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Conservative MP for London West (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 44.50% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Privilege March 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I sat in the House all day today and had the opportunity to hear members' views on both sides of the House. As I listened to them speak, a couple of premises came through. I have heard members opposite say that this is not about the member for Mississauga—Streetsville, then I have heard some pretty uncharitable comments about the member for Mississauga—Streetsville. I have heard others say that he apologized deeply for what he did, then I heard others say that it was not a good enough apology or that it was not an apology at all.
I would like to read if I may, the apology, to ensure that it is put on the record. I have found that we are imperfect beings trying to do perfect jobs, or at least as perfect as we can. I think my colleague opposite, who just made some comments about how we do what we do, said in some of her earlier comments that we do not always get it right. That is true.
In any event, let me, if I may, address what the member for Mississauga—Streetsville actually did say. He said:
I would like to sincerely apologize to all Canadians and to all members of the House for the statement that I made. It was never my intention, in any way, to mislead this House, for which I have the greatest amount of respect.
I might end my comments this evening with that quote again, just to make the point of what he said.
Am I here to challenge his motives? My goodness, in all the years I have been a member of Parliament, I have seen and heard members on both sides that have frankly given rise to shameful conduct in this House. The Speaker has had to sort out a person for over-speaking or calling people names or attributing titles to them that, quite frankly, were not deserved. It is the lowest of parliamentary conduct for all of us in this House when we resort to that level of name-calling, and frankly, babbling.
My Cape Breton mother once said to me, and she said it very sincerely, “Ed, you have two things in your life. You have your name and you have your integrity, and you don't mess up one without messing up the other”.
I think of the member for Mississauga—Streetsville and I think about the circumstances he has found himself in. Here is what has happened. He over-spoke, misspoke, call it as one might, then too late for some, he withdrew the comment. After he withdrew the comment, he apologized, and he apologized, I thought, with a sincerity that frankly this House could benefit from if we listened.
By the way, am I here to canonize the original comments or the member for doing that? I do not think so. Do we not think that this member, by having to go in front of the House, as he has had to do, and saying what he has had to say, was correct to do that? Frankly, he had no choice. He had to do it. Was it the right thing? It was absolutely the right thing to do.
Let us be measured, colleagues, by always doing the right thing, even if sometimes it takes a little longer.
The other point is that the whole country, at least some of those who watch CPAC, and I hope every Canadian does, would be aware that this member of whom we are speaking, our colleague, had to stand in front of this House and sincerely apologize in front of this House, in front of all of us, and in front of Canadians. For those who say that this is not about him, that is not what it has sounded like to me.
If members do not think that is paying a price for doing something, I can assure them that it absolutely is, whether or not he stood up after that and made representations about why he might have done what he did. Frankly, we are all here as members of the House of Commons to ensure that we protect the integrity of this House and represent Canadians the best way we can.
Was that Canada's finest moment or this House's finest moment? I would suggest not. However, what cheek to say what is in his heart or what he meant by that? I am prepared to accept it at face value when someone says to me, “I deeply apologize”. I want to come back to the words, “...sincerely apologize to all Canadians and to all members of the House...”.
I am prepared to accept that member's statement at face value. I am not sure why others would not. If I said that to members, I would hope that my colleagues would accept it with the same spirit and intention as I meant it.
Here is what is troubling. In response, here is what a few folks have said. I mentioned that the member for Vancouver Quadra said that there was not an apology made. I heard the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley say, “Let us take the words directly from the member for Mississauga—Streetsville. He said in his alleged apology...”.
For shame. By what right would any member imagine that it was an alleged apology, unless we were trying to play politics? I am sure that is not the intent of members opposite and not the intent of members on this side either.
The member for Toronto—Danforth said, “The second thing is the retraction. I am not going to call it an apology because that is not the way it was phrased”.
I am going to go back to the phrase “I would like to sincerely apologize”. I am not going to second-guess our colleague.
