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Conservative MP for Prince Edward—Hastings (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 53.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Committees of the House March 5th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in relation to Bill C-479, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, known as the fairness for victims act. The committee has studied the bill and decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
Winter Olympic Games February 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, what an Olympics it was. While we in the House may occasionally differ on our politics, I do know that all of us can agree on one thing, and that is the enormous pride we hold in our hearts for the manner in which all of our Olympians represented us.
Through the highs and lows, they were an inspiration and a role model across the globe. Whether one was an athlete, a parent, a coach, a volunteer, or a fan, there were countless unforgettable memories. Who will forget Don Cherry predicting that our Canadian women were in tough but that with a never-say-die effort would come back for an exciting win, and then predicting that our men would play Sweden and win the gold in the final. Right on Don! That is Canadian, eh?
Who will forget the member of the Canadian coaching team’s passing a ski to the Russian skier so he could finish with dignity before his home country, or Charles Hamelin embracing Marianne St-Gelais after his win, or, has been stated before by my colleague from down east, Gilmore Junio who unselfishly stepped aside so that Denny Morrison could compete and bring home a silver medal. That is Canadian, eh?
We all have countless unforgettable memories of what it means to be a Canadian, and I am so proud of all of our participants for showing the world what it means to be a Canadian, eh.
Consumer Protection February 5th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we have taken decisive action to put families first by cutting taxes an incredible 160 times. That means over $3,000 more every year for the average Canadian family because of our government.
Sadly, the New Democrats want to play Big Brother when it comes to consumer needs. Their plan includes creating more bureaucracy, a whole department to monitor and dictate what is best for Canadians. Not only that, but the NDP has voted against all of the following consumer-protection measures since 2006.
The New Democrats voted against protecting consumers with new credit card rules that will require consent for credit limit increases, against bringing in a code of conduct for the credit and debit card industry to help small businesses deal with unfair practices, against requiring greater disclosures of mortgage repayment charges, against making mortgage insurance more transparent and understandable, and against banning unsolicited credit card cheques.
While the opposition parties vote against measures to help consumers, our government has acted and will deliver for Canadians.
Business of Supply February 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the government takes all transgressions and inadequacies into consideration. We had a situation that was deemed not to be proper, and action was taken to correct it. Do we need another body on top of that when we already have review agencies and an independent audit that has identified the problem clearly?
Yes, it was not perfect. Was there an error or omission? Yes. Has it been obviously identified and corrected? Yes. Is that reason to spend countless dollars on another bureaucracy that would simply duplicate what we already have in place?
Business of Supply February 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, we do work together in partnership on the public safety and national security committee.
My response will be very simple. I do understand the reality that there are ongoing arguments and discussions to try to bring into place the effective balance between security and privacy. It is an ongoing discussion.
The member is suggesting that we need another agency or department on top of that and that Parliament should take on more responsibilities, thereby adding another body. Well, it was Parliament that established the original bodies and all of the oversight committees. It is Parliament that establishes the relationship to put a judicial authority into the content. It is Parliament that establishes the laws that all of these people are adhering to, and the independent bodies have attested to that.
Business of Supply February 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I was hoping you were going to say 26, but I will try to get it done within 6 minutes.
Before question period I talked about how SIRC addressed the relationship between CSIS and the Communications Security Establishment. Certainly, their mandates are different and the review of their activities is carried out by different review bodies. However, they are very much alike in one regard: they work in compliance with the law as they carry out their mandates. CSIS has collaborated and will continue to collaborate with its partners to help protect Canada's national interests, consistent with its authorities. There is no question that two such organizations simply must work together to carry out these activities. The National Defence Act and the CSIS Act provide the authority for this collaboration to occur.
In today's complex global threat environment, national security must be a team effort if it is to succeed. This means that CSIS will work, has worked, and must work with many domestic partners, including CSEC. Both organizations are dedicated to protecting Canada and Canadian interests, and therefore must in many ways support each another while always respecting their distinct and separate mandates. Indeed, any and all activities are lawfully granted by the Federal Court and are directed only against those individuals who pose a threat. This is clearly specified in the CSIS Act, and Canadians should, and do, expect nothing less.
It is also important that we consider the evolving threat environment. This is a threat environment that did not use to exist, but now includes the prospect of Canadian citizens leaving the country for the purpose of engaging in terrorist activities while still wanting all the protections of Canada and its laws. Of course, that threat environment includes espionage and our economic interests, cyber-security, et cetera. This is a threat environment that includes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and is certainly an environment in which al-Qaeda continues to pose a very real threat to our safety and security, both at home and in many places around the globe.
