the goal. We are not reinventing the wheel. We are challenging ourselves and others to innovate and adapt so that the models that have the greatest impact are available to Canadians.
To encourage our partners to work together, we also need to be a good partnership facilitator. Through the Public Health Agency of Canada, a redesigned approach to funding programs was recently launched. The agency is inviting eligible organizations to submit their ideas on effective ways to address obesity, promote healthy living and prevent chronic disease. These ideas are the foundation for partnership discussions, both with the agency and with others who may have submitted similar or complementary ideas. The continuous intake of partnership ideas allows us to be more responsive and support innovative interventions that are at a stage of readiness to make a difference. In other words, we are better able to strike while the iron is hot.
By joining the best ideas with the resources that are needed, we are confident that we will get at the root causes of obesity. Ultimately everyone's goal is to help Canadians overcome barriers to healthy living and prevent chronic disease. These aspects of our work showcase our leadership role and role as a catalyst for innovation. Indeed, since 2006, our government has invested nearly $200 million for obesity-related research.
Another important aspect of our approach relates to the ongoing commitment to accountability for the use of public funds. To achieve greater accountability for results, projects will only be considered where funding can be tied to the completion of measurable results. Performance expectations for each partnership are predetermined and milestones are established in advance.
Recognizing that investments in public health take time to achieve results, this ensures we support only those partnerships that aim to achieve long-term, lasting and, most important, effective results. It is also important to note that a key aspect of our approach involves supporting partnerships that use an integrated style to address common risk factors for obesity and other chronic diseases.
Every year in Canada 67% of all deaths are caused by four major chronic diseases: cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases. What is more, these diseases share common risk factors that, if addressed in an integrated way, can be mitigated.
Chronic diseases can be prevented and their onset delayed. In 2011, at a United Nations high-level meeting, Canada signed the “Political declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases” in which four common risk factors were identified for chronic disease.
These common risk factors include: physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. This integrated approach to supporting innovative multi-sectoral partnerships allows us to bring a greater number of partners into the fold, partners whose expertise and knowledge can help us address a range of risk factors in an integrated way. The result is that our partnerships can do a better job at creating the conditions in communities to help make the healthier choice an easier choice. This builds on the work that our government has done to ensure that Canadians have access to the information they need to make healthy food choices for their families.
Our approach to creating innovative multi-sectoral partnerships is the right way to go. More importantly, it is showing great promise in rallying a broad range of partners whose responsibility or interest is to tackle obesity as a critical public health issue. As a result, this government is well placed in continuing to support, promote and fund organizations and individuals who are taking innovative approaches to promote the physical well-being of all Canadians. What is more, these partnerships are fostering social innovation and helping to keep the reduction of obesity on the public agenda as a health priority.
In conclusion, as we continue to move forward, we will continue our efforts to generate and leverage new resources, apply innovative approaches, remain focused on accountability and improve our success by addressing common risk factors for obesity. This is why my hon. friend from Burlington's motion, which is before us today, is so important and so timely. It reminds us that consistent innovation is required as we continue to fight obesity and improve health outcomes for all Canadians.
I would like to thank and congratulate my colleague, the member for Burlington, for bringing the motion forward.
Finally, I invite all members of the House to support this very important motion. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak today about the important issue of reducing obesity among Canadians.
The Environment December 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, our government is a world leader when it comes to addressing climate change. We continue to work with the provinces on reducing emissions from the oil and gas sector.
I can tell the House that, thanks to our actions, we have seen significant reductions in greenhouse gases, unlike the Liberal Party who increased greenhouse gas emissions by 130 megatonnes when it was in office. We are doing this without the $20 billion carbon tax that the NDP wants to bring in.
The Environment November 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, if the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 had not been passed, we would continue to have a regime that requires environmental assessments of inconsequential projects with little potential for adverse impacts. That is what we talked about before in the answer with the blueberries. We would continue to have a regime without enforcement provisions. We would continue to have a regime lacking in predictable legislative timelines for the completion of an environmental assessment.
With the recent changes, environmental assessments will be focused on major projects that have a greater potential for significant adverse environmental effects. Federal resources will not be wasted considering assessments for an overly broad pool of projects.
Effective and timely environmental assessment is important for both Canada's environment and its economy. Our government's actions ensure federal environmental assessment is focused on the right projects.
The Environment November 26th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Drummond for the opportunity to elaborate on his question.
Our government is committed to environmental protection and sustainable development. In fact, it is this Conservative government that has been strengthening environmental laws, setting higher safety standards and has been committed to enshrining the polluter pay system into law. That being said, I appreciate the opportunity to inform the member opposite of a few facts pertaining to the federal environmental assessment process that he may not have been aware of prior to asking his question.
First, it is important for the member opposite to understand that in situ oil stands were never on the project list, so there has been no change there.