By the way, our colleague happens to be a Conservative, but he is our colleague. I am not going to impugn his motive when he gave an apology. I am not sure why we would want to do that unless there was some kind of gain. I wondered about that, because I have heard comments back and forth. A lot of what I heard today did not refer so much to the member for Mississauga—Streetsville as to the issues surrounding the fair elections act. I respect that members on the other side of the House may not necessarily agree with our position on that, and that is fair. However, it feels to me like this situation is being used as a whipping post to make a different point at the expense of a member. How low does that go? That is just not right. When individuals give us their word, we accept that word. We have an obligation to do that.
I know that the thought was to take this to committee to see how much more we could get out of it. When the member stands up and says that he made an error and then says that he withdraws that comment and after that apologizes, is there more that would come from committee than has been explored in this House?
The Speaker referred it originally to this House to review. We are kind of like a court. I am not sure if I would call it a tribunal or a preliminary court. When that happens, we actually get to hear the evidence. We have what the individual said on record, not only the misstatement but the apology. When we get both of those sides, we as members of the House can evaluate whether we accept it. However, to impugn motive, when we do not know what it was, is the part I have the most difficulty with. Could it have been exaggeration and excitement or whatever? I am prepared to say to any member of the House that if he or she has anything to tell us and comes back and says “I sincerely apologize”, I would accept that.
We all know that, when someone withdraws a comment, sometimes at the urging of the Speaker, sometimes not, or apologizes for over-speaking, we all applaud that individual. We thank that person for showing class and dignity for doing that. It begs the question why we are not prepared to offer that same class and dignity.
I said in an earlier question that to err is human and to forgive is divine, something my Cape Breton mom taught me. Why can all of us not just do that? When somebody deeply apologizes, why can we not accept that at face value, unless there is another motive behind it? It would not be proper for me to assign any motivation behind that.
Ironically, we might not have heard about the member's comment except he stood up and said “oops”. I am not trying to make an oops sound casual here. What I am saying is that, if the member had never stood up and said he made a mistake, apologized, and withdrawn his comment, we might not ever have known. However at least he had the class to do that.
We could show more class ourselves by taking him at face value. That is an obligation of every member of Parliament. Any of us could find ourselves in that position. If we find ourselves in that position, would it not be nice to see a bit of charity from the other side? Would it not be nice for members on the other side to say they understand that might happen and accept at face value that the statement is being withdrawn and the individual is apologizing?
I imagine being in this place and in that position. Would I want members to condemn me for the rest of my life, saying I lied, that I misled the House, that I did inappropriate things? That would not be fair or proper. That would not show any charity at all. It would not show what we as members of the House of Commons should be doing, which is getting on with the business of the House and never letting anything slide that should not slide.
We should acknowledge the fact that the member stood up and retracted his comment and apologized. I would challenge any member to do that if found in that position. Would a member not want me to forgive him or her? I would ask a member to forgive me if I over-spoke. I would hope to have the support of the House were I to make that mistake. Not being perfect, I may well make many mistakes. I have been here long enough to have made a few, and I am sure a few more will happen.
I would like to remind my colleagues that the member has been humbled in the House. I want to repeat his apology just so it is crystal clear. I want to read his apology, so no one in the House can say he did not apologize. It is important that it be re-read for the record. As I read it, I would ask all members to listen to it one more time, because if any of us were in the same situation, we would expect that same sense of charity that I would expect we would offer to him or to any member of the House if found in that circumstance. Here is his apology:
I would like to sincerely apologize to all Canadians and to all members of the House for the statement that I made. It was never my intention, in any way, to mislead the House, for which I have the greatest amount of respect.
I have the deepest respect for the House of Commons and all members within it. I am proud to call them all colleagues, whether they are in my party or another party. I would ask that the same sense of spirit go forward as we make every effort to clear this issue and get on with the business of the House.
Privilege March 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague talk with great thoughtfulness about an issue that touches us all in the House. It talks to the very integrity of the House. When a mistake is made and an apology is given, we have a choice. Do we accept that apology in good faith and in the spirit it was intended or do we not?
My Cape Breton mom used to say that to err is human but to forgive is divine. When one offers a sincere apology, we have a choice. We can either say that we are prepared to accept that apology or not. I felt that the member's apology was sincere.
