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Conservative MP for Niagara West—Glanbrook (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 57.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Committees of the House November 18th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 107(3), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the liaison committee, entitled “Committee Activities and Expenditures - April 1 to June 30, 2013”.
The report highlights the work and the accomplishments of each committee and details the budgets that fund the activities approved by committee members. It is the Liaison Committee's intention to present such reports to the House three times a year.
Support for Small Businesses October 22nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk about the tremendous work our government has done to support the growth of small business as we recognize Small Business Week across Canada.
We are continuing our work to reduce red tape by removing unnecessary and ineffective regulations, allowing businesses to grow and create more jobs.
We are reducing taxes and we are reducing the administrative tax burdens on small businesses by improving CRA's ability to provide quick and effective services.
By extending the hiring credit, we are making it easier for small businesses to expand their workforce and further stimulate economic growth. In addition, we are helping young entrepreneurs become the business leaders of tomorrow by contributing millions of dollars to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
We are also investing in research, development, and innovation programs that directly help small businesses with their efficiency and productivity.
It is clear that our government recognizes the critical role played by small businesses in our economy, and we will continue to provide them with our support.
Interparliamentary Delegations June 13th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the following report on the Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly respecting its participation at the 12th winter meeting held in Vienna, Austria, February 21-22, 2013.
Committees of the House June 10th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. This report is a result of a study done by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights and is entitled, “Conflicting Realities: Reform, Repression and Human Rights in Burma”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
Fighting Foreign Corruption Act June 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, as we look at fighting foreign bribery, I think Canadians recognize that Canadian companies around the world do a great job. Are there some bad actors? Yes, there certainly is from time to time. However, in any opportunity I have had to speak with ambassadors around the world, they look to Canada for leadership and they look for help, whether it is with their own legislation in developing countries or on how they can tighten legislation that may affect them.
I would say to the hon. member that this is something that will strengthen what has already been in place for a certain amount of time. We realize that there are probably some gaps there that we could fill, which is why we are looking at moving forward with that.
I have a couple of quotes that talk about support for the bill.
Ian Pearce, the chief executive officer of Xstrata Nickel, said, “As a Canadian-based company with operations and projects around the world, we applaud the government's efforts to combat corruption and bribery. As part of the Xstrata Group, we have a commitment to the highest standards of personal and professional ethical behaviour, and we have a policy of zero tolerance towards any form of bribery or fraud”.
I also have a quote from a former Liberal cabinet minister, John Manley, regarding the amendments to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, he said, “Good corporate citizenship at home and abroad is essential to Canada's economic success. These latest measures aimed at eliminating corruption and bribery, will strengthen Canada's already strong reputation for good governance and ethical business practices”.
Fighting Foreign Corruption Act June 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I mentioned in my speech the three recent convictions that have been processed under this act.
I want to state that the OECD had some concerns about our legislation, and so we are bringing this bill forward, to tighten that up a little bit more. There are a number of things we propose to amend that would help to increase times and make sure that the RCMP is directly responsible for looking into and creating charges.
I know that this is timely, and even though we have probably not processed many in the past, as we move ahead, we look forward to being tougher on these individuals.
Fighting Foreign Corruption Act June 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today to speak to this very important initiative. With recent events around the world, especially in the Middle East and Africa, it is clear that the fight against global corruption is as timely today as it has ever been. Indeed, developments in our own courts highlight that combatting foreign bribery is significant to Canada. Bill S-14 is an expression of our government's commitment to doing exactly that. I will be using my time today to address the inclusion of the facilitation payments amendment.
Before I continue with my speech, I need to let you know, Mr. Speaker, that I will be splitting my time with the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.
I would also like to update the House on the three convictions that have already been made under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, which Bill S-14 seeks to amend. While these recent court decisions are evidence of the effectiveness of Canada's anti-corruption laws and a reminder that corruption is not a Canadian way of doing business, we have been asked to do more, and so we will.
First, I wish to note and thank members of the other place for their support of the bill. Indeed, Liberal Senator David Smith agreed that adopting the measures of Bill S-14 would send an important signal to the international community that we took our commitments seriously and would act on them.
I also wish to thank my colleagues for providing the detailed background on the CFPOA and the six amendments that would answer the call for heightened diligence. Taken together, they certainly demonstrate a broad approach to fighting unethical business practices.
As the Minister of Foreign Affairs has clearly stated, our government is committed to positioning Canada as a reliable supplier of the resources emerging markets need to grow. Canadian companies can compete with the best in this environment and will win fairly. These amendments would ensure that Canadian companies would continue to act in good faith in the pursuit of freer markets and expanded global trade.
I wish to remind my colleagues that a facilitation payment is a “grease payment”, paid to foreign public officials to do something that he or she is already obliged to do, such as deliver mail on time. It is specifically not supposed to allow the person paying to gain a business advantage in any way. Otherwise, the payment would be a bribe and it would be a crime to make the payment.
We have heard some concern that the elimination of the facilitation payments defence may create a competitive disadvantage for Canadian companies with international markets, given that legislation in other countries still contain the facilitation payments defence.
Let me be clear. Those who make facilitation payments are not allowed to receive any kind of business or competitive advantage from their payment. Payments that are made to receive a business advantage are bribes and these payments are already illegal under the CFPOA. They are also illegal under the legislation of every OECD country.
