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  • His favourite word is transport.

Liberal MP for Ottawa South (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 44.00% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Motor Vehicle Safety Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here tonight to debate this important private member's bill.

I want to remind the House that the bill was introduced in the House in 2010 by former Liberal member Siobhan Coady from St. John's South—Mount Pearl. Since then two colleagues from the NDP have picked it up and reintroduced it, for which I commend them.

This is an extremely important issue. There is not a member in the House who has not been touched in their respective communities by someone who has been the subject of an accident or a death as a result of colliding with a large vehicle. This happens regularly in our urban and suburban settings. It happens along our roadways and highways.

Just recently in Ottawa a senior executive from the Ottawa Hospital, who was riding in a cancer ride over a weekend, was tragically killed on a roadway by a large truck, while her husband and daughter waited for her at the end of the race.

This has been going on now for several years. It is important for us to understand there is an urgency to act. The member from the NDP who is proposing the bill is right, that this is about bringing in a new standard for new or imported vehicles in Canada going forward.

It is a prospective measure and a positive one. It is not asking for the complete retrofitting of the existing fleet, although if I were in the trucking business and I was seeing these kinds of accidents and tragedies happening, I might consider doing so. It costs about $750 to retrofit a large truck of those that would be caught by this bill.

I listened carefully to both speeches, the one by the NDP member who is proposing the bill and the one by parliamentary secretary who is opposing the bill, and I am quite shocked by the government's position.

The parliamentary secretary rose to say that there was insufficient evidence for mandatory installation of side guards for new or imported vehicles, citing exhaustive studies, I assume from Transport Canada. However, we have not seen any of those studies. They have not been forthcoming.

The committee is exactly the place for the parliamentary secretary to be bringing the internal analysis performed by the Department of Transport so it can be examined in the light of day and examined in contrast to other reports and other evidence that has been brought forward. For example, for Canadians who are watching, listening or reading, there are two very important reports that have spoken to this issue.

The first is the 2010 National Research Council report which called for mandatory side guards on heavy trucks. The idea, the National Research Council said, was to keep cyclists, pedestrians and scooters from being dragged underneath a large vehicle, a large truck should there be a collision.

Then, yet again, an even more exhaustive study and analysis was performed by Ontario's Chief Coroner's Office in 2012, just two short years ago. It was an exhaustive investigation into the deaths of cyclists. It also recommended mandatory side guards on heavy trucks, arguing that there was ample evidence that this would in fact save lives. It would also prevent injury or lessen the severity of injury.

Finally, there was a third report on pedestrian deaths, which also recommended side guards. Unfortunately in 2013, a blanket disavowal or a blanket rejection of these three reports was provided by Transport Canada, which said that side guards had not been proven to have safety benefits.

As I said in French, qui dit vrai, who tells the truth here? Who actually has the analysis that ought to swing our vote intentions one way or the other. This is why it is important to get this bill to committee. It is important to hear from the experts that have looked at this in great detail, the National Research Council, Ontario's Chief Coroner and, according to the parliamentary secretary, Transport Canada, which has performed its own analysis. Let us get it out.

Let us have it out in committee and find out what in fact is happening. The parliamentary secretary talked about new technologies. I would like to hear more about those new technologies. Which ones? How would they not be complementary to the installation of mandatory side guards?

What are these new advanced technologies purporting to do? Are they able to read the presence of pedestrians, cyclists, or people on scooters or motorcycles? Let us hear about that. Let us find out how we can enhance safety for all Canadians.

The parliamentary secretary also relied on a technical argument in saying that this is not the place to amend an act because there are regulatory powers vested in the provinces and the provinces can go it alone and do their own thing. That is not unusual, coming from the Conservative government. There is always a reluctance to take national leadership on some issues. Here is one of them. It does not want to take national leadership here.

I do not know why the Conservatives would want to have a different set of standards around the country. If the provinces go it alone, why would Canadian cyclists be subject to one set of standards in Quebec and another set of standards in Alberta? I do not get that. I am not sure why the government does not want to take a leadership role in making sure that we have a national standard to protect our citizens from coast to coast to coast.

It was also interesting to hear from the parliamentary secretary with respect to this question of insufficient evidence for the installation of mandatory side guards. Again going back to the details, that is not at all what was said by the National Research Council, the government's own chief research council. I am not sure why the government is not relying on the excellent work of the NRC and the scientists there. They have made some very conclusive remarks about vulnerable road users. Data from the European Union in areas where mandatory installation of side guards was made mandatory shows that the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by heavy vehicles to vulnerable road users has been reduced.