Second, this project list has been expanded to include projects that were not on it before. Therefore, in this regard, we have actually strengthened our environmental assessment process. Let me be clear. There has been absolutely no dismantling of the laws governing federal environmental assessment.
Quite to the contrary, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 strengthens environmental protection and brings the federal regime into the 21st century. This legislation brought in enforceable environmental assessment decision statements to ensure proponents comply with required mitigation measures to protect the environment. Federal inspectors now have the authority to examine whether or not conditions of a decision statement are being met. There are penalties for non-compliance.
After this legislation was passed, the Minister of the Environment talked to Canadians about its implementation. Comments were sought on whether amendments should be made to the regulations that identify which projects may require a federal environmental assessment. A variety of interests provided their views, and those views were given very careful consideration. Changes to the regulations have been made to ensure they reflect those major projects that have the greatest potential for significant adverse environmental effects in areas of federal jurisdiction. This will increase certainty and predictability for project proponents and for all Canadians.
Let me again reiterate for my colleague opposite there has been no decision to exempt in situ oil sands projects from any federal review. In situ oil sands projects are not covered in the environmental assessment regulations that came into force through the amendments. They were not covered in the regulations before the amendments, and they were not covered in regulations under the former legislation. To make things perfectly clear for the member opposite, in situ oil sands projects have never been subject to federal environmental assessments, and federal permitting and approvals processes related to in situ projects have not changed.
Federal environmental assessment will continue to be implemented in a manner that supports responsible resource development to the benefit of all Canadians.
An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act (duty to examine) November 25th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-481. In the next 10 minutes, I will explain how the bill would create a massive new and wasteful bureaucracy that would serve no purpose other than to waste taxpayers' money. I will demonstrate how the bill is just more evidence that the NDP shows a complete lack of respect for taxpayers' money. I will show that although the bill would purport to achieve sustainable development objectives, it would actually only duplicate work that is already being done by the government.
Bill C-481 would amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act to require that the Minister of Justice examine bills and regulations to ensure that they are not inconsistent with the purposes and provisions of the act. However, rather than meaningfully doing anything, it would just add another layer of red tape, which is redundant and unnecessary in light of the actions the government is already taking.
As members are aware, the purpose of the Federal Sustainable Development Act is to establish a legal framework for developing and implementing a federal sustainable development strategy that will make environmental decisions more transparent and accountable to Canadians. It requires developing and regularly updating a whole-of-government federal sustainable development strategy, which the government began in 2010 and continues to do so.
The first main point I would like to discuss is whether the amendments proposed in the bill are necessary. They are not. As I have already pointed out, the bill would be completely redundant in light of actions the government is already taking to achieve federal sustainability objectives, as well as transparency and accountability. The government already has tools in place for assessing and reporting the environmental effects of its actions, including two particularly significant ones: strategic environmental assessments and regulatory impact analyses.
Strategic environmental assessments, which are required by a cabinet directive, identify and evaluate the potential environmental effects of government proposals. Strategic environmental assessments also involve considering whether further action could be taken to optimize the positive environmental effects of initiatives and minimize or mitigate any negative effects.
Cabinet requires that a strategic environmental assessment be undertaken for all proposals intended for approval by a minister or by cabinet whenever its implementation could result in important environmental effects, either positive or negative. The results of strategic environmental assessments inform the development of new policies, plans, and programs, and support decision-making.
In 2010, in conjunction with the release of Canada's first federal sustainable development strategy, the government further strengthened strategic environmental assessment by requiring departments to consider potential impacts on the strategy's goals and targets when conducting their assessments in the context of a broader consideration of environmental effects.
We see strengthening the strategic environmental assessment process as an important step in advancing the integration of environmental, social, and economic considerations in government decision-making. Departments are now expected to consider the potential effects of initiatives on achieving the government's environmental sustainability priorities.
I should note that unlike the government's approach to strategic environmental assessment, Bill C-481 does not include any assessment against any specific priorities or measurable objectives, such as the federal sustainable development strategy's goals and targets. This just further highlights how the bill would be a wasteful use of taxpayers' money.
In addition to requiring analysis and assessment of the environmental implications of policies, strategic environmental assessments also promote transparency and accountability in decision-making. Whenever the government conducts a strategic environmental assessment, any potential environmental effects identified are expected to be summarized in a public statement that communicates the results of the assessment to Canadians.
To provide a broader view of strategic environmental assessment practices and results, the strengthened assessment process also requires departments to describe how policies subject to strategic environmental assessments have affected or are expected to affect progress towards the federal sustainable development strategy's goals and targets. We will continue to advance implementation of this new strengthened assessment process over time.
The other major mechanism I want to mention is the regulatory impact analysis statement, or RIAS. A RIAS is created for proposed regulations, and its preparation is required by the cabinet directive on regulatory management.
