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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
Canadian Executive Services Organization November 18th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the excellence and dedication of the men and women working within the Canadian Executive Services Organization, or CESO.
For over fifty years, CESO volunteers have tirelessly donated their time towards helping create better lives and stronger economies worldwide. Made up of senior executives from the private and public sectors in Canada with over 25 years of experience, CESO volunteer advisers are currently involved in over 47,000 assignments in 122 countries.
In all of its projects worldwide, CESO looks to inspire positive social change and economic development where it is needed most. In Canada, CESO's economic development capacity-building program provides important services that help first nations communities and businesses grow. Last year, 66 of its assignments were supported by community partnerships and private-public collaboration.
It is volunteers like David and Pat Evershed, who are here with us today, who help CESO in strengthening local institutions to help shape their own paths towards economic development.
Mr. Speaker and honoured members, it is with great pride that I extend an invitation to the CESO reception this evening, where members can find out more about the stewardship and excellence of its dedicated volunteers.
Interparliamentary Delegations October 29th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have to honour to present, in both official languages, the following reports of the Canadian delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly respecting its participation at the winter meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held at Vienna, Austria, from February 12 to 14, 2014, and its participation at the election observation mission at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held in Kiev, Ukraine, from May 25 to 28, 2014.
Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, that is one of the reasons we enter into agreements. It is to create additional access. With trade deficits, we look at trying to get access to other markets, which is helpful to us.
I want to talk about a few of the trade deficits that will be reduced. There is a list for different provinces. However, I will speak specifically to Ontario, and I apologize to my colleague, who is from Manitoba.
In terms of examples of tariffs that are going to be reduced, we can look at aerospace products at 8%; clean technology products at 8%; and nickel, rubber, chemicals, and plastics at 8%. I have a list here of products that will be reduced.
Once again, any time we can have reduced tariffs, it goes a long way to reducing the price of our goods that are going to other countries, which we hope, in turn, they will be purchasing more and at a fairer price.
Quite frankly, we know that we can compete. This was said before by my colleague for Burlington. Take pork, for example. With the U.S. having a head start and our tariffs remaining high, this creates a competitive disadvantage and a disincentive for other countries to import our products.
We believe that by looking at these deals and reducing tariffs, it will give countries an opportunity to buy our goods at a cheaper price and hence give us an opportunity to export more.
Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Windsor West for his question on the auto industry. It is certainly an important industry for us here in Ontario and southwestern Ontario.
I want to talk about some of the things that are going to be lifted as a result of this agreement, and the first thing is tariffs.
In South Korea, there is an 8% tariff on Canadian auto imports, which will be eliminated immediately. Canada's 6.1% tariff will be reduced in three cuts over two years.
The rules of origin will change. Canada will have the ability to source inputs from the U.S. and benefit from tariff-free access, which is not currently allowed under the U.S. agreement. There will be a number of other things in terms of safeguards, internal taxes, and emissions. There is a list of things this agreement has done to try to level the playing field.
Again, I believe that our Canadian companies are among the best in the world. I believe that they can compete and that their products can compete with any products in the world, and certainly our automotive industry is no different.
Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, to the point by my colleague from Burlington, it is true that we are a trading nation. If we look at the size of our country, as the member for Burlington mentioned, it has some 34 million people. With the kind of GDP we have, $1.8 trillion and growing, these kinds of deals are important. If we look at what has happened with Chile over the years, it is not just trade; there is education and a whole bunch of factors that go into it. We have to consider the fact that as a small nation of under 35 million people, the only way we can grow our economy is by finding these kinds of deals to get our goods and services to the rest of the world.
I am pleased to rise here today to speak to this historic Canada–Korean free trade agreement and how this agreement supports the government's firm commitment to expand international trade. It is our government that is focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. By pursuing an ambitious trade agenda, our government has provided Canadian businesses with access to new opportunities in dynamic markets around the globe.
As an export-driven economy, Canada needs free trade agreements. Trade accounts for one out of every five jobs in Canada and is equivalent in dollar terms to over 60% of our country's annual income.Yet despite all the evidence that trade creates jobs, economic growth, and economic security for hard-working Canadian families, the opposition has been traditionally opposed to international free trade agreements. This anti-trade behaviour negates Canadians who depend on trade for their jobs and puts Canadian workers and businesses at severe risk of falling behind in this era of global markets.
Our government recognizes that Canadian companies are at risk of being at a competitive disadvantage in key markets, as their major foreign competitors, such as the United States and the European Union, are currently benefiting from preferential access under existing free trade agreements. This is why Canada is pursuing the most ambitious trade negotiation agenda in Canadian history.
Eight years ago, Canada had only five trade agreements, but since 2006, Canada has successfully reached free trade agreements with 38 countries: Colombia; the European Free Trade Association of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland; Honduras; Jordan; Panama; Peru; all 28 members of the European Union; and now South Korea.