I have heard members opposite try to find different ways to challenge the question. Was it a genuine apology, or did the initial comments have intent behind them? The way I look at it is that if the member in question had said nothing, we would not have known. In good faith, the member stood up and made that apology.
My colleague from Okanagan—Coquihalla gave an eloquent statement today. He gave his formal comments with a great degree of compassion and heart, which is something we could all learn.
At what point do we say that one can make an error but be forgiven and be understood by the House to be forgiven? Where do we draw the line where we say no, under no circumstances is the House ever prepared to do that? It is easy to be mean and ill-intended. At what point do we take people at face value and in good faith? Could my colleague respond to that with his thoughts, please?
Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the government House leader could help the House understand why a member would admit to a mistake and apologize, when theoretically he could have said nothing and chose not to.
I am trying to get sense of this, and perhaps the House leader could help me understand it. Is this about a member trying to do the right thing, or, from what I hear in terms of questions opposite, is this just about politics?
1948 Winter Olympic Athlete February 13th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, while Canadians are looking on with pride as our athletes are dominating at the Sochi Winter Games, I would like to pay tribute to one very special Londoner, Andy Gilpin. He was a member of the Canadian hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1948 Olympic Games in St. Moritz.
Mr. Gilpin is now 93 years young. He was a member of the “RCAF Flyers” who won that great victory over Team Czechoslovakia to take home the gold medal. The Flyers were selected from RCAF stations across Canada.
Sixty-six years later, we celebrated “Andy Gilpin Day” last week with a luncheon hosted by the 427 London Wing of the RCAF Association. Along with his family and friends, Hockey Canada and the Ontario Hockey Federation made presentations in his honour. Andy is one of less than a half dozen hockey players of the 1948 Olympic team to whom we still have the chance to pay personal tribute.
We honour his exceptional service to our country, and we honour his incredible contribution to Canadian sport. He makes London and Canada proud.
Through Andy Gilpin, we say, “Go, Team Canada”.
The Budget February 12th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, like all members of the House, I looked forward with great anticipation to the good news that our Minister of Finance would deliver in budget 2014, and I was not disappointed.
Not only would economic action plan 2014 continue to create jobs and opportunities, it also commits to cutting red tape for an industry that is near and dear to my heart, that of craft beer.
Whether it is made using blueberries, strawberries, or pumpkin, I think all members would agree that the choice is clear: we best not interfere with Canada's craft beer.
Representing over $14 billion of economic activity, hard-working microbreweries like Forked River Brewing Company in London, Ontario, and those across Canada, work hard to produce quality products. I am proud to stand with a government that is delivering for these talented entrepreneurs.
I encourage my friends opposite not to waste their votes along partisan lines but to vote in support of good taste.
Points of Order February 6th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to let me know when I am down to my last 19 seconds, since my time seems to be eaten away by the moment.
Today had to be one of the most bizarre days I have seen in the House of Commons. I say this because, as all members of this House who know me relatively well know, when I make comments, I speak from my heart and I speak with passionate conviction about doing the right thing.
Today we did not have an opportunity to give our statements in the House because of what I would respectfully call “nonsense”. We had slow votes on the other side, and somehow that was going to progress and would give us an opportunity to have more democracy in this House.
I would suggest that was one of the most embarrassing things I have witnessed. I think colleagues around this whole House must have been embarrassed, including some of the members who participated, because we did not have an opportunity, with all of these slow votes, to give our statements in the House.
We did not get unanimous consent, and I did not get the opportunity today to honour a great Londoner, a 93-year-young veteran who was, in 1948, a member of the Canadian Olympic hockey team. His name is Andy Gilpin.
These last few seconds give me the chance to at least mention his name and to suggest that all members of the House, if we have any respect for what we are trying to do as members of Parliament, stop this nonsense and not embarrass ourselves in this House. I would ask all of our colleagues to be respectful parliamentarians.
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act December 5th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I have had many occasions in my years in Parliament to speak in this House, but never at such an auspicious time. Oh my gosh, when I hear that Nelson Mandela just passed away, I want to share a personal experience, if I might.