A RIAS summarizes the regulatory development process and the analysis conducted in support of a regulatory initiative. It describes the issues to be addressed, a cost-benefit analysis with distributional impacts of a proposed regulation, and the results of consultations. The results of a regulation's cost-benefit analysis summarized in the RIAS includes the cost or benefits to Canadians, the environment, and businesses, as well as impacts on human health and safety. Like a strategic environmental assessment, the RIAS process makes an important contribution to transparency as RIASs are made available to the public in the Canada Gazette, along with proposed regulations.
I would also like to highlight the federal sustainable development strategy as another means by which the government is making environmental decisions more transparent and accountable to Canadians.
The strategy required by the Federal Sustainable Development Act provides a whole-of-government picture of federal actions and results to achieve environmental sustainability. These actions support goals and targets under four priority theme areas: one, addressing climate change and air quality; two, maintaining water quality and availability; three, protecting nature and Canadians; and four, shrinking the environmental footprint beginning with government.
Regular federal sustainable development strategy progress reports from the government enable Canadians and stakeholders to track results achieved on the strategy's goals and targets. FSDS indicators are primarily drawn from the Canadian environmental sustainability indicators program, which provides comprehensive and objective information on environmental trends. The government has expanded these indicators to a total of 36.
Canadians are now able to get more information on what their government is doing with respect to sustainable development than ever before. We are continuing to move forward with the second three-year federal sustainable development strategy, which was tabled on November 4.
The second strategy demonstrates the government's ongoing commitment to the transparency and accountability of environmental decision-making. It has strengthened targets introduced in the first strategy. Examples are those on nutrient loading in the Great Lakes, Lake Simcoe, and Lake Winnipeg. The new strategy also reflects the results of public and open consultations. For example, in response to Canadians' comments, we have made targets more specific and measurable through clear timelines, baseline information, and quantitative benchmarks; identified indicators and actions with social and economic dimensions; and added detail on the important role that others outside government play in achieving environmental outcomes.
Taken together, these improvements, along with the previously mentioned tools in use by the government, provide Canadians with an unprecedented amount of information on the sustainable development decisions being made by the Government of Canada. This is all being done without the massive new bureaucracy the NDP would like to create and the new spending and taxes that the NDP would like to implement through Bill C-481.
As I have described, the government has already taken action to apply sustainable development in decision-making and ensure that Canadians have information on the potential environmental effects of government initiatives. By taking these legislative and regulatory initiatives, our government in ensuring that environmental factors have been fully considered in decision-making processes.
My second main point relates to the examination process proposed in Bill C-481. The examination process that the bill proposes is vague and redundant, and it is a wasteful use of taxpayers' money. I note that this examination process would go well beyond legal analysis and would constitute a significant departure from the current responsibilities of the Minister of Justice with regard to examining bills and regulations. For example, the Department of Justice currently does not have expertise in the area of sustainable development. Thus, the bill would require the government to waste taxpayers' money by creating and developing a new massive bureaucracy to duplicate the measures that I have already highlighted.
Undoubtedly, the NDP wants to pay for all this by increasing taxes on hard-working Canadian families.
In conclusion, given what the government is already doing, Bill C-481 would be a complete waste of taxpayers' money. The bill would add a layer of wasteful bureaucracy and oversight that is simply not needed.
Here I return to the most problematic part of Bill C-481, which is, of course, its true intention of creating a massive, new, and wasteful bureaucracy. This fact, I am not afraid to say, reflects the NDP's priorities completely. Here we have the NDP, which stands for nothing other than creating a massive new bureaucracy while increasing taxes on hard-working Canadian families.
This raises important questions for all Canadians. How exactly does the NDP intend to pay for those new and wasteful measures? Will it be through a $20-billion carbon tax, or does it plan to create new taxes to burden Canadian families? These are important questions the NDP has to answer that the member did not answer earlier.
The Environment November 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to protecting our environment and we are beefing up, if that member was paying attention, environmental laws. We are setting a higher safety standard and creating mandatory minimum sentences for individuals who violate environmental laws.
As I have said, it is our government that has committed to enshrining the polluter pay system into law and will continue to take action against those who break the environmental laws. If the New Democrats actually believed in this, it would be nice if they would actually vote in support of our government in these actions.
The Environment November 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am standing here and they are mocking a third world country. It is upsetting when we look at the environment. This is something that we take seriously. We spent $1.2 billion helping countries around the world and that is—
The Environment November 21st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, we do not think this is a laughing matter. Environment Canada is supporting the province and providing assistance as required. Our government has committed to enshrining the polluter pay system into law. Environment Canada's enforcement officers are looking into the situation. Our government will continue to take action against those who break environmental laws.