In addition, Canada has 28 foreign investment promotion and protection agreements in force. These bilateral agreements establish a strong regulatory framework for increased investment by protecting and promoting foreign investment through legally binding rights and obligations. Focusing on sectors and markets that offer the greatest opportunity for growth is a priority under Canada's new global market action plan, or GMAP.
Let us turn now to the historic Canada–Korea free trade agreement. South Korea is identified as a priority market in the GMAP, and the Canada–Korea free trade agreement represents an important step in increasing access to this fast-growing economy. This agreement is a landmark achievement that will restore a level playing field for Canadian companies competing in the South Korean market. South Korea is a dynamic and important partner for us. This nation is already Canada's seventh-largest merchandise trading partner and the third-largest in Asia, with an annual GDP of $1.3 trillion and a population of 50 million people.
Stronger economic ties with South Korea will create new jobs and opportunities and will contribute to Canada's long-term economic growth and prosperity. With this agreement, Canadian companies will become increasingly competitive in the region. With half of the world's population living a five-hour flight away from Seoul, South Korea offers strategic access to regional and global value chains. As a result of improved market access for goods, services, and investment under the agreement, Canadian companies can use South Korea as a strategic base or launching pad for growing their businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The positive momentum of an agreement with South Korea will carry Canada forward in this vibrant region. However, creating new opportunities for Canadians in the Asia-Pacific region does not stop there. Canada is also actively pursuing a trade agreement with 11 other Asia-Pacific countries through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, negotiations. The current TPP membership represents more than 792 million people, with a combined GDP of $28 trillion, or nearly 40% of the world's economy. A prospectively high-quality, state-of-the-art, comprehensive agreement, the TPP stands to provide broad-based benefits across all Canadian industries and regions.
We are also looking at new trade partners in Asia and other priority regions in order to provide a diverse range of opportunities for Canadians. By becoming a member of the TPP and signing more free trade agreements, our government is seizing new sources of export growth and opportunities for international trade and investment.
Canada is committed to updating its existing free trade agreements to maximize benefits and opportunities for Canadians.
During his official visit in January 2014, our Prime Minister announced the launch of negotiations to modernize the existing Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement. These negotiations are well under way.
Canada will continue to take steps forward in expanding the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. This modernization builds on our agreement with Chile, which dates back to 1997, and a trade relationship worth over $2.5 billion in 2013.
This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement, the third anniversary of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and the first anniversary of the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement.
Peru, Colombia, and Panama are among the fastest-growing markets in the Americas and thus serve as a strategic base for Canadian companies to expand into Latin America. Bilateral trade between Canada and the Americas reached $57 billion in 2013 and will continue to expand with the government's commitment to the region.
Let us not forget that this year Canada also celebrates the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, another record accomplishment of a Conservative government committed to growing our economy. NAFTA has provided a solid foundation for Canada's future prosperity upon which Canada continues to build and advance North American trade and competitiveness.
Twenty years ago, trade with the North American region was over $372 billion; in 2013, total trilateral merchandise trade reached over $1.1 trillion. Canada is now the top export destination for 35 American states.
The comprehensive economic and trade agreement, CETA, with the European Union will be the most ambitious trade partnership Canada has ever negotiated. On August 5, Canada and the EU announced that the final CETA text had been reached, marking the end of the CETA negotiations. Once CETA is fully implemented, Canada will gain preferential access to the world's largest integrated economy, with more than 500 million consumers and a $17-trillion GDP.
Canada's competitive edge and combined access to these markets will lead directly to jobs and opportunities everywhere in Canada. Whether we are exporting meat, grain, fish, wood products, or industrial goods, the more markets we have access to, the more jobs are created for hard-working Canadians and their families.
Canada's long-term prosperity is directly linked to market access and economic opportunities beyond Canadian borders. Our government understands the importance of trade and exports to our economy. Exports are responsible for one out of every five Canadian jobs.
The prosperity of Canadians depends on continued expansion beyond our borders into new markets that serve to grow Canada's exports and investments.
This agreement represents one of the key economic opportunities and is a watershed moment in our historical relationship with South Korea. For this and other reasons, stakeholders from across the country have called for the agreement's entry into force as soon as possible. That is why our government is moving to pass this bill.
When the agreement enters into force, over 95% of South Korean tariff lines for industrial products will be subject to immediate duty-free access. This means a great deal to Canadian entrepreneurs and SMEs across the nation, which depend upon free trade to enhance their global competitiveness.
Since it was informed by public consultation, this agreement has already received widespread support from Canadian businesses and stakeholders. Our government negotiated this landmark agreement to further the priorities of Canadian businesses while creating jobs and opportunities for Canadian taxpayers across the country.