The document goes on to say that side guards alone would not eliminate serious injuries, but they are a huge contributing factor in making our roadways safer. They would not necessarily prevent incidents; they would simply minimize the risk that the folks who are involved would be dragged under the wheels of the vehicles.

There really is an opportunity here for us to move forward. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Conservative government does not want to take this to committee to hear the expertise and have a balanced, reasonable discussion.

One of the areas of corollary benefit is the environment. Regardless of the safety issues, it is estimated that industry-wide use of these kinds of side guards could result in a total savings of over 400 million litres of fuel every year in Canada. That is a total reduction of 1.1 million tonnes annually of CO2. One would think that a government that will never meet its target by 2020 and does not even pretend to do so now would want to grab this idea on that basis alone.

The human suffering, the human injury, the toll, and the tragedies that have unfolded from coast to coast to coast on this front warrant examining this idea in great detail. We owe it to our constituents because we have all been touched by a tragedy or an injury in our communities. Therefore, we strongly support having this bill go to committee so that we can analyze it in greater depth.

Questions on the Order Paper October 9th, 2014

With regard to government funding, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group in the province of Saskatchewan, providing for each (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the location of the recipient, indicating the municipality and the federal electoral district, (iii) the date, (iv) the amount, (v) the department or agency providing it, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to the National Capital Commission (NCC): (a) what were the costs and details of expenditures related to the relocation of the NCC's Capital Infocentre, located at 90 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, to the World Exchange Plaza, located at 45 O'Connor Street, Ottawa, Ontario, in 2011; and (b) what are the costs and details of expenditures, or the anticipated costs and details of expenditures, related to the anticipated relocation of the Infocentre from the World Exchange Plaza to its former location at 90 Wellington Street?

Questions on the Order Paper September 15th, 2014

With regard to the telephone survey of nearly 3,000 Canadians conducted by the Reid Group regarding prostitution and delivered to the Department of Justice on February 10, 2014: (a) why is the Department refusing to disclose the information it contains; (b) did the Minister of Justice take the findings of this survey into account in the drafting of the new bill; (c) why did the Minister of Justice not see fit to publish the survey results; and (d) what organizations inside or outside government have received a copy of the survey results?

Questions on the Order Paper September 15th, 2014

With regard to the inventory of protests or demonstrations maintained by the Government Operations Centre: (a) which government departments or agencies are involved in the surveillance of public demonstrations; (b) when did the surveillance measures begin; (c) what government resources are employed in the surveillance; (d) for each department or agency, how many staff members have participated in the surveillance reporting system in each fiscal year since surveillance began; (e) what have been all the costs of implementing the surveillance; (f) how long are these surveillance measures intended to last; (g) which government department or agency maintains the data on the protests; (h) how long is such data retained; (i) who are the partners with whom it is shared; and (j) under what authority is it shared?

Infrastructure June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the most efficient way to create jobs is through infrastructure investment. David Dodge, the World Economic Forum, the Australians, and the British, they all get this.

The FCM says the building Canada fund is rife with red tape. It will cost property taxpayers way more money.

Now provincial ministers of finance are unanimous, blasting the minister for confusion, delays, and misinformation. No contribution agreements have been signed, not one. No shovels are in the ground. Projects are delayed.

It is June 19. Jobs are on the line. What are the Conservatives waiting for?

Petitions June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I rise today to table yet another petition regarding the devastating cuts in service and the huge price increases at Canada Post.

I am pleased to table this petition on behalf of many concerned Canadians.

I look forward to the government's response.

Instruction to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs June 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the government knows it has let go, either through attrition or outright dismissal, some 47,000 employees from the public service of Canada. Conservatives know that there is a freeze in hiring right now in the federal public service. They know that their existing bill does not meet the same criteria as the bill in the United States, which allows for more preparation and training not just for public service jobs but for private sector opportunities, where so much of the growth is in Canada.

Can the member help Canadians understand why the government would persist in putting forward what is clearly an incomplete bill?

Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am looking for unanimous consent this afternoon to table three documents.

The first is the budget document from Australia, which tables building Australia's infrastructure—

Infrastructure June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to ignore major structural problems plaguing the Canadian economy. Our decline in competitiveness has hurt our exports. Highly indebted households will not sustain past levels of domestic demand. David Dodge tells us to invest much more in infrastructure that will stimulate demand and increase our competitiveness, especially at a time when low interest rates make infrastructure investment more affordable than ever.

Instead of cutting infrastructure investment by 90%, why is the government not acting?