My family used in live in South Africa, and much of it still does. They are white South Africans, and they lived there through Nelson Mandela's rise to power. He could have been many things, but he was a great humanitarian. He was forgiving when many might not have been. He was compassionate and understanding when others might not have been. As I make my other comments, they almost seem subdued compared to the very real experience of Nelson Mandela's impact on the world. Others will say things more articulately than I, but I will say that if the world could be measured by the quality of what Nelson Mandela brought to humanity, this would be a much better world.
I will speak now to Bill C-475 and its impact on organizations and the public. Of course, I am referring to Canada's private sector privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, otherwise known as PIPEDA, which the bill looks to amend.
PIPEDA was developed with an important objective in mind, and that is balance. The act is designed to balance an individual's right to privacy with an organization's need to collect, use, or disclose personal information for legitimate business purposes.
I was president of a large company in London, Ontario, when PIPEDA was first introduced. For those who do not know, that is the tenth-largest city in Canada. I would say we invested considerable funds, as did corporations across Canada, to ensure compliance and to do the right thing, because a corporation must be measured in terms of being honourable and doing the right thing. The costs associated with PIPEDA then and now are very real and ongoing, but in a corporation's business it is important to comply, for the sake of the public, which is what we are talking about in terms of this legislation today.
When PIPEDA was first introduced, the government stated that in order for Canada to become a leader in the knowledge-based economy and in electronic commerce, consumers and businesses had to be comfortable with new technologies and the impact that these technologies would have on their lives. I believe that policy objective still stands. However, in order to maintain that important balance in PIPEDA, we must consider the burden imposed by the proposed requirements of this act and always weigh that burden against the corresponding benefit to society.
We all agree that requiring organizations to report certain data breaches is necessary. Data breaches can pose a serious threat to the protection of our personal information and to the security of organizations and individuals. Reporting certain data breaches publicly would allow individuals to protect themselves, and it would also encourage better data security practices by organizations. That is laudable, yet it must said that there are ways to achieve these goals without creating an undue burden on organizations and the Privacy Commissioner.
Data breach notification has the potential to be cost-prohibitive while not providing the kind of information the public requires. For example, in the United States, where this process is tracked closely, the average cost to an organization of a single notification is estimated at $188 per record, and when this figure is multiplied by the number of those potentially affected, any data breach notification could result in substantial cost to companies that must deal with that breach. Based on this data, the total average cost of a data breach to an organization is approximately $5.4 million.
As most states have mandatory reporting of data breaches, there are hundreds of breaches reported every year. According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, an organization that tracks this, there were 592 breaches reported by the private sector in the United States last year. These incidents involved the information of more than 11 million individuals. That number is extraordinary. As organizations south of the border are required to notify so often, notification fatigue among the public can be a serious result.
When notification processes become simply a matter of sending out a form letter to individuals, there is always a deep concern that these letters become increasingly perceived by recipients as junk mail. We have learned from the experience of other jurisdictions. That is why this government believes the best approach to notification is one based on risk, where notification should be required only for those breaches that represent the potential for significant harm to individuals. In this way, consumers would only receive notifications when necessary and would accord them the attention they deserve, instead of seeing these messages as unwanted spam. What we are talking about here is modernization, not overhaul, as proposed Bill C-475 suggests.
The Privacy Commissioner has been a strong advocate for data breach notification. I would like to point out, however, that even she has not asked to be informed of all breaches, nor has she asked for the responsibility to determine the need for notification of when there is a breach. In fact, in her paper on the reform of PIPEDA published earlier this year, the commissioner proposed that organizations be required to report breaches “where warranted”. This suggests that the commissioner understands the burden of overnotification and supports an approach that would minimize that burden. That is modernization, not overhaul.
Unfortunately, this is not the approach taken in Bill C-475. The bill would require organizations to report to the Privacy Commissioner every data breach posing a possible risk of harm. The average organization is risk-averse, and will err on the side of caution. I know that from my own business experience. As a result, it is likely that all breaches would be reported under these circumstances, undoubtedly resulting in notification fatigue among consumers. Under Bill C-475, the commissioner would have to assess each incident reported to her and determine whether it poses an appreciable risk of harm, warranting notification to individuals. This would impose a financial and administrative burden on the commissioner's office and would likely limit its ability to deal with other complaints under the act.