The agreement is expected to create thousands of new jobs in a wide range of sectors, including industrial goods, agricultural and agri-food products, wine and spirits, fish and seafood, and wood and forestry products. These industrial sectors are crucial for the prosperity of provinces and the continued development of local communities. The evidence demonstrating the growth to be had from agreements like this is overwhelming.
When the United States and the European Union signed their own free trade agreements with South Korea, they both experienced a doubling of their automotive sector exports. Since it is one of the key industries in Canada, this free trade agreement will provide a substantial boost to our own automotive sector and our economy as a whole.
With substantial increases in Canadian exports to South Korea, the agreement is projected to boost the Canadian economy by $1.7 billion a year. Strong trade partnerships are essential to Canada's long-term success.
Canada cannot afford to be left behind, and it is this trade agreement that will provide Canadian businesses a foothold in South Korea and the Asia-Pacific market beyond, opening the doors to economic prosperity and growth.
The Canadian-Korea free trade agreement is essential for securing Canada's economic future and ensuring the sustainability of a high-quality of life for Canadians across this country.
Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I understand that Canada has been working on an experimental vaccine. I am just wondering if the hon. member could talk a little bit about what has been done with regard to that vaccination.
Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, in terms of the $2 million, I would like to repeat what has been committed so far just to remind our friends at home who are watching.
As I mentioned, there are over $5 million to stop the outbreak, which includes $2.95 million to the WHO to strengthen field response to the outbreak and mitigate associated threats to health and safety, $1.7 million to support humanitarian interventions led by Doctors Without Borders to reduce and control the spread of the virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and to provide care for those affected, $160,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross to support the response to the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone through its emergency disaster assistance fund and $200,000 to the WHO through the international health grants program to support a request for assistance toward operational costs in West Africa and the coordination and deployment of international technical expertise.
The question the member just asked me is in addition to the amount that was announced tonight, the $2 million, by the minister for personal protective equipment. Once again, that was a request made by the international community just last week and here we are responding within the week. That would be to provide gowns, gloves and a number of things that would keep the workers safe as they essentially put their lives on the line in dealing with these cases and work with people who are affected.
That $2 million will be very helpful in terms of personal protective equipment to help the workers, the people on the ground, to deal with the affected people.
Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague and I work well together on the foreign affairs committee, so it is great to see her in the House tonight in this debate.
I want to address the first question in terms of losing the battle with regard to more resources. Not being an expert, I do not know how much money we would need. You mentioned $600 million in your second question. I know that you are aware of the money that Canada has committed, the $5 million. Just tonight, about an hour or so ago, the Minister of Health announced an additional $2 million for personal protective equipment. That is a good start.
One thing we need to continue to do is work with the international community, because it has to be a collaborative effort. If it was to be $600 million, that seems like a huge number, but as we continue to work with our partners on the ground and with the WHO, we can figure out what the needs will continue to be in the coming days.
Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to the House on Ebola and the tragedy unfolding in West Africa. I will be splitting my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia.
Colleagues, West Africa is currently experiencing a devastating Ebola outbreak. This outbreak of Ebola has been ongoing in West Africa since December 2013 and was officially declared an outbreak in March 2014 by the World Health Organization. On August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization declared Ebola a public health emergency of international concern.
The Government of Canada is closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and we are also working closely with our international partners to support a coordinated response. Our thoughts are with the citizens of the countries affected by Ebola, as well as with Canadians who have loved ones in those countries or who are working there as part of the international Ebola response effort.
I would like members of Parliament and all Canadians to understand that the risk of Ebola in Canada remains very low. There has never been a case of Ebola in this country. However, people may rest assured that we are well prepared should this occur. The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to work with the provinces and territories to plan and prepare for the rare chance that Ebola is ever imported into Canada by travellers from an affected area.
The Government of Canada has a number of systems in place to identify and prevent the importation of the Ebola virus into Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency and the Public Health Agency work together to ensure that travellers from affected countries are healthy when they arrive in Canada and are aware of actions they should take if they begin to experience symptoms of illness.
I would like to take a few moments to provide more background information on what exactly Ebola is and how it is transmitted to humans.
Ebola is a severe viral disease that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and animals. Hemorrhagic fevers are infectious diseases that can be associated with severe and life-threatening bleeding as well as severe dehydration and organ failure.
It is important to note that the Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the body fluids of infected animals. In Africa, fruit bats are considered a possible natural host for the Ebola virus.
Although contact with infected animals results in the introduction of the infection to humans, once contracted by humans, Ebola spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission. Unlike the flu or other respiratory infectious diseases, it is not airborne and cannot be transmitted through casual contact. In the current outbreak in West Africa, the spread occurs primarily among close contacts and family caregivers and as a result of local customs such as burial rituals.