Therefore, this is certainly a complex, multifaceted, and multidimensional environment. Through all of this, we rely on our intelligence community to help us prevent, to the extent possible, Canadians from travelling abroad to take part in terrorist activities. We also rely on them to provide us with information and advice that will help us protect our natural resources and our economy. There is no question that as they carry out their duties, there will be a continued and ongoing need for appropriate review.
While we certainly can continue to rely on the work of the various review bodies, our government will continue to explore options that would deliver continued, effective, and robust review and accountability of our national security activities. In other words, we should always be vigilant for improvement. However, what we will not entertain is a process that duplicates the great work already being done by officials in SIRC. Why would we simply add another bureaucratic level and added cost to give us the same results when we already have a competency in place? Therefore, rather than creating additional reams of red tape for those who work on the front lines keeping us safe, our government will continue to introduce new tools.
Our Conservative government passed the Combatting Terrorism Act, which created a new criminal offence for those who travel overseas to engage in terrorist activities. Shockingly, members of the House and the opposition voted against this very simple, common sense measure. Canadians know that our Conservative government can absolutely be trusted on matters of national security.
Business of Supply February 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, today I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.
I am definitely pleased to rise today and speak against the motion before us.
There is no question that our national security agencies operate in a dynamic, complex, and now global environment. The demands on them are great as they carry out their responsibilities to protect Canadian life and property from those who would seek to harm us.
Our government recognizes that robust mechanisms to review national security activities are critical in maintaining the trust of Canadians. I am pleased to say that robust review does exist in the current environment.
Since CSIS was created, review of its activities to ensure its compliance with the law has been at the very forefront of its entire operation. The Security Intelligence Review Committee was created at the same time as CSIS, not later, recognizing that it had that obligation. It has been reviewing CSIS activities since its inception.
Ensuring that CSIS remains accountable for its actions has always been a key consideration. The committee provides an external review mechanism that is at arm's length from any government, past, present, and future. That is important to note.
The committee plays an important role in ensuring independent review of CSIS activities by carrying out three key functions: first, by verifying that it is satisfied with the annual report prepared by the CSIS director; second, by conducting reviews of CSIS activities to ensure that it complies with legislation, policies, and ministerial directions; and, third, by investigating all complaints in regard to CSIS activities.
Make no mistake, this type of review is vital. It helps ensure that all Canadians know that CSIS conducts its activities legally and in conformity with the policies and directions received. Such review is essential. It is critical to assuring Canadians that the activities of an organization such as CSIS that must conduct its activities away from the public eye are, nonetheless, scrutinized to ensure their compliance with Canadian law and respect for our rights.
SIRC does open a window into these activities for us. Is it a wide open window? Of course not. Certain information and sensitivities are involved in protecting the nation, its annual reports, for instance. These reports provide Parliament and the Canadian public with a broad understanding of CSIS operations.
The most recent report tabled last fall spoke to CSIS' activities to address the increasingly complex dimensions of the national security issues it must face. The report details findings and recommendations, shedding light on CSIS' activities, both for members of the House and all Canadians.
Another point of note in the recent report is that CSIS continues to work collaboratively with SIRC and continuously strives to address the committee's findings and recommendations. They are not working in isolation; they are working in tandem and in co-operation.
Another issue addressed by SIRC that is of interest to concerned Canadians is how CSIS and the Communications Security Establishment Canada work together.
Committees of the House December 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present today, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in relation to the supplementary estimates (B) 2013-2014.
Drug-Free Prisons Act November 25th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, the member for St. John's East and I will agree on this issue as I am a firm believer in rehabilitation. When there is a lack of rehabilitation, it has far-reaching circumstances, particularly as the member said, most of these folks are going to be integrated back into society at one point.
However, I do take issue with him on a couple of other points. He mentioned at CSC there was a dramatic escalation in costs that would be assumed budget-wise and by the projections. Yet when the actual costing was allocated, CSC turned $1 billion back for the simple reason being that those estimates did not meet the actual expenditures and they were wrong. I would take issue with his statement that the costs are going to keep escalating dramatically.
The only other point that I would make is we do appreciate the NDP's tepid, tentative support for the actual bill. I find it, and I should not say amusing because it is certainly not an amusing bill, it is a very serious bill, yet the major complaint we have heard from the members is that they do not like the name. Unfortunately, that is some of the semantics of politics in general. However, I am confident in the capacity of the bill and I would ask the member to comment on the budget variance.