In the province of Alberta, where the data breach reporting has been in place for two years, the office of the Alberta privacy commissioner has estimated that the average time to process a reported breach and determine whether notification is required is 76 days. In the case of more complex data breaches, this could be much longer. This indicates that the risk assessment process is complex, difficult, and ultimately costly.
My colleague, the hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville, has provided us with much to consider, including some statistics on data breach incidencts. According to my hon. friend, there are 18 privacy breaches every year for every publicly traded company in Canada. We know there are over 3,000 companies traded on the Canadian-based stock exchanges. That would amount to a minimum of 54,000 data breach incidents every year. Given the number of days to assess a single data breach incident, it does not serve the public interest to process each of these 50,000 incidents each year.
Let us remember that the intent is to provide Canadians with timely information about a breach of their personal information so that they can take steps to avoid fraud, identity theft, and misuse of their personal information. I sense the intent of my colleague opposite, but it is not clear to me that my hon. friend has fully considered the administrative and resource implications of dumping this requirement on the Privacy Commissioner's office, and whether it is in the public interest of Canadians to receive so many notifications.
The government is committed to an approach that would require the organization experiencing a breach to conduct the risk assessment based on the sensitivity of the data and the probability that they have been or will be misused. The organization is in the best position to quickly assess the circumstances surrounding a breach of its security safeguards and to determine the risks involved. The government believes that organizations should notify the commissioner and affected individuals of certain breaches, those posing a real risk of significant harm. This allows the commissioner to retain oversight of how organizations are handling the process of risk assessment and notifications to individuals. The commissioner would have the option of initiating an investigation if it were believed that notification did not occur when it was required.
In closing, with appropriate oversight and guidance by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the responsibility for determining risk and the need for the notification of individuals should ultimately rest with the organization. I hope I have clarified for members the benefits of a more balanced approach to data breach notification. Again, it is modernization, not overhaul.
I hope colleagues will agree that the approach taken by Bill C-475 would impose unnecessary costs and has the real risk to potentially undermine the primary objective for data breach notification, which is that of providing timely information to individuals when there is truly a risk of harm.
Retirement Congratulations December 4th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, one of the privileges we get as members of Parliament is to stand in this House and pay tribute to amazing Canadians. Today I honour Senator Donald Oliver, representing the great province of Nova Scotia, who is retiring from the Canadian Senate. He served our country with singular distinction, and I am proud to consider him a friend.
Senator Oliver, a barrister, professor, entrepreneur, statesman, and advocate, has served the people of Canada with honour for more than 40 years. Since his elevation to the upper chamber in 1990, Don Oliver has chaired several key committees in the Senate and has served as Speaker pro tempore.
Senator Oliver is an accomplished businessperson and an expert on corporate governance. Yet for all of these achievements, we are most proud of Senator Oliver for his work in advancing equal opportunities for black Canadians and other visible minorities in our country. Early in his career, he was instrumental in bringing about provincial legislation to end racial discrimination in Nova Scotia. What an outstanding legacy.
Today we thank him for what he has done for all Canadians. We also thank his partner, Linda. We know Don could not serve in his role without her equal commitment. We thank Don Oliver for what he means to Canada. His wise counsel will be greatly missed.
Science Education December 3rd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I stand today to recognize the outstanding work of London's own Let's Talk Science, a national science education outreach organization, and Amgen Canada, a leading biotechnology company. I commend them on the recent release of their report, “Spotlight on Science Learning: The High Cost of Dropping Science and Math”.
Science technology and innovation are critically important to Canada's economic well-being. This report underscores the significant economic impact to Canada when students choose not to pursue science and math.
Let me say as strongly as I can that I encourage Canada's students to embrace science and math. It will serve them in so many ways that they may not currently appreciate.
I invite all members of the House to join me this afternoon at 5:30 p.m. in room 256-S in the Centre Block to learn more about the work of Let's Talk Science and Amgen. Let us congratulate them for the significant work they are doing to shine a spotlight on the importance of science and learning by our young people.
Interparliamentary Delegations December 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association, respecting its participation in the bilateral visit to Scotland and London, United Kingdom.