The incubation period for Ebola, meaning the time between exposure and the onset of symptoms, varies between two and 21 days. Infected persons become contagious only when they have symptoms. Although infected, they are not contagious during the incubation period.
Ebola is a challenging disease to diagnose, as it has a wide range of common symptoms associated with a number of illnesses in Africa, such as malaria. It can only be medically confirmed through specialized laboratory testing.
As I mentioned earlier, Ebola does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread through direct contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. In Canada there has never been a confirmed case of Ebola. In the unlikely event Ebola is ever imported into the country, our hospitals have sophisticated infection control systems and procedures in place that are designed to limit the spread of the infection, protect health care workers, and provide the best care possible for the patient.
At this point I would like to give an overview of the current situation in Africa.
The current outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013 and spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, prompting the WHO to announce the outbreak in March 2014. The virus continues to be actively transmitted in these three countries.
There has been a very limited spread of Ebola into Nigeria and Senegal, associated with single travellers from Liberia and Guinea respectively. We are optimistic for the containment of spread within these two countries due to the infection prevention and control measures that have been put into place.
In Nigeria there have been 21 cases associated with the initial traveller from Liberia, and eight deaths. In Senegal there has been only one travel-related case reported, and that individual has since recovered. No further cases have thus far been reported.
The good news is that countries around the world are rallying together to respond to the outbreak. The international response to Ebola is gaining momentum, and Canada has been an important part of this response since the beginning. Canada has contributed over $5 million in support of humanitarian, security, and public health interventions to address the spread of Ebola.
To prevent the spread of the disease to other countries, affected countries have implemented measures such as questionnaires and temperature monitoring to ensure that individuals who have been exposed to or infected by Ebola are not able to board flights. To date, there has been no spread of Ebola by travellers outside of Africa and there has not been a single case of Ebola contracted on a plane.
Ebola first appeared in 1976, and outbreaks have since been primarily occurring in remote villages in Central and West Africa near tropical rain forests. This current outbreak is the largest one on record.
There are a number of complex factors and significant challenges related to the management of this current outbreak that I would like to share with the House.
First, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, the countries most affected in the current outbreak, are small countries and have limited resources to respond to prolonged outbreaks, especially in rural areas. The fact that Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have multiple areas within their borders where infection is spreading adds another layer of difficulty in containing the infection.
When the outbreak takes place in remote and forested areas, it is easier to maintain a certain natural containment of the disease. However, in this current outbreak, in addition to remote regions, infections are also happening in large cities, where transmission of disease can affect many people in a short timeframe.
Among other things, miscommunication has also contributed to the negative perception by some communities of the success of outbreak control strategies, thus slowing down response efforts. Variations in health care infrastructure from one country to another and certain cultural practices such as burial rituals also add to the complexity of the outbreak and its containment.
As the outbreak has expanded and gained momentum, measures that have been put into place to contain its spread have also had an impact on relief efforts. Movement of people into and out of affected countries has been curtailed by travel restrictions implemented by affected countries as well as by the suspension of flights by regional and international airlines. These measures have created challenges in transporting scientists and laboratory specimens and in the replenishment of equipment and supplies necessary for the response.
Despite these challenges, international efforts continue, and many countries, including Canada, are exploring alternate ways to contribute to the outbreak response. I would like to take a moment to especially recognize the tremendous contributions non-governmental organizations have made in response to the outbreak in West Africa, including Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, and Samaritan's Purse, among others.
It is important for Canadians to know that the risk posed by Ebola to Canadians remains very low, as the virus is not transmissible through casual contact and robust systems are in place to prevent importation. Canadians should also know that the Government of Canada is supporting the international response in West Africa to reduce the risk of international spread of this serious disease.
Let me finish by reassuring the House that the Government of Canada is committed to the health and safety of Canadians and will continue to work closely with its international partners to support the response. The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with its provincial, territorial, and health system partners, remains committed to review and update the domestic health emergency management and response system to ensure the highest degree of public health possible for Canadians.
Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act June 3rd, 2014
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Toronto Centre made reference to Honduras and the fact that her party supports the deals.
When I sat on the trade committee, I had the opportunity to go to Colombia and meet with President Uribe and his cabinet. He talked about how important trade was in assisting Colombia in diversifying its economy from guns and drugs and all these other things.
Colombia still faces a lot of challenges. My colleagues in the NDP said to figure out the human rights part first and assess whether a country deserves to trade with us. My challenge with that idea is that in that case, we would maybe never give countries like Colombia and Honduras the opportunity to diversify what they are doing.
I would ask my colleague to reiterate the importance of some of these developing countries and why it is important for us to do deals with them to help them to diversify and build up their economies.