It is also important for hon. members to note that there is good reason to delay the coming into force of the elimination of facilitation payments exception. Canadian companies will need time to adjust their own practices and internal policies, if they have not already done so, to prohibit the use of facilitation payments in their habitual operations. This time to adjust is all the more important given that some other countries continue to allow facilitation payments.
We on this side of the House have been clear that our priority is to create the conditions for Canadian businesses to succeed in the pursuit of our aggressive pro-trade agenda. I reiterate our position that corruption does the opposite. It hinders economic growth and long-term prosperity. It fosters an environment conducive to allowing other crimes to flourish. We expect our companies to abide by the laws of the countries they operate in, as well as to act in accordance with Canadian laws and ethical standards and practices.
For Canadian companies operating in developing countries, this legislation is even more important. As the minister noted before the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, on February 28:
It is not just about values and ethics. It is also about ensuring that we see meaningful development in developing economies. It is important that we see meaningful development and that this development benefits the people. Corruption, particularly in developing economies, is a real problem. It is basically tapping money that could otherwise go toward the public good, to the benefit of the people in these countries, so it is not just an ethical question but also very much a development question.
Foreign bribery weakens economic prosperity by corroding the rule of law that is the basis for market freedom.
Bill S-14 provides us with a robust tool for creating the conditions for Canadian businesses to play by the rules and for Canadian companies to be successful across the globe. It involves encouraging responsible and ethical conduct. It involves positioning our country as a reliable supplier of the resources that emerging markets need to grow.
As I mentioned at the outset, I would now like to use some of my time to provide the House with some details on the three convictions that have already been made under the CFPOA. These convictions highlight just how seriously our government takes its commitment to prosecute those involved in foreign corruption and bribery. I would like my colleagues to keep in mind that there are also two cases pending, as well as 35 ongoing investigations.
As others have noted, penalties are increasing substantially with each new conviction, and the adoption of these amendments means that those engaging in corruption will be penalized even more severely.
Griffiths Energy International Inc., based in Calgary, Alberta, pleaded guilty on January 22, 2013, to a charge under the CFPOA related to securing an oil and gas contract in Chad. Griffiths will pay a total penalty of $10.35 million.
Similarly, Niko Resources, another Calgary-based company, entered a guilty plea on June 24, 2011, for one count of bribery. The company admitted that through its subsidiary Niko Bangladesh, in May 2005, it provided the use of a vehicle valued at $190,984 to AKM Mosharraf Hossain, then the Bangladeshi state minister for energy and mineral resources, in order to influence the minister in his dealings with Niko Bangladesh. In June 2005, Niko Resources Ltd. paid travel and accommodation expenses for the same minister to travel from Bangladesh to Calgary to attend the GO Expo oil and gas exposition, and paid approximately $5,000 for the minister to travel to New York and Chicago to visit his family
As a result of the conviction, Niko Resources Ltd. was fined $9.5 million and placed under a probation order, which puts the company under the court's supervision for three years to ensure that audits are completed on the company's compliance with the CFPOA. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service has placed a hold on providing services to Niko during the period of court supervision.
Finally, Hydro Kleen Group, based in Red Deer, Alberta, entered a guilty plea on January 10, 2005, to one count of bribery and was ordered to pay a fine of $25,000. Along with its president and an employee, the company had been charged with two counts of bribing a U.S. immigration officer who worked at the Calgary International Airport. The charges against the director and the officer of the company were stayed. The U.S. immigration officer pleaded guilty on July 2002 to accepting secret commissions. He received a six-month sentence and was subsequently deported to the United States.
In closing, I wish to address the importance of the timely passage of Bill S-14. This is signature legislation that has given Canada good marks with domestic stakeholders and at the OECD working group on bribery in 2013. We have invested a lot of credibility in Bill S-14.
We are due to report back to the OECD in the near future regarding the adoption of the bill, and further delays would have implications that go beyond the scrutiny of the OECD. Regardless of the merits of recent domestic developments, Canada would be criticized on the domestic and international stages for not meeting our commitments. I think this alone speaks to the importance of passing the bill at second reading today, and I urge my hon. colleagues to lend it their full support.
Micronutrient Initiative June 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. M.G. Venkatesh Mannar, who was recently invested as an officer of the Order of Canada by the Governor General.
Mr. Mannar is the president of Micronutrient Initiative, a leading Canadian development organization that saves and improves the lives of mothers, children, families and communities every year through proven and cost-effective nutrient programs. I had the opportunity to see Micronutrient Initiative's work first-hand last year when I visited Senegal. I was with Mr. Mannar to launch the zinc alliance for child health, or ZACH, a partnership between Micronutrient Initiative, the Government of Canada and Teck, a leader in the extractive sector. The goal of ZACH is to scale up zinc and oral rehydration salts to treat childhood diarrhea and, ultimately, save lives.
It is an honour to see such a dedicated person like Mr. Mannar, who has chosen Canada as his home, be recognized for his incredible work through MI with one of our country's highest civilian honours.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 June 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, that is one of the things this government has been very stringent on in terms of being responsible and looking out for those who are less fortunate. If we look at the commitments we have made in this budget, there are $119 million a year over five years for the homelessness partnering strategy, which continues to move forward. That is almost $600 million over the next five years just for that program alone. In terms of the affordable housing strategy, we have also committed $253 million per year over the next five years for that.
If we total up the amount of money that we have committed toward the homelessness partnering and affordable housing strategies, that money is in excess of $1.7 billion over the next five years. That quite clearly demonstrates our commitment to those who are less fortunate.